Before Radio Or Television If You Didn’t Have A Ticket To The World Series – You Could Still Watch It On The Play-O-Graph
Advertisement for the “wonderful Automatic Play-O-Graph” – Philadelphia Inquirer Oct. 13, 1911
In August, 1911 with $10,000 capital, John W. Baker, Henry H. Abbott and Sumner Ford incorporated the Baseball Play-O-Graph Company in Stamford, Connecticut. The men devised a way of transmitting the actions of sporting events “live” through telephone and telegraph.
The depiction of baseball games through mechanical means had been accomplished previously, but not showing the track of the ball, which was what made the Play-O-Graph unique. The Play-O-Graph would show the action without the aid of electric lights.
Baseball fans congregate outside the New York Herald Building during the 1911 World Series
In October of 1911 the American League champion Philadelphia Athletics lead by manager Connie Mack would play John McGraw’s New York Giants for the World Championship.
Giants manager John McGraw (l) and catcher Chief Myers (r) at Polo Grounds before 1911 World Series.
There were a couple of oddities in the 1911 World Series. Each game alternated cities with games one, three and five being played in New York and games two, four and six played in Philadelphia. The other strange occurrence was that there was a one week delay between games three and four as a deluge of rain hit Philadelphia for six straight days.
After inspecting the field for playability causing the fifth straight postponement of game four, umpire Bill Klem joked, “There was a pool around second base big enough for a diving exhibition by (swimming champ) Annette Kellerman. I was unable to locate the home plate for the lack of a diving apparatus. The outer gardens would make excellent pasturage for a herd of hippopotami.”
Both teams were considered evenly matched and felt confident they could win the series. Since 1904 each team had won three pennants.
Line outside the Polo Grounds at 7:00 am to buy tickets for game 3 of the 1911 World Series. photo: Bain
When tickets for the opening game of the World Series went on sale on Friday, October 13 at the Giants home field, the Polo Grounds all the tickets were gone within two hours. After the sell-out, the regular ticket price of three dollars shot up to five, six, seven and eventually eight dollars from speculators (scalpers) who had scooped up as many tickets as possible.
With over 38,000 fans cramming the ballpark it would be difficult to see the game without a ticket.
That would be where the Play-O-Graph would come into use. Setting up their machines at four locations in the United States, fans could see the game as it transpired.
“When the pitcher pitches the ball and when the batter hits it and when he is thrown out, is all shown upon the Play-O-Graph. Every move of the game is made clear to the spectator who watches the ball as it moves from place to place upon the board,” the company proclaimed.
The company installed two boards in New York, one in Chicago, one in Detroit and one in Philadelphia. Continue reading →
Once upon a time there were seven television channels to choose from in New York City. Before 1977 and the wide introduction of cable television every kid experienced the same TV shows and could talk about them with their peers.
Gilligan’s Island; I Dream of Jeannie; Mr. Ed; F-Troop; Green Acres; Bonanza, Star Trek, Family Affair; I Love Lucy; Batman; The Brady Bunch and so on. If it was being rebroadcast after school in syndication we saw it. That means kids also had little to choose from. Which means kids watched many bad TV shows. And that’s why I saw Hazel.
Hazel was one of the most annoying television series from the 1960s.
In New York City, If You Thought Cable TV, Internet & Phone Services Were Bad, Just Wait Until You Deal With Spectrum
Let’s start out by saying all internet / cable TV / satellite providers are not known for their great customer service. They usually are very good at eliciting complaints.
I’ve previously been a customer of Cablevision, Verizon Fios and Time Warner Cable. No one but stockholders can possibly like these companies.
But Time Warner cable had actually improved their overall service in the last few years and their prices became somewhat reasonable thanks to the good old American free market system known as competition.
Then Charter Communications acquired Time Warner and in 2016 created a merged monster called Spectrum. This new company would be more aptly named after James Bond’s arch enemy Spectre.Continue reading →
To call George Carlin a comedian would be a narrow definition of who he was. My best description would be: a brilliant social commentator with observations wrapped in comedy aimed at the masses to induce critical thinking with laughter.
