Let’s get something straight: I hate the Yankees. I hate hate them, in fact. I don’t like their uniforms, I don’t like their owner’s facial hair policy, and I really don’t like Yankee Stadium, new or old. But I’ll give ’em this: They have the sweetest TV in the bigs, and possibly in the world.
Just don’t call it a JumboTron.
A couple weeks ago I was invited for the christening of Yankee Stadium’s new Mitsubishi “Diamond Vision” display — the humongo TV perched above the centerfield bleachers where fans can watch recaps of the Yanks’ glory days, instant replays of close calls and track Derek Jeter’s abysmal fielding percentage. The screen measures 110-feet-wide by 60-feet-tall, which means it would take you longer to run the diagonal than it would to go from home to first. It broadcasts sharp HD videos and pictures in 1080p thanks to 8,601,600 twinkling LEDs, and even does picture-in-picture. (JumboTrons, I learned, were made by Sony, which stopped developing and selling the big screens back in 2001.)
“There are a few larger displays out there, but nothing that’s as high-res as this,” Mark Foster, general manager for Diamond Vision Systems told me. “People are used to watching HD at home, and we wanted to bring that experience to the stadium.” Every little scrolling stat bar and bit of CGI flair you love on SportsCenter? You can now get it at the Stadium too.
But I left wondering if that was a good thing. Yes, the Diamond Vision display is amazing, but one can’t help but stare at it. Call me old fashioned, but I’m at the ballgame to watch the ballgame, not the giant TV that shows you the cliff notes of the ballgame. Do we really want to see 60-foot images of Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui in full HD? And how many balls will sail past A-R*d’s mitt as he’s admiring giant A-R*d on the big screen?