When the founders of baseball gathered in an old barn sometime in the 1800’s for their now-famous “Fourum On The Rules Of The Gaem of Baseball”, they couldn’t possibly have seen what the game would become today. Barrels of moonshine were tapped, all the town’s horsehair was gathered for base padding, and the boisterous meeting carried loudly through until dawn.
“I for one think that the bases should be stuffed with dried corn, and the winner of the game should be allowed to take it home to sup!” offered Abernathy Henkelschmear, a wizened townsfolk.
“You would do us all good to stuff that good-for-nothing gullet with dried corn and leave us all in peace,” sniffed Lorraine Toothelspout. She had harbored a disdain for Abernathy since a rounders accident years prior, one reason for the agreed-upon rules summit.
“Well, I think one thing that we can all agree on is that the ‘catcher’ should be held to a much lower standard than any other position,” said Henrik Lipkin, who happened to be a catcher himself.
The founders didn’t really get anywhere that evening, nor did they at the next several. But over the months, they were eventually able to agree on some cobbled-together rules for the game we now call baseball.
What Abernathy, Lorraine, Henrik, and the rest of them couldn’t have imagined was how their game would evolve. The use of gloves revolutionized the game after Poobah McPhee asked the vital question: “how can I make my hands stop hurting so much?” Future innovations included the presence of grass in the outfield, fencing to stop people from having to run over 1000 feet to retrieve a ball, and paying people to stand in the crowd and sell refreshments.
One innovation, however, changed the game more than any before it. This innovation wasn’t even directly related to the game. I speak, of course, of the radio.
Through ingenious bells, whistles, and gears, a person could speak in St. Louis, and be heard all over the Mississippi. Americans all over could have entertaining programming delivered directly to the comfort of their living rooms. And the game of baseball would suddenly become accessible to a more massive audience than ever before.
One hundred years after the invention of the radio, it is still the gold standard of delivering content to voracious listeners. While many borderline-heretics have opined on the need for “progress” and “continued innovation”, the everyday users of the radio still know that nothing can surpass it in reliability, simplicity, and utility.
While it would, of course, be nice to one day have some sort of pictures-via-radio technology, I fear that such an invention may occur well beyond the scope of our lifetimes. So why yearn for technology that is so clearly beyond us, and not enjoy the fruits of inventors long dead?
It was, after all, through this magical device that hundreds (hundreds!) of Puget Sound listeners were today regaled with the wizardry of James Paxton. I fear that any who demand more may simply be lacking in imagination. I, for one, only need hear “Paxton touches 95 there,” and I’m sold. In my ears, a chorus of angels. Before my eyes, the domination of our prodigal Canuck, returned. In my head, visions of a victorious Mariners team this October.
Both of the Mariners’ top prospects were playing in today’s game too. Thankfully, the magic of radio was there to capture each of them clobbering a baseball back into Abernathy’s barn. The Mariners’ top radiosman Aaron Goldsmith painted a verbal picture.
“Back, back, back!” cried Goldsmith after Jarred Kelenic clobbered his baseball.
Back, back, back, we could picture the hopeless outfielder retreat after the ball.
Gary Hill painted a different, though no less vivid, picture after Julio Rodriguez’s dinger.
“He is back, he is back,” breathed Hill. Just as with Kelenic’s homer, the captive audience could picture the outfielder going back, going back.
James Paxton striking out eight. Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic each hitting a dinger. These are experiences that the Mariners brought to our living rooms in a way that would simply not have been possible just 122 short years ago.
Would a visual radio be possible, experts agree that it may look like the following tweets. We may only hope that the Mariners are able to unlock this technology for broadcasting in the near future.