Normally we abstain from profanity on this web site. You can say a lot without having to resort to vulgarisms. But integral to George Carlin and his performances was his use of profanity. If the truth is wrapped in profanity, then the truth will be voiced here.
Here is the late George Carlin’s explanation of who runs America and reminds us that we are not members of “the club.”
MLB About To Introduce Two Ridiculous Rule Changes To “Speed Up” The Game.
Why The Changes Are Bad And What They Should Do Instead.
These fans watching baseball in the 1940s don’t look bored at all. That may be because the average length of a 9 inning baseball game in the 1940s was about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Baseball is a slow and boring sport. The games are too long. There is not enough scoring.
These are some of the complaints that have been lodged against the National Pastime.
The only part I’ll agree with is that the games are definitely too long.
MLB executives and the players union are trying out two changes this year in the minor leagues to speed up the game. After trial periods, it is likely these changes will be permanently adapted in the major leagues. They may indeed speed up games by a few seconds. For the vast majority of games these changes will have little effect and do more damage than good to the overall structure of baseball.
There are other changes that would be more practical and easy to implement to dramatically shorten all games without changing baseball itself. I’ll discuss that after we review the two proposed MLB rule changes.
The first proposed rule change is that a team will be able to declare an intentional walk without the pitcher throwing any pitches. The pitcher’s manager will just signal for an intentional walk and the batter will go to first.
The second rule change is even sillier. In extra inning games, starting in the tenth inning each team when they come to bat will start the inning with a man already on second base.
So why are these changes beyond foolish?
Let’s look at the first proposal, the announced intentional walk. Although it sounds like an easy strategy to walk a batter intentionally, it is sometimes not so simple to throw four balls that are nowhere near home plate.
There are pitchers, such as the Yankees Dellin Betances, who when called upon to execute an intentional walk, every ball they throw can be an adventure. A wild pitch is always a possibility. Lobbing the ball to the catcher is hard for some pitchers. There are also quite a number of pitchers who throw the ball too close to the plate, so the batter can swing at the ball. Every now and then you’ll see something that you rarely see. Here are just two recent examples.
Miguel Cabrera drives in a run on an intended intentional walk.
Gary Sanchez of the Yankees nearly hits a home run on a pitch that was meant to be a ball.
As I pointed out many pitchers really have a hard time throwing a ball intentionally outside of the strike zone when the situation is called for. This is far more common than you might imagine. Wild pitches can change the outcome of a ballgame, especially with runners on base as seen here in multiple cases:
Then there is the opposite effect, where the defense pulls a tricky play.
In the early 1970s I recall seeing Reds superstar Johnny Bench get fooled at the plate. It happened on the biggest stage possible; game three of the 1972 World Series.
Bench had a 3 and 2 count when A’s manager Dick Williams paid a visit to the mound. Williams talked with pitcher Rollie Fingers and catcher Gene Tenace and made it seem like Williams told Fingers to intentionally walk the dangerous slugger. Because as Tenace returned to the plate to await the next pitch from Fingers, Tenace, stood up, put his hand out calling for an intentional ball four.
And guess what? Tenace jumped right back behind the plate and Fingers threw a slider for strike three, stunning Bench and everyone watching. It was a deft move you don’t see very often.
I couldn’t believe that I found the moment on YouTube.
In 1996 Dennis Martinez and Tony Pena of the Indians, successfully pulled the same move on Blue Jays star John Olerud.
It’s true, these flubs are extremely rare, but they do occur. The automatic intentional walk is a shortsighted rule change and ends up removing strategy from the game.
One other thing: how does the new rule go down in the record books? Will the pitcher be credited with four pitches thrown? What happens when you are at three balls and one strike, do you just declare the walk when you want to intentionally pass a batter or does the pitcher still have to throw a pitch?
The second rule change of starting the inning of an extra inning game with a man placed on second base to begin the inning is simply ludicrous.
