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View Full Version : Chicago Tribune writer says the Wrigley Field scoreboard should come down...



macro
06-16-2006, 09:49 AM
...and be replaced with Diamond Vision...

What do you think? Good idea or bad?



http://www.chicagotribune.com/technology/chi-0606120109jun12,1,6383209.story?vote23870103=1&coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

It's time for a new vision

Wrigley scoreboard exudes charm, but a modern video-replay board is long overdue

By Eric Benderoff
Published June 12, 2006

If you were a 23-year-old given responsibility for renovating Wrigley Field, what would you do with the scoreboard?

That was the situation in 1937, when the job of overseeing the renovation of the ballpark at the end of the season was largely in the hands of a young Bill Veeck, the future baseball impresario who was then a Cubs employee.

In what should be considered his legacy, rather than sending a midget up to bat for the St. Louis Browns in 1951, Veeck added ivy to the outfield walls and had a pioneering scoreboard put above the center-field bleachers.

Well, it's time for another change: Keep the ivy but remove the scoreboard. Bring on the Diamond Vision.

It is time for a scoreboard where you don't have to add up the runs to figure out the score, where the score of every major-league game can be displayed, and where you don't need to buy a scorecard to know who's pitching in an out-of-town game. And it certainly would be nice to see a replay of a great play, just once, without straining to catch a glimpse of the TV screen in some bigwig's luxury suite.

The nation's oldest ballpark, Boston's Fenway Park, has a video-replay board. That makes Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914, two years after Fenway, the only major-league stadium that doesn't have a screen to watch a replay.

Yes, the old scoreboard is charming, but there comes a time to acknowledge that modern technology adds to the experience of attending a ballgame in a historic ballpark. We expect a certain level of information in our society, and I'm tired of the vastly inefficient scoreboard that does nothing to enhance the action on the field.

In my view, the scoreboard is a giant green target of digital opportunity. A chance for a 21st Century visionary to add a must-see, high-definition element to what Veeck promoted as "Beautiful Wrigley Field."

So what would a 23-year old do today if his job were to create a new scoreboard?

"He would put in the Diamond Vision," minor-league baseball executive Mike Veeck said of what his father would do if given the opportunity today. "He was very much a man of his time. He would do it for the fan appeal."

If our nation's architects can build popular new stadiums that look like old gems, there's no reason why they can't take an old gem and give it a new look. Besides, Wrigley is practically an outdoor sports bar, so it should have the biggest high-definition screen in the neighborhood.

"It would look awesome at Wrigley if it were done right," said Mark Foster, general manager for Mitsubishi's Diamond Vision unit.

There's another neat trick you could do with today's high-def scoreboards, said Foster, whose company put the giant screens in the United Center and U.S. Cellular Field.

"You can create a scoreboard that looks old-fashioned and have an animation with an arm reaching out of the screen to `manually' change the score," he said. "No one has done this yet, but people are talking about it."

You also might appease the Wrigley diehards who oppose change by programming the scoreboard to leave off a game or two from around the league. Kidding.

The fans at Wrigley have been roundly criticized for spending too much time on their mobile phones and not enough watching the game. Maybe it's because many of them are surfing the Web to catch up with the rest of the big-league action that night. Or, with a gadget like a Slingbox that can send live TV from your home, some could be watching the game on their mobile phones.

What would a 23-year-old do today if his job were to create a new scoreboard?

Basic information would be a glance away. The screen would display relevant statistics for the player at bat, an easy-to-read (no math!) summary of the game action and always provide the name of the pitcher, in case you missed a pitching change.This is what fans at every other park in the country have come to expect, even at venerable old Fenway.

But, of course, Wrigley is not like every other park, a message the Cubs push in a new campaign to highlight the field's historic charms. (The Cubs are owned by the Tribune Co., the publisher of this newspaper.)

One radio spot touts why the Cubs haven't changed the 70-year-old scoreboard. The reasons: It ain't broke. It still keeps perfect score. We don't need bling.
My favorite: We never bought into that whole digital fad.

"When you bring somebody to this park who's never been there, that scoreboard, the ivy, the green grass and the bleachers really knocks them out," said John McDonough, the Cubs vice president of marketing and broadcasting. "It's like walking into a time capsule. There's nothing flashy about it."

All true, and I wouldn't dispute the appeal Wrigley holds for those wanting a slice of Americana in a world that has become a digital fishbowl.

Yet with a little vision, a new screen would have the same footprint as the classic it replaces. It wouldn't be the nation's biggest but would fit right in, perhaps even encased in a model of the old scoreboard with the analog clock still on top.

