Since XM announced last October that it would be carrying baseball games, it has gained nearly two million subscribers over all and expects to add another million by the end of this season, in part because a transient population is constantly looking for a connection to its roots....It's nice when advances in technology bring back old things -- like the way the email and blogging brought back the written word as the everyday means of communication.
"What you have here is cutting-edge technology that brings in the past," Bob Costas, the broadcaster and an XM customer, said. "With clearer reception, it's exactly what I did when I was 11 and 12, taking the keys to my dad's car, sitting in the driveway and trying to pick up games in different parts of the country through all the crackle."...
Baseball has always been regarded as the sport best suited to radio, given all of its long pauses and blank spaces. While football and basketball announcers could hyperventilate chronicling the incessant action, baseball broadcasters sprinkle quirky stories with signature home run calls. For transplanted fans, hearing a game is not unlike telephoning home.
"Because of the length of the season, the pace of the games and the soap-opera quality of baseball, listeners get to know announcers very well and become very close to them," Gary Cohen, the radio voice of the Mets, said. "But what I like best about XM is that you can also listen to other broadcasters. You can get a point of comparison."...
"In the past, I guess we'd throw in a CD or a movie at night," said Natalie Turner, an Orioles fan in Charleston, S.C., who is married to an Indians fan. "Now we listen to baseball. Part of the appeal is that baseball is so great on radio. I think it's because there's just one player in the spotlight at a time. You can picture the game without seeing it."
July 12, 2005
XM Radio and baseball: