Can You Hear It Now?

Brooke Family

From Tom: The scoreboard operator seems to have started watching the games. The lineups are correct most of the time and the pitch count usually matches the pitcher on the mound. (I do wish they'd list action on past at bats consistently as the game progresses, however.)

So now I hope someone will work on the audio. I can never really tell what Clint is saying, other than "NatsFans" and "Clint here," but that's because he talks too fast. Or maybe I just tune him out.

But I have tried to listen to the "Know Your Nats" segments that appear on the screen occasionally between innings.

We've seen Ryan Zimmerman and another guy who might be John Lannan on screen answering questions, but I couldn't hear the answers or the questions. There also have been segments with Zim and Dimitri Young and another with Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge sitting in the stands. Either the recording engineer didn't set the levels right at the time of taping, or the production department badly mishandled these packages. I think Zim said he prefers dogs to cats and Da Meat Hook disagreed, but maybe they were talking about balls and bats. Couldn't tell.

It's rare that I want MORE noise blasting out of the speakers (you can turn down the sound on "Sweet Caroline" anytime), but in this case, turn it up. If Nats management wants us to "Know Your Nats," we need to be able to hear them.

By Brooke Family  |  May 28, 2008; 7:29 AM ET  | Category:  Brooke Family
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Comments

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I agree. It's nearly inaudible. I think the problem is poor production rather than low volume, though. But who cares - no one can hear the interesting tidbits and it's their fault, is the main point.

Posted by: Lindemann | May 28, 2008 8:03 AM

Mentioned this in Watson's blog yesterday...why the hell can't the Nats scoreboard put up a batter's AB history as the game progresses? THIS IS STANDARD, even in minor league parks! I don't care where Ryan Zimmerman was born, or his height and weight, as he comes up in the 8th inning...I need to know what he did in his previous ABs.

Or how about a batter's history against the pitcher currently on the mound? Has anyone seen out-of-town highlights on the scoreboard? Again, this is all vanilla, but to the Nats, it's like trying to put a man on Mars.

So far, this HD scoreboard has been a big bust.

Posted by: Annandale Annie | May 28, 2008 10:46 AM

I was at the Nats-Phillies game on May 19, and the out-of-town scoreboard made no indication that a no-hitter was being pitched at Fenway Park. That's asinine.

Posted by: Vincent | May 28, 2008 10:54 AM

Good post. I love the Know Your Nats segment, but I haven't understood any of the answers yet.

In addition to previous at-bats, I'd also like to see a static K count. The K count flashes on the out of town scoreboard right after a strikeout, but it's only up for a few seconds.

On both Saturday and Monday's games there were so many Ks I couldn't count them before it flashed off the screen, which is a good thing, I guess.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 28, 2008 11:34 AM

As I teach prospective PA announcers...talk slowly into the mic. The sound system will echo. I don't care how much money was spent on it, it's going to echo and lose some quality as it travels.

It's not that hard of a thing but it sounds good in the heads of the fast talkers that, that's what they have to sound like...NO! Talk slower.

Come to a Washington Glory game and check it out. You can understand everything that's said on the PA system.

Talking fast doesn't raise any sense of urgency, it just garbles what you are trying to say.

Posted by: Jarrod | May 28, 2008 3:44 PM

Agree about the "know your nats" volume. I've beent to 7 games and sat in 5 different sections (all in the lower bowl) and haven't been able to hear any one of them.

Also agree that the scoreboard has gotten way way better; it's totally up to speed on the basic balls and strikes and who's batting facts -- an improvement from April. Everything else from here is just refinement.

Posted by: OutsideTheLaw | May 28, 2008 4:44 PM

You know....I am not sure what your experience is with videoboard production.. but you people really are uninformed who write this blog. I happen to have a very close knowledge of the videoboard at Nationals Park as I was on the team that helped build it...Let me set the record straight...For one, there is no single "SCOREBOARD OPERATOR"...you people are quick to comment on something you obviously have little to no knowledge about and every time I read this blog it just cracks me up! You make it sound like it is all controlled by ONE computer and ONE person. Along with you seem to not realize that there is an entire bound manual published by MLB about the do's and dont's of what is allowed on the videoboard and when..ie> called strikes (a no-no), close plays at a base (a no-no) the amount of times a replay can be showen and from what angle and speed, when you are allowed to show live video and when you are not allowed to while the batter is in the box...before you criticize and act like you have so much knowledge of what SHOULD be done, please read up on the rules that need to be followed according to the team & MLB.
Incase you didn't realize...Do you have any idea that it is a team of 28 people all doing different jobs all with different responsibilities. There is no one "SCOREBOARD OPERATOR" as you seem to think. It is a team that puts in long hours day and well into the night, on brand new equipment that is being integrated all together, many time in an experimental fashion that has not been done before inorder to set a standard for new stadiums. Kinks get recognized, ideas are made to come up with better ways of doing things, and then they are put into action to make them work in a sensible way. This stadium is on the cutting edge of not just design but technology, and with that comes kinks that need to be worked out, not just in the first few days or weeks, but rather the first few months and seasons. Frankly if you people, namely "Jarrod" who seems to be pass himself off as "Mr. Videoboard" at his minor league baseball stadium knows how it all works and SHOULD work, then atleast do me a favor and ACT like you realize that the entire videoboard is not run by just ONE person....really!! BTW Jarrod, curious what your credentials are to be teaching people how to PA...again is this at a minor league event? maybe a tractor pull? Got news for you buddy this is the big leagues, things run a little different at this level, maybe at the minor leagues it IS all run by one person...but that is why it is called the minors...Good day.

