First off, I need a couple of you to bring me the klutz who is responsible for the scoreboard content at Jacobs Field. Grab him by the elbows and usher him into my office, pronto-like. Let his feet dangle off the floor as you do this ushering.
OK, Sport, now that you’re here, let me point out some simple fact-of-life baseball things to you.
When I settled into my seat the other night at the ballpark I noticed that the Detroit Tigers had lost that afternoon in Oakland. I knew this because it was up there on your scoreboard.
I had even looked for this score, because the game was important to the Indians. Because the Tigers lost, it meant if the Indians won this game against Texas, they would be tied for first with Detroit in the A.L. Central.
Your scoreboard looked like this:
Oakland 3 F
The “F” stood for Final score. As I said, it had been a day game. The game was over.
Then, to the right of the “F,” there appeared two other words. The words were these:
It had the colon after the words and then two fat blanks. It was blank because no one was currently standing on the mound pitching the baseball and no one was currently in the batter’s box waiting for the pitcher to pitch the baseball.
Listen to me carefully, Meatball. This is what you do in that instance. On the scoreboard you put the following:
Oakland 3 F
And then, to the right, you put:
S: Embree (12)
If you do it this way, like they do in Boston and New York and Philly and St. Louis and in Wrigley Field — all the sophisticated venues that don’t feel the need to inject rap music, canned corn-like hot dog races on the Telescreen and other numbing intrusions (see: the rendering of a Tom Hamilton juvenile home run call from some distant game) — you’ll have everyone thinking that you’re really a savvy baseball guy who knows which end is up when it comes to running a scoreboard.
I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but the “S” is for Save. You wouldn’t necessarily have to tell us it was Embree’s 12th, but by doing so it would show everyone that there are no flies on you.
It’s going the little bit extra for the fan who isn’t sitting in his box seat text-messaging his sweetie or the idiot on the cell phone waving to his pal who’s seated on the other side of the park.
Would be for the fan who keeps his attention on what’s going on between the white lines down on the field — or what’s happening in the out-of-town games, as the baseball announcers like to say.
Quit squirming, Meatball, I haven’t even mentioned the worst part yet.
When you flash the score of an out-of-town game that is going on, it’s OK to list who is currently pitching, but to list the batter (Batter: Jeter) is superfluous. It’s useless information and inane. It’s screaming to the whole ballpark that you don’t really have a clue about your job.
Two seconds after you flash Jeter is the batter in the Yankee game, the Baltimore-Boston game is being flashed and another batter (Batter: Markakis) is up on the board.
So what? We never find out the result of that at-bat — just like we never find out what Jeter did. A useless fact, telling us who the batter is.
You know what would help? What would tell everyone in the park that here — behind that blackboard in left-center field — is a scoreboard operator who is up on the balls of his feet? I’ll tell you what.
List the home runs. Make it look like this:
Florida 4 T7 (for top of the 7th)
HR: Cabrera (26)
Or, if there are no homers, you could flash the following from, say, the Braves game:
C Jones 2 RBI triple
See, Meatball? All that is up-on-the-balls-of-your-feet stuff. It’s actual, crunchy inside-baseball material. It gives both you and the entire organization a veneer of polish. It would tell us that baseball always comes first with you guys. And that the cornball stuff comes after.
Now get out of here and for cryin’ out loud do a better job for us real fans, woodja?
Hard to swallow
As long as we’re calling mimbos on the carpet, get that guy from Amtrak in here.
You want to know what this guy from Amtrak came up with the other day? Get a load of this. Because Amtrak is losing customers to The Megabus, it needed a Bright Idea to lure Megabus passengers to the train station instead.
So this one suit in a pair of hard wingtips raises his hand and says, “Why don’t we offer $100 worth of free booze to anyone taking an overnight trip on Amtrak?”
Honest. I wouldn’t lie about a thing like this. The guy said this right out loud in a meeting.
The only thing is, instead of the sound of crickets chirping — which would have been the only sensible response to a suggestion like this –— all the other suits nodded their heads and said, “That’s the ticket! That’s a really Bright Idea!”
And so that is what Amtrak will do. From now on, anyone traveling overnight on their train can drink themselves silly and get sloshed on $100 worth of free sauce.
Now I don’t know about you, but the idea of nodding off in a Pullman car while others are careening up and down the aisles blasted out of their minds makes me nervous.
Honestly, how does someone come up with …
Ahh, here’s our hero now. Even has an Amtrak pin in his lapel. Let’s give him a big, loud Attaboy for that, too.
Contact Doug Clarke at email@example.com.