I’m not the guy who watches baseball on TV (opens in new tab), but I love the ballpark experience. I will happily sit through nine innings with a bag of peanuts and a cup of whatever diet cola is on tap in the stadium.
Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL, is my family’s go-to ballpark. Every season, we drive up to proudly cheer on our Jupiter Hammerheads, the Single-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. Over the years, we've enjoyed the family-friendly atmosphere and collected our fair share of photos with mascot Hamilton R. Head (aka Hammy for those of us in the know). The stadium is also home to the Palm Beach Cardinals, the Single-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, but we're a united Hammerheads house.
Recently, on a pleasant Friday night, we watched the Hammerheads properly trounce the Clearwater Threshers (the Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies), but this time it was different. I was less interested in the pitch count and more interested in the screen displaying it.
Daktronics (opens in new tab) invited my family to watch the game from their suite as the company celebrated the installation of two new outfield screens. Both screens went live within weeks of the May 27 contest. At 25 feet high and 41 feet wide, the displays are significantly larger than the previous offerings, one of which was a more traditional baseball scoreboard with no video capabilities.
Mike Kempany, a sales representative for Daktronics, has provided dvLED screens for a number of Florida sports venues. He said the 15HDs in Roger Dean Stadium are a popular choice in stadiums used for MLB spring training, because the 15mm spacing between lines of resolution offer great contrast, especially in direct sun. Daktronics accounts for the main video displays in more than 85% of spring training sites. (Roger Dean Stadium hosts spring training for both the Marlins and Cardinals.)
Before the game, I also snuck in a brief tour of the press box, where I met Ryer Gardenswartz, media relations and promotions coordinator for Roger Dean Stadium. For most games, he's the guy running the displays through the Daktronics Show Control solution. When there's not a game, he's also the guy improving the on-screen layouts. The new displays support multiple zones on the screen, which means he's got plenty of options. Looking good so far, Ryer!
People don't come to minor league games to watch the video screens—after all, we don't sing "take me out to the scoreboard" during the seventh inning stretch—and two outfield screens hardly create an immersive environment. Still, it's all about delivering a great experience for the fans, and these new screens will deliver high-quality visuals to help people follow the game stats in style for years.