Posted by: Johnson Family | May 28, 2008 5:46 PM

I would just like the scoreboard to accurately display the lineup, to show how the batter did in previous PAs, and to use standard abbreviations like K for strikeout rather than SO. Im not asking for much.

I am amazed at the disdain that the ushers and the scoreboard operators have for the fans.

Before telling people to read MLB manuals, one should read the TOS at the bottom page. The ad hominem attack and straw man argument against Jarrod is uncalled for.

Posted by: Osfan in nVA | May 28, 2008 7:49 PM

Yes we can!

Posted by: Barack Hussein | May 28, 2008 7:50 PM

And btw, Johnson family, this is a FAN blog, not a scoreboard expert blog.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 28, 2008 8:26 PM

It would be nice if the scoreboard guy could show better replays, what is the point of having the biggest HDTV in the country if he's not going to bother showing what's happening on the field. Clint probably hooks the guy up with his cast-offs in order to get more screen time.

Posted by: (419 + 1) * 0 | May 28, 2008 9:37 PM

"Along with you seem to not realize that there is an entire bound manual published by MLB about the do's and dont's of what is allowed on the videoboard and when..ie> called strikes (a no-no), close plays at a base (a no-no) the amount of times a replay can be showen and from what angle and speed, when you are allowed to show live video and when you are not allowed to while the batter is in the box...before you criticize and act like you have so much knowledge of what SHOULD be done, please read up on the rules that need to be followed according to the team & MLB."

We are fans. If there are rules preventing the scoreboard from displaying what we want to see, we think those rules should be changed. We are using the term "scoreboard operator" as a shorthand. Get a grip.

Posted by: Lindemann | May 29, 2008 9:05 AM

Johnson Family Said...

"BTW Jarrod, curious what your credentials are to be teaching people how to PA...again is this at a minor league event? maybe a tractor pull? Got news for you buddy this is the big leagues, things run a little different at this level, maybe at the minor leagues it IS all run by one person...but that is why it is called the minors...Good day."

Credentials for teaching people PA, 17 years of experience, 10 in pro sports and many clients from youth sports up to major pro.

I worked with the game operations crew with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and am very familiar with the MLB rule book that is put out, I've read it which is why when I see people complaining about not being able to show certain replays, I can honestly say to blame Bud Selig and not the Nats Video Board crew.

I've also been in charge of simple message boards all the way up to boards that provided video, sometimes having to run a camera while doing other duties because we just didn't have the manpower. I've always challenged myself to be able to do more and it's put me in a position that I can not only argue soft points, but understand hard points that are made.

One thing I've found among baseball people is they think their level is better than the last. I've worked for teams at all levels and the mentality that "we're AAA" or "we're MLB" is a bunch of bunk. We're all in the same category...entertaining fans and making them want to come back. Little errors, small mistakes do have a factor in fan enjoyment. If the only people who knew you made a mistake are the people on the crew, then you dodged a bullet, move on and try not to let it happen again.

The scoreboard operator should refer to the person who is running the balls and strikes and inning-by-inning. Then on the video board you have replay, CG, camera operators, audio tech, music person, PA announcer (though I tend to do all three at the same time), director, assistant director, ribbon boards, stats, etc. Yes, there are a lot of people behind the scenes that don't get credit, I met a few at RFK a couple years back, they did a great job.

So Johnson Family, before you start a rant against someone, find out more about them and what they do. I have the knowledge, but it also doesn't take someone who does this a lot to know that talking too fast into a mic comes out garbled, as noted by the fans who complain that Clint can't be understood. All I'm saying...slow down. Again, it shouldn't take someone with credentials like mine to know this.

All I see in this particular blog is a list of items to take care of, and there wasn't a single thing that could be considered nit-picky. Do the Nats use captions like the Caps and Wizards do at Verizon Center so fans can read what is being said? That may be something to help out with the confusion of the fans, you know a little minor annoyance.

