Monday, August 6, 2012

The Information Age

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

I've always known it for years, but as I was watching Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic talk about The Information Age on the Monday July 30 Edition of Mike & Mike In The Morning, the whole subject was fascinating.

They were talking about Olympic Events that should have been live, but were tape delayed, then mentioned ways about how sports were delivered in the past.

This struck a chord.

During my childhood in Detroit, we had CBS, NBC, ABC, two independent stations to go along with CBC in Canada Channel 9 for the Windsor Market. Now there are over 750 channels and that keeps rising.

Hockey Night in Canada was what I'd watch on Saturday Nights featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.

You could find College Football only on ABC and the big name schools were limited to a certain amount of appearances per-year so the network was responsible for choosing the right marquee games.

If you didn't watch the late local news, the only way to get sports scores was by calling Sports Phone.

I'll never forget when the Indianapolis 500 used to be televised on Sunday Night and not live during Memorial Day Weekend.

Before Magic Johnson and Larry Bird put the NBA on the Map, the NBA Finals on CBS were Tape Delayed after the late local news. I remember watching these games after working as a Salad Maker at My first job at the Highland House Restaurant.

In Detroit, Independent TV Station WXON Channel 20 featured some Red Wings, Tigers, Michigan and Michigan State games for "On TV" then it was replaced by PASS.

That was the closest there was to cable and there were extra charges for the service. The programming began at 8 PM.

My first exposure to ESPN was when I was staying at a friend Jeff Ryeson's apartment in East Lansing visiting him at Michigan State University in 1979.

The anchors delivering Sports Center included Chris Berman, Bob Ley, the late Tom Mees, George Grande and Lou Palmer. Dick Vitale was an analyst for college basketball and Jim Simpson was doing play-by-play.

Now ESPN has company in the 24-hour All Sports Format as CBS and NBC do the same thing.

All four major sports have their own network with the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL providing their fans all the information and games they want. Auto Racing has the Speed Network.

Cell Phones were a novelty and mounted under the dashboards in cars. These luxury's would cost at least $200-400 to have uninstalled then reinstalled.

My first exposure to a cell phone occurred at Leonard Elementary School in Southfield, MI.,  when I was in Little League. No umpires showed up for a game. One of my coaches went to his car and called the league commissioner, who quickly found some umpires to go work my game.

Now everybody has them because they're a necessity. We hold them in our hands, put them in our pockets and it's like having a little computer on us at all times.

The only tablet that I ever knew was the medication I put in my mouth. Now we have electronic tablets that are mini computers, where we play games, watch movies, e-mail, etc...

If you want information, the internet has it all over the place.

Why do you think that Identity Theft is up to 1.8 million people per year? This crime was unheard of in the good old days.

Encyclopdia's have been replaced by Wikipedia. There is Social Media where athletes can interact with their fans through Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter has literally replaced Sports Phone.

What will technology come up with next?

Who knows. But I will say that I don't miss watching the local news because it's depressing listening to the latest burglary or murder. Even though there are crimes in sports, I'll deal with it.

But I have my gadgets to tune out of the real world and stay within my four walls, hang at the beach or pool, knowing that if I want information, there are a zillion ways to get it.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com.

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