McDonough said Cubs fans are not asking for a new scoreboard. If they were, the Cubs would listen.

But they have listened to pitches from displaymakers like Mitsubishi. "They have looked at some of the options," Foster said. "It's been considered."

This fan is asking the Cubs to reconsider the park's history.

When Bill Veeck put in that old scoreboard before the 1938 season, it was based on a new concept. According to the Cubs Encyclopedia, instead of using lights that could be turned on or off, Veeck chose a design that used magnetic `eyelids' that could be pulled up or down to change the score. It was considered innovative at the time.

The scoreboard was, and remains, hand operated, and even McDonough says it's not perfect.

"Periodically, someone in the booth will put the wrong score up or put a number in upside down," he said.

That's embarrassing for the scoreboard operator but considered charming by the rest of us.

So what would a 23-year old do today if his job were to create a new scoreboard?

If it were someone with the vision of Bill Veeck, who also introduced the exploding scoreboard at Comiskey Park, you could be certain it would be a memorable attraction.

- - -

A scoreboard watcher's manual

The iconic, hand-operated center-field scoreboard is manned by a crew of two to five people. After each game a white flag with a blue "W" is raised to signify a Cubs win or a blue flag with a white "L" for a Cubs loss. National League pennants are arranged in divisional standing order. No batted ball has reached the scoreboard during a game.

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ebenderoff@tribune.com

RFS62
06-16-2006, 10:03 AM
Yep, and Big Ben should be replaced with a digital clock.

What a tool.

SandyD
06-16-2006, 10:27 AM
I'm afraid it'll happen sooner or later. And that's sad. Best part of Wrigley Field is the scoreboard. JMO.

Joseph
06-16-2006, 10:36 AM
Sorry, I have to disagree with you two and agree with the writer, I think it should be done.

37red
06-16-2006, 10:37 AM
Leave the board and keep up the park, it's a classic, it's historical. One nice thing is not seeing all the fashy lights and ads taking the game away. Having the game as the central part of the park instead of the Las Vegas look is nice on the eyes.

Chip R
06-16-2006, 10:38 AM
I'd get rid of the ivy before I got rid of the scoreboard. At least the scoreboard serves a purpose. All the ivy does is look nice and camoflouge the brick wall behind it. I would think they could tear down that ivy, put up padding and then plant the ivy again.

traderumor
06-16-2006, 10:41 AM
While it may be presumptuos to disagree with the son on what his dad would do, I think Veeck would realize that he is filling the park regardless of the product on the field BECAUSE of things like the old scoreboard. It is part of the charm that makes everyone want to visit there. I like their renovation to add some more seating without making major modifications to the park. If you're different in a good way, why ask for a king just because everyone else has one?

Roy Tucker
06-16-2006, 10:43 AM
No batted ball has reached the scoreboard during a game.
I found this interesting. With Wrigley being a launching pad when the wind blows out and the ballpark has been around since Moses, I would have thought someone would have hit it by now. I wonder how far the scoreboard is from home plate?

RFS62
06-16-2006, 10:43 AM
I think they should put a swimming pool out in the sundeck.

smith288
06-16-2006, 10:45 AM
Wrigley's a friggin dump and should be bulldozed. Just a few years ago it was almost condemned I think.

Keeping something just for the historical value even if its a grade a dump smells of pack-rat syndrome. Of course, I couldnt expect anything less form the Cubs organization relying on their stadium rather than the product IN the stadiun to bring the crowds.

westofyou
06-16-2006, 10:46 AM
Here's what it looked like in the 20's

http://memory.loc.gov/ndlpcoop/ichicdn/s0100/s010065.jpg

westofyou
06-16-2006, 10:47 AM
I've been to Wrigley about 10 times and I don't think I've ever seen the building from the outside except on the OF side.

smith288
06-16-2006, 10:52 AM
Chicago's should take the path of L.A. Wrigley Field.

http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/past/lawriguse.jpg

RBA
06-16-2006, 10:52 AM
New Scoreboard?

Nope, put LCD screens on the back of the seats. Also, have mail tubes at each seat so you can order via the LCD screen, pay via electronic chip planted underneath the right ear, and the food can be sent to you in the mail tube.

westofyou
06-16-2006, 10:57 AM
Tear down Tiger Stadium, Detroit mayor says

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/tigers/2006-06-16-tiger-stadium_x.htm

Chip R
06-16-2006, 11:03 AM
While it may be presumptuos to disagree with the son on what his dad would do, I think Veeck would realize that he is filling the park regardless of the product on the field BECAUSE of things like the old scoreboard.

You might want to re-read that article.

traderumor
06-16-2006, 11:04 AM
New Scoreboard?

