Baseball and Technology, part 2

Totally cool scoreboard at PNC ParkThe other day I was thinking about the uses of technology for the average baseball fan. But what about for the teams and the players? In 2008, baseball became pretty much the last professional sport to use instant replay in the game, and only in limited circumstances. Debate continues over whether this is good or bad for the game.

As I did research for this post, I was reminded of a now classic article that has become required reading for all Sport Sociology classes. Perhaps technology just doesn’t live up to the pastoral image of baseball.

As a pastoral game, baseball attempts to close the gap between the players and the crowd. It creates the illusion, for instance, that with a lot a hard work, a little luck, and possibly some extra talent, the average spectator might well be playing; not watching. … As a heroic game, football is not concerned with a shared community of near-equals. It seeks almost the opposite relationship between its spectators and players, one which stresses the distance between them.

Source: Murray Ross, “Football Red and Baseball Green,” reprinted in Peter I. Rose, ed., The Study of Society, 1977

~ baseballrebecca


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