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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Granillo: The Astrodome’s Futuristic Scoreboard

Scratchin’ squeeks! Even liquitexified Colonel Bleep was in color!

When the Astrodome opened in 1965, it was quickly dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The fully-enclosed stadium was the first of it’s kind: a domed, air-conditioned marvel that could handle baseball, football, and any other large event in all kinds of weather. With its bubble exterior and proximity to the fledgling space program, there was no better evidence of America’s quick march towards The Jetsons than the new Houston stadium.

Among it’s many futuristic innovations was the $2 million scoreboard, “the world’s largest, most versatile animated scoreboard.” Any gushing preview of the new ballpark was incomplete without a description of the device. A 1972 Houston Sports Association publication touting the wonders of the Astrodome and its surrounding area calls the scoreboard “an electronic marvel, costing $2 million, and longer than a football field, [giving] patrons of the Astrodome more information, faster, than any visual display ever before seen on any athletic field.”

So what was this space age visual display that could give “more information, faster” actually used for?

 

Repoz Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:26 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, history

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 28, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4377565)
I used to love the Royals dot matrix animation scoreboard with their delicious puns. Guy ripping a dollar bill? "RIPPED A SINGLE!" Pile of baseballs on first base? "BASE ON BALLS!" Good times.
   2. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: February 28, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4377584)
Pile of baseballs on first base? "BASE ON BALLS!" Good times.


Wouldn't that be "balls on base"? That does seem like something George Brett would do to a base.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 28, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4377599)
I think I have the description backwards. It was a base sitting on a pile of baseballs.
   4. smileyy Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4377692)
[1] Me too. Just another reason that baseball when I was growing up was the greatest era of baseball. The child-me made sure to point them all out to my parents. Every single one.
   5. Worrierking Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4377712)
Wouldn't that be "balls on base"? That does seem like something George Brett would do to a base.


Should this be in the Arencibia thread?
   6. Wins Above Paul Westerberg Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4377717)
This guy lives on at Twins games even though the old Metrodome scoreboard is no more.
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: February 28, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4377763)
   8. I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape Posted: February 28, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4377801)
I used to love the Royals dot matrix animation scoreboard with their delicious puns. Guy ripping a dollar bill? "RIPPED A SINGLE!" Pile of baseballs on first base? "BASE ON BALLS!" Good times.


You still get to enjoy those in Oakland. Guy hitting a baseball with a wide-open mouth and a look of terror? "A SCREAMER!" Guy hitting a ball that shoots off into space? "MOON SHOT!"
   9. frannyzoo Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:08 PM (#4378078)
My problem was sitting through 'Stros Astrodome games in the mid-80s. Too late to be "amazing" and too early to be "8-bit retro cool." To be honest, it was like sitting in a giant, poorly-lit dentist office. Okay, really, it was like sitting in a gigantic .25 porn peep show ala Times Square pre-Giuliani or "Paris, Texas."
   10. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4378088)
This was the best use of the dot-matrix crap style scoreboard of the 70s/80s.

The Two Fisted Slobber

Somebody had the sense to keep this around and play it again at Miller Park. Naturally this effort to discourage this sort of behavior backfired and the character was embraced heartily. I don't think you can go to a Brewers game and not see a T shirt without his likeness.

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