Lots of people have been to a professional baseball games these days, but in years gone by, if you didn’t live in a city that had a professional baseball team, you just didn’t have much opportunity to attend a professional baseball game. I’m sure that attendance was never stellar, and maybe that was the reason for broadcasting the games originally by radio, and later by television, and then finally on our computers and phones. Lots of people can’t get to the games, and even if they can sometimes, it isn’t often. Since most of us have watched the games on television, we can attest to the importance, to an avid fan, of having a television broadcast.
Up until August 26, 1939, the radio or physical attendance was all we had. All that changed on this day in 1939, when the first televised Major League Baseball game, which was a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and The Brooklyn Dodgers was covered on television from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. What an exciting day that was!! People everywhere, who were previously unable to watch a professional base ball game, got to see it on television. I think this had an explosive affect on the fan base for professional sports. People could finally pick a favorite team and actually see them play sometimes, because let’s face it, not all of us live in a town that hosts a professional team in any sport. And yes there are a lot of fans that love sports of any kind, but can’t get to a game.
Of course, as anyone who has ever attended a game in person will tell you, the televised version of the game leaves a lot out of the actual view of the game. They do the best they can, and they do a very good job, but being able to see the instant replay helps clarify the actions of the game immensely too. And when you think about it, half the fun of being there is ball game food. That adds to the whole experience, and while you may be able to make ballpark franks at home, they just don’t taste quite the same as they do when you are at the game. Maybe it’s about all the food smells in general. So while televised games have definitely not taken away from the number of people in attendance at the games, it has expanded the fan base to include those who can’t be at the game in person. August 26, 1939 was a big day in Major League Baseball. It meant much more than just being able to see the game on television…it brought baseball into our homes in a very real way, and that was amazing.