Burriss: Sports casting has really changed

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Flip through the television dial and you'll find all sports, all the time. It seemed like just a few years ago all we had was a few minutes at the end of the evening news.  Now we've got not just sports stories, but sports stations and indeed, entire sports networks.

But I got to thinking just how far we've come over the last several years in terms of broadcast sports.

On Oct. 16, 1899, the America's Cup races between Shamrock and Columbia were reported via something called "wireless telegraph." The story was sent to coast stations and then relayed by landline to the Associated Press.

On Oct. 5, 1921, WJZ, in Newark, N.J., did the first play-by-play radio broadcast of a World Series game. Grantland Rice was the announcer. The game, however, was not broadcast live, but was simply a relay of information.

WEAF did the first coast-to-coast live broadcast of a football game on Oct. 28, 1922. The Princeton Tigers beat the University of Chicago Maroons, 21-18.

But it wasn't until Oct. 22, 1939, that NBC aired the first professional football telecast. 

Allen "Skip" Walz was the announcer as the football Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Eagles at Ebbets Field, 23-14. Everyone has heard of the football Philadelphia Eagles. But the football Brooklyn Dodgers?

On Oct. 11, 1948, the ancestor to the Goodyear blimp, Stratovision, was first used in a World Series telecast. 

The system consisted of an airplane flying at 25,000 feet, rebroadcasting a television signal from the Boston Braves-Cleveland Indians sixth game. And that's right, the "Boston" Braves.

I guess we've come a long way since those early days. After all, I wonder how many people who saw and heard those games had to fight for the remote control? 

I bet not very many. 

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Larry Burriss
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