S. Dakota company to put Orioles in lights Scoreboard to provide 'unlimited animation'


Daktronics Inc., the company that designed the scoreboard for Giants Stadium and the electric signs at the 1988 Winter Olympics, yesterday won the $1.4 million contract to produce the scoreboard at the Baltimore Orioles' new ballpark at Camden Yards.

The Maryland Stadium Authority selected Daktronics, of Brookings, S.D., from three companies that submitted proposals.

"The enthusiasm that they bring to this project is absolutely exciting," said Eli Eisenberg, technical director for Orioles, who is overseeing sound and video systems at Camden Yards. The computer software that Daktronics will provide for the scoreboard will allow "unlimited animation," Eisenberg said.

The main scoreboard will be a three-part production -- part video screen, part animation board and part marquee -- and will dominate the wall in right-center field.

At the base will be the Diamond Vision video screen that has been used at Memorial Stadium since 1985. During the winter, it will be dismantled and shipped to Camden Yards.

Above the Diamond Vision screen, Daktronics will install a 27-by-80-foot electronic panel that will offer scores and animated messages.

And at the top of the pyramid will be "the signature piece," said Tom Rogers, project manager for Barton Malow Sverdrup, the company overseeing stadium construction. "We have not decided what that's going to be. That's going to be a secret."

"It's the icing on the cake," Eisenberg said.

Janet Marie Smith, an Orioles vice president, said the marquee will be "some sort of character that defines this ballpark." A clock will probably be part of the marquee, and the design should be complete within 60 days, she added.

Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said the state may buy the scoreboard now or arrange a lease-purchase deal, in which the state will own the scoreboard after making payments for 10 years.

Daktronics also will provide a scoreboard in right field dedicated to scores of out-of-town games, which are flashed onto the screen at Memorial Stadium only sporadically. Two auxiliary boards mounted along the club level of the ballpark will carry the game's line scores.

But missing from the contract are plans for an exterior message board that, by some estimates, would have been 90 feet tall and visible to motorists on Interstate 395 and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Eisenberg said the signboard is "temporarily on hold, basically because of the size of the board. We would like to rethink it."

"The budget is limited," Smith said. "We felt there are more important things to be done. The signboard is something that can be added later."

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