I've been coming to the southern Maine coastal area nearly every summer of my life for an annual family vacation. When I was young, we stayed in a cottage that didn't have a TV (rough on a kid who loved Ninja Turtles, Transformers, etc.), but we kept track of baseball by reading the local and Boston papers and listening to Red Sox games on the radio, and sometimes, I BS you not, we could pull a Phillies broadcast from all the way up here.
Things have changed a lot since then, and not just the domnipresence of Red Sox regalia on every store front, truck window, and child's t-shirt—before they won the WS, this stuff was nowhere to be seen. But we've also moved from the aging Cape cottage to a series of beach houses in Kennebunk Beach, each with stunning and glorious cable television and even some hot WiFi. In a huge week for the Phillies, I've missed little if anything. Beat writers' and bloggers' twitters kept me posted on every development of Cliff Lee Trade Day, which was particularly tough for me. The first day was tough though. Try spending every day tapped into twitter, sports talk radio, Comcast SportsNet, Philly.com, The700Level, TheFightins, Beerleaguer... and then get in the driver's seat of a car for 8 straight hours on the day the Phillies trade world finally explodes. Luckily I got to hear a not-yet-traded Lee on Jody & Harry before getting out of Philly radio range, then had a patient girlfriend riding shotgun to read me the comments on the aforementioned sites, and a sports-crazed uncle in the back seat getting calls from my cousins with every update. I have no shame in saying I'm an unabashed Phillies information junkie.
Pulling into our house in Maine, my brother-in-law met us on the front yard and yelled, CLIFF. LEE. Ruben Amaro's amazing heist was the topic of the next hour of conversation. What an age we live in. And throughout the first few days of Lee's new life in Philly, I haven't missed much.
Hell, I even know what Andy Martino was wearing before Thursday's game (I agree with him, if Sarge gives you a hat, you WILL wear it, and that's not a bad Adidas track jacket, Martino).
By far the best element of this tech Renaissance is MLB.tv, which has had my family huddled around a laptop watching the Phils in damn-near HD. This beats the hell out of Slingbox for watching games, although the first two games of the series weren't really worth watching, we got to witness the beginning of an amazing Phillies career last night.
It hasn't all been great though, this info-crunch. Leading up to the Lee trade and yesterday's final deadline, there was definitely an overwhelming sense that the elements and means of new media were being dominated by stories that had little likelihood of actually coming true. How tired were we all of hearing what "baseball sources" were saying? What the hell is the difference between a source and baseball source? It certainly didn't prove to be veracity. But with so many "outlets," the more something was repeated, the more likely it seemed, which is obviously absurd. The trade deadline became a great illustration of whose info you could trust, and where individual sources placed their filters.
Our group of Phillies beat writers are a relatively conservative bunch when it comes to what stories to report, and I'm increasingly appreciative of that. If you want rumors, there are plenty of places to find them. Although at times our guys can blend together, I can't recall a time when one of the current bunch led us astray. For the past two weeks, that's been huge. They even got a good laugh when some "sources" were reporting there was a "32" jersey hanging in the Phillies clubhouse during the height of the Halladay talks. There's a 32 hanging on wall in the outfield too. I was at the Vet when they retired it.
I'll be returning to my vacation now... the weather is perfect up here, as is the food, beer—everything. But the second I want to know what's going on at Eagles camp, I can pull up a report on how Weaver and McCoy look. Hope you'll all keep me posted on what happens with the Phillies rotation.