Nope, put LCD screens on the back of the seats. Also, have mail tubes at each seat so you can order via the LCD screen, pay via electronic chip planted underneath the right ear, and the food can be sent to you in the mail tube.
Now that would be Veeckian. He was an innovator. DiamondVision is following the crowd.

traderumor
06-16-2006, 11:05 AM
You might want to re-read that article.:confused:

westofyou
06-16-2006, 11:09 AM
While it may be presumptuos to disagree with the son on what his dad would do, I think Veeck would realize that he is filling the park regardless of the product on the field BECAUSE of things like the old scoreboard. It is part of the charm that makes everyone want to visit there. I like their renovation to add some more seating without making major modifications to the park. If you're different in a good way, why ask for a king just because everyone else has one?
Bill Veek Senior GM of Cubs in 20's Planted the IVY and installed the scoreboard in 1938 (it was hit)

Bill Veek Jr. owner of the White Sox in the 50's installed the first "exploding scorboard" in Chicago... the southside.

It was a huge hit.

Now Andy McPhail is the President of the Cubs, his grandfather was Larry MacPhail, most of what he did was a huge hit.

Tearing down the scoreboard after a disappointing season in Cubs country would be a salt on the wounds move by the franchise... or just the right time to do it.

And that's what focus groups are for.

smith288
06-16-2006, 11:13 AM
Personally, I think they should do it if they can replicate the exact same scoreboard and have it display like normal except for replays and such and then flip back to the old scoreboard look.

Yachtzee
06-16-2006, 11:19 AM
From what I've read of Bill Veeck, he was all about getting fans to the ballpark. He was certainly not about driving fans away. If he were running the Cubs today, I doubt he would mess with the scoreboard as is. He might find some other way to get a replay board into the park, but I doubt he would mess with an icon like the Wrigley Field scoreboard.

Then again, I doubt Bill Veeck would be interested in running the Cubs anyway. He'd probably much rather take a club like the Marlins or some other team threatening to move because it "can't" bring in fans and try to prove everyone wrong.

Chip R
06-16-2006, 11:20 AM
:confused:

Bill Veeck is dead.

Yachtzee
06-16-2006, 11:21 AM
So is Francisco Franco...still.

LincolnparkRed
06-16-2006, 12:01 PM
I wouldn't miss the scoreboard one bit if they changed it.

1) If all mlb teams play on the same day they can't show all 15 games, it only has room for 7 on a side.
2) the article mentions how you need a scorecard to keep track of the pitchers, that is not even right. I went to a Braves/ Cubs game in May and they had #12 edwin encarnacion listed as our pitcher on a day when #61, 45 & #25 were the actual pitchers.

These are just the ideas of the top of my head. They finally added a small screen at the bottom 2 or 3 years ago so they can do lawnmower races and show actual stats of players instead of the old school thing they had when I first moved here.

traderumor
06-16-2006, 12:25 PM
Bill Veeck is dead.Yea, what in my post makes it appear that I think he's still alive? Now, it does look like I am confused about which Veeck did the ivy and the scoreboard, thanks for clearing that up WOY, but I'm not sure why you think I didn't know Bill Veeck is dead?

Chip R
06-16-2006, 12:34 PM
Yea, what in my post makes it appear that I think he's still alive? Now, it does look like I am confused about which Veeck did the ivy and the scoreboard, thanks for clearing that up WOY, but I'm not sure why you think I didn't know Bill Veeck is dead?



While it may be presumptuos to disagree with the son on what his dad would do, I think Veeck would realize that he is filling the park regardless of the product on the field BECAUSE of things like the old scoreboard.


The way you worded that makes it appear that Veeck is still around and running the Cubs. Maybe that was just me.

traderumor
06-16-2006, 12:52 PM
The way you worded that makes it appear that Veeck is still around and running the Cubs. Maybe that was just me.OK, I guess it must not have been obvious that I was speaking hypothetically.

KronoRed
06-16-2006, 04:46 PM
Good idea, 24 teams is so 1980 :D

Jpup
06-17-2006, 11:37 AM
I think they should burn down the dump.

KronoRed
06-17-2006, 05:00 PM
Wrigley's a friggin dump and should be bulldozed. Just a few years ago it was almost condemned I think.

Keeping something just for the historical value even if its a grade a dump smells of pack-rat syndrome. Of course, I couldnt expect anything less form the Cubs organization relying on their stadium rather than the product IN the stadiun to bring the crowds.
Hey..I agree with smith :evil:

oneupper
06-19-2006, 06:20 PM
I think they should burn down the dump.

Implosion is what they do these days..;)