Someone (or Some Thing) Looks Down on the Angels

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Photos by Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
When Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt went out to the mound to calm down his struggling starter Hiroki Kuroda in the third inning Tuesday night, the theme that accompanies Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies filled Angels Stadium.

But those sitting behind home plate might have mistaken the intended target of the snarky music cue, as the beats matched perfectly with the creepy hunk of metal lurking above the infield.

Fox Sports, which uses a similar robotic camera to cover NFL games, is experimenting with the technology at major league ballparks in the network's coverage area.

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"Uh, anyone else detect the presence of a large hunk of metal lurking above . . . and looking at us?"
But a gridiron is rectangular, and the camera's track can run parallel with the field a pretty safe distance from the action and fans. While the baseball version only comes out for shots between innings and other times the action stops, it's still disconcerting to see the thing glide overhead and past the backstop before swooping down for closeups on players and coaches.

Photographer Christopher Victorio--click here for his slideshow from last night's game--certainly noticed it. Here's how he slugged his photo that opened this post: "Hello, Dave. Fox Sports experimenting with a skycam at Angel Stadium."

Maybe it's worth it; we in the stadium could not see the no-doubt amazing footage shared with television viewers. But if one of those suckers ever slips off its cables . . . yikes!

Speaking of Hazards: In the bottom of the fifth inning, a mysterious clear liquid flushed down on the section of the second-level press box occupied by scribes from the Los Angeles Times and other print outlets. It appeared whatever it was splattered onto a laptop or two.

While sports journos and Angel staff were chortling over the un-ordered shower, a hot foul ball off Angel shortstop Erik Aybar's bat zoomed into the same exact area of the press box.

Fortunately, no one was injured in either mishap but it did prompt one fellow covering the game to remark, "This is getting to be a very dangerous place."

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Tony Gwynn Jr. brings it in.
Chip Off the Old Block: Dodger Tony Gwynn Jr.--yes, that Tony Gwynn, Jr.--got into the game in the seventh inning. He made some solid plays in left field, but it appeared he might not get a chance to shine at the plate as his old man did more than 3,000 times (or 4,000 if you count the walks, hit-by-pitches and sacrifices) in 20 seasons with the Padres. That's because the Angel pitchers seemed to be retiring everyone in front of Junior in the batting order.

But shortstop Justin Sellers opened the ninth with a single, and after Angel reliever Jordan Walden struck out Jamey Carroll and Jerry Sands, up to the plate strolled Tony's kid (and former Dodger Chris Gwynn's nephew).

Junior promptly slapped the first pitch into left field. He'll be following the ball out there, as an eye injury to Jay Gibbons is giving Gwynn an opportunity to start the season in left.

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4 comments
Dwayne
Dwayne

I was at the Tuesday game, and was wondering what the use of that camera was. (Since I didn't see the telecast, I don't know how it's used.)

Is it only for between innings, and mound visits? They obviously can't use it to cover action, can they? And the shot they put up on the Diamondvision was of low quality, and it looked like a fish eye lens.

I see this going away real fast.

Megan
Megan

The camera is kind of weird, but what bothers me the most about it are the cables it is attached to. We were sitting up in 509 the other night and aside from being attacked by killer moths, I couldn't help but think of the horrifying possibility of any of those cables snapping. I've seen enough Final Destination movies to know the damage a cable wire could do to a person.

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

That overhead cam is going to get annoying, fast. I've read quite a few complaints about it already, on an Angels forum.

Then again, some people even gripe about the new...whatever you call it, then thing in the corner that shows the score/inning/# of outs...it's been redesigned. This, I don't care about. But that overhead cam...I hope someone tags it this year. It's gotta happen.

Dwayne
Dwayne

I don't think there's enough tension on those cables to cause it to snap.

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