In some ways I’m an atypical Gen Yer. I don’t use hashtags, tweets or Instagrams to communicate. Sure, I have Facebook, but few human beings on this planet don’t, even if they seldom log in or post anything. So, I may not be the most qualified columnist to write this, but here’s to trying.

Max McCumber

Max McCumber

The older us millenials get — with my August birthday passed now, I’m only two years shy of 30 — the more the world relies on our expertise of the digital age. We are labeled as a generation with no comprehension of the world without the Internet, social media, etc. There is some truth to that. In my lifetime I can recall there being a computer available more often than not, so that’s fair. Most of us born in the 1980s to early 1990s, though, have some recollection of less extreme technological influence.

When I was in high school, from 2000-04, the Internet sure as hell existed. The dot-com boom had passed. Google and Yahoo! were around. Much of the population had an email address. Although they lacked oracle-like intelligence and cameras for us to take selfies with, cell phones were prevalent.

Even so, we didn’t have YouTube, Twitter or Instagram back then. MySpace had little following beyond musical acts. Wikipedia was just getting started. Mark Zuckerberg was a kid at Harvard experimenting with an idea that would become Facebook. The world bereft of such online platforms now seems so primitive.

In order to better illustrate my train of thought I turn to sports, which I am more versed in than social media. To narrow it down even further, you may have guessed it coming from me — baseball.

Lets go back 11 years, to October 2003. Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs are a win away from their first pennant since 1945. Cubs ace Mark Prior is on the mound.

In the eighth inning, a spectator named Steve Bartman interferes with a ball in play down the left-field line. The then-Florida Marlins pull off a stunning comeback immediately afterward as the Cubs choke. Bartman is deemed the scapegoat, and his life is changed forever.

Enough advanced visual technology was at hand when this happened. The shot of Bartman snatching the ball out of the reach of the Cubs’ Moises Alou got plenty of replays accompanied by whooshing graphics on the FOX broadcast. ESPN played it many times on SportsCenter.

As if poor Bartman had a rough go of it already, imagine the torment he would be subject to had Twitter been around in 2003. It would only be amplified. Millions of irate Cub fans would break out their smartphones to tweet their displeasure. Amazingly, this was not 1983 or 1993 but 2003. Less than a decade later, reaction to events of this nature changed considerably.

Mike Trout may be the most prolific baseballer of our generation, when it comes to position players. To name someone who achieved a similar level of success in the not-so-distant past, Ken Griffey Jr. comes to mind.

At least in Seattle, Junior had his face everywhere from game telecasts, commercials, magazine covers, video games and trading cards to various knickknacks.

These days, it’s safe to say Trout gets the same amount of exposure. Yet Griffey never had to deal with numerous Twitter followers and Facebook likes. Social media has added another dimension to stardom in a short period of time.

I suppose from a traditionalist point of view, social media is not a detractor to the game. The major league debut of your best friend and/or the top prospect in the organization. A walk-off home run or bloop single. A leaping, snow cone outfield catch. A 3,000th hit or 300th career pitching win. Many use # or @ symbols to express awe toward occurrences like these, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

On the iPhone, it’s second nature for me to check MLB At Bat for the news and score alerts. It’s one of the apps I use with the most frequency. All the more reason to when the season winds down in September.

Some facets of baseball fandom remain constant but evolve with the times. MLB At Bat serves the same purpose and provides the same sensation as tuning the radio dial did in eras past. Reactions and updates just flow in far more instantaneously.

— Max McCumber is a Santa Barbara resident.