I had a chance to get out to the ballpark yesterday. After a few innings, I found myself looking at the scoreboards out in right field at the Coliseum in Oakland–and something struck me as funny about what I was seeing. I mean funny odd, not funny ha-ha. What I was seeing was strange enough that I decided to take a picture of the scoreboards (both the Gigant-O-Vision screen above the upper deck and the matrix board on the facing of the second level). Here’s that picture:
You’ll want to click the photo for a full-sized view and take a good look at the scoreboards. Something was missing from the display, and it took me a couple of innings to figure out what wasn’t there.
Give up? Batting averages. For some reason, no board in the stadium was displaying any of the players’ batting averages. None, anywhere. The hitter’s plate appearances for the game were dutifully displayed and updated as the game progressed, but nowhere did we see any sign of their season averages.
This is exceedingly odd, considering how devoted to statistics baseball has become lately. And I’m certain that, when I attended games earlier this season, the scoreboards did show the players’ averages in the display. With a display that large–particularly the board above the upper deck–you’d think there would be more than sufficient space to include the important statistics; certainly, a player’s batting average at the least.
So what’s up here? Was this simply a glitch? Some technical snafu that prevented the batting averages from showing up in the display? Or were the numbers purposefully removed from the boards? We’ve seen similar moves made before; struggling pitchers have occasionally requested that the stadium boards not show the MPH on their pitches. Did the A’s ask stadium operations to take the batting averages off the boards, as a response to their truly abysmal play this season? If so, that would be an odd move, since several of the A’s in the lineup yesterday actually have very good averages. Billy Burns and Josh Reddick are both above .300, and Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley are at .290 or above.
Or is this just weirdness, something strange and unintentional that signifies nothing? It may not be important, but some kind of explanation would be nice.