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Pinging USA Stadium — Internet Baseball, Worldwide Ya’ll

July 26th, 2010 · Tags:Cities · Sports · Wi-Fi

Sartan Worldwide Broadcast Team

Sarta Worldwide Broadcast Team

The idea for my first blog, The Wi-Fi Guy back in 2002 or so, came to me when strangers continually approached me in Starbucks and asked how in the world my laptop was on-line — there among the coffee grounds and the pseudo intellectuals.

Now I have a new icebreaker. Not since the infancy of Wi-Fi have so many people struck up a conversation with me over a random topic — my new Apple iPad. Love or hate them apples, everyone seems to be interested in this toy/efficient tool.

The other day in Millington, Tenn., I was approached by another hotel guest at the morning feeding frenzy (hotel breakfast buffet, with waffle maker).

“How do you like that iPad?”

Little did he know, the iPad was merely bait. Soon he was lured in, and we were doing one of my favorite things in the world — discussing baseball.

It seems this guy was the coach of a 17 & Under baseball team from Georgia, playing in a tournament at Millington’s USA Stadium. Incidentally, the small-town park has a pretty big history … once a U.S. Olympic training facility. People came from all over the world to play baseball in Millington. It’s one of those “if you build it …” phenoms. Check out the video:

USA Stadium

(So anyway, I was looking for some BSM on my second weekend away from my Dirty Gig duties in disaster recover … oh that? … “blog subject matter.”)

Play ball!

I took the coach up on his invite to the tournament and rode my bike from one end of Millington to the other, no sweat … or not a terminal amount anyway. But, I ain’t gonna lie, by the time I spotted the ballpark’s foul poles, my first consideration was some shade.

Lucky me! In the bleachers there were two groups of fans. I sided with the ones who had erected an awning.

But, before they would gimme shelter, I had to meet one criterion. (Yes I know I am posting this on Mick Jagger’s birthday, and that Rolling Stones reference was intentional … I digress …)

“Which team are you yelling for, before you sit in our shade?”

“Er, uh … The team from Georgia,” I fabricated, quickly.

It was my lucky day again. That day, the game featured two teams from Georgia. (I think I sat with the ones yelling against my new coaching buddy … oh well …)

My second consideration at USA Stadium? You guessed it. Did it have Wi-Fi? Well in that regard, “no joy in Mudville” … when looking for Wi-Fi, I struck out.

But … but, I did see a great use of wireless technology.

I have seen me some peewee, high school, college, minor and MLB baseball in my travels — ranging from The College World Series, to the pressbox of The San Francisco Giants … to Nolan Ryan’s Dell Diamond:

Texas State Baseball Playoffs, Dell Diamond

Giants Game From Wi-Fi Guy Archive

And, as I told my Sarta friends, I have even seen a high school player hit homeruns “for the cycle” … in a single game — grand slam, 3 on, 2 on, 1 on, and a solo shot!

But this was the first time I have seen a high school team “broadcasting” their game back to the fans at home using the wonders of the World Wide Web.

The Sarta Reds fans, from Dallas, Georgia, assured me that their Dallas was smaller than mine, yet they were totally big league when it came to Internet savvy. (“Remember The ‘Sartans?'” … LOL … I confess I have no idea what Sarta means … )

These Red folk were streaming the game live on the Internet using UStream and a 3-G wireless card, a laptop and a couple of digital video “cameri.” Ha … they even had a good color announcer and a mascot dog.

Worldwide Coverage of Sarta Reds

Ha … the stream is password protected, however, and I can’t disclose that information, but I think if you talk to the mascot dog, “Molly” … hint, hint … you too can see the game video.

I need to re-watch the game, specifically, to see if my ploy worked. Yes … I jumped shamelessly in front of the cameras to take a photo of the Ustream crew, hoping to get my t-shirt into their coverage of the game. It could happen.

Best of all, I met several new fans, including a young fan who asked me if I would be writing about my chance meeting with the Sarta Reds from Dallas, Georgia.

Ha … a representative from the tournament also asked me if I would be writing about the ballpark, since he did honor my media credentials. (He let me in free … and I didn’t even have to tell him I have done a book on Nolan Ryan …)

NOLAN RYAN: The Authorized Pictorial History

(For the record, I did buy a souvenir t-shirt and a Gatorade … so he still got me, in spite of the free admission.)

I believe he put it to me like this: “If you don’t write about us, well, then you are a sorry #%&!-head.”

My compliments to your media relations trainer … LOL. Always good to hold up my end of the deal.

Know what I sayin?