On Monday my new favorite Twitter page MLB Cathedrals posted a photo of the Shea Stadium scoreboard on the night the Mets took over first place for the first time in 1969.
It got me thinking about that scoreboard and how it compares to the ones at Citi Field.
We all remember the Shea scoreboard as that hulking mass in right field (incidentally, the scoreboard blocked the view of the field from the subway station. I have no idea if that was deliberate, but it would not shock me if it was a way of stopping people from watching the game for free). But when the lights first flickered on in 1964, it was considered state of the art (like the rest of Shea Stadium).
That area with the big Mets logo was designed to play photos of the players as they came to bat, which would have been revolutionary at the time. But I do not believe it ever happened. It is amazing how far technology has advanced.
The scoreboard was actually very functional. You want to know the score or the count? Look at the board. Want to know who is at bat and who is next? Look at the board. Want to know out-of-town scores? Look at the board. Nowadays, you have to search around a stadium to get that information from various message boards displaying rotating information.
The Shea scoreboard was also a good source of advertising income for the Mets (there are five ads up there), but the ads do not overwhelm the board. They are complimentary, as opposed to the two scoreboards currently at Citi Field, which display more ads than game information.
The board on the right is a disgrace — it is simply an advertising billboard disguised as a baseball scoreboard. They could have been a bit more subtle.
In any case, I do not think anyone would trade modern Citi Field for crusty old Shea Stadium. But now that it is gone, I think our appreciation for Shea and its amenities (or lack thereof) has grown. The big scoreboard is just one of those things.