07/14/2004 1:45 AM ET
FOX telecast smooth as a diamond
New camera technology, announcers bring game to life
By Mike Scarr / MLB.com
| Diamond-Cam (P): 350K
Diamond-Cam (bats R): 350K
Diamond-Cam (bats L): 350K
Long known for offering a unique perspective on the action, FOX delivered yet again at the 2004 All-Star Game.
Never content to simply allow the folks at home to see what is happening, FOX endeavors to give the viewing public an opportunity to experience the action.
Some innovations have been clear-cut winners, such as the line during football telecasts that shows where the first down is. Giving the puck a glowing red tail during NHL games was less effective, but FOX threw a strike with its three low-level cameras Tuesday night.
FOX put the viewer on the ground floor, literally, with their Diamond-Cams. Provided by Broadcast Sports Incorporated, the FOX Diamond-Cams were incorporated into the telecast of the annual summer clash between the American and National Leagues, won by the AL, 9-4.
The views were even more interactive online as MLB.com along with FOXsports.com and MSN.com put the controls in the hands of the user.
Two of the "lipstick" cams (so named for their approximation in size to a lipstick container) were positioned facing toward home plate, looking directly at either the right- or left-handed batter. The third camera was positioned directly at the pitcher and was located in front of the pitching mound at the transition from clay to the grass.
By selecting one of three options, the online user could access the camera directed at the left-handed batter, the right-handed batter or the pitcher and switch freely between the three.
There was a delay between live action on TV and the streaming video online, allowing fans time to shuttle between the telecast and the webcast to compare camera angles. One could also switch the perspective on the webcam for a different angle than what was just seen on TV.
The Diamond-Cams weren't only for web users. FOX also utilized the low-angle cameras for the occasional live shot.
FOX received the go-ahead for the special cameras from the Commissioner's Office, the Players Association and the Astros and have had them in place at Houston's Minute Maid Park for about a month.
In the booth, analyst Tim McCarver worked his 13th All-Star Game, tying him with Curt Gowdy and Joe Garagiola for most All-Star telecasts. McCarver partnered with the always-solid Joe Buck, who worked his sixth All-Star Game for television on play-by-play.
FOX addressed the Roger Clemens/Mike Piazza story at the top of the telecast with reporters Jeanne Zelasco and Kevin Kennedy handling the issue during the pregame show. The segment included interviews with each player about the incidents of 2000 when Clemens hit Piazza with a pitch during Interleague Play and later in the World Series when Clemens threw a piece of Piazza's broken bat at the All-Star catcher as he ran up the first-base line.
Clemens and Piazza were NL batterymates to start Tuesday's game and both said it was old news. Once the game started, it was all business as the AL drilled a pair of homers off Clemens in the first inning.
Bringing the lexicon of the game to light for the uninitiated was "Scooter," an animated baseball that explained terms such as slider and sweeping curveball during breaks in the action.
Other highlights of the telecast included a video montage of Clemens' career before he was presented with the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig live on the field between the fourth and fifth innings.
Buck emceed the presentation and also conducted in-game interviews during the telecast with NL manager Jack McKeon, AL manager Joe Torre and Dodgers closer Eric Gagne.
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.