Highlights for Nats Fans?

Kyra DeBlaker-Gebhard

I clearly remember the times I spent in the doctor's office as a child, losing myself in the back page of Highlights magazine, where I was challenged to find hidden or misplaced objects in the illustrated photo.

Now, at each game at Nationals Park, I challenge myself to find what is wrong with our state-of-the-art, yet ever-so-disappointing scoreboard. Sometimes, we may not get to see the speed of a fastball pitch or learn the stats of our players from inning to inning or game to game. Or, in the case of Saturday's game, we learn that we have skipped the eighth inning entirely. Was it a case of scoreboard failure, or did the baseball gods wish to have mercy on our souls? We may never know.

By Kyra DeBlaker-Gebhard  |  April 29, 2008; 6:00 AM ET  | Category:  Kyra DeBlaker-Gebhard
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I guess what frustrates me the most is when the scoreboard shows replays of the opposing team's hits. The Mets fans are obnoxious enough without us having to sit through a replay of Johan Santana's two doubles last week!

Posted by: Union Station | April 29, 2008 8:46 AM

That scoreboard is the most frustrating thing ever. There is no consistency to what they will show, half the time its just the batter's picture and the other half it'll be the stat screen (which will invariably be filled with mistakes).

I gave them a pass when that stuff was malfunctioning on opening night but its way to far into the season now.

Posted by: Agreed | April 29, 2008 9:19 AM

I noticed the 8th inning gaff Saturday night also...on the sideboard ribbon scoreboards as well...and how hard can it be, when you're in the middle of a game, to post what the batter did his previous trips to the plate?

Posted by: Annandale Annie | April 29, 2008 9:41 AM

Stan recently mentioned that there will be a complete overhaul of the scoreboard starting tonight. They will have the lineups for both teams displayed throughout the game and the layout will be slightly different.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | April 29, 2008 9:47 AM

The Saturday scoreboard problem baffled me as well, especially since it was wrong on the main board and on the small scoreboard within the stadium. I thought maybe the two beers had gone too quickly to my head!

Also on Sunday I was following the NYY - CLE score, and with each half inning the out-of-town scoreboard switched the uniform numbers for the two pitchers (e.g., number 40 (Wang) alternated between the NYY line and the CLE line). It is a minor point compared to skipping an inning of the WAS-CHC game, but it was noticeable.

Maybe the scoreboard came from Rube Goldberg Manufacturing Co!

Posted by: TRF | April 29, 2008 10:14 AM

If I were a bettin' gal, I'd guess that it's not the equipment, it's the human operating it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 29, 2008 10:16 AM

I see their fixing major boner #1, no starting lineups posted prior to or during most of the game ... WTF!?

Posted by: Arlington VA | April 29, 2008 11:45 AM

The policy should be (1) to post what every batter has done in previous at bats, starting with the second time through the lineup (not around the 5th inning or so), and (2) to post that consistently either on the big board, or the single-line boards, with the batter's averages on the other site. As for individual stats such as birthday, height, weight, and so on, how about showing that just the first time the batter comes up?

Posted by: cjohnson1 | April 29, 2008 11:59 AM

The sad part, is that it's all computerized and set up right there for them. It runs off the system that puts the info onto MLB.com. How did they miss the eighth all together is what I'd like to know.

Not having basic information like line-ups in inexcuseable. Camden Yards has had it since day one. Most minor league parks that do this have it up all game. It's not that hard to do.

But then again, what good are cool toys when nobody knows how to use them effectively. The Cannons did a great job of that in their last year. They have a crap board, but man did they give you what you wanted to know and they entered it in manually (the announcer back then showed me after a game one night how it worked and how they figure out the batting averages which was quite interesting to say the least). Now, it's just a shell of what it once was.

Posted by: Baseball Fan of Too Many Teams | April 29, 2008 12:05 PM

I have posted on this subject before, so I won't repeat my post but will summarize it:

1. Leave BOTH lineups up all the time.
2. More video, less static stuff, especially between innings.
3. More replays, regardless of whether the outcome was good or bad for the Nats.
4. Out-of-town highlights.

And absolutely fix whatever the problem seems to be in getting basic information correct.

Posted by: Meridian | April 29, 2008 12:48 PM

The "highlights" they do show are sometimes painful to watch as we've obviously had a crap game and they'll put an easy pop-fly catch in there as one of our "highlights." Yikes!

I agree with Meridian in that replays should be shown every inning regardless of the outcome for the Nats.

Posted by: Grounds Crew Emilie | April 29, 2008 1:00 PM

I still have to wonder why MLB feels that their fans are the dumbest of all sports fans and not letting close plays be shown on the video board. Caps showed it at Verizon Center during Game 7 and the fans waiting until after the game to throw stuff on the ice. The replay clearly showed indirect interference of the goaltender (which is against NHL rules, I looked it up). However, you can't show a double play (even when it's obvious) and you can't show a bang-bang play at first.

To me, it sounds like MLB thinks the fans are too stupid to see the play for themselves, the umpires are 4 year olds who need to be shielded from bad comments from the evil fans and that no sane person can truly say to themselves, "I think the umpire got that one right."

I've run electronic message boards and boards with video capability and the one thing that I tell the people who are working for me, keep it on, keep the info fresh and keep it updated. To the fan a few years ago with the Cannons, HEY!!! That was me you talked to! Gave about a dozen of those kind of tours that year!

Fans want to know information they don't necessarily know immediately. Both line-ups (and if it is the biggest board out there, you can put both line-ups up there with names, 0-for-0 and batting average and leave them up there), line score, count, who is batting, their picture, their stats, what they've done in the game and maybe even an anecdote (I miss Memorial Stadium, they did that well).

I run a board for a high school football team and put customized pictures up after they participate in a play, sponsor ads for timeouts, animations and more and my sign is tiny compared to the Nats.

This isn't rocket science and it's not a case of a new staff dealing with something new. The staff was there, at RFK.

Posted by: Jarrod | April 29, 2008 1:10 PM

I completely agree. It is quite frustrating to to not know the lineups before the National Anthem is played, or to know where people are batting after there is a double switch. I keep score, so I don't need to have the batter's last ABs posted.

Instant replays on limited types and numbers of plays would be great (fair/foul, trapped/caught fly balls, safe/out, etc).

Posted by: Ed Ramras | April 29, 2008 7:41 PM

that no sane person can truly say to themselves, "I think the umpire got that one right."


I'm still laughing at this one. MLB, show me a good replay!

Posted by: Nebbie | April 30, 2008 2:53 PM

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