Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Covering All the Baseball

The best way to watch baseball is, of course, outside. This is especially true for lower-level amateur league baseball, even little league. It's true for minor league. And it's slightly less true for major league. True baseball is enjoyed out of doors, with a chain link back stop and a water fountain standing in a pool of gravel.

If you can't catch a game outside, what's the second best way to take in the sport? Is it television? No. Baseball doesn't belong in a box. In many of the larger stadiums, the game is small and far away enough that the box diminishes the experience only by containing it and shaving off the edges. Besides, with baseball's pace, do you really want to break it up with TV commercials?

No, the second best way to catch baseball is on the radio. A transistor radio, held in one's hand, placed in one's bicycle basket, or propped up against a lawn chair in the yard, is the perfect transmitter for baseball. It's compactness and portability means that you can take the radio anywhere, which means that you can take baseball anywhere. Some people even listen to the game while at the game.

Additionally, there are ghosts in radio. Spectral hisses, pops, echoes, and audible depth. Memories of clean-sheet summer nights with the windows wide open. Nervous huddles in the basement waiting for the tornadoes to pass by. Even ghosts of games past. When a baseball game is aired on the radio, all games are in the air.

Tonight, I signed up for GameDay Audio from For $14 a year -- a year! -- you can listen to games live while they're in play, as well as games in the recent past. You can even listen to about 100 classic games if you'd like to dig even deeper.

I'm listening to the Mets, 3-0 against the Phillies. The previous pitcher walked seven batters to give the Phillies two runs, and then he hit a batter in the leg. There are commercials, sure, but there's something special about radio announcers, the sound of the game in the air, and the ghostly hiss that even seems to come across on GameDay Audio.

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