September 30, 2010
The sight of wire-rigged cameras keeping pace with wide receivers and sneaking a peek into huddles has become a common one when attending an NFL game.
But for the first time this fall, we'll see the droid-type devices used during a baseball game. Michael Hiestand of USA Today reported on Wednesday that FOX is planning on using flying cameras during its NLCS and World Series broadcasts. It'll test the system out this weekend during the Philadelphia-Atlanta game.
The applications of aerial cameras in baseball might not seem as readily apparent for those in football, but they definitely exist or FOX wouldn't be trying this.
And what might those big applications be, you ask?
Like hover over bases to give new overhead views of close plays. (Which, if it works, might factor into discussions of bringing instant replay to MLB.) And, [FOX Sports president Eric] Shanks says, they will hover over managers talking to their pitchers on the mound: "But we've agreed with MLB to not put microphones on the camera, so we won't listen in to conversations."
Still, the new close-ups should be a huge help to lip-reading viewers.
Hiestand reports that the camera won't be in motion until after the pitches are delivered and that MLB hasn't yet decided on a ground rule in case a ball hits a camera or cable.
There are a lot of pros and cons, so I believe I'll have to see this in action to make a judgment. After all, interfering with the game and affecting its outcome would be bad.
But giving us another option for possible instant-replay review and opening a wide array of new angles would be good.
Meanwhile, Tim McCarver getting snagged on a flying camera, removed from the booth and jerked around 80 feet above the infield? Well, I think we can all agree that situation would just be downright hilarious.
Big BLS H/N: @athooks