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10/20/10 2:30 AM ET

TBS cameraman's 15 minutes: Very scary

Gardner's broken bat damages hi-def equipment, spooks Angel

NEW YORK -- Steve Angel has been filming sporting events since 1997. He was there for Barry Bonds' 756th home run, on the scene for the famous "Malice at the Palace" brawl between the Pistons and Pacers in 2004, and if he had to put a number on how many games he's been behind the lens for, the assumption would be "several thousand."

But what happened to him during Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night was a first.

It was a 2-2 game between the Rangers and Yankees in the bottom of the fourth -- with the bases loaded and one out -- when Brett Gardner made contact with a Derek Holland fastball. The ball bounced toward the hole in left field, and Gardner's bat -- all except the handle he was gripping -- boomeranged in the direction of Angel's very expensive hi-definition equipment.

"It was kind of spooky, kind of scary, never happened to me before," said Angel, who was still a bit shaken up about it even after the Rangers' 10-3 win.

"Left-handed batter, I was behind him. I wasn't anticipating that it was coming."

It came.

The top of Gardner's bat wound up striking Angel's camera directly on the lens, making anything he filmed out of there look like a giant snowflake or the opening scene to a James Bond movie.

It didn't matter. Angel never flinched. And as Alex Rodriguez came home during a forceout at third base, he could only think of one thing.

"I just thought, 'How do I get back to work? You're here to do a job,'" said Angel, who's based in Atlanta and was working for TBS as a freelancer.

"A-Rod was about to cross home plate, so that's what I was doing. I was shooting him. And then all of a sudden, if you look at the video, it gets pretty frosty."

While Angel focused on A-Rod through the tiny hole he still had to work with, the other TBS cameras focused on him, and suddenly viewers from all over the country knew his name. His cell phone couldn't handle the attention.

"My phone blew up," he said.

Luckily, he didn't have a big bill to pay at the end of the night.

Angel said it would cost "more than a house" to replace one of those TBS lenses if it is broken. But in front of each lens, the camera sports a protective glass cover on the outside, which was all Gardner's bat wound up damaging.

So, the TBS crew went back to the truck, picked up a brand new filter, and Angel was able to do the only thing he wanted to do -- get back to work.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Gonzo and 'The Show'. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.