On Saturday, October 1, in the fifth inning of the third game of the 1932 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs, George Herman "Babe" Ruth gestured toward the stands. With the Wrigley Field crowd heckling him, Ruth calmly deposited the next pitch into the centerfield bleachers, exactly where he had been pointing.

But did the Babe really "call his shot" as many have claimed (and Ruth neither confirmed nor denied)?

Truthfully, no one really knows. Televised sporting events were still several years away at the time - a college baseball game between Columbia and Princeton in 1939 was the first - and the only video footage of Ruth's round-tripper appears to have been produced by the same folks behind the infamous "Nessie" photo of 1934. (Actually, a guy named Matt Kandle shot the video, but you get the distorted picture).

Now fast forward to November 15, 2009, when, shortly after the Tennessee Titans downed the Buffalo Bills 41-17, Titans' owner Bud Adams celebrated with a hand gesture of his own. Unlike Ruth, however, Adams pointed at the sky, with his middle finger instead of his index. (If you do a little sleuthing and stay flexible on which teams to follow, you can still enjoy all the excitement of live sporting events. Don't miss Money-Saving Tips For Sports Fans.)

There was another difference too: everybody seemed to know about Adams' salutation immediately. There was no grainy film to decipher, no speculation as to what may or may not have occurred. The proof was there for all to see, in full color, on ESPN, on local news stations, on YouTube and throughout cyberspace. It was yet another example of how technology is changing sports and the people who participate in them. And at the forefront of this high-tech revolution is 3D television.

3D In Your Living Room
At the start of the year, ESPN announced that it was launching a 3D network with the broadcast of a World Cup soccer match on June 11. According to a report in USA Today, "ESPN 3D expects to showcase at least 85 live sporting events during the first year. There'll be no reruns initially, so the network will be dark when there's no 3D event. Among other events planned for 3D broadcast: the Summer X Games (extreme sports), NBA games, college basketball and college football."

Obviously, ESPN is counting on the popularity of the movie "Avatar," which has now grossed close to $2 billion worldwide, to whet the appetite of 3D sports fans - and that may not be such a bad bet. A recent survey by the electronics research firm Retrevo revealed that, prior to the release of James Cameron's latest megahit, fewer than 40% of consumers polled were aware of 3D-HDTV technology. Since the film hit theatres in December, that figure has risen to 60%.

"Exposure to 3D films is important to the debut of 3D TV," argues Michelle Abraham, an analyst with In-Stat, an internet and digital entertainment research firm. "Consumers who have seen 3D films are more interested than the general population in being able to view 3D content at home."

Hurdles To Be Overcome
Still, what will be the ultimate impact of 3D sports programming? To begin with, it is more expensive - both to produce and consume. Then, there's the issue of the glasses. In addition to making everybody look like a high school science professor, some eye experts claim the special specs are also causing headaches.

"The illusions that you see in three dimensions in the movies is not exactly calibrated the same way that your eyes and your brain are," Dr Deborah Friedman, a professor of ophthalmology and neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, told Reuters.

"If your eyes are a little off to begin with, then it's really throwing a whole degree of effort that your brain now needs to exert. This disparity for some people will give them a headache."

It's also hard to eat with 3D glasses on - something that fellow moviegoers found out the hard way when I attempted to enjoy a bag of popcorn at a recent showing of Avatar. Instead of finding my mouth, many delicious kernels wound up flying over my right shoulder instead. Luckily, the people behind me thought it was one of the movie's 3D effects, so my poor aim (brought about by a lack of depth perception) was invariably greeted with numerous "oohs" and "aahs," as well as one "I could've sworn I felt that."

The Bottom Line
For now anyway, I'll stick to traditional 2D images of my favorite players and teams, while I continue to wonder whether or not Babe really called his shot. (These multi-million dollar contracts have haunted the players who scored them, then failed to deliver. Check out Top 10 Most Hair-Raising Sports Contracts.)

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    Trunk Club Review: Is It Worth It?

    Take a close look at one of the best-known online clothing services in the country, and determine whether it's a good fit for your style and budget.
  2. Budgeting

    HelloFresh Review: Is It Worth It?

    Discover one of the world's most successful meal subscription services, and learn more about how the service operates and what it costs.
  3. Budgeting

    Beer of the Month Subscription Review: Is It Worth It?

    Learn how you can get access to some of the best craft beers produced in the world, delivered right to your front door every month.
  4. Budgeting

    Just the Right Book Review: Is It Worth It?

    Take an in-depth look at Just the Right Book, a subscription service that delivers personalized book selections based on your reading history and preferences.
  5. Entrepreneurship

    ‘Happy Birthday to You’ Belongs to Everyone Now

    A class action lawsuit over the copyright to the iconic American song “Happy Birthday to You” ends by placing the ubiquitous ditty in the public domain.
  6. Investing News

    Who Does Cheap Oil Benefit? See This Stock (DG)

    Cheap oil won't benefit most companies, but this retailer might buck that trend.
  7. Budgeting

    The Honest Company Bundles Review: Are They Worth It?

    Learn more about The Honest Company and its bundle subscription services, which deliver discounted diapers, formula and other baby products to your doorstep.
  8. Investing News

    These Free Super Bowl Ads Happened (BUD)

    The average 30-second Super Bowl cost marketers $5 million in 2016. But these companies benefited from free advertising during and after the game.
  9. Economics

    The Oscars and Golden Globes: Worth Their Weight In Gold!

    The Oscars and Golden Globes set off a wave of spending that creates new flows of funds in the economy and has major financial impact.
  10. Budgeting

    Blue Apron Review: Is It Worth It?

    Read about one of the top meal-kit delivery services in the United States, and learn more about what it offers and how much it costs.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How does a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) affect my salary?

    Some companies build salary adjustments into their compensation structures to offset the effects of inflation on their employees. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Where can you buy NetSpend reload packs?

    You can only purchase NetSpend reload packs at Giant Eagle, Albertsons, Roundy's and Pathmark supermarkets. NetSpend cards ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are some common ways product differentiation is achieved?

    There are many ways to achieve product differentiation, some more common than others. Horizontal Differentiation Horizontal ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What role does the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) play in the finished product?

    Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) do not typically play much of direct role in determining the finished product. However, ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and a VAR ...

    An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a company that manufactures a basic product or a component product, such as a ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Short Selling

    Short selling is the sale of a security that is not owned by the seller, or that the seller has borrowed. Short selling is ...
  2. Harry Potter Stock Index

    A collection of stocks from companies related to the "Harry Potter" series franchise. Created by StockPickr, this index seeks ...
  3. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  4. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  5. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  6. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
Trading Center