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Sports Then and Now


Baseball Survived These 5 Changes — It Will Survive Instant Replay, Too

Posted on April 23, 2014 by Danielle Ward
Thanks to instant replay will baseball arguments soon be a thing of the past?

Thanks to instant replay will baseball arguments soon be a thing of the past?

A baseball manager is having a meltdown and starts yelling before he even leaves the dugout. He leaps onto the field, gesturing wildly, and strides across the field until his face is inches away from the ump’s. He may toss his hat in disgust, shout some expletives and get thrown out of the game. The manager meltdown is a revered baseball tradition, but instant replay could be taking it away.

In addition to using pure gut instinct to decide whether to ask for an instant replay, managers have to know which plays are the most statistically important. They don’t want to burn up their single replay on an unimportant play. Fans who love to bet on baseball will be watching just how well managers handle their instant replay strategies. It’s something that could recharge the game, just like many changes from the past have done.

Of course, baseball isn’t a sport whose fans thrive on change. Additions like gloves, batting helmets and numbered uniforms, at one time, were enough to initiate some serious fan meltdowns. Let’s take a look back at how baseball has coped with big changes in the past. If the past is the best predictor of the future, instant replay will work out just fine. Read the rest of this entry →

Baseball’s Beginning

Posted on April 23, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Before it became America’s pastime, before all of the performance-enhancing drugs, before the Babe, before the Big Red Machine, and even before the Yankees wore pinstripes, baseball began. Like many things that began long ago, the origins of the game of baseball are unclear. Although the puzzle may not be entirely complete, we certainly have plenty of pieces which show us the path that was taken to get to how baseball is played today. From its roots across the pond to the development of more modern rules, baseball’s genesis was not one simple event in sports history.

Ted-Williams-WWII-Baseball-Korea-Air-Force-Photos-09

Rounders

Just as football developed from an alternative way to play rugby, baseball wasn’t created out of thin air. Instead, it came from an old English game known as “rounders”. Rounders was derived from the sport of cricket, but with some obvious differences, such as running in a more circular path rather than a straight back and forth one. As baseball’s ancestor, rounders lent its diamond shape to the modern game, as well as having a pitcher located within the diamond, though in rounders the pitcher is called the “bowler”. Read the rest of this entry →

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The History of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

Posted on April 18, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Just as modern medicine has evolved over the years, so too have performance-enhancing drugs. Although they have only come into the spotlight in recent times, the practice of using drugs to gain an advantage over an opponent is older than Rome. These days, the efforts of professional athletes to cheat has caused irreparable harm to the record books of some major sports, most notably Major League Baseball. So as we debate about whether or not steroid-users should get into the Hall of Fame, or what good the next policy will do regarding illegal substances, we should first look back at how performance-enhancing drugs have come this far.

Ancient Greece and Rome

The beginning of performance-enhancing drugs is almost the same as the beginning of organized sports. In ancient Greece, some of the earliest Olympians used abnormal substances in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. Their drug of choice would either be plant seeds or extracts of mushrooms. Later in Rome, gladiators were known to have turned to drugs. It’s difficult to blame them, but gladiators would dope for various reasons, from dulling pain to creating a bloodier spectacle for viewers.

The Dangerous History of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

knud-jensen

While cheating and gaining an unfair advantage are terrible actions for an athlete to take, the worst aspect of performance-enhancing drugs is that they can cause extreme harm to the user. Read the rest of this entry →

25th Anniversary of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster

Posted on April 18, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Earlier this week marked the 25th anniversary of the worst stadium-related disaster in English sports. On April 15, 1989, the Hillsborough Stadium disaster occurred during an FA Cup semi-final match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium. The disaster resulted in the deaths of 96 people, who were honored at a ceremony at Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool Football Club. While Liverpool currently sits atop the English Premier League, this week serves as a period to remember the 96 people lost at Hillsborough Stadium 25 years ago.

hillsborough_stadium_disaster_17_october_2011

The Tragedy

25 years ago, the FA committee selected Hillsborough Stadium as the neutral site for the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. At that time, most English stadiums included high, steel fencing around the pitch in order to prohibit any rushing of the pitch, either friendly or hostile. Standing room for supporters was provided just beyond the fence. On the day of the disaster, only one terminal was opened for Liverpool fans to enter through, as a precaution to keep them separated from the Nottingham Forest fans. Massive overcrowding made the open terminal dangerous to both those who were attempting to get into the match and those who were being turned back for not having a ticket. In order to avoid injuries in the original entryway, police decided to open an exit gate that was designed to service departing fans.

The exit gate led to a narrow pathway to which fans flocked when it opened. Unfortunately for many fans, the narrow pathway led to the steel fence. As thousands of fans entered, many of them were pressed up against one another and a human crush formed. The police that were supposed to be stationed at the entrance of the gate should have cut off the flow of fans and direct them to another way in, but there were no policemen stationed outside the gate for unknown reasons.

Read the rest of this entry →

Traditional Sports vs. Modern Sports – Which Is Better?

Posted on April 15, 2014 by Brian Braindeaux

Many of our favorite sports have changed drastically over the last few decades; with some becoming obsolete altogether. Some of the sports that were popular with the rich and famous are now sports we all play on a regular basis whereas some sports we all used to play are now nowhere to be seen. Were traditional sports better than their modern counterparts, however? Let’s take a look at some of the hobbies and pastimes that have changed over the years, and which was better; traditional or modern.

Motorsports

Motorsports
Back in 1946, Formula One became the premier single seated racing sport in the world, and it hasn’t given up that title to any other motorsport. Pre-war regulations used to determine the engine capacity of the racing cars, with manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo leading the way in the competition. 4.5 liter cars were allowed, non-supercharged, to race against a supercharged 1.5 liter model. With only a handful of manufacturers being able to compete, the competition was unlike anything sports lovers had ever seen before. Now, the regulations and the cars have changed exponentially, making the competition faster, more thrilling and far more expensive. The Formula One today is followed by millions of motorsport’s fans; some of which travel the globe in order to watch their favorite driver or team. Although the adrenaline rush of motorsports is far greater now, there was something so fantastic about motorsports back then. We think the traditional sport beats the modern day version, hands down. Read the rest of this entry →

Traditions at the Masters Golf Tournament

Posted on April 11, 2014 by Scott Huntington

The Masters Tournament is held every year at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. Originally established in 1934, the tournament has become perhaps the most renowned on the PGA Tour because of the history and traditions that are associated with it. Organizers have reshaped and redesigned the course over the years, but these traditions remain and will continue to do so well into the future.

Green Jacket

adam-scott-masters-green-jacket-rain-photo

Since 1949, the winner of the Masters has been awarded a green jacket. This golfer is only permitted to keep the jacket until the following year’s tournament, at which time it must be returned to the clubhouse. Past champions are allowed to wear the green jacket that they have won whenever they return to the golf course, but should never wear it anywhere else.

Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hoyt Wilhem: Knuckleball Workhorse
      April 7, 2014 | 8:51 pm

      The April Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was 29-years-old when he made his major league debut, but still managed to pitch for 21 years and become the first pitcher in MLB history to appear in more than 1,000 games.

      Hoyt Wilhelm made his professional baseball debut as a 19-year-old in 1942, but after serving in World War II (earning a Purple Heart during the Battle of the Bulge) and then spending five years in the minor leagues it wasn’t until 10 years later that he would make his major league debut.

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