SBD/April 9, 2014/Media

ESPN.com "Reenacts" Aaron's 715th Home Run With Live Blog Of Historic Game

ESPN provided historical nuggets about Aaron throughout the night on the blog
Last night marked the "40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 715th home run, the one that put him ahead of Babe Ruth on the all-time list," and instead of re-airing the game, ESPN.com "decided to 'reenact' the game," according to Aaron Gordon of SPORTS ON EARTH. Despite the name, this "was not, in any way, a reenactment." It was "a live-blogging of an event that occurred 40 years ago demonstrating, if nothing else, that few people at ESPN understand the concept of live-blogging." The "reenactment" began with an entry from ESPN Digital Media Senior Deputy Editor David Kull: "Welcome to our live blog as we chronicle Hank Aaron's pursuit of Babe Ruth's home run record. Jayson Stark and I are on hand at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium for the Braves' home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers." Gordon notes this "same imaginative presence continued throughout the evening." The live blog "updated every few minutes with some historical fact from Kull or Stark ranging from genuinely interesting to mundane." But there "simply wasn't enough content" to last from 7:15pm ET through Aaron's home run at roughly 9:07pm. Gordon: "I understand the novelty that ESPN was attempting to offer, but judging by the sporadic Twitter traffic on the network's promoted hashtag #Aaron715, I wasn't the only one who found it too dull to bear." It is "far too early to tell what ESPN plans for this type of coverage." Hopefully, the net will "realize what a poor fit a live blog is for an historical event, both conceptually and practically, and shut the whole thing down" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 4/9). 

ROYAL TREATMENT: The AP's Charles Odum noted Aaron was honored before the Mets-Braves game last night. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said of Aaron being called the true home run king, "I'm always in a sensitive spot there, but I've said that myself and I'll just leave it at that." Braves Chair Terry McGuirk during the ceremony said Aaron "set the home run record the old-fashioned way." He added, "You will always be the home run king of all time." Braves players last night wore "their 1970s era white-and-blue uniforms, complete with small 'a' caps, in tribute to Aaron" (AP, 4/8). Pregame ceremony emcee Pete Van Wieren said, "He is still recognized as baseball's true home run king." In Atlanta, Carroll Rogers notes Van Wieren spoke "without saying a word about Barry Bonds or the seven more home runs he finished his career with than Aaron's 755." Aaron "took it all in with grace and a smile, even at 80 years old, coming off hip surgery, when he needed a walker to get to the podium." Falcons Owner Arthur Blank, former Georgia AD Vince Dooley, former Georgia Tech football coach Bill Curry and "others representing Atlanta's major sports teams and programs all took part in the ceremony" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/9).
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