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The Globe and Mail

In Pictures: Keeping score the old-fashioned way at Nat Bailey

One of Canada's baseball jewels features a retro, hand-operated scoreboard in the outfield

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The scoreboard at Nat Bailey Stadium harks back to an earlier time, a visual representation of baseball’s romantic past. In an electronic age, the scoreboard at this ballpark – home to the single-A Vancouver Canadians, an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays – is manually operated, just as in the old days.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Carl Steffens, 15, is responsible for changing numbers on the scoreboard, the same one that graced the left-centre field wall when the stadium opened in 1951. Carl works in a bit of obscurity; no one can really see him as he changes the numbers from behind the scoreboard.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Carl peers through a small opening to watch as batters get on base, as runs come home, and as fielders make errors. The only things Carl doesn’t keep tabs on are balls and strikes; those numbers now appear electronically at the bottom of the scoreboard.

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Canadians co-owner Jeff Mooney says keeping a manual scoreboard helps retain the old-style charm of the stadium, a vision he and business partner Jake Kerr had when they purchased the team in 2007.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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“This stadium is very special to so many people in this city. I remember someone at the Vancouver Park Board saying that the stadium is second only to Stanley Park as a Vancouver icon,” he said. “So from day one, what we wanted to do was maintain the traditions and the feel of this stadium. I mean, you have to modernize as time marches on, but keep a sensation of the experience for our fans.”

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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It’s the human touch that has made the stadium such a special place, says Mr. Mooney. “We want people to feel the way people did in the fifties,” he said. “When you walk through the gate at Nat Bailey Stadium, we want you to have that kind of experience.”

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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