Last Saturday (June 16) when I was covering the fundraising baseball tournament for Fort Scott Community College's baseball program, I looked at the scoreboard…and I could not tell what the heck it was saying.
And considering that I was *running* the scoreboard at the time, that's a pretty bad thing.
Here's the problem: So many lights are either burned out permanently or stuck on permanently that it makes the scoreboard difficult to read. And for that to be the scoreboard on the field that hosts a rising junior college program and one of the better high school baseball programs in the state just isn't right somehow.
In retrospect, it probably really wasn't a cool idea to put a flagpole on top of the scoreboard when it was installed. Lightning hit that pole at least once before it was a year old. Another time, someone had left the original controller plugged in and a power surge zapped that. The controller for the scoreboard now is some sort of football/baseball hybrid and it confuses people who aren't used to it.
After three innings of one of the games, the scoreboard read something like this (where the "-" represents a blank square because that inning hadn't yet taken place):
VISITOR * 1 C - - - - - - - 4 5 2
HOME 2 Z 5 - - - - - - - 8 9 1
The "*" represents a character I can't replicate on a keyboard. It's sort of like a "7" with an extra angled bar coming out of the point of it. The "C" should have been a zero.
The "Z" is supposed to be another "2" but certain lights are burned out -- forever. And yes, 2 plus 2 plus 5 is NOT 8, but that's how the lights were.
And if the visitors have only scored one run at any point in the game, it still looks like a "4" because some of the lights in that box won't turn off.
Also, because of the way the internal computer works, any time a team scores 10 or more runs in an inning, the run total will automatically be wrong. The computer can't add more than nine runs in each inning. So you either have to live with the wrong total or add runs to innings prior to the 10-run inning to make the total right (but the individual innings wrong).
Now I know that the scoreboard can't be replaced tomorrow and it's probably practically impossible to replace it before the start of the next college season in March. I'm just hoping to get the ball rolling.
But last week, the college was hoping to impress a few of the players on the teams that came down and some of the parents with the nice practice facility, locker room and playing area that it has to offer recruits. But what a lot of the parents of those players saw was a scoreboard that was often incomprehensible.
Throw a suggestion down in the comments below or ask one of the college officials or the members of the FSCC Board of Trustees about what might be done to address the situation.
After all, it's hard to keep score if the scoreboard doesn't work.