Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Hidden Gem | Randy Johnson, you may have heard, hung a perfect game on the Braves last night. (Salon's King Kaufman has some amusing nuggets of trivia on the achievement.) No-hitters are uncommon enough, but a perfect game qualifies as a truly special and rare phenomenon. Yet despite my being in attendance at the Phils-Dodgers game, I found out about Johnson's terrific feat only after it was over, when Citizens Bank Park public-address announcer Dan Baker was looking to kill time during our eighth-inning rain delay.

And thus comes my first major complaint about the Park: My hoped-for vast improvement over Veterans Stadium's pathetically uninformative out-of-town scoreboard has not come to pass. Yes, CBP's scoreboard now shows the number of outs and the position of baserunners at the other games, but those are the only upgrades. Other games' trends, how runners scored, who's gotten key hits -- none of that stuff pops up on the new scoreboard. The only info I could glean last night before Baker's announcement was that Johnson was throwing a shutout.

Last June I wrote, "In this era of fantasy leagues and instant information, an improved scoreboard is not too much to ask. As with so many parts of the Veterans Stadium experience, the bar is pretty low." Sadly, CBP can't clear even that bar. The good news is that it's an easy fix. Take one of the zillions of worker bees who show up to work each game, plop her in front of a PC, tell her to pay close attention to what's happening at every other stadium, and post her summaries every three innings or so on one or two of the many video display boards around the Park.

Knowing what's happening in places besides my seat in Section 329 makes me a better baseball fan, not just a better Phillies fan.

And that's good for all of us.

(Cue NBC's "The More You Know" music.)


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