Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Where's Judge Wapner When You Need Him?

As is the case with onions, everbody's talkin' 'bout Extra Innings. The package, which allows out-of-market viewers to see most of their baseball team's games, might only be available on DirecTV--not on cable, as it has been.

I think you know this blog's position on complaining about being able to see your favorite baseball team on TV: Before they fix any other problem, they should end the biggest travesty of all, which is that NOT ALL OF NEW ENGLAND GETS NEW ENGLAND SPORTS NETWORK. Much like how I'll break out the Pokey reese catch whenever someone brings up the Jeter catch, I'm going to have to repeat the details of this whenever everyone starts complaining about not being able to see their team:

Fairfield County, Connecticut, where I lived the first 30 years of my life (not in a mansion), is part of New England. It's also considered part of the tri-state area, aka, the greater New York metro area. Fine, so its residents should have access to both the New York teams and the New England teams, right? Well, MLB doesn't see it that way, having granted rights to the area, since the beginning of time, only to the networks of the New York teams.

I've written and talked to everyone about this. Cable companies, NESN, MLB, Larry Lucchino, Charles Steinberg. What it comes down to is that the viewing areas are defined by MLB and each team. Fairfield County belongs to New York, exclusively, until they make a change, which doesn't seem likely. (I personally think NESN should change their name, as long as they're not fighting for the rights to ALL of New England. Look on their website, and they'll tell you their territory: "All of New England except Fairfield County, CT." Terrible.)

The people in Fairfield, about 900,000 of them, making up a third of Connecticut, have the right to see New England's baseball team. If you live there, and aren't allowed to have a dish by your landlord, you can't get the Sox unless you pay the steep price of the Extra Innings package,--which you won't be able to do anymore if this deal goes through--and even then, the blackout restrictions are fuzzy because while you're not considered to be in New England by MLB, you are considered to be there by EI, meaning you'll get all the games except for the New York teams--and the New England one. (They may have solved that problem, I don't know since I didn't get EI until I moved to New York.) And if you don't have broadband, you just can't see the Sox in your own home, period. Despite that you live IN New England.

So remember, when you hear someone say, "I can't see the Red Sox here in Townville, StateyState, what a travesty," remember, I grew up IN New England, and I NEVER got to see the Red Sox. (Save certain years when I'd get Friday and Sunday games from a local CT station that picked up TV-38's feed.) I haven't lived in Fairfield County in two years, and this still pisses me off. Let's take care of the locals before we get to the out-of-towners. (Again, I say this as an out-of-towner.)

Another thing most people forget, and honestly, I have, too until I was recently reminded of it, is that people who can't afford cable never see any baseball, other than the weekly Fox game. We used to protest baseball no longer being on free TV. But it's become so common, we don't even think about it anymore, and that's horrible and unfair to people who hardly have any money. We are so weak as a society--we gotta take the power back! Seriously.

Anyway, by all means, complain away, about whatever you choose. Just consider what I'm saying before you put your complaints in order.


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Location: Rhode Island, United States