Look how far we’ve come


Dodgers/Reds, right? Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

71 years ago today the first live major league baseball broadcast hit the television airwaves.  It was a Saturday double-header between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbetts Field.  Red Barber called both games with the Reds winning the first and the Dodgers the second.

A few things strike me interesting about this double-header.  The lineups for both games were almost identical.  The pitchers, of course, were different, but the only other difference was that the Reds used a different catcher for the second game while the Dodgers replaced one of their infielders.  Also, the first game only took 1 hour and 16 minutes to play.  Reds’ pitcher Bucky Walters only gave up two hits in the game and pitched a complete game to get his 21st win of the season (he’d go on to win 27 games in 1939).  I’m not one of those who criticizes players for needing a day off or who thinks pitch counts should be eradicated, but these guys played two full games on the same day without falling apart.

Although, to be fair, in total both games only took 3 hours and 17 minutes to play.  Joe West would have been in heaven.

71 years relatively speaking, wasn’t that long ago.  My father was four and my mother’s father was 16.  Both are around today to enjoy the many technological advances we’ve experienced as sports fans.  Today we can watch baseball on over 10 different channels thanks to cable television.  I can watch any game I want (well, any game but an in-market game) on my computer and I can listen to any radio broadcast over my computer or on my cell phone.

Tonight I’ll be at “meet-up” of people in the baseball industry.  These folks got together through a social network (in this case, Linked In) and are celebrating their first anniversary as an online network.  Over 5000 people involved in baseball in one form or another get together virtually (and tonight some of them in person) to discuss baseball.  I’ve made some of my closest friends over the last 7 years thanks to the Internet (and, really, baseball).  I sit in awe that technology has come so far in less than 100 years.

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