Off topic: Baseball the way it was played in 1967

Fans of the Boston Red Sox are probably aware that NESN, the team's broadcast outlet, has been showing segments from this video: "Impossible to forget: The story of the '67 Boston Red Sox." Last night I watched in its entirety the penultimate game of that magical season - a season that quite literally turned this then-10-year-old boy and his entire family into baseball fans (a common story among New Englanders).

Before I get back to the world of IT and networking this morning, I feel obligated to share a few observations from watching the Red Sox vs. the Minnesota Twins game played on Sept. 30 1967. The details say so much about how the game has changed in 40 years:

Dust everywhere. You don't see dust - or at least not much dust - on modern baseball fields. But the dust in this game was as much a part of the picture as the grass.

And the field had bare spots - bare spots! Can you imagine one of today's manicured stadiums having a bare spot? But there it was right in front of the circle that surrounds home plate.

No advertising on the walls. Just walls.

Skinny players. I mean rail-thin guys who no more resemble today's bulked-up behemoths than, well, me. Even Sox first baseman George Scott - "The Boomer" - looked ordinary.

Infielders backing up the pitcher. Every Little Leaguer did this in my time: When the catcher threw the ball back to the pitcher the second baseman and/or shortstop would move over behind him just in case the toss went awry. In Little League it made sense because such throws would regularly go awry. In the majors? You just don't see it anymore, but they were doing it then.

Umpire get-ups: Those huge ballooning chest protectors ... hats ... and even neckties. Players still argued with them.

Pitchers batting: I know National League fans see this all the time, but what struck me in this game was that Red Sox pitcher Jose Santiago actually batted in the 8th inning (might have been the 7th; I wasn't taking notes). Pitchers never bat that deep into ballgames any more because they aren't pitching that deep into ballgames anymore.

Socks worn properly: One of my favorite recollections of Little League was learning to put the socks and stirrups on properly. (Hint: You have to turn the pants inside-out.) Made me feel like a real ballplayer. Everyone in this game was wearing their socks and stirrups the right way. Today? Geesh, don't get me started.

And the players:

Yaz: My boyhood hero, plain and simple. I knew, of course, that he was going to hit the big homerun that sealed victory for the Sox. But it still gave me chills.

Elston Howard: What was this Yankee stalwart doing catching for the Sox? Finishing up a great career in grand style. What I noted most, though, was the catcher's mitt he was using: one of those round, cushiony things that barely resembles the bushel baskets used by today's catchers.

Hawk Harrelson: Butchered a fly ball so badly that it struck Reggie Smith, who was backing him up, in the neck. I'd forgotten how lousy he was in the field. No way to forget that guy's beak, though.

Harmon Killebrew: Again, the mind conjures up this image of a monstrous man. The grainy picture says otherwise.

Jim Kaat: I'd also forgotten that Kaat left this game early with an arm injury. No injury and maybe the Twins win ... and maybe you'd be able to get good seats at Fenway today.

The announcers: Ken Coleman was great ... Mel Parnell had me longing for Tim McCarver.

What a treat ... now I have to get back to the real world.

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