Magazine article Information Today

Sliding into Cyberspace

Magazine article Information Today

Sliding into Cyberspace

Article excerpt

Want a way to while away a few hours (or make your brain hurt)? Try and imagine what athletes of old would think about the Internet.

We're not talking about guys from the 1970s here, although for some of you, the decade of your Field Correspondent's adolescence might as well be the Pleistocene era. We're talking about the really, really old days, back when you needed a "wire- less set" (no, not one the size of your pinkie that takes pictures of your friends at the mall--just a plain old-fashioned radio the size of a stove) to tune into games.

Take, for example, Dizzy Dean. The man who mangled the English language for a living as a broadcaster (after a Hall of Fame baseball career) would have been a natural for online chats: "BTW, Ol Diz sez you need to be sure and pick up some o' that Dizzy Dean murr-chan-dize over at the Web site when you're off'n this here chat room."

As it is, you'll have to be satisfied with several Dean-related sites, including http://www.baseball-almanac.com/quotes/quodean.shtml, a collection of the greatest lines from one of the most quotable people in baseball history (our favorite: "The doctors x-rayed my head and found nothing."), and a bio and timeline at http://www.baseballlibrary.com that includes all the things Ol' Diz tried to do once his arm went dead (including, yes, having teeth pulled--talk about your good o1' days).

On the other hand, we suspect Ty Cobb would be embracing the new cyber era in a different way (the meanest man in baseball knew a good investment when he saw it, so he'd be on the board at Microsoft, telling Bill Gates to get a real haircut). You can go to http://www.cmgww.com/baseball/cobb, which is a product of a management company called CMG Worldwide, and see a relatively sanitized version of Cobb, who was such a mean character that people started disliking Tommy Lee Jones after he played Cobb in a movie.

Making Cobb a little more palatable was a whale of an effort for CMG Worldwide, which produces dozens of "official" sites for athletes and celebrities from Marilyn Monroe to Joe DiMaggio, and from Jesse Owens to Amelia Earhart (now there's somebody who would have embraced modern technology--she'd have lived to be 100 if she had taken off across the Pacific with a GPS device and a satellite-phone hookup to AOL). …

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