SAN FRANCISCO -- Sports fans have led the way in spending thousands of dollars on the latest in high-definition televisions, but for just the price of a ticket to a Giants game this season, fans can get a high-def experience unlike any they could get in their living rooms. The Giants on Tuesday unveiled AT&T Park's new 103-foot-wide high-definition scoreboard, billed as the highest-quality outdoor scoreboard in the United States and the first in Major League Baseball to sport a 32-to-9 aspect ratio, twice the width of a standard home HD set. Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays pushed the ceremonial power button on a giant remote, activating the centerpiece of the $10 million upgrade project. In addition to the crisp, eye-popping visuals provided by the Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision display, new scoreboard software gives the operators the ability to pull up detailed, real-time statistics such as lifetime batter-vs.-pitcher numbers. A state-of-the-art Sony control room replaces the old scoreboard operations center.
"The scoreboard itself will really enhance the experience for the fans of San Francisco and everyone coming to AT&T Park," said Bryan Srabian, the Giants' director of marketing and entertainment. "The in-game portion is really exciting, because the stats they're going to be able to see in-game, it's going to be like watching the game on TV and live." When not displaying highlights and multiple-angle replays -- including split-screen shots of a homer headed for McCovey Cove and kayakers jockeying for position in the water -- the scoreboard will now include both teams' lineups, including available bench players and relievers, as well as defensive alignments and scorecard-style representations of previous at-bats. "This new HD scoreboard is going to provide a tremendous 'whiz-bang' experience for our fans," said Giants chief operating officer Larry Baer. "It's going to enhance their entertainment value and it's also going to enhance the information that they can absorb while they're watching the game. It's really a great boost for our fans." While the new scoreboard isn't the largest in the world, Giants chief information officer Bill Schlough said the team didn't want to obstruct the bay views for which AT&T Park is famous. The new scoreboard occupies the same space formerly taken up by two screens, one color and one monochrome. The 31 1/2-foot-tall scoreboard isn't the only new screen at the park. A dozen 17-inch HD TVs line the wall of the new Lexus Dugout Club, 108 padded seats directly behind home plate. An additional 50 HD flat screens join the 225 installed around the ballpark before last season, and the old monochrome pitch-count boards affixed to the upper-deck fascia have been replaced by full-color LED boards.
The scoreboard's unveiling highlighted the Giants' annual media open house Tuesday, in which the team showcased enhancements to the ballpark, new food items and upcoming special events, including a pair of championship-squad reunions. The Interleague series against the Yankees, the first regular-season meeting between the two teams since the 1962 World Series, will feature a reunion of both teams from that season on June 24. The 1987 National League West champion Giants will reunite July 29, and the first 20,000 fans will receive one of four bobbleheads of Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell, Robby Thompson or Matt Williams, the favorite players from that team as chosen in a fan poll on sfgiants.com. In honor of the All-Star Game coming to San Francisco this season for the first time since 1984, Opening Day will include 25 of the 44 All-Stars who have represented the Giants in the Midsummer Classic, including Mays, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry. The Crazy Crab will also make a return this season, but as a sandwich served on grilled sourdough bread, and high-end meat supplier Niman Ranch will offer hamburgers, hot dogs and andouille sausage. Most notably, AT&T Park is going trans-fat-free, with even the park's famous garlic fries prepared without trans fats.
Opening Day highlights
|The Giants kick off the 2007 season at 1:05 p.m. PT April 3 vs. the Padres at AT&T Park. Opening Day festivities start at 12:30 p.m.|
|National anthem: Cast of "Jersey Boys"|
|First pitch: Former Giant Stu Miller, who was allegedly blown off the Candlestick Park mound during the 1961 All-Star Game.|
|Special guests: 25 of the 44 Giants who played in the All-Star Game, including all five Hall of Famers|
|Giveaway: Opening Day calendars to the first 40,000 fans|
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.