Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

My Plea to Larry Lucchino about the New Video Boards

Made sure I took this on my last trip to Yankee Stadium just to prove it happens.

What are the chances that Larry Lucchino spends any amount of time on the computer Googling his name?  This entire entry is being written in the hopes that he, or someone who works for him, does just that.

See, Larry Lucchino, I keep reading about the fantastic video boards the Red Sox will have at Fenway Park this year and I’m tickled pink about it.  For years we’ve been watching the board at Fenway go blank for no discernible reason, show fuzzy photos and videos that we can barely see.  Going to just about any other park in baseball and seeing the video boards they have just reinforces how terrible the one at Fenway is…so I’m delighted that this is part of the renovations.

I’m also worried that these new video boards are going to encourage you, Larry Lucchino, and the rest of the Red Sox organization to do terrible things like put “Make Some Noise” signs on them.  Animated clapping hands encouraging fans to cheer at various times during the game when they should already know to be cheering.  At Yankee Stadium, the NEW Yankee Stadium as well as the old, the “Make Some Noise” signs are shown throughout the game.   They also have encouragements to “CHARGE” as well.  They make me want to kick someone.  In Major League Baseball, there is no need for this.  None at all.  I get that they think this appeals to kids at the park but I also think kids at the park deserve better.

There are so many other things you could do with a video board.  Show us more of the players!  In Baltimore (and, I imagine, other cities) they have fun and interesting pieces like asking the players their favorite things (tv shows, movies, songs, etc)…showing behind the scenes video of the park…one of my favorite things in Baltimore is the profiles they show of the people who work at Fenway there and don’t happen to be baseball players.  Profiles on the beer vendors and folks who make pizza, this stuff is fun and a good use of the boards.  Asking us to make some noise, Larry Lucchino, or creating animated characters to race so the attention of the fans is on the board between innings…these things are Minor League moves (and, admittedly, fun at a Minor League game) and the Red Sox will be cheapened if this goes on at Fenway Park.  The place isn’t the most beloved ball park in America because the team caves in to what the rest of the league is doing.

I know this sounds like I’m just an old crank, but I’m not.  I went to more Minor League games last year than I did MLB games and I love them.  I think the atmosphere at a Minor League game is tremendous and I enjoy most every moment of it.  But that atmosphere is purposely different from that at the Major League level and I see no reason to make Major League Baseball  more like Minor League Baseball.  Heck, if anything, I appreciate that if you go to a Triple-A game in Pawtucket the atmosphere is more like MLB than MiLB.  At some point, as it is with the players and the teams they play against, there should be a marked difference as you make your way up through baseball.

So, Larry Lucchino, I want to thank you for all you’ve done for the fans, for the team and  with Fenway Park.  Your contributions have been historic and your name will forever be remembered with Red Sox fans.  I also implore you to not turn Fenway Park into the Cartoon Network with these new video boards.

I don’t usually ask for comments, but I’m interested to hear what other folks think about the video boards and how they would like to see or would NOT like to see them used.   Plus if I write Larry Lucchino enough times maybe he’ll actually see this entry and your suggestions as well!



February 16, 2011 - Posted by | 2011 | ,


  1. I agree with you 100%!
    I love the way Baltimore uses their video board and hate the “Make some noise” and “Clap Your Hands” signs.
    I did enjoy the cartoons they make of the players at Tropicana Field where they made the players Superheroes. Actually, I think they showed the cartoons before the game started and not during the game so all the better.

    Comment by Brenken | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. If I remember right they show very few replays on the video board at Fenway. I don’t know if that’s just them of if it’s a MLB rule, but I’d like to see more replays of the just completed play from a few different angles. And if they could get the wave going, that would be fun.

