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Original Cinn.: Fenway Park’s Odd Scoreboard Abbreviations

Reader Kyle Sutton noticed something interesting about last week’s Reds/Bosox series at Fenway Park: The Fenway scoreboard listed the Reds as “Cinn.” That’s wrong, of course — it should be “Cin.” (with one “n”).

When Kyle recently posted that observation on Twitter, Keith Olbermann pointed out that the “Cinn.” thing is nothing new. To prove his point, he posted this photo from the 1975 World Series:

So has Fenway always been using that same scoreboard abbreviation (and maybe even that very same “Cinn.” placard!) for nearly 50 years?

In an attempt to answer that question, I looked up the all-time Red/Bosox history. It turns out that Cincy has visited Fenway only four times: in 1975 (for the World Series), 2005 (for a three-game series), 2014 (a two-game series) and last week. We already know that the Fenway scoreboard used “Cinn.” for the 1975 and 2022 series, so what about 2005 and 2014?

I couldn’t find any game photos of the scoreboard from the 2005 series, but the NESN broadcast for one of those games is available here and here, and it clearly shows that the scoreboard had “Cin” — just one “n”! Dig (click to enlarge):

And what about 2014? I found two fan videos here and here, and they also show the scoreboard showing “Cin,” with one “n” (click to enlarge):

So between 1975 and 2005, the Fenway scoreboard changed from “Cinn.” to “Cin” — and then it changed back this year!

And there’s more: The “Cinn.” version includes a period, while the “Cin” version does not. That period is Fenway-unusual, because the visiting team’s abbreviation on the scoreboard is usually period-free:

But! Occasionally periods do appear:

For those last two — “L.A.” and “S.F.” — you may be thinking, “Aha — they use periods when abbreviating cities with two-word names!” But no, they’re inconsistent about that as well:

Looking back at the abbreviations that include periods (including the “Cinn.” that got us started on this whole discussion), you might be thinking, “Aha — they use periods for National League teams!” But no, they don’t always do that either:

———

In short: The Fenway scoreboard is wildly inconsistent with its abbreviations. (I’m sure there are Bosox scholars out there who can tell us much more about this.) And I think that’s fine — it’s part of the ballpark’s charm. The only questionable thing is why they’ve sometimes abbreviated Cincinnati as “Cinn.,” which really makes no sense. Then again, they’re not the only ones to have done it (click to enlarge):

The weirdest thing is that those three cards are, as far as I can tell, the only Red(leg)s cards from the 1958 Topps set to use that abbreviation. The rest of the cards spelled out the entire city name. Another vexing inconsistency!

(Big thanks to Kyle Sutton for starting me down this rabbit hole, and to Keith Olbermann, Zac Snyder, and Trevor Williams for their research assistance.)

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Bulletin reminder: In case you missed it on Wednesday, my latest Bulletin article is a think piece about the recent controversy surrounding the Rays’ Pride uniforms, which raises some interesting questions about whether cultural-advocacy uniforms should be optional, and what that might mean if it became a standard protocol.

My premium subscribers can read the article here. If you haven’t yet subscribed, you can do that here (you’ll need a Facebook account in order to pay). Don’t have or want a Facebook account? Email me for workaround info. Thanks!

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Another double-knit holdout: Earlier this week I mentioned that former Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez stuck with the old-fashioned double-knit uniforms even after MLB had switched to Cool Base and Flex Base unis. That prompted reader Alex Burbidge to point out that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is still wearing double-knits today! As you can see in the photo shown above, which is from last month, his jersey has a traditional side seam instead of the Flex Base side panels. Interesting!

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ITEM! Coasters back in stock: Uni Watch coasters are once again available. A set of three for $9. Full ordering details here.

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Father’s Day reminder from Phil: Father’s Day is coming soon (June 19), and I’ll once again be posting photos of Uni Watch readers’ “Dads in Uniform,” an annual tradition that began in 2013. This is always a very special day, and I’d love for as many readers as possible to participate — especially those of you who haven’t done so before. A few of you have reached out to me, saying, “I’ve run out of photos of my Dad,” so if you want to resubmit a photo that we’ve used before, please feel free to do so

To take part in this annual tradition, select one photo of your father (or grandfather or uncle) in uniform (it can be sports, military, work — as long as it’s a uniform), along with a short description of 100 words or fewer. Then email the photo — again, only one, please — and text to phil.hecken@gmail.com with the subject line “Uni Watch Father’s Day 2022” by next Tuesday, June 14, midnight Eastern. I’ll run all of the submissions on Father’s Day. Thanks!

