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Fox to test new overhead camera on Tuesday night's Dodgers-Angels telecast

March 29, 2011 |  6:07 pm

Officials for Major League Baseball and the players association are in Angel Stadium to evaluate the Fox Sports Network's' test of an overhead camera, which will be used on FS West's telecast of the Dodgers-Angels game Tuesday night.

If Fox gains approval from the commissioner's office and the players, it plans to implement the new technology, which would give viewers shots from above the actual playing field and is similar to that used on NFL telecasts, for three national prime-time games in May, the All-Star Game in July and the American League Championship Series and World Series.

Fox used the "Field Cam," which is computer operated and moves on a system of wires and pulleys rigged throughout the stadium, for a regular-season game in Atlanta last season.

"Last year, we were only allowed to have it maneuver out of play, so if Rafael Furcal led off with a single, we could follow him from home to first base," said Dan Bell, vice president of communications for Fox Sports. "With this, we could follow him from first base to third.

"We want to extend the field and give viewers incredible shots that they've never seen before. The key tonight is to make the players association and MLB comfortable with it so we can use it in the future."

Former first baseman Tony Clark, who now works for the players association, will spend time in both dugouts during the game, getting feedback from players. Joe Garagiola Jr., senior vice president of on-field operations for MLB, is also at the game and met with Fox officials.

Players from both teams gawked at the camera, which buzzed above the home-plate area and down the lines, toward the foul poles, during batting practice before the game. There were already some concerns among the players.

"It might be a distraction for an outfielder to have that camera moving toward you," Angels catcher Bobby Wilson said. "And what if there's a popup behind the plate with backspin? Those wires might be in the way. Sometimes a ball can go three or four rows in and come back. It will be cool for the fans, but an adjustment for the players."

Reliever Kevin Jepsen, the Angels' assistant union representative, didn't like the idea of Fox using the camera in the playoffs.

"The last thing you want in the post-eason is anything outside the game affecting the outcome," Jepsen said. "It's different in football because no one is throwing the ball that high. What if an outfielder takes his eye off the ball to run to a spot, looks up to find the ball and sees the camera out of the corner of his eye? It's going to be interesting."

RELATED:

Angels take advantage of ninth-inning error to beat Dodgers, 5-4

Which team will win more games this season, the Dodgers or the Angels?

--Mike DiGiovanna

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