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Baseball Trapped in the Past

On Sunday, two teams ranked in the top five and conference rivals to boot, played in a critical game. It was a tightly contested contest, featuring six lead changes, and eventually decided by a single run. I was unable to watch a single pitch.

It's not because I didn't want to, it's because it was quite literally not available for me to watch. I am a Baltimore native and LSU alum, living in Dallas. This leads to some complicated sports loyalties on my part, but it is really quite amazing that I am able to follow all of these teams. On Sunday alone, I was able to watch the Washington Capitals on my computer, the Texas Rangers on my TV, and the Baltimore Orioles on my Kindle.

Yet I couldn't get the LSU baseball game, a game ostensibly for the number one ranking in the country. Well, that's not entirely true, I could get the audio broadcast thanks to GeauxZone, and I was able to get updates via twitter thanks to the boss man here.

Don't think I'm complaining. In a way, this is the thing I love most about college baseball. You have to want it.

We live in a world in which almost every event is at our fingertips, and it's available live. I can literally watch every single Major League baseball game, if I only had the time. I can access almost every album ever recorded or every movie ever made. Most I can access instantly and at minimal cost.

Seriously, I couldn't even imagine this as a kid. I watched sports on tape delay all of the time, and rarely saw a team that was outside of my home market. When my family first got cable, I would stay up until 2 AM just to watch Big West college basketball only because I could.

No one wants to hear anyone rant about back in the day and walking uphill both ways in the snow, so I'm just bringing up the old days just so we all are on the same page - it's a pretty kick ass time to be a sports fan due to technological innovations. This is the Golden Age.

Yet some sports have left behind. ESPN can't devote more than two minute to the Stanley Cup playoffs, so they certainly aren't going to give time to college baseball or lacrosse or cycling or whatever smallish sport you enjoy. The four letter network still moves the sports conversation, maybe more than it ever has, so while some sports now have enjoyed massive exposure leading to more fans leading to more exposure in an endless mobius strip of hype, college baseball just keeps churning along just outside the mainstream.

Not that college baseball hasn't benefited. I can watch most LSU games on my computer, and the ones I can't see, I can still listen to. (Seriously, GeauxZone is awesome... if you are an out of state LSU fan, you must purchase it... no, LSU doesn't pay me). ESPNU broadcasts an SEC game of the week, well, every week. And it will show some of the NCAA tournament and all of the College World Series. Even that's a major improvement from twenty years ago.

Following college baseball now is like following college football in Maryland in 1985. Sure, you can get the information if you want it, but it's pretty easy to ignore. There's never been a spontaneous discussion of college baseball at my office, and I work with sports fans. I have to come to the internet to find my fellow fanatical LSU fans.

That's what I love most about it. Isn't it great to not have people having staged shouting matches with each other over college baseball? Sure, it's hard to find highlights, but almost all of the writing you find on college baseball is both smart and passionate (you only get passionate from me... sorry). You have to care to follow this sport.

And even when LSU drops a disappointing two games after taking the first game against Kentucky, I have the comfort of a knowing nod from anyone who does follow the sport. We share a special secret. We'd love for everyone to love the sport, too, but in a way, we're glad Skip Bayless isn't trying to ruin it.

So, sure, dropping a series sucks and it sucks even more to have been unable to watch the rubber match of the series. But it's great to be in on the secret. If only more people shared it. Just don't tell ESPN.