Thursday, October 27, 2016

Baseball is still there, after 50 years of neglect

For the first time in about 50 years, I have watched a few innings of the World Series this week.

What has gotten into me?

I abandoned Major League Baseball in my 20s. It was just too dull compared to football and basketball. I quit watching games, and I quit following teams. I quit reading the sports section between the end of college basketball season and the beginning of football season. Right now, I would be hard pressed to name even one current Major League ballplayer.

As an adolescent and teenager, I followed baseball. All little boys were required to play baseball, I think. I argued with friends about the comparative worth of Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle. I watched or listened to World Series games.

What I discovered after turning on the World Series for a couple of hours Tuesday and Wednesday nights was that things have changed since I last paid attention. Changed a lot. The special effects that show the strike zone and where the baseball met that rectangle and the radar gun that tells you the speed of every pitch make the game more interesting.

Baseball has come a long way since the days I remember with Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese doing the commentary and everything being black-and-white.

I don't think I will go back to following baseball. It still seems in many ways to a throwback to an earlier age when all boys played backyard baseball, often with balls held together by electrical tape. Those days extended from my father's era (born 1918) through my own baby boomer years. We were all characters in a "Little Rascals" world.

I won't go back to those days, but I am glad to see baseball is still around and has become a little more television viewer-friendly.

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