    Comment by DeathOpie | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  3. “one of my favorite things in Baltimore is the profiles they show of the people who work at Fenway”

    We may call it Fenway South but I don’t think it’s THAT bad yet… 😉

    I couldn’t agree with you more as far as the video boards. I think Fenway and Wrigley are the two parks that need to hold the line. It saddens me that one of my primary memories of the last Sox trip to Cincinnati is hearing “Everybody clap your hands!” about fifty times. If the Sox really believe Fenway is “America’s most beloved ballpark” they should respect the fans who come there enough not to pander to them by telling them when to applaud or thinking they need to be entertained with mascot races or “which glove hides the baseball?” games.

    I’ll appreciate the higher quality of the board. I’d love to see player Q&A’s (serious or silly), clips about baseball, etc. (and I’m fine with those things being sponsored!).

    You might tweet this specifically @RedSoxInsider…

    Comment by KellyO | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  4. Oh, Cyn, again, you nailed this one. I too attend Minor League games and Fenway activities shouldn’t be the same things you see in the Minors. Baltimore (Fenway South) does a great job with their video board. I’ve got confidence that the Red Sox Front Office folks will do a great job with our new board.

    Comment by DON in VA | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  5. I totally agree; I love how Fenway is one of the few stadiums I’ve gone to (maybe the only?) that doesn’t resort to using those visual or audio prompts to get fans cheering. I love how the fans of Fenway *know* when to cheer and when to boo.

    And I second the request for more replays!

    Comment by Joy | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  6. I think it would be a good idea to show unique videos of historical Red Sox plays. Wouldn’t it be great to see a spectacular Yaz defensive play, Ted thump a hit through the Williams shift or Piersall running the bases backwards?

    Maybe a quick video of the Dropkick Murphys and other groups. I also like the idea of more replays with different views, but nix idea of encouraging the wave – and DON’T show a beachball.

    Comment by Sharpie | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  7. Amen.

    A few years ago, I took my Yankee-loving family to a game at Fenway. One of things that impressed them the most was the absence of all the fan prompts. They were amazed at how “into the game” the fans were. Being able to enjoy a baseball game, with just the sounds of the game and the fans as the sound track was something new and different for them – they loved it!

    I was at a Celtics game last week, and couldn’t believe how the game, and the fan involvement, was choreographed. As a sports fan, it was insulting.

    Oh, and I keep complaining to Fenway Management that the Wave, interferes with my “enjoyment of the game”, but so far they haven’t kicked those annoying folks out of Fenway. Really wish That Guy in the bleachers would stop. Nothing more annoying in the late innings than the damn Wave.

    Comment by Kat | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  8. Cyn, nothing to worry about here. They had the ability to do that crap with the old technology, but they didn’t. They’re just updating the technology here, that’s all.

    Comment by jere | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  9. I just have to hope that if nothing else, Larry Lucchino didn’t get to the position he’s in by being an un-savvy marketer with the total lack of awareness of his ‘brand’ that would be required to carry out what you and I both see as the worst-case scenario.

    I just have to remember that so far, aside from one or two things like the whole Fenway Racing cross-marketing fiasco a couple years back, this ownership HAS shown cognizance of the traditions that are meaningful to the Red Sox fan audience, and an understanding of the reverence fans have for Fenway Park.

    But yeah, until we actually see how they’re going to be used, I’m going to be a little nervous. And for the time being, there IS the nagging worry that appealing to the more casual fan, even if it means spoiling cherished traditions for a hardcore minority, could be their agenda going forward, rather than preserving tradition, as they’ve previously promised.

    In fact, the moment I see the word NOISE or a goddamn race of any kind on that scoreboard that isn’t a replay of a bang-bang play on the basepaths, I will consider it a message that the traditional hard-core fan base is, in fact, a lower priority for ownership now, and it may be my cue to start backing off on the Red Sox. At least, if it’s a choice between that and having my heart stomped on repeatedly on a long day’s journey toward ‘mainstream appeal’.

    Yes, I do take this *that* seriously.

    Comment by beth | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  10. The Lightning got a brand new 7 million dollar jumbotron a few years ago and it’s pretty amazing.

