A lot has changed in the world over the past 25 years and a lot has changed in the MLB world over the past 25 years as well. In 1996, the MLB only had 28 teams because the Tampa Bay Rays (formerly the Tampa Bay Devil Rays) and Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t exist as they appeared in 1998. To the media world, you weren’t reading this article because our company, FanSided, did not exist before 2009 and this site, Call To The Pen, did not exist until 2010.
In 1996, you wouldn’t have read much about MLB at all. MLB.com didn’t exist until 1995, and your favorite columnist or beat writer was in a newspaper. Until 2001, a year after Commissioner Bud Selig created MLBAM (MLB Advanced Media), the MLB did not have prominent writers covering a team’s games. Each team has managed their website individually, much like they do on Twitter in these days. However, most MLB sites were like most websites in 1996: bare bones.
The Montreal Expos site in 1996 is very different from an MLB site now.
For example, check out the image in the tweet below to see what an MLB team site looked like. It was the site of the Montreal Expos in 1996.
The Expos moved to Washington, DC and are now the Washington Nationals. The Nationals logo was created by the man who tweeted the photo, Todd Radom.
Since the team was in Montreal, this is the version of the site that was in English but it was originally written in French, the main language in Montreal.
There was just a quick recap of the most recent game, a few links for other box scores, and tickets and that was about it.
As Houston Astros broadcaster Robert Ford noted in a tweet in response to the photo, MLB teams often had a link to their radio show on their site … for free. Now with MLB Advanced Media, you have to pay to listen.
At the time, too, there were no highlights to watch. In fact, many games were not televised. For example, the Baltimore Orioles were a team that broadcast more games than others and in 1996 they broadcast their games like most teams did: between two channels (a local TV news channel and a cable channel) . Between the two stations, they have teamed up to broadcast 116 games. FOX and ESPN also covered some games, but all games were far from televised.
Some teams, like the Cincinnati Reds, haven’t broadcast all of their games until very recently. The Reds only started broadcasting all games (which were not nationally televised) until 2018 (in 2017, they only made 145 games. The 17 games that were not broadcast were often day or week games). The Reds alone started broadcasting over 100 games per season in 2003.
Currently, MLB.com looks like it was in the late 1990s due to the foreclosure, but during labor peace it’s a website you can get lost in stats, videos, bios and stuff for days on end, but not that long ago it wasn’t much at all.