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The Ticker
By Paul

Indigenous Appropriation News: An Indigenous group in Tampa plans to demonstrate at an upcoming school board meeting as a protest against schools that continue to use Native American team names and iconography. … The San Francisco Unified School District has removed the word “chief” from its job titles. … Kiowa (Colo.) High School will keep its “Indians” team name after receiving the necessary approval under Colorado state law from the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma (from Kary Klismet).

Baseball News: Reader Jim Borwick notes that Blue Jays SS Bo Bichette wears a headband featuring what is apparently his personal logo. … Yankees P Nestor Cortes superstitiously attributes his success to growing a mustache. … It was 99 vs. 99 two nights ago in Minnesota, as Twins P Yennier Cano pitched to Yanks RF Aaron Judge. I’m sorry to report that Cano did not throw a 99-mph pitch during that sequence (from Jeff Barak). … Red Sox C Kevin Plawecki was missing his batting helmet logo last night (thanks to all who shared). … Here are the official socks for this year’s MLB Home Run Derby and All-Star Game (from Aaron Yusch). … Atlanta did another replica championship ring giveaway last night, and as a result once again wore their gold-trimmed uniform (from Chris Edwards). … Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong is currently going with a stacked NOB (from Gregg Ross).

NFL News: 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan wore a cap with an unusual “SF” logo on Tuesday. A team spokesman says it’s from this company and is not official Niners gear (from Cory Harrington). … Rams WR Cooper Kupp signed his new contract while wearing teammate Matthew Stafford’s jersey. “Paying respect to his QB,” says Mike Chamernik.

College Football News: Penn’s new helmet stripe is based on a decorative brick pattern on the Penn campus (from Ryan Kelly). … The all-white UGA uniforms that have been circulating lately are just for recruits, not for on-field use.

Basketball News: At the start of last night’s NBA Finals game in Boston, the Warriors complained that their hoop was too high — and they were right! (From Timmy Donahue and Mike Chamernik.) … The Jazz will reportedly unveil their very uninspiring new uni set, which has already leaked, next Thursday. … Some new uni number assignments in the works for Purdue.

Soccer News: Updated crest for second-tier English side Swansea City (from John Flory). … The rest of these are from the indefatigable Kary Klismet: New kits for Getafe of Spain’s La Liga. … New home kits for Brazilian club Náutico. … New home kits for Stade de Reims of France’s Ligue 1. … New goalkeeper kit for Tottenham Hotspur. … New kits for Curaçao’s men’s national team. … South Africa has announced a contest to design the home uniform for the national team.

Grab Bag: A fashion brand is selling brown onesies for troops who hate untucked shirts in their Army Combat Uniform (from Timmy Donahue). … Schools in Grand Rapids, Mich., will no longer require students to wear uniforms. … The state of Iowa, in an apparent attempt to get me to visit, is replacing a bunch of purple streetlights (from Aaron Telecky). … In the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie The Departed, there’s a scene in which a character is wearing audio headphones backwards. … The Mercedes F1 car is getting a rainbow-themed makeover for Pride Month (thanks, Anthony). … Here’s a ranking of the best ultimate jerseys at the D1 college championships. … A new Pentagon policy will allow HIV-positive service members to deploy and remain in uniform. … The Taliban-controlled government of Afghanistan has unveiled new uniforms for its state police force (from Timmy Donahue and Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: Indian River State College in Florida, whose teams are known as the Pioneers, has chosen the peregrine falcon as its mascot and unveiled an accompanying new logo.

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What Paul did last night: I’ve been writing for Bulletin for almost a year now, but I hadn’t met any of the staff or my fellow Bulletin writers in person until last night, when there was a big meet-and-greet party here in NYC.

I was particularly keen to meet the great cookbook author Dorie Greenspan (here’s her Bulletin page), whose work I’ve long admired. She was such a peach that I didn’t even mind her purple glasses. I figured she’d have no idea who I was, but she said her son is a big Uni Watch fan and would be excited to hear that she had met me at the party. So cool!

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Our latest raffle winner is Alex Rivera, who’s won himself a free item from the Playbook Products website. Congrats to him, and thanks again to Playbook Products for sponsoring this one!

Comments (54)

    Typo: “I was particularly keen to meet was the great cookbook author Dorie Greenspan”

    The Fenway scoreboard is wildly inconsistent with its abbreviations

    Lately, they’ve spelled out “Chicago” when the White Sox are in town and “New York” for the Yankees. The latter is compressed, so it rather reads like “NEWYORK”.

