The Night the Lights Went on In Bushville
Like an obedient child emulating a revered parent the Iowa Cubs are at work on the installation of a new state-of-the-art HD video board in time for their home opener on April 17th.
At 24x64 or 1,536 square feet the magic screen will pale in comparison to the 42x95, 3990 sq. ft. colossus that’s being erected to tower above Wrigley Field’s left field bleachers and Waveland Avenue. It will be less than half the size but is certainly imposing enough to be viewed, let us say, as a Triple A scale model.
It’s high time for an upgrade. Depending on the vantage point and the mood of the sun the new board’s predecessor could be effectively invisible and in recent years has displayed more marketing and promo filler than, for instance, player stats. Not that that trend’s likely to change.
Speaking of trends at America’s ballparks, you know of course that all of this modern malarkey traces directly back to an event that happened right here in Des Moines, long a baseball hotbed, on May 2, 1930, right?
On that date the first professional baseball game ever played under permanent lights was won by the Class B Western League Des Moines Demons by a score of 13-6 over the Wichita Aviators. Were it not for the novelty of the nocturnal experiment the last eight innings would have been anticlimactic after the Demons hung an 11-spot in the bottom of the first. That’s right, 11. And no, it wasn’t at all because the visitors had no visibility. They played an errorless game and everyone agreed at game’s end that the lights were more than bright enough, thanks to a design by GE engineer Fred Ralston. Depending on where you look, Ralston is variously referred to as the father and the inventor of nighttime ballgames.
Lee Keyser was the Demons’ owner and the man who actually flipped the switch by deciding to take the considerable chance on primetime game times. What did he and his counterparts across the country have to lose by then? Not much. As the Great Depression was kicking into gear the minor leagues seemed doomed. But after that game in Des Moines, which drew a crowd in excess of 12,000 to watch a team that typically attracted no more than several hundred, light standards quickly went up at bush league parks across America. Eventually, the Opening Night game came to be called The Game That Saved Baseball in some quarters..
It also marked the night when Shorty Irslund was born, according to the opening pages of a book entitled Versus the Demons. But that’s another story.
Arizona Phil 29 min 26 sec ago (view)
The fact hat the Cubs have not run him through waivers by now tells me the Cubs know Duane Underwood Jr is a lock to get claimed and so they are hoping to find a club that would be willing to give the Cubs something more than the $50,000 waiver price in return for Dunderwood (either more $$$ and/or a player).
Arizona Phil 1 hour 11 min ago (view)
Today's pitchers, most of them the same guys who threw last Tuesday:
COMMENT: This just in: Mills heater now sitting at 91!!!!... had two easy innings and looked very good... threw only a handful of his "Bugs Bunny curves" but they are fun to watch because hitters don't know how to deal with it... ...
Arizona Phil 1 hour 45 min ago (view)
DJL: Jason Adam sustained a right elbow fracture a few years ago and missed two full seasons, and when he returned to action he started using a "short-arm" delivery.
crunch 1 hour 45 min ago (view)
baez "soft tissue injury"...no biggie...it's spring. he'll be back in a day or 2.
crunch 3 hours 55 min ago (view)
kimbrel...K, single, HBP, 3 more hits...inning called due to pitch count. 4 earned.
also, baez removed after being HBP on the hand.
First.Pitch.120 10 hours 7 min ago (view)
Cotton McKnight: In 23 years of broadcasting I thought I'd seen it all, folks. But it looks like Peter La Fleur has actually blindfolded himself.
Pepper Brooks: He will not be able to see very well, Cotton.
First.Pitch.120 10 hours 9 min ago (view)
Yes! Exactly... I'd love to be able to watch coverages in football or just key-in on a great WR to watch them work.
First.Pitch.120 10 hours 11 min ago (view)
Wow... this is the most engagement I have ever received on any topic on social media platform. Please stay tuned for my opinions on the Oxford Comma, the APA Style Manual for Academic Writing, and the auto-correct on my iPhone.
I am an awesome guy at parties....
bradsbeard 20 hours 35 min ago (view)
I watched some of the Puerto Rican Winter League games that Miguel Amaya played in this winter. At least one broadcast had a super wide shot for balls in play that let you see the OF and the baserunners at the same time. It was awesome.
Wrigley Rat 23 hours 41 min ago (view)
3 dots on this evening's Cubs-Dodgers game - makes sense & they do color in the 3rd dot as they're going to commericals (Spectrum Sportsnet).
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
3 dot crew represent. i didn't have an opinion, but now i'm 100% on board.
Charlie 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
I agree on most of this, but I especially support three fillable dots for the outs--and fill in the third before cutting to a commercial!
Not doing homework on the players in a Spring Training broadcast is pretty forgiveable, but ESPN is really bad about it pretty much all year. It would be nice if they made a habit of picking up a local color commentator and sort of interviewing them throughout games.
George Altman 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
The single thing I want in a sports broadcast is to become smarter about the sport, to learn something from the broadcast crew.
Stone does that, Romo does that, Eddie O on hockey, and that's about it. I watch sporting events with the sound down very low or off. I forgot more about baseball than most broadcasters will ever know, and I'm always shocked when I see something in a football game that the crew doesn't, and I know about NOTHING about football.
First.Pitch.120 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
Also... what is with only having 2 dots as the outs counter? I know that you don't really need the 3rd dot, but I find it counter-intuitive. If the dots fill in, then only having 2 throws me off b/c it's natural to subitize "3" associated with outs. You quickly see 0/3, 1/3, 2/3. If the graphic does not have fill-in dots, then just put the #. eg - OUTS: 1 It's minimalism for the sake of minimalism, not graphic design for effective communication.
crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
tight shots + insane amount of screen real estate being taken up with graphics is a bit of a plague...especially the ones with a non-stop bottom news ticker.
First.Pitch.120 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
General comment on baseball broadcasting... I think that the color comentator (CC) needs to talk about 30% more & the PBP about 30% less. I would love a more stream of consciousness from the CC outlining what they would be looking for in a given situation. To that end, why not have 2 CC for national broadcasts - one a pitcher & one a position player. Would love for them to banter back & forth on micro strategy from their perspectives. I think this would turn the game's pauses between action into more of an asset.