The house I grew up in was (and still is) about 120 miles away my father’s beloved New York Mets. That distance seems like nothing nowadays, but for out-of-market martyrs like my dad back in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, it might might as well have been 2,120 miles.
The only way to keep up with the Metropolitans’ exploits (and routine implosions) back then was through box scores, Associated Press recaps and – because their games were almost never televised in our area – the solid state AM radios that he strategically placed around the house.
Radios whose dials, antennas and positioning were endlessly tinkered with on game days so that Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelsen and Steve Albert could come into our home for a few hours, and make that distance between a fan and his team disappear. That is, assuming the weather conditions and signal strength cooperated.
Man, how times have changed. I live in Boston now, some 2500 miles from my beloved San Diego Padres. Yet I feel as connected to this team’s players, coaches, broadcasters, front office execs, and incredible fan base as I did when still lived in Southern California. MLB AtBat and MLB.TV are as close as my phone and laptop.
Bob Scanlan, Ted Leitner, Corey Brock, Jesse Agler, Gaslamp Ball, East Village Times, the Mighty1090 and a host of other sources keep me updated daily – hell, hourly – about the latest injuries, rehab assignments, roster moves, OBPs, WARs and just how unbearable Shawn Kelley has been to watch until he was mercifully placed on the DL.
Add in the wealth of posts and pictures that our favorite players (hello, Matt Kemp) serve up on social media, and we fans have a treasure trove of ways to stay engaged with, and strengthen our bond for, a team that A.J. Preller has miraculously made relevant again. The bottom line is, we’re all ridiculously spoiled. And any team in any city, state or sport can be one’s home team now.
It’s shocking to think that these technologies and innovations which we – and our kids – take for granted didn’t even exist 10-15 years ago. Now that they do, our once-insatiable appetite for stats, web gems, rumors, scouting reports and young draft prospects is being sated on a daily basis. In my case, to the point of often pissing off friends, relatives, work peers and family members
But hey, we’ve all been waiting for a team this promising since, when.., 1998?! While I know that I’ll never get my father – newly enamored and enthralled with his 13-4 Mets – to share my interest in Buddy’s boys, it gives me a ton of pleasure to see all the different ways he can now connect with a team that put him through hell all those years growing up.
Now that I think about it though, it’s probably better that he didn’t have all these resources at his fingertips during those dark decades of incompetence. Maybe the box scores and AM radios were just the buffers he needed to prevent him from having a full-on nervous breakdown.