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Big League Stew

On the cell phone’s 40th birthday, here’s Mike Bordick making a dugout call in 1994

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics)

You never know what you'll find in a Kansas City (Mo.)-area thrift shop. An Oakland Athletics magazine from 1994, for example, which features pitchers Dave Stewart and Todd Stottlemyre on the cover and a GTE cell phone ad on the back featuring slick-fielding shortstop Mike Bordick.

Especially today — the 40th birthday of the cell phone — the star of the ad is Bordick's mobile device. It isn't big enough, like a bag phone would be, to laugh at out loud. But it's still worth some chuckles, and is pretty conspicuous in the home dugout at the Oakland Coliseum. It's marvelous how far the technology has come — not only in 40 years, since Motorola engineer Marty Cooper made the first call — but since '94. Phones nowadays can be about as big as Bordick's, and some are even used for talking!

And it's no longer iffy etiquette to use them in dugouts. Pitching coaches even are allowed call the bullpen with 'em.

These days, Bordick is a broadcaster with the Orioles. His 1994 self probably would see that as a possibility. But would Bordick's '94 self call the future and tell it that the World Series was about to be canceled because of the players strike? Only in the future will talking to the past be possible via phone. Maybe the on the 80th anniversary.

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