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AT&T Park’s mound visit tracker is boring. Let’s fix it.

Why didn’t the creative destruction behind pace of play improvements extend to how baseball tracks counts?

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MLB: San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

I promise today isn’t Pick On AT&T Park Day. It just so happens that with the dudes out of town, taking a look at the stadium itself makes sense. Directors and critics of film and television like to say that locations of our favorite stories (like New York or... the Starship Enterprise) are characters within those stories, too. And it’s 18 years old now. So this stadium’s an adult, meaning it needs to learn that the real world is a harsh, critical place. SO HERE COME SOME CRITICISMS, INANIMATE OBJECT.

I’m mostly “whatever” about the various pace of play initiatives that have been implemented and proposed and believe that if Baseball doesn’t survive the information age it will be either because of its inherent slow pace that can’t be changed or because the shepherds of the game don’t actually know why people enjoy it.

Things like mid-inning foot races against The Freeze and bringing back the bullpen cart are steps in the right direction. There’s something to be said about getting the average time of a game under 3 hours, too. And if the research has shown that mid-inning pitching changes and mound visits are what’s ruining the game, then I can buy the idea that figuring out how to limit those might head off the destruction of the fan base. But not like this, Major League Baseball...

That’s your grand design? The best you can do is “put the count on the scoreboard so that teams, umpires, and fans can keep track”? And what about you, San Francisco? You’re one of the most bizarre and creative cities

San Francisco Giants Victory Parade Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

on planet Earth. If the important, brilliant, talented people in the city can invent buses and taxis and tax-free business zones, then surely someone can come up with something better than this boring-ass digital counter system.

(as posted in Kevin’s article earlier:)

The creative town of Hollywood is not much better.

Seems to me, if you’re going to tout fixing Baseball, then you should really tout it. Make a big deal out of it. Maybe Baseball’s ashamed to draw attention to this new thing because they’re ashamed they even have to do it?

So, then... I guess it’s up to us. Well, specifically, me, since this is my post. Here, then, are my three proposals for making mound visit tracking sexy, the way Baseball should be...

Proposal #1 - A Loud, Heralding Trumpet

Baseball’s already accused of being stuck in the past, so why not lean all the way into it with some medieval heralding trumpet music? Every time some grizzled old manager or pitching coach lumbers out of the dugout to talk to his pitcher who’s walked the bases loaded, imagine a BUMP-BUNNA-BUUUUUUUUUUUUN as they make their way to the mound. Each stadium could pick its own tune and could pick a different one for the home team and visitor.

I think MLB might be into this idea because this sort of music can be heard as slightly mocking. There’s nothing regal about a mound visit, but these heralding trumpets are gonna try to make you think they are. Since Rob Manfred hates mound visits and probably the game of baseball itself, anything that mocks any part of it would, conceivably, be on the table.

Proposal #2 - James Earl Jones intones over the stadium PA, “Mounnnnnnnnd Visit”

This was seems pretty straightforward. It’s also, like the above proposal, something any stadium could do. What inspired this post was the idea that the Giants could have their own tracker that no other team could:

Proposal #3 - Brian Wilson Beard Board Tracker

One of the strangest moments of April was Brian Wilson’s sudden appearance at the home opener as part of the 60 Years in SF celebration. What really pushed the strange moment into a bizarre occurrence was the reveal of beardless Brian Wilson:

MLB: Seattle Mariners at San Francisco Giants Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe you see where I’m going with this. The best way for the Giants to track mound visits in their stadium — a way that will keep the fans entertained throughout the game — is to have a Brian Wilson Beard Board.

“Bryan, what the hell are you talking about?” you might ask.



Oh. Whoops. I mean...


This is what we need. Every time there’s a mound visit, a splotch of Brian Wilson’s beard comes off the board. Until we get back to this weirdo:

And then, once you get to beardless Brian Wilson, the real Brian Wilson runs out from behind the wall in centerfield and jumps into the stands, running up and down the aisles knocking food and beer out of people’s hands and scaring children with primal yells. He’ll do this until the pitcher is done warming up. Or, if it’s simply a long conversation between pitching coach and pitcher until the end of the inning.

I imagine they could accomplish the Beard Board part with some sort of video screen or added to existing infrastructure. And getting the real Brian Wilson to be there every home game might not be that difficult, either.

In short, the Giants should consider doing something to make the Mound Visit Tracker more interesting.