Saturday, June 13, 2009

High tech Low tech

In a time when it's possible at the press of a button to access virtually any piece of information anytime, anywhere in the world in a matter seconds, it's wonderful to see a form of mass communication that is so low tech it could have been implemented a thousand years ago.

What I'm speaking of is the tradition of flying one of two flags from the scoreboard after a Cub's game at Wrigley Field, a white flag with a blue W for a Cub's win, or a blue flag with a white L for a loss.

The flag is visible to anyone passing by the ballpark after a game. The tradition started shortly after the iconic scoreboard, itself a marvel of the lowest of low technology, was installed in 1937.

The success of the Cubs at the box office if not on the field, is attributable to the charm of Wrigley Field. The owners if the team have to their credit steadfastly avoided most of the bells and whistles used at most big time sporting events. As everyone knows, night games were not played at the old ballpark until 1988.

As baseball is the ultimate game of stats, a true fan of the game hardly would be satisfied by the limited information available from the two flags. Someone equipped with an iPhone and internet access can in real time not only find the score of a game, but the speed and location of every pitch, the number of swings each batter took, just about anything everything but the smell of the hot dogs.

Still it's nice to go back to a simpler time and ride by the old ballpark on the L as I did with the kids today and find out how the Cubbies did simply by looking out the window.

Another great urban experience, this one unique to Chicago.

Incidentally today they were flying the L flag which was fine with me.

I'm a White Sox fan.

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