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Oakland A's scoreboard fix haikus

Athletics listen the new displays are great but read these suggestions

Looks pretty nice, but there's still work to be done.
Looks pretty nice, but there's still work to be done.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Athletics fans are in love with the new video displays and for good reason. We have left the days of being the laughingstock of video technology behind and given fans a richer experience, for the most part.

But there are still at least four areas of concern as the A's work out the best way to configure important information on these new displays: (1) the count, (2) today's performance and quirky stats, (3) the game situation during inning breaks, and (4) extra innings.

Bought Cracker Jack yum
Was not paying attention
What is the count now?

Before this year, in the old days of the Lite Brite scoreboard, it was pretty easy to find the balls and strikes. It was easy enough to find them on one of the big boards, but today's big board uses a difficult-to-see forest green elephant on a darker green background that you wouldn't know to look for right away:

(Photo credits: new board photo by Jeremy F. Koo, old board photo by Jed Jacobsen/Getty Images)

On the new board, the 'B', 'S', and 'O' are scrunched together and are even smaller than they were last year. The elephants are cute, but most people around me at different games on the value deck and in the lower bowl did not recognize the logo and could not figure out where they are. At the press level, Lowell Cohn of the Santa Clara Press-Democrat was fooled:

Not your fault Lowell, they simply are not big enough. What the A's should do is abandon the elephants and just put 'B', 'S', and 'O' across and a little spaced out, with numerals below. You don't need to necessarily make the letters that big because the only thing on the board updating are the numbers changing with every pitch, so there won't be confusion.

As Cohn points out, the balls and strikes are more readily apparent on the lower deck ribbon boards, but the stadium has elected to write out the entire word sideways, instead of using a simpler 'B'/'S'/'O' solution

(Photos by Jeremy F. Koo)

This is critical game information here, and everything else needs to be set aside just so people know what the dang count is.

Another issue that arose is that the counts were being kept much closer to home plate than they had previously, so it was not possible for folks behind home plate to easily view the count on the ribbons, and had to rely on the big board count. The A's have already acted to resolve that issue by adding a count near the clocks around the flag poles:

(Photo by Jeremy F. Koo)

Look at the new board
How are you batting today?
Scoreboard does not say

One thing DiamondVision and the big Lite Brite board did every game was put up information about the batter's performance to that point. Now? Just a static photograph of the player:

(Photo by Jed Jacobs/Getty Images)

Today's stats keep you in the game action, and none of the new statistical boxes on the big boards show me those. Sure I can see how many hits the batter has had today on the ribbons, but I don't know if that's a double or an infield single.

None of these new boxes shows me any quirky stats, like how Mark Ellis was as some point during his A's career the home run leader for players born in South Dakota (since overtaken by Jason Kubel), or how the batter is leading the league in runs batted in or showing me his average with runners in scoring position. Flash from the player photo over to those fun facts to enhance the fan experience.

Just in time for beer
Got back in time for the stretch
No clue of the score

One partially addressed issue is that all the statistics and linescores disappear during the inning breaks, the screens instead displaying advertisements and in-game entertainment. Now most, though not every break, includes a screen that shows the score as well as who is due up in the next inning:

(Photo by Jeremy F. Koo)

But that's it. There's no place but a tiny corner of the two big boards where you can find out what the score and what inning it is between innings. And that's only so long as stadium entertainment is not running a sponsored bit that takes up the whole screen, such as the 2 Legit 2 Quit break brought to you by Cache Creek Casino Resort:

(Photo by Jeremy F. Koo)

The A's always dedicated a consistent small but obvious portion of the ribbon boards to making sure fans knew the score between innings:

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Bonus baseball a treat
The Athletics have a chance
What inning is it?

The A's have played two extra-inning games so far, but you would not know it if you looked at the scoreboard. The new image is from the start of the 10th inning of last Sunday's game against the Seattle Mariners. The old image is from the end of Oakland's marathon against the Los Angeles Angels in 2013:

(New photo by Jeremy F. Koo, old photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

The new scoreboards successfully shifted the linescore over an inning, but it appears the background inning number is a permanent fixture. Fans generally want their scoreboard to at the least not present wrong information. The A's did not score four runs in the eighth inning of that game. They scored four runs in the ninth inning to keep the game alive.

Whoa how fast was that
I think he threw it really hard
Radar stays on screen now

One of the early complaints was that once you found the radar gun display out by the foul poles, the speed would disappear before you had a chance to register the umpire calling a ball or a strike. This has since been resolved:

(Photo by Jeremy F. Koo)

I was able to snap this photo and count eight "Mississippis" before the speed disappeared. That's just fine.


Overall, the new displays are a huge improvement from where we were last September. Opening Night, I was sitting next to a woman who, upon seeing a replay of Oakland challenging an out call, was able to exclaim "He's safe! He's safe! Challenge it! Challenge it!" After I told her that Bob Melvin was already challenging the play, she explained to me, "Oh I'm just so excited. I don't see really well and this is the first time I've ever been able to see a replay."

So keep working at it, A's Productions. If there are other areas where the displays could be improved, let us know in the comments.