Just in the nick of time the Chicago Cubs install a LED Video Board for their home opener against the Cardinals Sunday Night. Here is the rest of the story that appeared on CBSSPORTS.com.
Welcome to 1985, Chicago Cubs. The club says Wrigley Field will be open for Major League Baseball’s opening-night game Sunday, but adds that the ballpark will be a work in progress because of a $500 million renovation project that will take years to finish. One part that’s going to be ready: The 42 foot by 95 foot video board in left field. Workers installed the final panel in the screen Wednesday. Wrigley Field was the last MLB stadium to install lights, in August 1988 — about 50 years after other teams started to play night games — so it’s fitting that the ballpark held out for a giant TV. Major league teams started playing crude “Lite Brite” video in the late 1970s, and most parks had jumbo TVs of a sort by the end of the ’80s.
Video boards are good because they show replays, bloopers, statistics, sell advertising and otherwise entertain during the dull moments of a game. But there’s also no question that Wrigley Field is a little different than other parks (even Fenway in Boston), and it’s going to take getting used to. It was a place many enjoy because it didn’t have a giant TV and other “modern” amenities.
Once the Cubs started playing night games, this day way inevitable. Once MLB made video replay part of the game’s fabric, not having video replays at one of its stadiums became an even greater farce. Progress also means more money, which means more means to pay better players (in theory). The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, and attaining onea championship wasn’t going to be any easier with early 20th-century thinking
Still, the video board is a little off-putting to look at. Wrigley’s board towers over the left-field bleachers, and makes the quaint hand-operated scoreboard in center field less of a centerpiece. It’ll block some rooftop views on certain angles of buildings across the street, which also long have become a part of watching a Cubs game since rooftop business started to boom in the late ’80s and early ’90s. It could be worse; The new video board isn’t anywhere close to the size of the biggest boards in the league. The video screen at AT&T Park in San Francisco is 180 feet by 72 feet, or 11,520 square feet. Safeco’s in Seattle is 202 by 57, just a tad smaller than the Giants home park. The video board at Fenway is smaller than Wrigley’s, for what it’s worth.
It’s hard to say until they play what effect the new board will have on games. It probably will cut the wind when it blows in from left field (the north), but the wind frequently changes at Wrigley. Anthony Rizzo has hopes it’s going to help power hitters, of course.
“Pitchers aren’t going to like it, but it will be interesting to see,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “It’s something I’ve thought of. Especially with the new bleachers and the way they’ll be elevated. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.”
“It could conceivably have an effect,” Alan M. Nathan, a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois and a researcher of baseball physics, said of Wrigley’s new jumbo-sized video board. “Whether or not that effect will carry in a positive or negative direction remains to be seen.”
Fenway Park underwent a similar update a few years ago and it turned out great. So good, in fact, that it’s a better place to watch a game. Wrigley probably will turn out that way too. Just as soon as everyone gets used to the change.
Source: David Brown, Baseball Writer