Jun 21, 2006

Would Bill Veeck approve a video scoreboard at Wrigley Field?

There's talk of replacing the old hand-operated scoreboard at Wrigley Field with a new video scoreboard.

As far as I know, Wrigley Field is the last major league ballpark that doesn't have a video scoreboard. It currently has a classic scoreboard, installed by owner Bill Veeck in 1937. Baseball purists say adding a video scoreboard would be an insult to tradition.

I'm sure Veeck would disagree.

A recent article in Sports Illustrated quotes Veeck's son Mike:
...Mike, a minor league baseball executive, who said his dad "would put in the Diamond Vision. He was very much a man of his time. He would do it again for the fan appeal."

Bill Veeck brought in TONS of improvements to the fan experience at baseball games. Many of the improvements were related to customer service (like making sure washrooms were clean). He also introduced many features that would ENTERTAIN.

Examples: Veeck pushed hard to get player names on the back of their jerseys. Veeck also added post-game fireworks after every game. (Read his books for many more.)

Both of those ideas were initially shot down and criticized by what Veeck called the "Old Guard" -- traditionalists. And Veeck never let tradition/status quo stop him from improving the game experience.

My advice to Wrigley Field: Install a new video scoreboard, but give it a classic look that pays tribute to the old one. Keep it simple, and keep the sponsorship off the scoreboard. Use it how Veeck would want it used -- to entertain the fans.

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