Growing up in rural Idaho is not without its challenges. Whether it is a steady diet of potatoes three times a day or the fact that we thought a big city was anything with 40,000 residents; we were more or less out of touch. The one thing we did have was the Major League Baseball Game of the week.
Each Saturday after cartoons finished, I would tune in to Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek as they welcomed us to the ballpark. I had never been to a Major League Baseball game in my life. The nearest ballpark and franchise was hundreds of miles away. There was no cable or satellite television yet and most of the radio stations in our area ceased broadcasting when the sun went down. But I considered myself a baseball fan thanks in large part to those Saturday games.
I would sit mesmerized watching as Garagiola would discuss the finer points of the game and Kubek would give me pitch-by-pitch what was occurring. Each game I would wear my baseball glove and my trusty hat and dream of what it would be like to be able to actually attend a game in person.
On the playground each day my friends and I would discuss the games we had seen and compare notes on the aspects of the game as described by our heroes. It was an innocent time in our lives where everything revolved around baseball.
When I had my own children and we moved to Arizona I pledged that if Phoenix was ever awarded a franchise that I would make sure my kids grew up watching and learning the game as I did. On March 9, 1995 Major League Baseball awarded the Arizona Diamondbacks who would start playing in 1998. I cannot put into words how excited I was. Finally I would be able to live out the dreams I had as a young boy. I would have a ticket to every home game during the season.
Since that first game I have taken my wife or one of my children to nearly every Diamondbacks game ever played. I never get tired of sharing my love for this great game. And while I cannot think of a better way to spend an evening than at the ballpark, there are times I miss those days in Idaho watching the game of the week and hearing the greats like Garagiola, Pee Wee Reese, Harry Carry, Joe Buck, and Mel Allen. The contemporary announcers are great but it’s just not the same as those from your childhood.
I thought perhaps those memories would have to remain tucked away and my family would have to trust me when I talked about how different things were when I was a kid. Through the wonders of technology and the dedication of the historians of the game we can now relive some of those great moments.
MLB announced this week that they are making available some of the titles from the Major League Baseball Productions Film & Video archives in digital format. Over 100 titles will be available via iTunes that users can purchase and relive some of the amazing events in baseball’s past.
From the press release “Aside from MLB Bloopers and Prime 9: MLB Heroics, available programming includes The Best of the Home Run Derby and “Prime 9: All-Star Moments;” Official World Series Films dating back to 1947, including the 1969 and 1986 films; the first season of “This Week In Baseball,” which originally aired in 1977; a documentary offering a fresh perspective on Jackie Robinson’s life and career; recent productions including a comprehensive film chronicling every era of World Series play and documentaries created to celebrate notable anniversaries for the Mets, Astros and Red Sox; bloopers titles highlighting the funniest MLB moments; and many other titles. Any of these films can now be downloaded from the iTunes store (www.iTunes.com/MLB). Prices range from $1.99 for individual episodes of “Prime 9” and “This Week in Baseball” to $19.99 for the Official 2012 World Series Film in HD.”
Finally I can share with my kids those events that helped shape me as a baseball fan. I can now have those memories with me on my phone, tablet, or computer. While I may never be able to force myself to purchase highlights from the Boston Red Sox it is nice to know that I have that ability if I suffer a head injury and think that’s a good idea.
The history of this game is vast and rich and we are now living in a time where we as baseball fans can bridge the gap between the golden age and the future of the game. Using technology I can watch a live game via MLB.tv and immediately afterwards I can watch highlights from a memorable game from my childhood. There was never a better time to be a baseball fan.