    Interesting piece! Thanks!

    The first sentence of the second paragraph of ‘What Paul Did…’ has a bit of an error.

    Not only did Fenway revert to “CINN”, that’s a different placard. Slightly different font and kerning compared to the original. Looking further, almost everything about the Monster scoreboard has changed – it now says “FENWAY PARK” where it used to say “AMERICAN LEAGUE”, and the light array for batter number is different (compare the “7” across the pictures).
    I never even realized “CINN” would not be correct until today. Hmm.
    Off-topic – what is with the on-field kendo competition in the one picture?

    I grew up in Pittsburgh, and I have never seen Pitts. used as an abbreviation. The common practice is Pgh. There is one local clothing company that has applied marketing-speak to have that represent “Pride, Glory and Honor.”

    Along those same lines, it is interesting that Charlotte is usually abbreviated as “CLT” (for example, that the airport code), but the NBA insists on “CHA”, presumably because they felt like “CLT” implies something else if you get my drift.

    Local usage may be Pgh., but at least in reference to sports teams, I’ve most often seen PIT as the abbreviation.

    First off, I want to know more about the Kendo on the warning track.

    The consistency that I think I see is that when the scoreboard uses an MLB-official three-letter abbreviation, it eschews the period. When it’s a different form of abbreviation, the period is mostly but not always included. My hypothesis for the changing CINN./CIN treatment is that the Sox had to create a board for the Reds on short notice in 1975. As the subsequent decades passed, that board was either painted over and reused or it was stored and eventually subsumed into the back/bottom of storage. When interleague play finally brought the Reds back to Boston, the 1975 board either didn’t exist or couldn’t be found, so a new one was made, and whoever made it used the league-official three-letter abbreviation. Subsequently, either the original 1975 CINN. board was found and put back in use, or someone in the organization noticed photos of the 1975 World Series scoreboard and decided to recreate that look with a new board. A lot of either/or in this hypothesis, but I’d almost be willing to bet money that this tracks with the real story.

    Paul, I was a little shocked to see you wearing a button down collar WITHOUT the collar buttoned down… intentional or accidental?

    Intentional. Sometimes I prefer it that way, especially in summer heat, because it lets the collar sit lower, with less contact against my neck.

    I was quicker to notice what appears to be black jeans. I believe I’ve only seen you in naturally faded blue jeans.

    I do occasionally wear black jeans. I’ve had that particular pair since 1989 or ’90, which should give you an idea of how infrequently I wear them!

    Hold on. You’re telling me that something in Boston is maddeningly devoid of any logic? Hard to believe. That’s so unlike literally anything else in the city.

    Hey as someone who’s lived in Greater Boston for going on 12 years I resemble that remark!

    In regards to SF dropping “chief” from titles, it’s been pointed out that the word doesn’t originally come from native cultures: link

    If the word doesn’t originate from native cultures, but is commonly associated with them, is that appropriation? Personally, I think terms like “Chief Operating Officer” or “Fire Chief” don’t appropriate the term, but interested in hearing others thoughts.

    Maybe it’s like the swastika. Even though it’s the Nazis that appropriated it from an ancient religious symbol, it’s now associated with the Nazis.

    Man, Yadier Molina is insane. Intentionally wearing a thicker jersey in the midwest StL heat, while also having to wear all that catching gear on top of the thicker jersey??

    Oh, great feature today. That sort of inconsistency would drive me nuts if I was a Fenway regular.
    Can was assume the placards for the actual game are the same as those used on the out of town scoreboard? Or does the out of town scoreboard feature its own unique set of placards?

    Here in Cincinnati, the city name is usually abbreviated by locals as “Cincy” or “Cinti” more recently “Nati” has worked its way into the vernacular.

    Have lived in Cincinnati all my life.

    You will occasionally see the Cinn. abbreviation in old advertisements or publications, but it seems to be quite archaic.

    As a kid, I was taught that when you wrote your return address on an envelope you could abbreviate the city as CINTI (similar to PGH for Pittsburgh or SACTO for Sacramento), another abbreviation I have never seen in any other context.

    Um…kendo at Fenway? At least deserves a small explanation…please? I’ve got to know!

    The Fenway stuff is weird, for sure, but I’m surprised Paul didn’t mention the totally insane typeface inconsistency in the rendering of ‘Boston.’ It would make a bit of sense if it weren’t, you know, like a permanent part of the scoreboard.

    It doesn’t look like Fenway differentiate between A.L. and N.L. (as I do believe Wrigley does). Could make for some interesting GTGFTS if there is only (a) Boston player(s) in the picture when L.A., N.Y., or CHI(.) come to town.

