Focus On: The scoreboard

In an effort to get out of the press box, I decided during Friday’s 5-1 Hawks loss to the Eugene Em’s that I would go for a walk. As you can see from the picture, my space in the box is pretty limited.

ballpark4.jpgMy walk started out pretty simple, but took me to a strange and frightening place just outside the wall of Civic Stadium.

With the stadium being so very old, they still have a manual scoreboard in right-center field. I had asked for the ability to go up there for a few innings and check out what it’s like to have to operate such a magnificent piece of baseball history.

Once past humanity and the gate in right field, I came across what looked to be the flashback of a painter in
ballpark.jpgVietnam. With old paint cans, and pieces of wood strewn about, I hesitated just a moment and reconsidered my desire to proceed.

But I did, and I’m glad.  

I ended up sitting with Nick Robertson and Jeff Oliver, the operators of the scoreboard.

They had a pretty sweet setup. With a boombox (which was reportedly on later in the game, and bothered certain outfielders and members of the Hawks organization. It also had a fridge with “refreshments” and room for the numbers and two grown men to move around, although the thin wood floor bowed just a little.

ballpark3.jpgI learned that in such a scoreboard, the capabilities of the operators is limited. There’s only one “10”, so if more than one is needed, it will take some ingenuity by Nick and Jeff.

Also, the score cards only go up to 19.

Apparently if the Em’s ever score more than 19, they have to count up from there themselves.

The guys are allowed a small view in between numbers, and a small box that I took a picture of. It’s an interesting way to view the game. The guys talked with me about baseball and the Northwest League while we sat together.

ballpark2.jpgThey made every attempt to make me comfortable.

It wasn’t easy considering how frightened I was for my way back.

I ended up making it back up to the pressbox and continued doing color with Safford for the rest of the night.

I had to wonder if Tarlandus Mitchell’s performance would have looked any better from their seats.

Now I just hope that with so many moves in the San Diego Padres system after the events in their AAA team, the guys that do all the work to keep the score are going to be much more active on the Boise side.

Like the symbol for the Oregon Lottery, I’ll just cross my fingers.

 

 

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