Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)
Billy-Ball – From the diamond to your desktop…
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Top of the 1st
BASEBALL IN THE 21st CENTURY
I used to watch “The Jetsons,” not all the time, but just enough to give me a peek into the future. It really didn’t work. In many ways “The Flintstones” was more realistic. The things we were told would be a part of the future, the advancements that we thought that we would be seeing today, are not really there.
Here’s what we have instead; we have www.Matchingsox.com a dating service for Red Sox fans. No kidding. It works like most other dating sites, with a search tool that turns up matches according to gender, age, and location. But member photos show up on the screen like baseball cards.
I guess this was inevitable. A survey of over 8,500 singles nationwide by It’s Just Lunch, a dating service for busy professionals, with 90 locations worldwide, found that over 2/3 of women, and half of men think a baseball game is a good place to take a date. What’s more, nearly 74% of women think a baseball game is a good place to meet men. With that information in tow, it only makes sense that men and women find a place where they can share their Sox.
In an article in today’s Boston Globe, Michelle Alexander, a 28-year-old high school English teacher from Dartmouth, said, “I don’t know if its happenstance or luck, but I tend to like guys who are Red Sox fans. Maybe I’m a Massachusetts girl, but I’ve never dated a Yankees fan. I’ve dated guys who like the Orioles or whatever, but I tend to like the guys with the B’s on their hats.”
New members to the site, called “draft picks,” fill out standard information about their height, age, and body type, but they also list whether they bat left or right and their favorite players. And the Globe points out that the nicknames people assign themselves are uniquely revealing of devotion (bellhornswife12, StillNomahsGrl), dedication (Soxfansince1973), and certain priorities (SoxThenSex).
Founder Tim Lampa, in all seriousness says, “My main goal is to keep those New Yorkers in New York, and keep them away from our Boston girls,” because as everybody knows there are not a lot of good-looking women in New York(!)
Tim sounds like the type of guy who would spend way too much time staring at Morphman. Morphman, is a strangely captivating, but bizarre feature on Jerry Remy’s website, “The Remy Report” which provides a little baseball information and a lot of RemDawg items for sale. For those of you unfamiliar with Remy, he was an average second baseman who has turned himself into a better than average television color commentator and a New England cottage industry. The site does have some creative stuff including the wild and wacky Morphman where one Red Sox morphs into another. Absolutely worth taking a look:
MatchingSox participants would definitely find this uncomfortable but if you are a Mets fan and looking for something to snuggle with, you might be interested in this. This is the 20th anniversary of the New York Mets World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox. Here is a remarkable look at the ending of Game 6.
When Cardinals fans tire of that, they can always watch the demolition of the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis, and see the new one being built: http://redbirdcentral.com/demolition_TL2.htm.
George Jetson didn’t have an iPod, do you? There’s very little point in me having one since I never seem to leave my computer but my daughter has one as do all of her friends and judging by the ubiquitous white ear pods, anybody who doesn’t have their cell phone to their ears have them stuffed with downloaded music or videos.
The Marlins and the Rockies are putting videos of players’ at-bats and pitching deliveries on iPods. Colorado video coordinators started transferring images from DVDs onto the iPods during spring training and Marlins officials have joined them. An iPod can hold almost 150 hours of video.
“I’m going to buy one because anything that’s convenient is a good idea,” Marlins’ pitcher Dontrelle Willis told the Palm Beach Post. “Nowadays they’ve got cell phones as big as my pinkie. So if they can put movies and TV shows on an iPod, why not put a couple of DVDs of me pitching?”
Then there is another technological innovation in, of all places, the second oldest ballpark, Wrigley Field. Unveiled on June 13, Motorola MOTOTALK is a wireless phone service between the dugout and bullpen. The MOTOTALK system enables the Motorola handsets to operate on a private channel, and the software modifications allow each handset to only communicate with a partner handset. The result is a secure system, ensuring that the integrity of the game is not compromised in any way.
“We are very proud to be the first team in Major League Baseball history to introduce wireless communication between dugouts and bullpens. This technological advancement will just add one more element to the historical significance of Wrigley Field,” said John McDonough, senior vice president of marketing and broadcasting for the Chicago Cubs.
The visiting Houston Astros manager Phil Garner was the first to use it (the phones already were shipped to the Hall of Fame). The most practical advantage of the MOTOTALK system? Manager Dusty Baker said he’ll no longer need to turn his back to the action when he places a call to the pen. And no, it will not be possible to place calls to an outside line. Moe Drabowsky would have hated this.
There are so many advances we take for granted, Sportvision was the company that developed the glowing hockey puck with Fox Sports 10 years ago. Then the first and 10 line used in football as well as the “K-Zone” in baseball as well as pitch tracking and the virtual strike zone.
This seems tame compared to “Fan Club: Reality Baseball” where the fans run the team and control the action. “Fan Club” gives fans control of the Schaumburg Flyers, a real professional minor league baseball team based in a suburb of Chicago. Each day, new online content will tell the stories of the Flyers’ players, giving the fans intimate knowledge of “their” ballclub, as well as the team’s coaches, wives, girlfriends and personalities, revealing their dreams, demons, triumphs and difficulties, on and off the playing field. MSN users will manage the team on a daily basis, voting to determine such key decisions as the batting lineup, fielding positions and pitching roster.
The Northern League in which the Schaumburg Flyers play divides its season in half, with the winners of each half meeting in the playoffs. “Fan Club: Reality Baseball” will enable MSN users worldwide to manage the team day to day for the full second half of the 2006 season, determining whether or not the Flyers will make the playoffs. “Fan Club: Reality Baseball” will be available at http://fanclub.msn.com beginning July 11.
While you’re doing that, I’ll be meeting George Jetson for lunch at the Spacely’s Sprockets cafeteria.
Key you later!
Send information about any other baseball and technology crossovers – Bill@billy-ball.com.
Top of the 2nd
MARINERS PETITION TO SWITCH LEAGUES
Okay, the Mariners didn’t really petition to switch to the NL West, but you couldn’t blame them if they did. Following sweeps of the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants, the Mariners topped the Dodgers last night, 9-4. In the 1st, Ichiro led off with a single that extended his hitting streak to 19 games, longest in the American League this season. Ichiro’s 18-game streak from May 5 to May 24 was the previous longest and in his first game against the Dodgers since he signed a five-year, $64 million contract before last season, Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer off Brad Penny and the M’s were on their way to their10 victory in their last 14 games. They gained a game on both Oakland and Texas, co-leaders in the AL West, and are now 3