Last night my son and I watched a video of Game 4 of the 1969 World Series, in which the Mets won a sweeping victory over the Baltimore Orioles. For me, the game was interesting more from a sociological perspective than as baseball history. Following are the social changes I noticed between then and now.
(1) The players on both teams were primarily, possibly exclusively, black and white, i.e., none that I noticed were Hispanic, as opposed to comprising nearly 30% of all major league players today.
(2) Tom Seaver pitched a full ten innings, having pitched, the announcer said, just two days ago. These days starting pitchers get four or five days’ rest, and rarely go beyond seven innings.
(3) The game was played in full sunlight. There hasn’t been a World Series day game since 1987.
(4) The fans were, to my eye, 95% male adults; these days as many women and kids attend games.
(5) The fans were mostly dressed in suits and ties, which brings me to…
(6) These days when the camera pulls back for a view of the fans, we see a virtual ocean of the home team’s color; in the case of the Mets, it’s blue, because fans are wearing Mets caps, shirts, jackets, etc. That a wide shot of the stadium in 1969 showed no such continuity indicates that fan gear wasn’t the big business it is today.
(6) Finally, fans were avidly smoking in their seats. No comment.