On Friday, Twitter, in case you missed it, delivered an extremely dumb discourse involving cable, streaming services, the Yankees and somehow the New York attorney general. The bottom line is this: Aaron Judge was poised to tie (and maybe surpass?) Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season (he didn’t). The game against the Red Sox was broadcast on Apple TV Plus, not the New York regional cable sports network, YES. Some people got mad about it – probably people who own bars in New York and show baseball games – including the state attorney general. Others have rightly noted that watching a game on a paid cable service is in no way more affordable than watching a free streaming app.
But here’s the thing: You don’t need cable or Apple TV Plus to enjoy a historic baseball game. Follow the hometown team the way I do: on the radio. Do you remember the radio? It still exists, and baseball is one of the best things you can use it for. Have you listened to the soothing white noise of the crowd’s hum as your home team advances to the postseason? With cool, early autumn air blowing in through the window and a glass of whiskey in hand? I’m a Mariners fan so I’m not, but that sounds amazing.
You don’t need to radio radio to listen to. Your local station may have a streaming app. Or do what I do: yell at Google Home to play the Mariners. He happily obliges and plays my local station, 710 AM, through some service called Audacy. I don’t know what Audacy is and I don’t want to know. It brings me pure baseball joy 162 times a year, whatever.
There are several advantages to consuming baseball this way. For starters, it’s free—or at least very, very cheap. Use a streaming service, or if you don’t want to, go to your local Goodwill, where I assure you there are a ton of radios available for 50 cents each. Second, you can do other things while listening. Even I, a lifelong baseball fan, can barely watch an entire game on TV because I have the attention span of a fruit fly. I’m usually scrolling through my phone and half listening, half watching.
With baseball on the radio, you can get up and do things. You can put together a puzzle or bake bread (sorry I have the same interests as your grandmother). When it’s time to pay attention, your local broadcaster will big damn deal of what’s going on if they’re anything like mine, so you won’t miss a beat.
It’s generally an enjoyable, screen-free activity, and sometimes really cool things happen, like a generational talent breaking a home run record. And if nothing special happens, well, at least you didn’t pay for it.