    It does invite people to scream and get loud, which I don’t like. But then, I hate the wave too.

    They do a lot of videos on there like Q&As with players, video segments about stuff the players do in the community (hospital visits, the casino night, the radio shows they do around town, etc). They also show good plays from all around the league and stuff. It’s really good for tv time outs, which aren’t such an issue in baseball during the middle of the inning. But it is a really neat thing.

    Comment by Alexis | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  11. I took my girls to ball games so the could learn not just the game of baseball, but much, much more. A central piece of that is the notion of why we watch and understand what’s going on; it’s a tradition.

    For the ‘suits’ who come and entertain, their interests are not always what’s going on down on the diamond.

    But for real fans, and that is most of those who go to Fenway, there is no need for encouraging them to get behind their team. Schilling and many others have always said that Boston fans are very savvy and know the game. That becomes part of the allure and a key part of the tradition; you know what’s going on.

    While Larry and the rest of his merry band of marketeers continually search for ways to deepen and broaden the Sox revenue stream by expansion of the fan base, I hope he understands who the primary customers are and what they’re all about and resists the temptation to cheapen the product that is special at Fenway Park.

    I hope he hears you…

    Comment by Tru | February 17, 2011 | Reply

  12. Agree 100% with you, Cyn! (Well, maybe 99%, because my lasting memory of Camden Yards is that they had to put “TWO STRIKES!!!!!1!” on the board every single time to get people to cheer. That was in ’03 and my parents and I still joke about it now.)

    One thing I’d like to see more attention given to on the scoreboard is the scoring of the game. I keep score at all my games, and I usually sit in the bleachers so I can’t even see it (so in my pleas to Larry Lucchino I always ask for a second one over 1st or 3rd base, a small one just with the scoring). Sure, they’ll show all the easy ones like an 8 or a 4-3, but whenever there’s some complicated rundown that I need help on (perhaps because people in front of me were doing the wave, LOL) it’s nowhere to be found. They also don’t seem to ever put up the third out of an inning, because they go right to whatever (corporate sponsored) between-innings thing they show. Back in the day, it was seeing the scoring on the board along with the fact that so many people used to keep score, that fascinated me and got me – and later my mother – into keeping score.

    I’ve been to one Bruins game and one Celtics game and both times I came out of there afraid that the constant blaring noise and other distracting stuff will seep over into baseball. Please, Larry, no!

    Comment by Kristen | February 18, 2011 | Reply

  13. Chiming in total agreement here. We will LOVE seeing key stats and video clips crisply legible from our seats. We will get embarrassed and depressed if the organization stoops to any “clap your hands,” “make some noise,” or “charge!” appeals. Ugg–ugg! Fenway fans know when to cheer–indeed, we do it more or less continuously. Young fans on their first odyssey to the Fens get to learn by watching what everybody is is so enthusiastically doing around them. We don’t need and can’t use cartoon laser shots zooming all over the ballpark and some bad actor’s voice shouting “DO THIS NOW!” in identical tones a hundred times a game. It would make me go to fewer games; it truly would.

    But I find it hard to imagine an organization as baseball-savvy as the present Red Sox FO would stoop to such nonsense. They have shown such pragmatic respect for that ballpark in all the renovations they have done, and for the fan base in the promotions they have decided to do–and not to do. Here’s confident hope for another good choice from the Sox brain trust.

    Comment by Elaine Apthorp | February 19, 2011 | Reply

  14. I’m so late to this party, but this deserves unprompted applause.

    I went to a preseason Red Sox @ Nats game last year with my parents. Later, they asked me uncertainly about the “Make some noise!” and other minor-league distractions at Nats stadium. I was happy to tell them that Fenway has none of that. I’m so grateful it’s my home park. Please, Sox brass, keep Fenway beautiful.

    Comment by slidingsideways | February 26, 2011 | Reply

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