The Golden Years

Despite my crankiness in the comments to Jim’s post about the Sports Illustrated piece about baseball being in good shape right now, I do agree with the general premise. We’re in a great era for baseball.

Over the weekend, which we spent being rained and eaten by John Kruk-sized mosquitoes in Door County, Wisconsin, I was reminded of one example of why it’s a good time to be a baseball fan. I thought of this recently when we were in Lake Tahoe and I was reading the Sacramento Bee, and it came to mind again while I was reading the Green Bay Press-Gazette last weekend.

Both cities, lacking major league baseball teams, cover teams from nearby cities, with the Bee leaning towards Oakland but covering the Giants as well, and the Press-Gazette covering the Brewers. But, their home cities being medium-sized, the papers don’t have extensive sports sections. They run bare-bones box scores. You get the at-bats, runs, hits, RBI. You get basic pitcher stats. You get the time of game and the umpires. And at best, you get a capsule summary of a paragraph or so to go with the box score.

Which brings me to my point. I’m spoiled. Reading a big-city paper or two or three every day, I’m used to getting the bells and whistles on my box scores. I want the pitch count, batters’ walks, batting average, details of the types of errors made.

And that’s just the beginning. When I moved up here in 1992, the expanded box score and the capsule summaries were my only way to follow Cardinals games that I couldn’t pick up on KMOX. Once in a while, I got to see a Post-Dispatch at a newsstand. But most days, I was deprived of a lot of
the fun of following a major league team: I got no rumors, no human-interest stories, no detailed stories of exciting wins. And, lacking cable, I got no replays.

Twelve years later, being away from the Internet and a big-city paper for a few days reminds me of just how much things have changed. I now have more baseball information than I could ever use, from all the stats in baseball history to great Cardinals commentary to the Post-Dispatch. And, though the design sucks (I keep hoping a certain Major League Baseball employee will get it fixed.), is fantastic. The audio portion alone makes it a godsend to people like me rooting for out of town teams. Add in the video highlights (like a bit of thievery by Jim Edmonds that’s currently available on the Cardinals site), and you’ve got the best thing Major League Baseball has done since barring Pete Rose.

Add in all the other reasons already discussed in the earlier post, and it’s sure a good time to be a baseball fan.

Original comments…

maura: oh,, how i coveted you back in the day…

Levi: Yeah, I should probably fix that so it links to, say, your page instead of Hasbro’s.

Ok. Now it does.

Jason: What were you doing in Door County?

Levi: Not making a documentary about Wisconsin. Instead, we were camping. In the rain and a mosquito convention.