Like I said, come to a Washington Glory game and see what it's like. I spent a long time last night at Westfield High School trying to refine the two sound systems that are going to be used and have to work with what's dealt to me, so I need to change some things I do. You may say "Glory-who?" but I've spent a lot of time in pro baseball to know that I don't want to work there anymore and I've been blessed with this opportunity to help out a team who appreciates what I can do for them rather than people who've never held a mic in their life trying to tell me what to do. Johnson Family, I think you can understand my frustration on this point, correct?

Posted by: Jarrod | May 29, 2008 9:57 AM

So Clint talks too fast and fans can't understand what he's saying. And why is that not a good thing?

"Do the Nats use captions like the Caps and Wizards do at Verizon Center so fans can read what is being said?"

The Nats do close-caption what the PA announcer is saying. It appears on the message boards above the bullpens. Thankfully they don't close-caption what Clint says. That would be like putting lipstick on a pig!

As for the other scoreboard complaints that were raised, there has actually been a regression on the display of previous AB information on the big board. Early in the season, it wasn't there. Then they did the major scoreboard revamp and it was there. Now lately it has disappeared again, and the board just keeps showing the player's height, weight and DOB all game long. (And if they're going to do that, then dammit I want real-time tracking of how many pounds Dmitri Young has put on during the course of the game.) I heard somewhere that there had been a virus attack on the server that runs the scoreboard, so maybe that's why the previous AB info has gone away. Hopefully it will be back soon.

And I haven't been able to hear a word of any of the Know Your Nats segments either. Whoever produced those bits really screwed up the sound levels. Couldn't they have used whoever the crew was that did the "Dude, the fans are 17 feet closer at Nationals Park" commercials that they ran interminably during the first few weeks of the season? Those I could hear.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | May 29, 2008 10:51 AM

The display on the main videoboard has greatly improved since the beginning of the season, but the complaints about the off and on lack of previous AB info are valid. Sometimes that info is displayed on the ribbon boards and sometimes it is not. A consistent policy of displaying that info for second and subsequent ABs would be appreciated.

My most important gripe, however, has to do with the absence of a secondary linescore display on a ribbon board visible to those who sit under the main vdeoboard. Those fans should be able to see what innings the runs were scored in.

Posted by: Ed in Alex | May 30, 2008 5:39 PM

To Ed:

That's something that the Blue Jays put in when SkyDome was built, I'm surprised there isn't something somewhere.

The Carolina Mudcats put up a second line score scoreboard in right field so the fans in left who couldn't see the largest scoreboard in the minors could easily see the line-by-line score.

I'm surprised Major League Baseball hasn't made something like than mandatory. They seem to think we're dumb enough not to make up our own minds on close plays and may actually agree with an umpires assessment, so you'd think they'd require teams to put up information that is actually useful, like the line score in another part of the park for those who can't see the largest HD board ever.

To me, that's a no brainer to have a line score somewhere behind the foul lines, unless of course it will interfere with the playing of the game in some fashion.

Posted by: Jarrod | June 3, 2008 10:30 AM

I agree with the original post along with some of the other posts around here.

Know your NATS - Mumble mumble mumble is all I hear. Either record it better or play it louder.

As a person who keeps score, I appreciate it if the previous at bats are posted. That way if I miss something I can record it. I'm up in 226, sometimes I look on the side panels and its hard to find out the info that's on the scoreboard.

Jarrod! Are you the guy I met at the Bound for Bejing Tour outside the ballpark in Bowie? How are the Glory doing? The Washington Glory are a Professional FastPitch Softball team which plays this year in Chantilly! Some Olympic quality players play on that team!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | June 3, 2008 10:19 PM

CALSGR8, yes, that's me! When are you coming over to Chantilly??? The Glory are 3-1 on the season and hitting home runs galore. Local girl Courtney Bures hit her first two professional home runs on Sunday and the team has 9 in 4 games, including three players tied for league lead.

They're on the road for the next two weekends but come home on Thursday night, June 19 at 7:05 p.m. to take on the Venezuelan National Team as part of Fiesta Week with the Glory.

Sorry, had to get all "PA-ish" on you there!!! The home games can also be heard online at WashingtonGlory.com with yours truly doing both the radio and PA/music. Yeah, a lot to do but it's fun!!!

Posted by: Jarrod | June 4, 2008 10:53 AM

Jarrod,

I'll come when it stops raining!!!! Hopefully when they come back it won't be as bad.

Some traffic pattern changes are supposed to happen near Willard on the 11th? Wonder what that will bring to traffic?

Take care. Go Glory!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | June 4, 2008 6:03 PM

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