In light of the over-the-top tributes to Derek Jeter prior to tonight’s Midsummer Classic, let’s recall a year in which Jeter not only wasn’t elected the American League’s starting shortstop, there no shortage of sentiment (in New England, anyway) that Boston’s Nomar Garciaparra was every bit the eventual Yankee captain’s equal.
Five years before Garciaparra’s banishment to Wrigley Field, Carver MA resident Chris Nandor hacked MLB’s online voting scheme and voted for Nomar some 39,000 times. And while Garciaparra ended winning the starting spot by a margin so great that Nandor cannot be blamed for Jeter’s 2nd place finish, this particular bit of high-tech daring-do is hailed just the same by BostInno’s Hayden Bird :
Using the programing language Perl (Nandor later coauthored a book on it), he hilariously ran the “script” while grilling burgers one afternoon at his house. Amazing stuff, though it was eventually noticed by MLB website officials. Depressingly (for the officials), it took them two whole weeks to figure it out, even though all 39,000 of Nandor’s Nomar votes (along with the others) had the same email address and zip code.
The aspect of the whole thing is that dates it the most? Nandor accomplished his bit of hometown help by using a dial-up internet connection. Luckily, no one picked up the home phone while he was running his script.
Clearly the league learned from this experience, which like so many other major institutions, took some time to acclimate to the internet. Perl, the coding language that Nandor used to tip the scales in his favorite team’s favor, was (and still is) useful for tasks such as data-mining, or running scripts (which was done in this case to perfection prior to being noticed). That said, it’s been largely usurped in many of its original functions by more modern languages.