As much as I appreciate the speed of which news and information is published today, I find there I times I pine for the old days, when much of what you learned about the start of each season was assembled and published in printed form.
No need to get bleary-eyed sitting in front of a 1280 x 1040 resolution desktop, discovering that once again your DHCP needs to be renewed. There were annuals published once a year, digests came out monthly and the news stand would carry weekly newsprints.
Not to mention the daily sports pages of your favorite paper.
Prior to the beginning of every professional baseball and football season and NCAA men’s hoops, I would go to the local bookstore or local drugs store (remember those?) and get a copy of Street & Smith. If I had spare money, I would usually get The Sporting News as well.
After 30 minutes of browsing before I bought, it was all I could do to get home and crash on the sofa to look up my favorite teams first. Then the milestone pages of current and former players and then the schedules.
Offseason, Baseball Digest would arrive in the mail and these publications were loaded with statistical analysis and articles on all things baseball would be assembled. There were quite a few good stories of seasons gone by and tidbits about the teams my father would have followed, or even my grandfather. Also very good letters to the editors often times would detail the life history of a specific player, or recap an obscure factoid.
My copies would lay around on the coffee table at first, where they were referenced often and mangled in the process during the start of the season. Eventually, they would find their way into a side table, along with back issues of other publications taken by the family: the likes of Country Living, National Geographic, and Time Life.
Once in awhile an argument or discussion would come up and the hopeful answer was sought within one of these. I would ransack the side table and out they came.
However every spring, one weekend mom order us to empty the tables. So the decision would come on whether they be thrown out or boxed and sent to the attic, where they would remain for years. My stuff ended up transported to dry heat of the attic. So the cycle of events continued until after high school when I moved out.
I would continue buying Street & Smith’s, but this time they would end up in a box in my closet after the season was over. This process was established and perfected over several years.
Then a few years ago mom reminded me of my old collection and dad wanted to know if I wanted them, or else into the recycle bin they were destined. I am happy to report that old have been reunited with more recent and now they are prominently displayed in a bookshelf in the house.
But this last NFL season, Street & Smith’s NFL yearbook was nowhere to be found. Instead, valuable rack space was occupied by the more popular and better selling fantasy guides, draft kits and how to’s. When I finally did talk to someone who knew something about their magazine selections, they said Street & Smith’s was not going to be carried for lack of interest. What the #@$?
This year, I have not been able to locate the MLB yearbook either. But I have at least found I can buy a copy on the web. I even got to pick my regional cover and specify cost and speed of delivery. A sigh of relief! There is also a feeling of loss, as I no longer can loiter at the magazine rack and flip back and forth before I make my way to the register.