Baseball on Speed

Time for another report from the "Wide, Wide, Wide, WILD World of Sports!"

Today's feature: Baseball on speed! This is not another report about players using performance-enhancing drugs, but about a new technology to speed up your viewing of the game. Major League Baseball has joined with an internet service called RealNetworks Inc. to record and digitalize a typical three-hour game then zap it onto your computer screen so you can watch it in under 30 minutes.

They don't simply hit the fast-forward button to make the game zip along in herky-jerky fashion. Instead, they whack about two-and-a-half hours from each game, showing you only what they refer to as the "meaningful parts." Baseball's honcho for "interactive media" gushes that this condensed game-in-a-pill approach offers "geographically or time-displaced fans an alternate way to enjoy baseball."

Sheesh, how can a guy who speaks such gobbledygook be in charge of showing the game? Ok, I admit that there are a lot of pausing, stalling, jockeying, and other maneuvering that take place between plays -- but, hey, baseball is slow. Get over it. That's the way it's supposed to be -- an evolving drama with nuance, color, deliberate pacing, and bursts of action that take you away from the helter-skelter of our otherwise rush-rush worlds. It's not called the national pastime for nothing. Let a little time pass, and enjoy the moment.

With a 30-minute condensation on your PC, you're not really getting the joy of the game, complete with its mood adjustment. Instead, you're merely getting more electronic jolts of artificial brain stimuli that'll further fry your day... and shorten your life. In a 30-minute slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am game review, you won't even get through your bag of hot nuts, much less have gotten to your second beer. That's no fun.

This is Jim Hightower saying... By reducing the pleasure of baseball to warp-speed highlights, you're speeding up your life. Then you're dead. And who's in a rush to get there?


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