Leaves Falling, Turkey, One Man’s Quest for the Boys of Summer
Here in the U.S. we are easing toward the Thanksgiving Holiday, a traditional meal and gathering at the close of Harvest season. In the Livermore valley, the grape leaves are gold, red and brown, shriveing into to the relatively mild season that passes for winter here in Northern California. U.S. traditions peg the Thanksgiiving holiday to a meal held in 1621 by the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims who settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Perhaps a mythic event, it represents the best of what we believe in our nation: that we can share the land, share in our nation’s bounty and respect our neighbors, no matter what color, creed or religous belief they hold.For me, however, Thanksgiving time has one flaw: it the holiday that celebrates the football game (including the backyard football game of my extended family). Now, don’t get me wrong, I love football, but I always wondered why we did not play babeball on Thanksgiving. Baseball is America’s “past-time,” and when Abraham Lincoln declared thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1863 baseball was a well known AMERICAN sport with established teams and rules. An even older sport, football was played in various forms apparently since 600 A.D., with a strong thread running through the British Isles.In addition to my baseball yearnings for Thanksgiving, another great American (and our boss) John Chambers marked a breakthrough event for sports and technology fans, everywhere, with the announcement of Cisco field. In the next few years, the Oakland As will be moving south to Fremont to take residence in what I can only imagine will be the most technologically sophisticated ballpark/stadium in the world. It was a rich table of sport and technology he laid not only for Silicon Valley, but all of the world.The 34,000-seat Cisco Field will feature a wireless network on which fans can use handheld devices to watch instant replays, order food and beverages, communicate with friends, and keep score. Fans will be able to buy tickets online, receive their ticket as a file on a smartphone to show at the gate, and visit kiosks inside the stadium to upgrade their seats. Stadium employees will use other handheld communicators that use radio-frequency identity (RFID) technology to locate and talk to each other.”This is about how we take America’s favorite pastime and enable it for where the future will be,” Chambers at the announcement, accompanied by A’s owner Lewis Wolff, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and others. He added that as many as 80 technology applications have been considered for the stadium.Completion of the new stadium, near Cisco’s San Jose headquarters, may be three to five years away. Cisco is also weighing which technology companies it will will partner with to develop the platform for Cisco Field. Similar Cisco technology is deployed at Busch Stadium, the home field of WORLD SERIES CHAMPION baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis, Missouri. http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/index.jsp?c_id=stlTechnology, especially wireless technology, is permeating and influencing every aspect of our lives. In John Chambers’ words “consumers are embracing technology in their work and home environments, more now than ever before, and we believe that technology can have a major impact on the fan experience at ballparks as well. Today, there is a certain expectation from fans that new athletic facilities have cutting-edge technology. Cisco and the A’s will be setting new standards in terms of the field and the surrounding village…we can leverage both entertainment and sports to showcase the value of the network to enhance the fan experience.”Now, pass the gravy and stuffing. This thanksgiving we can celebrate, sport, family, community and technology together here in the Bay area.