Thursday, April 4, 2013
The Tradition of Night Baseball
I had the pleasure last night of continuing a tradition with my wife of attending Opening Night at Great American Ballpark to watch the Cincinnati Reds take on the Los Angeles Angels. We love baseball as a family and since we've been married we have always gone on Opening Night. It is a tradition for us that we look forward to each year and despite the extremely chilly temperatures, in the mid 30s, we loved every minute. This tradition of playing baseball at night actually took some getting used to for the fans. The earliest game played under the lights was on September 2, 1880 in Massachusetts. The players had difficulty seeing, leading to many errors being made, and the spectators got bored because it was difficult to make out the majority of the action on the field. Various other attempts were made over the next few decades to illuminate the American pastime but with little interest as the low light made it difficult to watch (http://www.19cbaseball.com/field-10.html).
The first Major League Baseball game played at night was in Cincinnati, Ohio at the old Crosley Field on May 24, 1935 where the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1. The spectators finally caught on to the enjoyment of watching the games at night after a hard days work, since before very few could attend games in the middle of the day during the work week. The Reds played all their opponents at least once at night the rest of that season and despite their losing record, attendance went up. By the 1940s most of the Major League teams had lights installed and were hosting night baseball games, except the Chicago Cubs. Holding fast to their traditions Wrigley Field did not host a night game until 1988 and even now they have very few night games compared to the rest of the league. For all the other teams, night baseball is now the tradition and the rare "day game" is a novelty. If you have not taken the opportunity to attend a night game with your family and/or friends then I highly encourage each and every one of you to do so. It is like no other sport to watch live. (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/mlb-holds-first-night-game) GO REDS!!!