[Editor’s Note: Today’s post is guest-written by Idaho State media rep Frank Mercogliano, who recently took on a major DIY project. Enjoy. — PL]
By Frank Mercogliano
Along with my media duties, I’m also the sport administrator for soccer and softball at Idaho State. Our softball program was brought back in 2007 after a 24-year absence, and they don’t have a field on campus, their ATV to drag the infield is broken, and life is basically a little rough for the team right now. Case in point: In a meeting last month, my coach casually mentioned that the NCAA mandates that we have a scoreboard — something our current field doesn’t have.
Now, we actually have a nice electronic scoreboard for the softball team, but we don’t want to put it up at a temporary field, have to wire the field for it, etc., only to take it down in a year or two and rebuild it somewhere else. Not very cost-effective in these times. But after seeing all the great DIY projects at Uni Watch, I though, “Why not just build a manual one?”
So I sketched out this idea on my computer, priced out the materials, and figured I could do it for less than $500. The money man at the school gave me the OK, and I was off.
Without going into all the gory details, I basically painted 19 4×8 boards. Five were for the scoreboard itself (four for the front, and one to attach it to the existing fence), and the other 14 would be used to cut out 12×18 inch tiles for the numbers. I used a router and a jigsaw to cut the holes in the scoreboard (26 11×16 holes…it took awhile).
One of the cool things was figuring out which font to use for the scoreboard. After deciding upon the tried and true Varsity Block, I printed out numbers from 0 to 22, enlarged them on the copier onto 11×17 cardstock, and then cut them out to create stencils, which looked way cool.
Once I got everything stenciled and water-sealed, it all sat in my office in four parts. The first part has the most detail, with the foul line, distance marker, and the first two innings. The next two parts, which cover innings 3 through 10, are pretty much identical. And then there’s the final part, which has R/H/E board. This panel is five feet high, in order to accommodate the ball/strike/out component. I did that by using door hinges to connect yellow wood squares that simulate lights, and they just flip over for strike one, strike two, and so on.
I have to tell you, spray-painting the numbers took a long time. Here’s how one of the numbers looks in one of the inning slots (the numbers just hang on a screw in the back, with the inning hand-written on the back side so nobody gets screwed up). Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of all the numbers we covering my floor, which looked awesome.
I also picked up white shelving from the major hardware retailer in town and sprayed it yellow to make a foul pole screen. Plus I had extra wood and made distance markers for the other sections of the outfield.
On Tuesday (just nine days later), we used a gas-powered dirt auger (best $29.57 rental EVER) to dig the fence posts in and install the scoreboard, and voila! Here’s a close-up view from the corner, here’s how it looks from home plate, and here’s a shot of the foul pole and screen. All of the tiles that are blank on the front have a zero on the back, so the tile just flips over if no one scores in the inning.
The goofy spot is where the board connects to the existing fence. We zip-tied it to the fence and then but an 8-foot board up. The yellow line is in play, the black is a home run. Also, if a ball for some reason goes through an inning hole in the scoreboard it’s a ground-rule double, two bases.
Grand total was $402, about 70 hours of my life, and more manual labor and woodworking than a guy who makes a living on a computer is used to. But honestly, all the great DIY projects I’ve seen here were kind of an inspiration. Now we just need to come up with a name for the thing. Frank’s Folly isn’t going to cut it.
Paul here. A few days after sending me that post, Frank sent along some pics of the scoreboard from its first day of game action. Looks great, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Big, big kudos to him for tackling such a great project, and for sharing the details with us.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Here’s the Phillies’ Harry Kalas memorial patch. … I’m sure there’s something stupider than this, but I can’t imagine what it would be. … One of the many good things about Jerry Manuel is that he goes high-cuffed every day. And here’s why. … Noted uniform expert George Will has a bone to pick with the uniform of choice for most Americans (i.e., blue jeans). His rant is sort of pathetic and sort of accurate but misses the key point in our societal denim obsession: the fetishization of the primitive, which is also at the root of most of our weird cultural tropes. Of course, for Will, beer in a can counts as “primitive,” so it’s no surprise that he’s missed the boat on that line of analysis. … Tyler Kepner has broken down some of the finer nuances of the new Yankee Stadium. … Good prototype story from Mike MacCulloch, who writes: “I worked in the Seahawks’ front office from 1997-2000 (ticket office for three seasons and corporate sales for one). I joined the team just after Paul Allen had purchased the team and the state had agreed to build a new stadium. In 2000, just as the team was moving into Husky Stadium while Qwest Field was being built, the team was in the process of designing new uniforms and helmets. During that time, they went through many different designs. At one point they created three different prototype helmets, each in a different color and with different logos on each side of the helmets. The idea at that time was to have the Hawk logo with a red eye to make it look more intimidating, as well as a possible modification to the back portion of the logo. I was able to save this helmet from being tossed out when our interns cleaned out one of the storage areas. For whatever reason, whoever put the helmets together seemed to rush putting the decals on, so there’s a slight bubble to it. Still, plenty interesting (and ugly).” I showed the photos to one of my ESPN bosses, Kevin Jackson, who’s from Seattle, and he said, “This answers the age-old question: What would the Seahawks logo look like if it got drunk?” … Some awesome old hockey photos here (with thanks to Doug Keklak). … Last item on this Q&A page suggests that UNC basketball may have some throwbacks next season (with thanks to Al Hood). … Check out these white numbers on a white striped background. That’s the Toronto Argonauts, pre-WWII (with thanks to Terry Paffenroth). … Lots of photos of Fred Taylor in the Pats’ new throwbacks here (with thanks to Doug Buros). … Kirsten turned me on to something really great. If you click through the various categories on that page, you’ll see some amazing — and I mean amazing — old WPA posters. Did I mention that they’re amazing? Oh, but anyone offended by yesterday’s tea party “bashing” (as one reader complained to me) should probably steer clear, since the WPA was, of course, a socialist plot.