No nail-biters anymore, no strategy – it’s just get this game over with. This is what MLB is saying.
Joe Torre, MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer, is in favor of bringing the rule to the major leagues if the minor league experiment works.
Torre said, “Let’s see what it looks like. It’s not fun to watch when you go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch. As much as it’s nice to talk about being at an 18-inning game, it takes time.”
Really Joe? How many games went to 18 innings or more in the past ten years? How many times did a manager use their whole pitching staff?
In the entire history of Major League Baseball there have only been 46 games that have gone more than 19 innings. On average less than 10 games per year last 15 innings or more. If a manager goes through his entire pitching staff, well he’s not a good manager. Believe it or not many fans enjoy marathon games. It’s the time of those exciting games that gets people sleepy, not the number of innings.
If you want to ruin baseball then this rule change is perfect.
By the way: how would the scoring work for putting a runner on second? Idiotically.
The pitcher didn’t allow the runner on, so why penalize him and the team when a ground ball to second for an out advancing the runner to third and then a fly ball can result in a run. The pitcher and the team was essentially defensively effective, but could lose the game.
This rule is MLB being lazy and coming up with a dumb solution just to shorten games and appeal to younger fans with limited attention spans. It’s like MLB took a page out of the NHL rule book with hockey’s overtime shootout to decide tie games. That adjustment has been horrible for hockey and its fans.
Now what are the ways to speed up baseball games significantly?
Change # 1 – Enforce rule 5.07 (c) of the Major League Baseball rule book which states: “When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”
The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball. The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.
Did you realize rule 6.02a (8) says:
If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when: The pitcher unnecessarily delays the game;
Have you ever seen that enforced? I haven’t. But I’ve seen pitchers call the catcher to the mound six separate times for one batter or take over 30 seconds between each and every pitch.
I’ve noticed and counted the time between pitches in many games. Most pitchers take between 22 -27 seconds to throw a pitch after receiving the ball back from the catcher. Some pitchers are agonizingly slow, like the Dodgers Pedro Baez (over 30 seconds between pitches) and Kenley Jansen (27 seconds between pitches). There are many hurlers who can transform their own fielders into a trance-like state with all that inactivity.
There’s no excuse for this. Watch R.A. Dickey or Mark Buehrle pitch and the game moves at a brisk pace. Unfortunately they are the exceptions. Most pitchers take wayyyyy too long between pitches. Put up a pitch clock and give the pitchers a little leeway- 15 seconds and have them throw the pitch or call it a ball. Figure saving at least 5 seconds per pitch with 260 total pitches being thrown. total time shortened per game: minimum 26 minutes Continue reading →
Cary Grant Never Won An Academy Award For Best Actor
The Academy Awards were held February 26, 2017. Millions of people watched. Millions more did not. The Oscars have been declining in TV viewership steadily over the years. It’s true that there are more choices to divert your entertainment time. But could it be that today’s stars don’t measure up to the stars of yesteryear and many people like myself could care less about the Academy Awards?
There are movie stars and then there are Movie Stars. Cary Grant was a Movie Star. Women fantasized about being with him and men wanted to be him.
In 1952 Cary Grant starred with Ginger Rogers (seen above) in Monkey Business, a zany comedy about a scientist (Grant) discovering a potion that when consumed will make you young again. An escaped chimpanzee is responsible for concocting the “successful” potion. The film also had Marilyn Monroe playing a sexy secretary. Monkey Business was made right before Marilyn’s breakthrough film Niagara.
4/7/70 Hollywood – As singer Frank Sinatra claps for him, actor Cary Grant holds his hands as he accepts a special achievement award at the 42nd annual Academy award presentation at the Music Center. The Board of Governors of the Academy voted the special award for Grant. photo: UPI Telephoto
Cary Grant was nominated only twice for Best Actor in a leading role; Penny Serenade (1941) and None But The Lonely Heart (1944), neither of which are among his best films. Continue reading →
On The 90th Anniversary of Houdini’s Death, We’d Like Some Advice From Houdini and His Friend Theodore Roosevelt
Aboard The Imperator June 23, 1914 – From left to right: William Hamlin Childs, Harry Houdini, J.C. Platt, Theodore Roosevelt, unidentified, Philip Roosevelt, L. F. Abbott
If there is an afterlife maybe Houdini is hanging out with President Theodore Roosevelt like he was in 1914. If so, I’d like to know what they think about the current state of our country.
