Tag Archives: baseball

1919 Mechanical Play-by-Play Scoreboard

1919 mechanical play -by-play scoreboard

Back in 1978, a box of newsreels were found in the Yukon. Only recently though, was a newsreel of the infamous Black Sox 1919 World Series discovered in the collection.

It’s a great find, and as Deadspin points out, it shows the infamous 5 run inning that made it obvious everyone that the White Sox were throwing the game. However that’s not what caught my eye. What I was astonished by was the mechanical scoreboard that allowed people in Cincinnati to watch the game in near-real-time. The board doesn’t just feature moving base runners, but also features a ball that moves around as the play progresses. I had never seen anything like this before. Even the Flash players that MLB.com puts out, don’t feature a moving ball.

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Waste of Space

I don’t understand this. So this old man that has loads of cash to spend on World Series tickets that are front row, right behind home plate comes to the game completely decked out in Marlins gear. A team that isn’t even playing. I know what he would say too, because I one time asked someone that wearing a complete outfit for the wrong team before. “I’m a Marlins fan, and I want everyone to know I care about the Marlins.” Of course, the guy I talked to was at a midsummer day game / bachelor party and hadn’t shelled out over a couple of thousand dollars in tickets, airfare and lodging.

And of course sitting next to him is Mr. John 3:16. (Although,
he did move down for the last out.) Yeah, that’s going to save some souls.

Penalty Cards

The World Cup is on. The US played its first match against England, and didn’t lose. I thought England had the “White Pelé.” He must have been hurt, because I didn’t see him out there. I only saw some pudgy bald guy. (Zing!) All I want is for the US will advance. Although, winning a game in the knock out rounds would be wonderful.

I love the idea of FIFA. They’re the anti-NCAA. (Fuck you, and go die in a fire NCAA.) I love the idea of promotion and relegation, where entire teams move up and down.1 I love the idea of having the winners of the different national professional leagues champions play each other.3. I even love, the subject of this post, penalty cards. They just look cool, and I love how they carry over during tournament play.4

I was looking at the history of penalty cards, and learned that they are a relatively recent invention. They date back to only 1970, and were quickly adopted by other sports. What really surprised me though, is that the iconic yellow and red, aren’t the only colors.

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Fidel at Bat

The only picture hanging in my apartment is the above photo of Fidel Castro playing baseball. It’s a poster entitled, “Fidel at Bat: Images of the 20th Century.” I bought it because it was such a non sequitur. There was Fidel, playing baseball in a full stadium, with cameras all around him. There was no context for this photo. It was just there.

I wondered what was going through the pitcher’s mind. Was he told to give up a hit to El Presidente? Does he lob the ball up there so Fidel can get a hit? If he does, he can’t make it too obvious that it’s just a lob. What if Fidel just whiffs at it? What if, Fidel when he enters the box, says, “Give me your best pitch.” Do you show it?

Did Fidel play the whole game? Probably not. It was probably just a stunt, but in my imagination, he plays the whole game and goes 3 for 4 with a sacrifice bunt. (“We must all make sacrifices for the good of the whole,” Fidel is quoted as saying in the post-game interviews.)

Originally, I was just going to leave this post with that image, but as I searched around for a scan of the photo, I found several more photos of Fidel playing baseball, including wearing a baseball uniform, instead of his trademarked army uniform. Unfortunately my search added a bit of context to these photos, but it flesh out my alternate reality a bit. Castro was a star pitcher in college, noted for his curveball, so of course, he’s a pitching. He also, lead off. Lead off pitcher. That’s my Fidel.

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