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Leaps and Bounds
2004-06-19 21:04
by Jon Weisman

Attending my first game of the current homestand Saturday, I was gratifyingly stunned to find the Dodger Stadium right-field scoreboard presenting on-base percentage and slugging percentage for each batter during every plate appearance. Progress, my friends, progress.

Next stop: park-adjusted stats like EQA. Perhaps in 2009? Realistically, it could be a long, long while. You might say, nobody knows what EQA is - why would they bother putting that up? I guarantee, however, there were people at the game today who didn't know what OBP and SLG are. So how might they learn? They ask around until someone explains it to them. Word spreads, and soon everyone knows. Viral education - it's pretty simple and effective when you think about it.

Additionally, the auxillary scoreboards beneath the Loge Level are showing, for the first time, live pitch counts, pitch by pitch, broken down into balls, strikes and strike percentage - along with live ERA updates. Good stuff. Seeing Nomo's ERA rise above 8 after Hideki Matsui's home run was charming - seeing pitch count updates more than a few times an inning was downright useful. Nice to be catching up to the rest of the baseball world - in this respect, anyway.

One thing that has been lost in the shuffle is that the scoreboards are no longer updating you on what the players did in their previous at-bats during the game. If you want that information, you have to keep score or have good short-term memory. I'd find a way to bring this information back to public view.

I have to admit I wasn't bothered much by the stadium music on this day, except on a few cases when there was, as Joel Goodson's father said in Risky Business, "a preponderance of bass," as well as in the middle of the game, when a feature called "Dodger Jukebox" asked the crowd to choose one of three "popular" songs to hear.

"Nancy Bea," my brother shouted.

I missed organist Nancy Bea Hefley when I thought about her, every two or three innings, but had to concede to myself that I don't spend a lot of time at the game thinking about the music, whatever it is. It did make me sad when "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" began and Nancy Bea appeared on the scoreboard during what has become her only in-game performance, and you realize that this is like Willie Mays being relegated to pinch-hitting status.

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