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Kernels Unveil New Scoreboard

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - You wonder why they didn't get the big one.

That's said in jocular tones, of course. The Cedar Rapids Kernels unveiled "the big one" Thursday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium, a monster new scoreboard/video board that fans are certain to love this season.

The board, made by Daktronics, has a price tag of about $500,000 and stands 30 feet by 48 feet. That's opposed to the old board, which was 16 by 24.

For comparison, the new one is taller and wider than the video boards at the University of Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena and taller than the video board at Kinnick Stadium.

Then there's the immaculate clarity. A home run all around.

"We think it's one of the top five scoreboards in the Midwest League," said Andy Pantini, IT and Communications Manager for the Kernels. "It's like someone said earlier today. This is the biggest HD TV in Cedar Rapids."

The Kernels' previous board - part of which was scrapped and part of which was sold to Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School - was the original at the newer Vets Stadium, with a warranty that had expired and parts that weren't made anymore. Thus the need for a new one.

The club hopes to get 10 years of use, at least, out of what Kernels President Gary Keoppel called "our newest toy." It took three days of training for Pantini and Amber Schmidt of Metro Studios in Cedar Rapids to learn how to use it.

Metro does all the video production work for the Kernels.

"We can do a lot of stuff," Schmidt said.

"This is the same type of board they have at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Target Field in Minneapolis," Pantini said. "The same technology. Just not quite the same size."

The Kernels are scheduled to open the 2013 Midwest League season Thursday, April 4 at home against Beloit. Kernels General Manager Doug Nelson said the new major league affiliation with the Minnesota Twins has produced a significant increase in preaseason tickets sold.