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A modest proposal for Wrigley Field’s landmark scoreboard

Hey, why not?

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images (Photo illustration by Mike Bojanowski)

Hey, it’s an early offseason for the Cubs and so, time to think and talk about everything related to our favorite team.

If this looks familiar, it should, because I wrote about this topic here five years ago. At the time the Wrigley renovations hadn’t yet begun, and now they are nearly complete, with video boards making the landmark center-field scoreboard something of an afterthought. The center-field board still counts balls and strikes, indicates hits and errors on plays, and is the only place in Wrigley Field you can get out-of-town scores.

The latter, out-of-town scores, is my purpose here. Here’s what the Wrigley board looks like now, with out-of-town scores nearly filled. This was taken on the last day of the 2018 regular season:

Al Yellon

Each of the teams on the board is denoted by the city where it plays. This has been the case since the board was first constructed, except that previous Cubs ownerships made a nod to their South Side rivals by putting “SOX” on the board for the White Sox. This photo is from May 18, 1963:

Diamond Images/Getty Images

You’ll also note a couple of other differences between that board and the current board. First, the Cubs and White Sox scores were placed in the middle, instead of the bottom as they are now. Also, if a game was postponed, the full word “RAIN” was put on the linescore, rather than just the “R” that they show now. “SOX” was changed to “CHICAGO” in the late 1980s.

Anyway, one of the things that bothers me about the aesthetics of the current board is the way they denote the Los Angeles and New York teams, by “NL” and “AL” after the city name. While this is factually correct, and avoids problems like this 2009 linescore:

Al Yellon

... it’s just not aesthetically pleasing, to my eye, at least. (The Angels were the home team that day, incidentally.)

So, I propose the Cubs do what’s shown at the top of this post, and I’ll show it here as well:

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images (Photo illustration by Mike Bojanowski)

(Note: This isn’t from a real game. Mike and I made up these matchups and scores.)

Replace the city names with team names. That’s what you see on most TV sportscasts, and it’s the way teams are shown on the MLB At Bat app, as well as most places online:

I think the board with team names looks a lot better, and is easier to read, since the team names are, for the most part, shorter than the city names.

There’s one more thing that you might notice about Mike’s Photoshop rendering. It has seven score lines on each side of the board, instead of the current six. The board was reconstructed after the 1969 expansion to include the then 24-team major leagues, but it has not been expanded again since. Thus, on a day when all teams are playing, three games are left off. I don’t know if it is physically possible to enlarge the board again, but if they could, this is what it might look like. (Just so you don’t drive yourself nuts, the two teams left off are the Athletics and Padres; they’d be playing the only interleague game on this imaginary game day.)

Even if the Cubs couldn’t expand the board to seven matchups on each side (whether due to landmark issues or actual physical construction issues), it would still look better, in my opinion, revised in this way. All it would take is some paint.

Yes, I know this is a minor little thing, but again... it’s the offseason, and we need Cubs things to talk about!

What say you?


The Wrigley Field center-field scoreboard...

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    ... should show team names instead of city names
    (403 votes)
  • 22%
    ... looks just fine the way it is now. Leave it be!
    (178 votes)
  • 26%
    Don’t care either way
    (212 votes)
793 votes total Vote Now