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TBS needs to fix its on-screen scorebox

This network needs to understand what people actually want to see on their screens.

TBS used to cover a lot of baseball when it carried 100+ Atlanta Braves games every season for more than 30 years. That ended in 2008 when the channel got a national broadcast contract to carry games on many Sunday afternoons, as well as postseason contests.

TBS coverage was very good through most of its Braves years. But doing only a few dozen games a year seems to have created amnesia among TBS production folks on exactly how to cover a baseball game.

Are you having trouble reading the information on this scorebox? Because I am:

Not only is the box extremely small, but on some screens (my 50-inch home TV included) the top of it is cut off, meaning it’s nearly impossible to read the ball-and-strike count. The pitch count number (where you also see the pitch speed) is so small that if you’re watching on a phone or tablet, it might as well not even be there.

And really, TBS, we don’t need to see who’s leading the series on every single pitch. A scorebox, in my view, should give information pertinent to the score, the game situation and the pitch being thrown. The fact that at the time of this game situation the Cubs led the series 1-0 wasn’t going to change ... for the entire game. Unnecessary.

Last year we, as Cubs fans, didn’t hear much about the TBS scorebox because the network’s 2016 coverage was of the American League playoffs. Viewers watching A.L. playoff games on TBS last year saw this scorebox:

That’s... big. Really big. Way too big, in my opinion, and clearly in the opinion of many others, including TBS. In reaction to complaints about the size of that 2016 scorebox, they made it smaller... too small, in my opinion. Isn’t there a reasonable compromise between the two?

Why, yes, there is. And you need to look no farther than TBS’ own scorebox from the 2015 postseason:

(Incidentally, I bet you remember what happened to that pitch.)

Now that’s a well-designed scorebox. It’s neither too small nor too big; the game situation is easily readable, although I’d still say that it’s unnecessary to put the series totals on the scorebox for the entire game.

Why wouldn’t TBS just keep this box? What’s the point of changing for the sake of change?

TBS could take a lesson from Fox, who changed their scorebox for this year’s postseason and did pretty much everything right:

Now that’s the way to do it. That has good contrast making it readable, shows the game situation clearly and actually has more information (the pitcher and batter matchup) than TBS’ box without cluttering the screen. Fox separated the series lead information from the scorebox and put it in the upper right, mostly out of the way, although I’d still argue that the “CLE LEADS 2-0” is unnecessary information.

TBS is covering the entire National League playoffs this year, and of course we hope the Cubs will be moving on to the National League Championship Series. That would mean we’d have nearly another two weeks, possibly, of watching Cubs games on TBS. Perhaps the channel can use the time in between the division series and the beginning of the NLCS to adjust its scorebox so that viewers can actually see the information it’s designed to give.