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Baseball Then and Now

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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.images

(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.Pap Smear



2 responses »

  1. The two most annoying things on your list are the dearth of day games, and pulling the pitcher because of a pitch count. One year in Catholic school, Sister Mary Daniel had a tiny radio that she put on the windowsill so we could come back from lunch and listen to the world Series. Dodgers vs Yankees. We lived in the Brooklyn diocese so of course many of us were rooting for the Dodgers. We had to be very very quiet to hear it and we had been given some busy work to employ our hands and pencils. Sometimes a girl would get so nervous she would run to sister and grab her hand and hide her face in the enveloping skirts. After we were let out of school we all ran home or to someone’s house to watch or listen to the rest of the game.

    And yeah, last season I was really annoying to sit next to while watching a game, because I had a big problem with a pitcher who was winning being pulled after 6 innings, and then watching one of the next two pitchers blow the lead. Made me so angry. I keep thinking that if I know the right moves, how does a coach not know. Are they really unable to learn from previous mistakes?

    Thank you for giving me a chance to practice my rant before the start of the season. Of course I usually preface the whole thing with, “Back in the good days of baseball, the 1950s…”

  2. Nancy, I totally agree with you on both the dearth of day games and changing pitchers obsessively. The latter slows the games down and makes me crazy.

    As for games in the 50s, the WSeries were so frequently between the Dodgers and Yankees that for the longest time that’s what my sister and I thought the World Series WERE! We lived in Queens and I was a Yankee fan, and still am somewhat, though I’m not fond of the current manager, owners, or players.

    Feel free to rant on my blog any time!

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