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Snyder's Soap Box: Scoring bugs and scoreboards are overcrowded and overwhelm us with too much information

Snyder's Soap Box: Scoring bugs and scoreboards are overcrowded and overwhelm us with too much information


Welcome to Snyder's soap box! Here, I pontificate each week on a Major League Baseball-related topic. Some topics will be urgent, others might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and most will fall somewhere in between. The best thing about this website is that it is free and you are allowed to click. If you stay you will get smarter, however, it is a money back guarantee. Let's go.

On opening day, I was obviously working, but I was also rushing to my brother's house to watch our favorite team with him and a few others. Someone in the room noticed a half-red, half-blue bar at the top of the scorebug (that's the problem with the score, but also, at this point, a host of other things) and asked what it was. It was a probability of victory.

A brief discussion mixed with laughter and playful consternation took place. My first reaction was to go into defense mode and pepper them with “what does it really hurt?” » And I somewhat stand by that because it didn't detract from our actual enjoyment of the game. But in the days that followed, I thought about it more and I think they were on to something.

With that, I tip my cap to Eric and Chad. You ended up inspiring this Soapbox.

There's no need to overload the area with numbers and features like shows do these days. And hey, while we're here, the dashboards are also terribly busy. We can trim the fat a bit for both, right?

Let's start with the scores bug, then look at the scoreboards.

Scorebug Necessities

These days, I think it's essential to have at least the score, inning and number of outs on the screen.

I'm sure some fans – usually the older ones who have watched for decades with nothing on the screen but baseball – would say they don't even want that, but I believe we've come to the point where fans must immediately see the game situation when activating a broadcast. What if you just started a game and it was a huge at-bat? I think being able to immediately realize the seriousness of the situation at any time is a good thing.

While we're at it, I think it's safe to say that the basics can be shown. At this point, every broadcast has found a good way to put a little diamond on the screen while coloring the bases when they're busy. If someone vigorously objected to it, I don't think I would put up much of a fight, but if I say that a fan should be able to tune in and understand the situation of the game very quickly, I think knowing whether the bases being loaded or empty, for example, is a decent expectation.

Likewise, I agree with the count, but I'm not entirely sure it's 100% required.

The luxury of Scorebug

I think it's pretty clever to add a tiny little up or down arrow with the sleeve to indicate whether it's the top or bottom of the sleeve. It could of course be argued that fans who care will easily see this from the way the teams are listed (visitor at the top or left while the home team is listed second), not to mention the ability to discern home or road based on jerseys.

I just don't think the arrow is intrusive enough to worry about.

Is the pitch clock compelling enough to include at this point? It's pretty rare to see it announced and even when it happens, it's not like we're all sitting there counting down with growing excitement toward zero, like a basketball shot clock violation. I like the clock because of the way it moves the game forward, but there is little to no excitement in watching a clock tick down in this sport. I'm on the fence, but I'm not really sure we need it.

My principle is that the scorebug is way too busy and these are things that don't seem necessary. It would be nice to lose everything.


We can start with the win probability bar at the top of the score. When you view the score, inning, and number of outs, the overwhelming majority of fans have a general idea of ​​which team has the advantage. We don't need a number to explain to us that a 6-0 Royals lead over the White Sox in the seventh inning means the Royals are absurdly likely to win the game.

What I'm going to say here applies to almost everything except the most basic information: people who want to see it on screen can find it for themselves. Almost all of them are already looking at other screens during the game anyway. Yeah, I've seen you all live-post on social media, so you can sit on Baseball Savant for the entire game and monitor the win probability in addition to…

Pitch sequence. No, we really don't need that on screen. What share of baseball fans want it, like 2%?

Number of steps. Again, worried people hold their phone and can easily search for it if they feel compelled. Once he's in a worrisome area, the shows all start pointing this out verbally and with on-screen graphics.

The names of the players. Let's go. Do we really need to hold hands so vigorously? Graphics flash at the pitcher as he enters and at the batter every time he steps toward home plate.

Pitching speed and identification (for example, while I was writing this, I just looked up and saw “slider, 81 mph” listed under a team). Now I know some people like to see the speed of the pitch every time, but many shows show the speed next to a small circle where the pitch crosses the K-zone rectangle, so why do we need two times ?

I don't even think we need it once. I understand why it's all there, I just wonder how many people must be desperate to know every throw and its speed otherwise they would be furious and turn the game off. It can't be a high number if it's higher than zero.

Broadcasters usually identify height vocally anyway and already announce notable speeds.

Almost everything else. We don't need everything given to us in a tiny box. We will all survive the broadcast just fine.

Now let's worry about surviving an in-person gaming experience…

Dashboard Necessities

This should be easy. Every person attending a game should be able to find on a scoreboard, video board or whatever you want to call a number, the following information: score, inning (up or down) bottom included), the count, the number of withdrawals. and a method of identifying the batter and pitcher (number, name, or both).

That's really it. I swear. You can enjoy a baseball game in person without any other information.

When it comes to video highlights/replays, though, I think in this day and age you have to have them. Everyone does it. I'm just pointing out that I think it's necessary, especially since there are replays and fans in person have every right to see what is being rewatched.

The luxury of the dashboard

Out of town scores are a good idea and I don't have a strong argument against it other than to say it's not a 100% requirement. If you care enough about other games these days, you can follow along on your phone. If you don't have one, you can always ask around or just not go to a match when there are other matches of such importance that checking the score can't wait.

Likewise, I like how some places put the rankings somewhere in the average range. There's no need to splash it everywhere and we can certainly do without it, but it can be done without being obtrusive.

Most scoreboards these days find places, or even separate video boards, to list the entire lineups and note where each team is in order. I guess that's nice, but it's definitely not necessary. Remember, fans are allowed to keep score or just check the apps on their phone with lineups.

I could see arguments for launch speed as a requirement. When watching a game in person, no broadcaster announces noticeable speeds and it would be absurd to expect this to happen via public announcement. I could counter this by saying that when you're at the game in person, it's not 100% necessary to know the speed of every pitch, but I want to create an experience that speaks to many different types of fans and there There are quite a few fans who like to research pitch speeds.

I think it's less important, but a similar sentiment could be applied to pitch identification. It's hard to imagine a fan's experience being ruined if said fan doesn't know if the previous pitch was a slider or a curveball and the hardcore, “I have to know every pitch!” people can use their personal devices.

Dashboard Statistics

First of all, no, you absolutely do not need win probability on the scoreboard during a match.

When it comes to individual stats, stadium scoreboards are gigantic these days and have the ability to display a veritable smorgasbord of stats during every pitcher versus hitter battle.

You have to draw the line somewhere, right?

Can we just pick the most common ones that are interested in fantasy baseball? Please?

Batter: AVG/OBP/SLG, H, R, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, SB and, yes, WAR. It’s quite interesting and it’s becoming more and more common!

Pitcher: WL, ERA, WHIP, BB, K, IP (CG/SHO for starters, saves/blown saves for relievers).

I really don't think we need to go any further. So many fans don't know what the stats listed above are, and don't even want to know. Either way, die-hard baseball fans who are interested in more advanced statistics don't need to see every single player's numbers. Presumably, these fans don't need to look at scoreboard numbers to know which players are having great or terrible years. .

And, again, these days, if there's a fan at a game desperate to know what Juan Soto's xwOBAacon is, that fan surely has a device and the ability to know where to look to find said statistic.

Now let's all get on the same page and stop making everything so busy. There is too much information.




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