The internet has changed the way we follow sports. With a few mouse clicks we can find information that was previously unavailable to baseball fans. We are just a google search away from last month’s most interesting or odd stories or a breakdown of a player’s swing, so Brandon Magee wants to know why can’t the Dominican Summer League send their boxscores in?
In the not so distant past, closely following the minor leagues was nearly impossible. However, with the rise of the internet, keeping up to date with most affiliates and prospects is now nearly as easy as following Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, there is one notable exception – the Dominican Summer League.
In the 1970s, 1980s, and into the 1990s, there was only one true source for Boston Red Sox minor league knowledge:, Peter Gammons. Through nuggets of information dropped into his Boston Globe notes column, readers readers learned of the exploits of Sam Horn, Tim Naehring, Carlos Quintana, Josias Manzanillo, Arquimedez Pozo and Michael Coleman as they worked their way through the Red Sox system. These anecdotes were the only knowledge most fans would receive, as box scores and stats were largely unavailable.
At the turn of the new millennium, the internet began to take hold, and the ability to gain more information on the minor leagues came with it. Minor league teams began by launching their own websites, which started to provide some results, but there was still no central authority to vet the information. Box scores were available, but not necessarily via the team directly. USA Today’s website was the most complete source for box scores, even though they sometimes did not show up until 3 A.M. the next morning.
In the past few years, Minor League Baseball has consolidated the internet marketing of the minor leagues under one umbrella. Although each ballclub still has it’s own website to reach their local fans, it is done in conjunction with their central Minor League website. MiLB.com not only provides boxscores for all the games, most are updated in real-time. It’s now not just easy and quick access to raw data, it’s also simple to access live radio feeds, video clips, and, occasionally, full video of games. The reach of the minors has continued to expand with a weekly game airing on CBS Sports Network.
Alas, there is one hold out to this great era of instantaneous knowledge. The one place from where results take hours – even days – to reach Red Sox nation. For reasons unknown, box scores from the Dominican Republic do not show up in a timely manner. Expecting instantaneous updating might be impractical, as the data is coming in from foreign baseball complexes which may not be fully equipped with the latest technologies. Besides, the main goal for the teams is the growth and improvement of each player, not learning how to use a fax machine.
However, fans of the minor leagues can border on obsessive, and their thirst for information is never quenched. The desire to know whether our favorite new seventeen year old pitcher went five innings, or only four, needs to be satisfied. Finding out on Monday that the game on Saturday was rained out is just cruel. Is it that difficult to call someone who could get that information out?