A new feature occupying a prominent spot in a Summit County courtroom — right above the jury box — has sparked much interest.
The object of curiosity: an antique baseball scoreboard that shows balls, strikes and outs, as well as the home and away teams' scores.
Summit County Judge Amy Corrigall Jones bought the scoreboard — with her own money — as part of a new probation program she’s overseeing called SCORR (Summit County Offender Recidivism Reduction.)
Jones, a former basketball player and coach, is a big sports fan and adopted a sports theme for the program, including the name and logo, which shows a basketball going into a hoop.
Susan Sweeney, the court’s assistant executive officer, saw the scoreboard for sale on the Facebook page for Urban and Loft, a warehouse in Canton that specializes in antiques and vintage items, and reached out to the owner.
“We were a little flabbergasted at first,” admitted Suzi Stepanovich, co-owner of the store that’s been open for just over a year.
Stepanovich, however, said she learned more about the new probation program and was pleased the sign could be part of it.
“It sounds like it’s going to be phenomenal,” she said.
Stepanovich and her husband bought the sign about 10 years ago at an estate sale in North Canton. She’s not sure, however, about its origin or age.
The sign is in excellent condition and still lights up. Stepanovich even made sure all the light bulbs were working before delivering it to the Summit County Courthouse in April.
Now that Jones has the $650 sign, she’s trying to decide how to use it.
“Susan wants to light it up,” Jones said, referring to Sweeney. “I’m not sure.”
Jones is concerned about the negative connotation of a “strike” because it reminds her of the “three strikes you’re out” rule used in some states. Program organizers have discussed several possibilities, including showing a run when participants move from one phase to another and an out when they are sanctioned for breaking a rule.
With the best use of the sign still under debate, Jones didn’t turn it on during her recent first hearing for SCORR. She did, however, pay homage to her sports theme, calling this the “first day of practice.” She also asked the participants about which team they thought would win that night’s NBA championship game, with a few predicting the Toronto Raptors – which turned out to be correct.
Jones said sports have always been a big part of her life and represents something she can control. She hopes this will resonate with participants, as well as providing a bit of fun.
“I control what I control,” she said. “That’s the way I look at it.”
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, email@example.com and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.