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Before radio, TV and the internet, World Series play-by-play was acted out in opera houses

Before radio, fans watched Series in opera houses

World Series games have been broadcast to the masses via radio, TV and/or the internet since 1921. That's almost 100 years worth of exposure. But baseball and the Fall Classic are older than that -- 17 Series between 1903-1920 were played sans such modern media. So, besides going to the game, how did baseball fans get their real-time coverage?

Well, the most popular way was to go to an opera house or town square and watch the game on Play-O-Graphs. Workers would recieve news from the field and use flags and punched-out holes to simulate gameplay. Thousands flocked to catch a glimpse of the giant blackboards:

But perhaps the greatest (and in my opinion, most enjoyable) manner in which to watch the World Series was as performance theater. Yes, an Atlanta opera house utilized actual people to run the bases and perform play-by-play of the games:

"A novel feature of the report was the actual running of the bases by uniformed boys, who obeyed the telegraph instrument in their moves around the diamond. Great interest prevailed and all enjoyed the report."

Sounds like a wonderful time. Were there also batters? And fielders? How REAL did the simulation get?

You never wanted to get in Albert Belle's way on the basepaths. Just ask Fernando Vina.   

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