October 31, 1926 marks the 90th anniversary of the death of the world’s most famous magician, Harry Houdini. Before he died, Houdini told his wife Bess that if there really was life after death, he would contact her. After all, Houdini spent a lot of his time showing how all people who claimed to contact the dead were charlatans. If anyone could prove that there was life after death it would be Houdini.
He never made contact with Bess. There are still seances held each year that try and contact Houdini.
President Obama Promises to Bring Change To Television Before He Leaves Office
During President Obama’s recent visit to “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon on Friday, the president unveiled a final shocking and controversial plan to be implemented before he exits office in 2017.
President Obama declared he would drastically overhaul many segments of America’s television viewing habits beginning with entertainment and reality television programs, calling it “a painful but necessary decision.”
The president said that his plan, Change and Equalization for American Television (CHEAT), would allow television programs to be more inclusive and teach and inform rather than just have people be non-thinking couch potatoes. President Obama said, “Restructuring how people spend their free time has become a priority,” before he leaves the presidency.
“There is just too much useless information on television infiltrating young folk’s minds in the form of entertainment and reality programs,” the president told Fallon. “The Biggest Loser, Dancing With The Stars, The O’Reilly Factor, I mean the list of dangerous and uninformative programs is just too long,” President Obama said.
The president singled out a program that disturbed him greatly, not only because of its lack of diversity in the cast, but by the cruelty of the situation.
“There was one show on a few years ago, I think it was “Lost” President Obama recalled. “Well, when I tuned in a few times, I could not believe that the producers of this reality program had stranded seven people, who by the way were all white, on a desert island with no phone, no lights, no motorcar – not a single luxury. These fine brave Americans included a millionaire and his wife, a professor, and a movie star. It was clear to me they wanted to get off this island. Well it seems that one of the other islander’s, a Mr. Gilligan, must have been planted by the producers of the show to foil each rescue attempt, because he sabotaged every planned escape. It was heartbreaking”
Mr. Fallon started to explain to President Obama that the show he had watched was not Lost, when the president interrupted him by saying firmly, Continue reading →
While every network is showing Muhammad Ali in boxing retrospectives, we wanted to show something completely different.
For those who do not remember Alan Funt’s Candid Camera, it was the first TV show to do what so many other shows would later try and imitate; capture regular people’s reactions to extraordinary, sometimes crazy situations.
The day Muhammad Ali shows up in a New York City school classroom is one of the greatest stunts the show ever did. The reactions of the children are priceless.
I remember vividly seeing Muhammad Ali on Candid Camera when this episode aired in 1974 and thinking “how come no celebrities appear at my school?”
This video just displays a totally different side of Ali. It also shows how popular Muhammad Ali was to an entire generation, especially kids. This clip is only five minutes long, but it is hilarious.
History Channel Treads Ground Covered Ad Nauseum By Sensationalist Magazine 50 + Years Ago
National Police Gazette cover May 1964, One of many times Hitler was featured on the Gazette cover
The History Channel has been stretching a not very unique idea into an eight episode program with few surprises called Hunting Hitler. The premise is that Nazi Fuehrer Adolf Hitler and his consort Eva Braun faked their suicides and fled Berlin in the closing days of the war.
Even before the show aired there have been many people (not just among conspiracy theorists), who believe it is possible that Hitler did not die by his own hand in an underground bunker on April 30, 1945 as widely reported.
Until definitive evidence surfaces on what happened to Hitler, there is only one thing that is certain, unless he is the Methuselah of vile dictators, Hitler is now definitely dead. Continue reading →