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A tribute to baseball physical media

Remember that one tape from the living room cabinet...

Inside a Best Buy Store Ahead of Earnings

Every year growing up, my Thanksgiving holiday played out in roughly the same procession: drive to the Twin Cities for turkey day at my grandparents’ home, then—on Black Friday, usually powering through a foul (fowl?) stomach—heading to the nearest Best Buy.

This was the mid-to-late 1990s and I was an adolescent, so it wasn’t like I was going to be strolling out with any home electronics. But it was enough to bask in the ambiance of the cathode-ray tube TVs, three-piece stereos, seemingly endless rows of VHS tapes (then DVDs), and video games. Notable purchases of King’s Quest VI, LOST: Season 1, & Clay Fighter 63 & 13 were made at that retailer.

As such, I was a bit shocked—though not altogether surprised—when Best Buy announced it would be phasing out its physical media stock in 2024. Truly the end of an era.

This got me thinking about the baseball-related physical media I owned back in the day—when the extent of one’s viewing library resided in that one swing-out cabinet in every family living room. A few of my favorites...

  • I have seen this 1991 Minnesota Twins highlight video so many times that you could press the mute button and I’d not miss a word of dialogue.
  • My dad had a VHS tape with original recorded snippets of that ‘91 World Series. I distinctly remember watching this Game Six CBS intro so much that I’ll never associate the theme music with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I honestly do not know how Minnesotans survived that World Series—I could barely make it through the Wild Card round & ALDS!
  • The mid-90s Twins weren’t exactly full of stars when I came aboard as a fan, so I immediately glommed on to the sweet-swinging Junior. I’m fairly sure my mom got this for me at a garage sale and I heartily enjoyed the Dave Niehaus home runs calls.
  • My paternal grandfather was at the game in which Bob Allison made his tremendous sliding catch, so I’m pretty sure that’s why my dad had this tape around. Even having absolutely no clue who Vin Scully was, I was instantly absorbed in his magnificent cadence.
  • Don’t even get me started on Greatest Sports Follies. To this day, I cannot understand my unquenchable desire to watch this hour-long special. Well—I guess it is kind of funny to watch a runner steal first base (you thought it wasn’t possible—but go to 40:45).

So, if you happen to find yourself at a Best Buy this Black Friday, look for the tall guy in the Twins cap just taking it all in. It might just be your resident Twinkie Town historian/nostalgic.