The World Series and Me

jungleboy

lurker
Mar 1, 2016
153
I began watching the World Series in the middle of the night at age 11 in 1991, halfway around the globe from where the games were being played.

I was a junior pitcher and infielder for the Pittwater Dolphins in my home town of Sydney, Australia, and my coach alerted me to the fact that postseason games were being broadcast at 2am on Channel 9, at a time when Australia only had five television channels (if you received or counted SBS, and four if you didn’t).

The telecasts were hosted by former Australian Test cricketer Ian Chappell, himself once a junior baseball player, like me. I assumed the games were live - although they were actually on a 16-hour delay - so I ignored my mother’s sensible suggestion to tape them and instead got up to watch in the middle of the night. That first year was perhaps the greatest World Series of all-time: the classic Twins-Braves epic, featuring Kirby Puckett’s Game 6 walk-off home run and Jack Morris vs John Smoltz in Game 7. I was hooked.

For the next two years I repeated my middle-of-the-night clandestine World Series watching, although the illusion of live games was finally shattered during the 1993 series when I heard the result of the crazy 15-14 game on the radio hours before it was set to be broadcast. I watched it in the middle of the night anyway.

After a few years in baseball wilderness in my mid-teens after I had stopped playing the game and preferred basketball among American sports, I was sucked back in by the 1998 home run chase and the much greater accessibility of the sport in Australia through the Internet and cable television. As a sports media university student in those years, I began to read about the history of the game by ordering baseball books from a new online bookstore called Amazon. After reading Red Sox Century and watching an ailing Pedro Martinez throw six innings of no-hit relief in an elimination game against the Cleveland Indians in 1999 - and by now, I was really watching postseason games live, but in mid-morning - I became a fan of the Boston Red Sox.

In the years since, I have lived and traveled in over 100 countries and October baseball has drifted in and out of my life depending on where I was and whether I could watch it, especially in the first decade of this century. In 2004, I was living in Rome, where the games really are on in the middle of the night. I watched most of the American League Championship Series and the drought-breaking Red Sox’ World Series win in a pub called the Abbey Theatre with my two best baseball friends - then and now - who are, coincidentally, a Yankees fan and a Cardinals fan. In the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the Yankees series, the pub owner asked me and the other Red Sox fans not to cheer too loudly when the final out was made because it was, after all, past 5am.

I watched the Red Sox’ 2007 ALCS comeback over Cleveland in Paris - again in the middle of the night - where I was working at the Rugby World Cup. By the time the World Series started, I was in Thailand and I watched Game 1 at a bar on Khao San Road in Bangkok in mid-morning. It was the only game of the series I managed to watch that year as the Red Sox won it all for the second time in four seasons.

In 2013, I was living in Geneva, Switzerland. By then, MLB.tv was a reliable way to stream baseball over the Internet, and that’s how I saw the Red Sox clinch their third World Series of the 21st century - and when they did, it was, of course, in the middle of the night.

This year, I’m traveling in South America and as the Red Sox pressed for a fourth World Series championship since 2004, I was in a decent timezone for the postseason for the first time in my life. The irony of me finally being able to watch baseball at 8pm is that more and more Americans, especially children as young as I was when I first started watching, are unable to see these games because they’re starting later and taking longer.

I was in Brazil when the Division Series started - I watched Game 1 after visiting the Argentine side of Iguazú Falls earlier that day - and in Paraguay when it ended. Crossing to Bolivia via Argentina the day the ALCS started, I traveled all day and made it to my hotel in Tupiza five minutes before the first pitch.

After missing most of Boston’s ALCS victory while far from civilization 5000m above sea level on the altiplano, I spent the World Series testing the limits of Bolivia’s Internet connectivity. After watching the first two games in Sucre alternating between a shaky feed on MLB.tv and Spanish commentary on actual TV, I missed watching Game 3 live while on an overnight bus to a village called Samaipata. The 18-inning game didn’t finish until 3:30am in Bolivia and on the east coast of the United States, so if I had watched it live, I would have been right at home in the middle of the night.

Instead, I arrived in Samaipata at 4:30am yesterday morning and after sleeping in, I avoided finding out the score and took advantage of a rainy day and the self-proclaimed ‘best Internet in town’ to watch the game on delay on MLB.tv. I started watching at 11am, paused after five innings for lunch, then settled in for the remaining 13 innings of the longest World Series game ever played. By the time I finished watching, it was 7:30pm and the first pitch of Game 4 was half an hour away. And when that game was in the books just after midnight with the Red Sox on the brink of winning the series, I had watched 11.5 hours of baseball in a single day.

Tonight, as David Price dealt and Game 5 progressed in this sleepy Bolivian village, I watched alone near the wifi router in the breakfast room of the guesthouse that had long since been locked up for the night. At 11:16pm, the last out came and the Red Sox won the World Series for the fourth time in the last 15 years.

For once, it wasn’t the middle of the night, but it sure felt like it.
 
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notmannysfault

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
461
the CIA doesn't make allowances for the world series?

good luck in your mission. I hope your IP is well-masked.
 
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