Saturday, February 21, 2009
How in the Hell Did We Survive Before the Internet?
Most of my baseball reading -- like about 90% of it -- takes place online now, and you're probably the same. It isn't that the MSM have completely failed in their coverage, or their quality has declined, or anything of the sort, but rather a matter of expedience and convenience, e.g. I can get Bastian's comments on life at 'The Mattick' as soon as he writes it. But as a kid, I lived for that point in the winter when the season preview magazines hit newsstands (er, the shelf at the convenience store). The things carried the weight of some mysterious authority. Before I knew that the cover images were tailored for different regions, I thought that seeing a Blue Jay featured on the cover meant that the editors, in their seasoned baseball wisdom, foresaw a Toronto World Series victory. And that carried a lot of import with me.
I picked one up recently -- specifically this one (I was at the airport in Atlanta). I wanted something lighter than the book I had, and frankly I wanted to think about baseball for a while. So I sat back and tore into it. But what struck me pretty quickly was how out of date it already was, owing to publication dates. They didn't know where anybody was. (It made me think, with great fondness, of those "Now With..." baseball cards -- do they still make those?)
It wasn't terrible, of course, and I suspect I'll make a bunch of notes in the magazine and keep it handy during my fantasy draft. But the discovery made me a little sad, too. I think I'm a tactile person, I like the object for its very object-ness, and realizing that something tangible no longer suited my purposes as well as did information on a screen felt like a loss, however minor.
Listen to me, now I'm a Luddite.