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Thread: Rats !!! near Fenway Park
08-17-2012 12:44 PM #7
The rat that changed TV: Behind the scenes during Carlton Fisk’s iconic homer
Published Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm EDT
By Matt Crossman Sporting News
It is the walkoff home run of live action sports shots. Carlton Fisk is waving the ball fair. He’s perfectly in focus, perfectly framed slightly to the right as he drifts left toward first base. As the ball hits the fair pole, he jumps, Fred Lynn in the on-deck circle behind him jumps, and the dozens of fans in the shot behind him jump.
It is one of the most famous and enduring images in American sports history. More important than that, it forever changed the way television covers baseball.
And it almost never happened.
The story behind it is one of the great—and little-known—tales in Fenway Park’s 100-year history.
In 1975, cameramen did not follow players’ reactions. They followed the ball. Reaction shots like that one, so ubiquitous today, were largely unheard of. Then Fisk, the Red Sox catcher, stepped to the plate in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the World Series. NBC cameraman Lou Gerard, stationed in the Fenway scoreboard and assigned to track the ball wherever Fisk hit it, had a problem.
A big, hairy, ugly, nasty problem.
“There were some rats running around,” he says. “With Fisk coming up, Harry Coyle, who was the director at the time, he told me, ‘Lou, you have to follow the ball if he hits it.’ I said, ‘Harry, I can’t, I’ve got a rat on my leg that’s as big as a cat. It’s staring me in the face. I’m blocked by a piece of metal on my right.’ So he said, ‘What are we going to do?’ I said, ‘How about if we stay with Fisk, see what happens?’ ”
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