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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 4/17/2005

Notebook: Hens to erect second video board

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Tomorrow the Mud Hens will begin work on a second video board, which will be placed behind the right-field fence at Fifth Third Field.

Mud Hens general manager Joe Napoli said the board, which will cost $750,000, should be completed by the end of June and functional shortly after.

Napoli said the team considered erecting a second video board when Fifth Third Field was first built, but decided against it.

"[At the time] manufacturers said the price of these scoreboards would decrease dramatically in the next few years," he said. "At that time the ballpark was built, this board would have cost $1.25 million."

The Hens have set aside net profits from the last few seasons to pay for the scoreboard. County commissioner Maggie Thurber said it was an easy decision to allow the club to move forward with the project.

"The club gave [the county] more money that it was obligated to - more than a million dollars more," she said. "The team was doing over and above what was expected. This will enhance the ballpark in response to the needs of the fans.

"It makes sense to do this."

The size of the new video board will be 20 feet by 40 feet, almost double the 17-by-22 size of the video board in left field. In the future the right-field board could be expanded to as large as 30-by-50 feet.

"We've been told it's unusual to build the frame [of a video board] with expansion in mind, but we're received compliments for our foresight," Napoli said.

"Our goal wasn't to build the biggest video board in the minor leagues, but we think we have - until someone decides to build something bigger, of course."

Napoli said the usage of the new video board during games hasn't been decided yet.

"Everyone has a different philosophy," he said. "In the majors teams use both scoreboards for introduction of players, highlights and replays. Other teams put baseball features on one, entertainment features on the other.

"[Hens' manager of video board operations] Mike Ramirez is like a kid at Christmastime: He's having fun developing potential concepts for the board."

Napoli said the arrival of the Triple-A All-Star Game next July heightened the team's desire to purchase the scoreboard this year. He said it will give Ramirez and his staff a year to perfect its performance before that all-star game is broadcast on national television.

"And we've always made a concerted effort to try new ways to entertain fans," Napoli said. "How do we enhance the fan experience at Fifth Third Field? With a new board in right field."

The Mud Hens purchased the new video board from Daktronics. The video board in left field was purchased from Trans-Lux, which still services that board but no longer sells scoreboards.

Napoli said he expects St. Clair Street, which is behind the right-field fence, will be closed when the caissons to support the new video board are sunk.

ROAD TRIP: Three Pawtucket pitchers were called up to Boston Monday, but none of them pitched for the parent Red Sox.

Instead Abe Alvarez, Lenny DiNardo and Mark Malaska flew from Louisville to Boston to receive World Series rings. Then the trio flew back to Louisville Monday night.

"I felt undeserving in a way, but very privileged in the same breath," DiNardo said. "It was an incredible thing to be a part of, and I honestly had tears in my eyes."

SACRIFICING FOR THE TEAM: In its first seven games Scranton/Wilkes-Barre produced 11 sacrifice flies, including five in last Tuesday's game.

If the Red Barons would continue that pace, they would finish the season with 226 sacrifice flies.

FAMILIAR FACES: The roster for Round Rock, Texas, in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League has three players with Toledo ties.

Former University of Toledo star Jeremy Griffiths began the season on the Express pitching staff, as did Clay High School product Chris Fussell. And former Mud Hen Danny Klassen starts at shortstop for Houston's top farm club.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481.



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