No matter the march of time, the game of baseball will always be stuck in 1930. Grandstands, newsreels, games of pepper — the game has an old soul, an ingrained essence that taps into a different era, a different mentality. Through the waxing and waning of exploding scoreboards, cookie-cutter stadiums and uniforms with shorts — White Sox, I’m looking at you — the game has always had a streak of staidness run through it. It was of our fathers, and it will be of our children; this much is certain.
So when a new technology is introduced, or some type of change swirls around the sport, a pushback is inevitable. Look no further than the QuesTec debacle of 2003 or the debate over video replays in last year’s playoffs. (Full disclosure: As a lifelong baseball fan, this conservative streak runs through me — only three years ago I wrote that “instant replay belongs in baseball just about as much as Mick Jagger needs to lose weight.”)
And yet there’s the change that crops up every once in a while — night games, take a bow — that augment the sport enough to sway even the staunchest anti-change contentions. Enough to make the game better. Such is the case with my newest love, my newest infatuation, my newest time-suck: watching baseball online.
Now, I’m a college kid — I’ve got leisure time like Sarah Palin’s got credibility. Doesn’t crop up too often. The situation was no different on a warm evening last September when I sat on my bed, laptop lighting up my collared shirt and pressed jeans. My quadmates gathered outside my bedroom, jostling in the doorway to let me know, yet again, that it was almost midnight and the night was ticking away. All 21, all decked, all impatient — I held up a give-me-a-minute finger, and turned back to the screen.