It’s odd to think that not too long ago – maybe five or six years – basically all our sports information came from the mass media. If there were blogs, they were primitive at best, and I think it’s safe to say there was certainly no Twitter where we knew everything immediately, which is not always a good thing. These days, it takes perhaps an hour to figure out how people feel about every move and quote. As a kid, I woke up every morning and read the Star Ledger and watched ESPN, and that was my daily feed of information. Nothing like the waves of quotes from the beat writers, news and opinion from the blogs, and so on.
Imagine for a second that all your sports information pipelines – even the newspaper and the TV – are cut off except the barest of minimums. Weird, huh? What would I do with all those extra hours I waste reading blogs? This past week, I went on vacation with my mom, who I rarely see because she lives on the other side of the country, and my older sister. I let my mom pick the vacation type, and she settled on a cruise ship. This sounded fun, except for one thing: if there is internet on the ship, it’s most likely obscenely expensive, and the last place I want to be on a cruise ship is chained to some slow, old machine, running Internet Explorer. It would be a stark, cold-turkey change from my usual of having an IV of tweets and news feeding into my system. Neither of the people on the trip with me were into baseball (my sister asked me once why the Yankees didn’t get Tim Lincecum), and trying to discuss the possibility of Montero breaking camp or the Yankees fifth starter would have begun with making fun of me for my general baseball devotion and ended with me getting extremely exasperated.
The vacation was nice. There was lots of mother-daughter bonding. We laid in the sun together, talked about books, and so on. My only source of baseball information, though, was the ESPN ticker that I would get glimpses of as I passed the tiny little sports bar-esque area in between our stateroom and our favorite restaurant. During that week, I learned a grand total of two pieces of information: Miguel Cabrera got a DUI, and Albert Pujols declined the Cardinals’ offer. That was it. A whole week without reading absolutely anything about the Yankees.
Maybe for some of you dear readers who aren’t crazy Yankees people, this would mean that baseball as a habit might sit by the wayside for a week, but for a blogger like myself, it’s not that easy. I thought about the Yankees constantly. I tried to guess what they would be talking about over at this absolutely amazing Yankees blog you all read. I wondered if Mark Prior and Eric Chavez had fallen apart yet. I wondered what awkward thing A-Rod would do – and guessed right when I went with ‘avoid journalists.’
About halfway through the trip, as we were passing an internet cafe during a stop in a Mexican port, I was talking to my older sister about how much I missed the constant stream of information. “It’s a detox!” she told me, “When you go back, you’ll be less addicted!” This proposition, as you can imagine, just made me roll my eyes and laugh. I’d fallen much closer to the ‘absence makes the heart grow stronger,’ category of cold-turkey quitters of things. By the end of the vacation, I was practically aching to get online and see what was going on. Maybe this means I have a problem, but I was willing to ignore it in favor of the enormous bundle of Spring Training pictures I knew awaited me, all the miscellaneous information I’d missed out on.
Sports have been changed by the internet, and as a modern-day sports fan, I was accustomed to always having what I needed at my fingers. It was extremely strange to not be able to open my computer to look at the stats of any particular player or even check the latest breaking news. It was an experience, to say the least, to be lingering around to read the two scrolling lines of the ESPN ticker and know that was all I was going to be able to get for a week. I had a lot of fun on vacation, certainly, but it was a strange kind of culture shock to not read anything about my beloved Yankees. I’m sure you can all imagine what I did when I got home, though, and I’m quite to say that despite that I have to go back to work on Monday, I can also be hooked into Twitter, read blogs, and talk about baseball with friends. Thank Mo.