Friday Twitter, in case you missed it, featured an extremely dumb discourse involving cable, streaming services, the Yankees, and somehow, New York’s Attorney General. The gist is this: Aaron Judge was poised to tie (and maybe overtake?) Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season (he did not). The game against the Red Sox aired on Apple TV Plus rather than New York’s regional cable sports network, YES. Some people got mad about that — presumably people who own bars in New York and show baseball games — including the state Attorney General. Others rightly pointed out that watching a game on a paid cable service is in no way more accessible than watching on a free streaming app.
But here’s the thing: you don’t need cable or Apple TV Plus to enjoy a historic baseball game. Follow the home town team the way I do: on the radio. Remember the radio? It still exists, and baseball is one of the best things you can use it for. Have you listened to the soothing white noise of the crowd hum as your home team progresses in the post season? With cool, early fall air streaming in through the window and a glass of whiskey in your hand? I’m a Mariners fan, so I haven’t, but that sounds amazing.
Even I, a devoted baseball fan, can hardly watch a full game because I have the attention span of a fruit fly
You don’t need a radio radio to listen. Your local station might have a streaming app. Or do what I do: yell at Google Home to play the Mariners. It happily obliges and plays my local station, 710 AM, via some service called Audacy. I don’t know what Audacy is, and I don’t care to know. It brings me pure baseball joy 162 times a year, whatever it is.
There are a few advantages to consuming baseball this way. For starters, it’s free — or at least very, very cheap. Use a streaming service, or if you don’t want to, go to your local Goodwill, where I assure you there is a pile of radios available for 50 cents each. Second, you can do other things while you’re listening. Even I, a lifelong baseball fan, can hardly watch a full game on TV because I have the attention span of a fruit fly. I’m usually scrolling on my phone and half listening, half watching anyway.
it’s a nice screen-free activity, and sometimes really cool shit happens
With baseball on the radio, you can get up and do things. You can do a jigsaw puzzle, or bake bread (I’m sorry that I have the same interests as your Grandma). When it’s time to pay attention, your local broadcaster will make a big friggin’ deal about what’s happening, if they’re anything like mine, so you won’t miss a beat.
Basically, it’s a nice screen-free activity, and sometimes really cool shit happens, like a generational talent breaking a home run record. And if nothing much happens, well, at least you didn’t pay for it.