Hey little man. Baseball is pretty great, right? I know your Mom and Dad have already taken you to a game, you even saw an Aaron Judge home run before me. By the time you’re in high school, he’ll obviously be the home-run king, so that’s pretty cool.
Anyway, its pretty easy for you to see your baseball highlights and games whenever you want these days. MLB At-Bat, ESPN, MLB Network, Twitter all make it difficult for you to miss anything. You should know it wasn’t always like that. Your Dad and uncles actually had to work pretty hard to know what was happening in games as they were going on. There were even times where we may not have known what the Yankees did til the following morning when we saw the paper, when we’d read the boxscores to see what Mattingly did (Which by the way, I firmly believe, is the reason your Dad is an accountant now.).
If we really wanted to know what was going on in a game, we had Channel 8. It looked similar to this:
Eventually, baseball scores would rotate through the screens. It would take way too long, and we seemingly always switched to the channel right as it was showing the late-game scores, which meant we had to wait the entire rotation before we could see what the score was. Sometimes the score would be stuck on the same inning for hours, but it was the best we could do.
Fortunately, SportsCenter made this process immensely better. Back then the Yankees were pretty terrible, so sometimes we’d have to wait through the whole show to see a score, and even then we wouldn’t always get highlights, just a final score with a few stats from the game. When we did get highlights, we hung on every pitch. We had no idea what actually happened in the game, so when they showed us tying the game at 1 in the 7th, we cheered the highlights, hoping the next highlight would show us taking the lead.Unfortunately, that wasn’t always the case, but we were actually able to see the Yankees, and the Stadium, on a regular basis, and that was huge for us.
Then there was keeping up with the league. We had a few ways of doing this. The biggest, of course, was This Week in Baseball (T.W.I.B.). Your Dad and I played the theme song to T.W.I.B. in our heads as we tried to rob home runs against our fence to the back yard. We also had Major League Baseball Magazine to keep us up-to-date.
Your uncles and Dad also had a collection of video tapes that we would watch on a regular basis. Various blooper reels or sometimes the 1978 World Series highlights (since back then that was all we had!). But, I’ll leave you with our favorite… “Baseball: Funny Side Up”. No tape got more watched than that one. I hope you sit down with your Dad one day and watch. There’s some baseball legends in it, he can fill you in on all of them.
That’s about all from your Uncle Thursday Rob. I hope you can appreciate what it was like being a fan when we were growing up. It may sound terrible, but really it was pretty great and we loved it.
Well E.J., that’s all for this week in Thursday Rob… See ya next week…