The Mets will have a bigger scoreboard at Citi Field this season

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The battle is on in the National League East. After word came down this morning that the Nationals and right-hander Max Scherzer agreed to a seven-year, $210 million contract, the Mets delivered a counterblow this afternoon by announcing that they plan to have a bigger scoreboard at Citi Field this season.

Below is part of the announcement from the team and a closer look at a mockup of the new scoreboard:

The New York Mets announced today they are installing a new Daktronics high definition Citi Field centerfield video board that is 62% larger than the original screen. Beginning this week, Daktronics will design, manufacture and install at Citi Field one of the first 13HD LED centerfield video board displays inside a professional baseball venue that will be 62% bigger than the original Citi Field centerfield board. The new board, set to debut on Opening day, April 13, will measure 5,670 square feet (Up from 3,500 square feet).

The installation puts the Mets in the top 10 largest displays in professional baseball and makes Citi Field one of the few baseball venues to feature more than one video capable LED display in the seating bowl. The installation brings the total square footage of all displays in the Mets’ super-system to more than 17,000 square feet. The previous total square footage was 13,500 and replacing older technology is providing a total of 7,000 square feet of new video display technology.

“As we look forward to a great season on the field in 2015, these significantly bigger and higher resolution video boards are state-of-the-art in size and LED technology and re-inforce our commitment to provide our fans a superior experience when attending games at Citi Field,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon.

source:  Enhancing the fan experience is nice and all, but are fans supposed to care that the Mets will have one of the “top 10 largest displays in professional baseball”? Maybe a top-10 payroll proportionate to the market they play in, but not a top-10 scoreboard. The best scoreboard renovation they could have is winning more baseball games. Until that time comes, efforts like this just come off as window dressing.

Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak ended 78 years ago today

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There’s nothing special about a 78-year anniversary. It’s not a round number or anything and we tend to like round numbers. But (a) I was reminded of this today; and (b) we have no idea if the Martians will have invaded and taken over the planet come 2021, so I feel like it’s best to run this now than wait for the 80th anniversary. Cool? Cool.

Anyway: on this day in 1941, Joe DiMaggio’s still-unbroken and possibly unbreakable (see below) 56-game hitting streak came to end. The game took place in Cleveland in front of a staggering 67,468 fans. Not bad for a Thursday night. The way the streak ended, courtesy of an ESPN Classic post from Larry Scwartz back in 2003:

Third baseman Ken Keltner makes two outstanding plays, grabbing DiMaggio smashes down the line in the first and seventh innings and throwing him out at first base. In between these at-bats, left-hander Al Smith walks DiMaggio in the fourth.

The Yankee Clipper has one more chance to extend his streak when he bats in the eighth with the bases full against Jim Bagby, a young right-hander who just enters the game. DiMaggio hits the ball sharply, but shortstop Lou Boudreau plays a bad hop perfectly and turns the grounder into a double play.

Stuff happens.

To be clear: 56 may not be broken in my lifetime or yours. It’s obviously a SUPER difficult task to string together a hitting streak of considerable length. As we saw when guys like Pete Rose or Paul Molitor or whoever have come within spitting distance of DiMaggio’s record — long spitting distance — the pressure ramps up and it’s hard to do you job with a lot of pressure. Add in the fact that simple base hits are harder to come by in today’s game than they used to be due to prevalent hitting, pitching and defensive trends, and it’d be no shocker whatsoever if no one ever does it.

But I draw the line at “unbreakable,” simply because, as noted above, stuff does happen. And because there’s nothing structural preventing it from happening. It’s not like Cy Young’s 511 wins or something which fundamental changes in the game have made basically impossible. No one is going to win 26 games a year for 20 years straight or what have you. Heck, CC Sabathia is baseball’s current gray hair among pitchers and only has a few dozen more career starts than that. It’s just a different game.

Hitters do play in 150-160 games now, though, and the good ones do average more than one hit per game. Putting them in the right arrangement may never be likely, but doing so is only a matter of stars aligning, not breaking the fundamental rules of engagement. It could happen. Maybe. Because, unlike some other records, it did before under broadly similar circumstances.

OK, that aside, I’ll offer up my favorite and most maddening DiMaggio hitting streak fact.

During his streak, which lasted from May 15-July 17, DiMaggio went 91-of-223, which is a .408 average. Between April 15-September 28 (i.e. the whole dang season) Ted Williams hit .406. And when it was all said and done he was substantially better in virtually every other batting category as well.

Joe DiMaggio won the MVP Award.