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What do you want out of a baseball score bug?

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Broadcasts like to give us information, but how much is too much?

The “score bug” first came about in the early 90s in British soccer games, but was soon imported to the United States. Soon sports broadcasts everywhere had a permanent graphic showing viewers the score. As time went on, more information was included in the score bug, and for baseball games that meant including information such as the count, the number of outs, who was up, who was pitching, pitch counts, and how fast the pitcher was throwing.

FOX has updated their score bug for this post-season for the first time since 2017, and it’s a bit busy.

The reactions were mixed.

Score bugs really only need to do two things:

Provide graphics that are easy to read

HD televisions make the picture clearer than ever, but some of us older fans can still have a bit of trouble reading smaller font. The font should be crisp agains the background. I think the new score bug is actually an improvement on that front, using a bright color as the background. I do question the font - “is this a spooky font for Halloween or something?” but at least it’s easy to read.

Convey a lot of information but don’t overload it

There is a balancing act of conveying a lot of information to the viewer without overloading them or cluttering the screen. The score, count, runners on base, and pitcher and batter info has become standard. Pitch velocity has also become pretty standard, although the TBS score bug omits it. The count should be clear - the Bally Sports graphic re-design initially made it a bit difficult to determine the number of outs because it wasn’t clear if all the balls were filled in, signifying two outs, or if none of the balls were filled in, signifying no outs.

Beyond that, I don’t know that you need more info at a glance. It would be nice to know hitter stats - I often get frustrated that they will often show you a hitter’s season stats in his first at-bat, but never after that, leaving me not knowing how that hitter is doing if I turn the game on in the fifth inning. But you also don’t want their Baseball-Reference line cluttering up the screen. And you also want to know what that player did during the game, so I don’t know what a good compromise would be.

What do you think of the post-season scorebugs? How would you improve baseball TV graphics?