Category Archives: Sundry

100 Years Ago Today, They Watched Baseball Play by Play at the Bijou Theater in Evansville

Actually, I’m not sure if it was 100 years ago exactly today.  It might be 100 years ago today ± a couple of days. But I’m going to take that liberty here.

The Evansville (Ind.) Courier-Press, like many newspapers, occasionally publishes a feature article in which they recall items that ran in the papers on that day 100 years ago, 75 years ago, 50 years ago, 25 years ago, etc.  I say “papers” because they were separate newspapers on this day 100 years ago. They entered a JOA in 1938 in which they continued publishing as separate papers except as a joint edition on Sundays, before fully merging into an everyday single paper in 1988.  I don’t know whether the item in question ran in the Press or in the Courier, but I guess that doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is what was published on this day in 1915:

Knowing the great interest in the Evansville baseball team, we have decided to try the experiment of producing the out-of-town games on a new baseball board which we have leased. Today’s game will be reported play by play over a direct wire from the Wheeling ball park to the Bijou theater stage. If the additional patronage at the theater justifies the expense, all out-of-town games will be reproduced in this manner. The ball will hardly have left the pitcher’s hand in the Wheeling ball park before the life-sized baseball at the Bijou will reproduce this movement on the mimic diamond. Play by play, every movement of ball and players, will be shown almost instantaneously. Crowds are hypnotized by the fascination of the game shown on this board.

The Evansville team at the time was the River Rats, who played in the Class B Central League along with the Wheeling (W. Va.) Stogies.  It was an eight-team loop stretching from … well, Evansville to Wheeling, with six other clubs in between.  The 1915 edition of the River Rats featured four former major leaguers, none of whom had much more than a cup of joe in the bigs. (Punch Kroll had the best career among them.)

But even if the team was populated by has-beens and never-would-bes, they were still so popular in town, even as a third level club playing in a Class B league, that it was considered worth the expense by the local newspaper to set up a telegraph line and baseball board and charge admission for locals to sit inside a presumably non-air-conditioned theater in southern Indiana during the summer to take in the remote action live.

I don’t know for how long this service continued on in Evansville, but however long it did, it started 100 years ago today, and more importantly, it’s a good example of the only way ballgames at the time could be “broadcast” live to an audience, since consumer-based radio broadcasting wasn’t quite yet a thing. This falls within the purview of our mission to report on how the media cover baseball as an event, and that’s why we’ve posted here.

The Illustrator for the Cardinals Scorecard Wrote to us

Last night, SABRmedia.org received an email from Mike Right.  Mike is the illustrator of the fantastic cover of the St. Louis Cardinals scorecard that we featured on the blog yesterday.

Turns out that the style used for the scorecard is not a one-off, after all.   Actually, Mike has been using this style for over a decade now, having graced the covers of twelve scorecards with his unique retro style.  Here are a couple of choice recent examples:

10 cardinal scorecard cover 12 COVER WORKPAGE 2 copy

 

Pretty sweet, huh?

If you are interested in reading more about Mike and his work for the Cardinals, you can download a PDF of the article by clicking here:

Mike Right Scorecard Article (2011 Cardinals Gameday Magazine)

Keep up the good work, Mike!

(P.S.: Mike confirms that the object the Pirate is holding on this year’s cover is neither a cutlass nor a wand, but instead is an empty pennant stick.  But of course!  😎 )

 

 

The Front Cover of This Year’s St. Louis Cardinals Scorecard is Absolutely Fantastic

STL Scorecard Front CoverThe perfectly delightful cover of the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals scorecard.

First off, let’s get this one out of the way: I realize that the relationship between team scorecards and the baseball media is, at best, tenuous.  A scorecard does not cover a baseball team as a medium, in the way newspapers do, or provide details of the game in progress in the way a game broadcast does.  The scorecard is a marketing tool of the team, in addition to being a means for a small sliver of fans to better engage with the game.  There’s very little, perhaps even no, journalism at work here, so I would agree that technically, this may be out of scope for the committee.

That doesn’t mean we can’t revel in the  straight-up awesomeness of the front cover of this year’s St. Louis Cardinals official scorecard.  Rather than being a boring photo of the manager or best player, or of the stadium, or an action shot of a play during a game, as most scorecard covers are, this cover features a callback to the whimsical cartoons typically seen in the newspapers and scorecards of the 50s and 60s. The look of pride and dominance on the face of the Cardinal contrasts perfectly with the look of bewilderment and exhaustion on the faces of the opponents.  And the splendiferous flag the Cardinal is carrying, featuring the team’s ten Central Division championships, including the two most recent ones, stands in stark relief against the puny few cheap pennants three of the four challengers are holding.  (The thing the Pirate is holding looks to me more like a wand than a cutlass.)

Illustrations like this used to be very common in sports, and have understandably fallen out of style.  After all, tastes inevitably change with the generations.  But in my opinion, that’s what makes this cover so effective.  It takes a long dormant illustration style and resurrects it faithfully, the only nod to the present being the years represented on the flags.

Whether or not you are a Cardinals fan, it is hard to not be a fan of this scorecard cover.  There are only three words I can use to sum it up:

It.  Is.  Awesome.

Pablo Sandoval Owes Reds Beat Reporter A New Laptop

Well, this is a hell of an occupational hazard for a baseball beat reporter.

During the top of the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s Giants/Reds tilt in Cincinnati, Pablo Sandoval fouled one up into the press box.  There are lots of targets up there, and the ball found one in Mark Sheldon’s Thinkpad.

Check out the priceless reaction:

 

Sheldon’s subsequent tweet indicates a confirmed kill:

The Reds won the game, 8-3, although it’s a little unclear as to how Sheldon communicated as much to MLB.com.

(h/t Business Insider)