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As connoisseurs of history, we sometimes find styles, habits and turns of phrase from the past that we wouldn’t mind bringing back to the present, Doc Brown-style. This time around, we’re dusting off listening to sports on the radio.

It’s the oldest predicament in sports: You care about your team, but you’re not going to make it to every single game. So you check out the sports page, or the highlight reels, or the steadily updating scores trickling onto your phone. You check every few innings, and accept anything else as lost in translation.

Unless you happen to have a radio.

It’s no coincidence that die-hard baseball fans usually have a pocket walkman around as soon as the season starts. It lets you feel the subtle rhythms of the game—the pause before a pitch, the fizz of the crowd after a line drive. It also fits right into the background, only asking as much attention as you’re ready to give. You could be washing dishes or driving down I-95, but as soon as you switch on the radio, you’re at the ballpark.

And more than TV coverage, it’s got real personality. It’s not a coincidence that nearly every team has a beloved sportscaster. (Mr. Caray, take a bow.) After a season, you feel like you know them, in part because you’ve watched so many games together. It’s the best part of the sporting life, and what your daily feed of scores and highlights is missing. The feeling of the game.

And if there are a few airwave crackles in the background, it’ll only add to the nostalgia.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom