Eagle-eyed observers at Thursday’s home opener may notice the scoreboard at Nationals Park looks a little different this year.
One of the more noticeable changes is the mound visit tracker, which has been introduced in the portion of the 101-foot-by-47-foot Diamond Vision scoreboard that previously displayed hit speed. Several other teams have altered their scoreboard displays this season to account for Major League Baseball’s new pace of play initiative that limits teams to six mound visits per game.
“We’re going to see how it manifests itself over the course of the season,” Nationals chief revenue and marketing officer Valerie Camillo said of the tracker, which will count down from six. “We wanted a place to track it. It’s very fluid. We can easily change it out if we find that tracking mound visits isn’t adding a lot of value to the game experience.”
Camillo said the Nationals’ scoreboard department is always evaluating what type of information is most useful for fans, including advanced stats that have gained prominence in recent years, such as launch angle and exit velocity. The Nationals added hit speed and pitch type to the scoreboard in 2016.
While the scoreboard will continue to display the essentials, Camillo said she expects more and more baseball fans will access advanced statistical information via MLB’s Ballpark App in the near future. Developers are testing a feature that will enable fans to hold their phones up toward a player and see real-time stats for that player via an augmented reality feature.
Another change to the scoreboard this season is the font used to display lineups, the line score and more. Gotham replaces Trade Gothic, which Camillo said the Nationals had used on the scoreboard and in various marketing materials since Nationals Park opened in 2008.
Compare the fonts in the photo of the scoreboard above with the one below from 2015.
“We just felt it was modern, it was clean and very versatile,” Camillo said of the Gotham font family, which will also appear in Nationals print and digital advertising.
In other font-related news, the arched “Nationals” light-up wordmark mounted above the right half of the scoreboard isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, despite the fact that the Nationals ditched that wordmark for a new one in cursive script in 2011.
“I think it’s there for the foreseeable future,” Camillo said. “Those are much more difficult to change out because of the cost. We have a little more flexibility in the digital domain to make that sort of change on the scoreboard.”
The back of the scoreboard has undergone a change as well.
The large banner of Jayson Werth celebrating his walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2012 National League Division Series, which had been displayed since 2013, is gone. It’s been replaced by a photo of Nationals Park from a previous Opening Day, flanked by a Nationals logo and an All-Star Game logo. (See the photo at the top of this post, or this one below.)
“That’s always going to be an iconic moment in Nationals history, without question,” Camillo said of Werth’s walk-off, adding that most of the banners, or scrims, at Nationals Park are changed every one or two years because they become faded and weathered. “We also wanted to have an outfacing sign that communicated the All-Star Game. We see it as an invitation, as the Yards are built out and the surrounding neighborhood is built out, to kind of experience inside the park.”
The banner of Werth, who signed a minor league deal with the Mariners after spending the previous seven years with the Nationals, had replaced a photo of Ryan Zimmerman celebrating his walk-off home run on Father’s Day in 2006 against the Yankees.
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