If last Friday night's Yankees-Red Sox game is any indication,
Fox is doing its best to clutter the screen during baseball
broadcasts. New graphics gizmos traced the arc of pitches and
measured the length of a runner's lead off first. The most
intrusive feature was Scooter, a cartoon baseball whose mission
is to teach kids the basics of the game. "When I'm a knuckleball,
I dance up, down, in, around," he squealed while looking more
than a little menacing. "I don't know which way I'm going, but
neither does the batter!" The announcers, Joe Buck and Tim
McCarver, seemed mortified. After Scooter's first appearance,
Buck said, "With apologies to Senor Wences." And during one visit
from Scooter, viewers missed an Enrique Wilson at bat. "It's a
way of sugarcoating the information pill," Fox Sports chairman
and CEO David Hill said of Scooter last week. "If it works, it's
a demonstration of a new feature. If it doesn't, it's an
experiment." Here's hoping it's the latter. --M.B.