    This community is hilarious and wonderful. I received an email about the uniform change in Grand Rapids and saw it in the local news, but to have it reported on Uni-Watch is the best! Nice work, team!

    Greg:

    I am a Fenway regular. It doesn’t drive me nuts.

    The placards for the line score are different from the placards for the out-of-town scores. They are shorter than the line score placards.

    Náutico almost had to forfeit the game because the uniforms arrived late, via Uber. Then they tried to stiff the driver

    Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong is currently going with a stacked NOB (from Gregg Ross).

    That’s brutal.

    Kiowa (Colo.) High School will keep its “Indians” team name after receiving the necessary approval under Colorado state law from the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma (from Kary Klismet).

    Is there a database of schools that have formal permission to use Indian names? And do tribes get pressure from other tribes not to give that permission?

    Any abbreviation is correct if it is unambiguous. I don’t think CINciNnati is likely to cause confusion any more than BrooKLYN. PHOenix is as good as PHoeniX. But I giggled like Eric Cartman the first time I saw CharLoTte used instead of CHArlotte; that’s just
    asking for trouble.

    An abbreviation’s role is not strictly in-the-moment communicative. “Cinn.” would likely lead a reasonable observer to believe that the name of the city begins with the letters C-I-N-N, which is incorrect. In short, this abbreviation needlessly spreads misinformation.

    Think of this way: First, do no harm.

    “Hate the Cinn., love the Cin.er.”

    Prior to the 1963 standardization of capitalized two-character state postal abbreviations, the commonly accepted state abbreviations included the following:

    Ky. for Kentucky
    Va. for Virginia
    La. for Louisiana

    This sort of thing used to be pretty common in popular place-name abbreviations.

    All of which would likewise lead a reasonable observer to believe that the name of these states start with K-Y, V-A, and L-A. Or, and this is how I tend to view it, a “reasonable observer” can be assumed already to know how to spell common proper nouns like the names of states/provinces in his country and of the largest cities/districts therein. If the meaning is clearly communicated, no harm is done. This principle is similar to how most news organizations have a house style that permits omitting state/country identification for well-known cities. Mostly you have to say Waterloo, Iowa, but Los Angeles need not be followed by California, nor Paris, by France. One assumes that a reader knows basic facts about the world.

    “CINCI” is perhaps the best solution. But I had never heard of Sacramento abbreviated as SACTO before.

    The Cinn. abbreviation does not seem wrong to me for some reason. The old scoreboard at Shea was electronic and had the ability to change the abbreviations at will. My gut recollection was that they usually used Cinn., but I would bet there were times when they used something else or even spelled out the whole word. The out of town scores only had three letter names, so it was CIN.

    link

    I’m sure Shanahan can’t wear that hat during games, and interviews before and after the games, but are there rules about wearing non-sanctioned hats and clothing during team practices? Could he get fined for that? And do coaches and players have different rules, with Tom Brady wearing his “TB12” hat?

    A fashion brand is selling brown onesies for troops who hate untucked shirts in their Army Combat Uniform.

    Seriously? I never had that as a problem when I was in. I’d think the Onesie approach would cause the even worse underwear-up-the-crack phenomenon.

    Swansea may play in the English Football League, but they are most definitely not an English team.

    While not completely relevant this discussion reminds me of something I’ve thought about before, which is the different ways of rendering the White Sox name in 3-letter abbreviation. The Cubs are always CHC, and sometimes the White Sox are CHW, but other times they are CWS. I can see why some people think the latter works well but I personally find it really displeasing to have two Chicago teams whose abbreviation doesn’t follow the same basic format.

    I think that in the 75 World Series photo, the CINN. is the same placard as seen in
    link from July 7, 1947.

    There’s probably stashes of numbers and city placards piled up in the nooks and crannies behind the board, including signs for AFL/NFL games and whatnot, and eventually they get moved off site. Painting a new sign is probably less hassle than searching for an old one.

    Also, in the 47 scoreboard about half the cities aren’t abbreviated. Then there’s the “H” (for hits) at the end of the line scores on the left side, but no box for Runs, so addition was necessary.

    How is Cincinnati abbreviated on the out of town scoreboard at Fenway?

    Just to note and see what happens in the future – The Reds won Game 1 in Fenway this year. before that win, they haven’t won a game there since the 1975 World Series there. So they never won with CIN but have with CINN. I wonder if that will make the BoSox decide to go with CIN from now on.

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