Day: November 4, 2013

For The Love Of Baseball And Radio

OK, cramming three things together that aren’t each related to the others, but I can link them enough to justify the single post. And, I know, all of these would have been much more timely a week ago. You were busy, too. Let’s get caught up together.

First, radio. Last week was the 75th anniversary of the War of the Worlds broadcast. I’ve always been fascinated by it for a variety of reasons. And I had heard many times before that the “panic” wasn’t nearly as widespread as legend insisted.

But this piece does the math, checks the historical record, and then delves into why there was a “panic” in the first place. The answer is awfully interesting.

How did the story of panicked listeners begin? Blame America’s newspapers. Radio had siphoned off advertising revenue from print during the Depression, badly damaging the newspaper industry. So the papers seized the opportunity presented by Welles’ program to discredit radio as a source of news. The newspaper industry sensationalized the panic to prove to advertisers, and regulators, that radio management was irresponsible and not to be trusted.

Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds Did Not Touch Off a Nationwide Hysteria. Few Americans Listened. Even Fewer Panicked.

Now, radio and baseball.

A wonderful look at the tremendous reach of St. Louis station KMOX, and how its power and the geography of baseball before expansion made the Cardinals, arguably, the most popular team in America, even at the height of the Yankees dynasties.

Supposedly, it still is, despite the proliferation of televisions and Internet access. But can it really still be heard clearly in other states, without the harsh accompaniment of static and interference from other stations trying to muscle in on the signal? Surely there must be some exaggeration.
To put it to the test, I set out in my rental car Sunday, the day of Game 4 of the World Series, between the Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox, and headed south, the radio tuned to 1120 AM, to see if I could I outdrive the signal before the end of the game.

Trying to Outrun The Cardinals’ Long Reach

And, finally, just baseball.

I love the site Flip Flop Flyball. Artist Craig Robinson uses his mastery of Photoshop and his new-found love of baseball (He’s a native of England), to create kickass, 8-bit-style graphics of famous players and historical moments. He also makes cool infographics that are not necessarily 8-bit.

He currently resides in Mexico and using the Mexican sculpture style known as Árbol de Vida (Tree of Life), he created an Árbol de Béisbol: the history of baseball in one, cool, 8-bit graphic. Here is the image, but he sure to go to the page and read up on all the elements. It’s really fantastic.


Árbol de Béisbol

And while you’re over there, look at some of his other work.

Busy Times

A very busy few days. So let’s catch up quickly.

Halloween was postponed a night in most of central Indiana thanks to some heavy rain and dangerous winds that rolled through Thursday. It actually wasn’t bad until most kids would have been inside, but I doubt walking through the rain would have been very much fun for anyone. Friday was a gorgeous, mid-fall evening. We had a peacock (M.), cat (C.), and Power Ranger (L., of course). They were quite successful in the 90 minutes or so we were out.

We hooked up with a couple other families and at one point had 10 or so girls in our group. Which of course is all kinds of difficult, as certain kids are running ahead while others are dragging behind. At one point a few of the girls were yelling at others “WE’VE ALREADY BEEN TO THAT HOUSE!” The parents had to let the screamers know they were two houses ahead of the rest of the group and needed to chill out so everyone could catch up.

Friday was also All Saints Day, as my Catholic friends know. This one was especially poignant as it was the final year one of our girls was participating in the St. E’s parade of saints. L. reprised her role of St. Margaret of Scotland, and did so with aplomb. She marched right up to the mic and owned it. “I’m St. Margaret of Scotland. I helped feed the poor.” Of course, she said the same thing last year. And she saw M. rock the St. Margie gear at least once. Still, not every kid was as confident as she was.

Saturday I covered the state cross country meet, which meant a long, boring drive out to Terre Haute. It was brisk but dry, and really a fine day for early November. I only had three kids to worry about, but one of them had a legitimate chance to do well in the boys race. He did extremely well, running in one of the top three spots for the entire race, well ahead of the main pack after about the first kilometer. He finished second, partially because the kid who was leading by 20 meters collapsed about 200 yards short of the finish. But still, my kid did great.

His sister took 10th in the girls race a few minutes later, and I had a nice little theme to build my story around. Never mind that I did the same thing when I covered the regional meet two weeks ago, or the writer who covered the semistate race between just wrote about them, too.

We hosted some of our soccer team friends Sunday night for dinner and fun.1 I drank some good beer and ate a lot of good food. So with the Colts down 18 at halftime, I packed it in. You’d think I would know better by now. But in my defense, Houston looked fantastic in the first half, the Colts awful, and two huge calls went against Indy as well. Just seemed like one of those nights when it wasn’t meant to be. I even woke up in the middle of the night and wondered if I should check the score to see what happened, just in case the Colts made a game of it. I’m glad I passed. I may not have gotten back to sleep if I had seen the score at 2:00 AM. 6-2, 2-0 in the division.

Now soccer is over and we can move on to important things like blowing leaves three times a week. We need one more good storm to clear out most of the trees, although just about everything left is a gorgeous gold right now.

Coming up this week, some leftover baseball links, the books of October, and the giddy look ahead to the Andrew Wiggins experience, which officially begins Friday. Oh, and I think I already have a groovy vid picked out for Friday.

  1. A soccer season round-up is coming later this week. 

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