Tonight, the confluence of baseball pennant races, the Internet, the ethernet and the television networks made for a perfect multitasking scene for baseball fans in St. Louis.
As the Cardinals were finishing off the Padres in the top of the ninth inning last night to snap a seven-game losing streak, their celebratory but still-anxious fans sitting in front of the press box at Busch Stadium kept alternating their cheers with quick peeks over their shoulders.
What were they watching to the rear? The press-box TV monitors, half of which were tuned into the Astros-Pirates game being beamed by ESPN from Pittsburgh, where the 'Stros were trying to win an eighth straight game. Do that and the heat would remain on St. Louis, who'd seen Houston pull to within 1 1/2 games of their NL Central lead.
While that drama was unfolding in front and back of the Cards fans, another was playing out in the press box. For the visiting writers from San Diego were tracking the Dodgers' game in Colorado with the help of an XM-radio feed and other Internet outlets.
Why? The Padres came into the game in St. Louis needing a combination of four wins/Dodgers losses to clinch the NL West.
Meanwhile this writer, too, was tracking the Dodgers-Rockies via the ESPN Gamecast graphics on the Internet - while listening to the Phillies' game against the Nationals in Washington, D.C., via the MLB.com Gameday online audio feed. Why? Another inextricable link across the miles, as the Dodgers attempted to maintain their one-game lead over the Phightens' in the NL wildcard race.
The final results: the Cards, Dodgers won early, while Houston and the Phillies played late into the night before winning, too, in 15 and 14 innings, respectively.
Winners, all, to be sure. But the ultimate victors, though, had to be any thoroughly wired fan, and 21st century technology.
Talk about a global village, wireless and electrifying all at once.