With the National League pennant race in full bloom, this normally would have been a wonderful weekend to let Direct TV and the MLB package do its marvelous stuff. I had actually followed the Mets and the Phillies on Friday night via a combination of my Black Berry and an appropriately placed TV in the Dodger Stadium Club restaurant, where I was enjoying a sumptous meal. Despite the necessary intrusion of a haircut on Saturday morning, I would otherwise get to follow it all on Saturday afternoon. Right?
I am now officially a victim of Fox Sports and their stranglehold on any semblance of normalcy for a baseball fan.
First off, I pop the TV on at 945AM for the Met pre-game on SNY. There is an ongoing postmortem from the Friday loss, except for some idiot named Seth Everett who keeps saying that the Mets are a better team than the Phillies on paper. What's the point of that at this juncture, knucklehead? He reminds me of one of those idiots who buries himself in box scores and hasn't gotten any physical exercise in ten years. But, I digress. I look at the program schedule. The Met game is scheduled for SNY. Promptly, at 10AM, the screen goes blank just as if Meadow Soprano had walked into the diner one more time.
Damn you, Fox!
I head off to the hair salon, armed with my Black Berry tuned to ESPN.com for the pitch-by-pitch account of the Met game. Not only are they routing the Marlins, but John Maine is pitching a no-hitter. There has never ever been a no-hitter thrown by a Met pitcher. It's the seventh inning. My haircut is done. I race home, because surely Fox will pick up on some of this. Nope. That glorified bar wench, Jeannie Zelasko, is prattling on and showing us Chevy's Plays of the Year. The Chevy graphic cover the screen so much that it gives you the same sensation of watching a solar eclipse through one of those cardboard pinholes. Mercifully, Maine loses the no-hitter so I am not missing out on Met history. But, still...
Damn you, Fox.
Their Game-of-the-Week coverage starts. They have crews at three games. Nationals-Phillies. Padres-Brewers. Cubs-Reds. What game comes on in Los Angeles?
Damn you, Fox.
The Cubs clinched Friday night. The only cities that should be getting this broadcast are Cincinnati and Chicago. And, with the playoffs locked, I am guessing most of the folks in Chitown are probably watching Notre Dame football anyway. I would, of course, preferred the Phillies game, but even the Padre contest had some ramifications on the wild card race. For the first two innings of the Cub game, Fox switches from game to game until none of it makes any sense. For a while, it seemed like Aaron Harang was pitching to Ryan Howard seven hundred miles away.
Damn you, Fox.
This is just one more example of how MLB's national TV provider doesn't get it. They spend so much time trying to entice 17-20-year-old young men to baseball that they forget the big picture. We don't need to see Dane Cook, who is as funny as a leaky colostomy bag, shill about the playoffs. As far as I'm concerned, whether my teams are in it or not, the playoffs don't need to be pre-sold. An intelligent baseball fan will be tuned in regardless. The young men that Fox is trying to rope in are unattainable anyway because A) they have been so dumbed down by Hollywood that they don't get the strategic aspects of a baseball game, B) it ain't football, and C) baseball doesn't have any CGI. So, Fox needs to leave them the hell alone in their stupidity and concentrate on telecasting the sport. And doing it with smart programming moves. Most of the country should have been seeing the Phillie game, as they are the hottest team in baseball.
Let's face it, unless Joe Buck or Tim McCarver does the Fox telecast, the coverage is shoddy at best. I watched them do the Diamondback-Dodger game two weeks ago and they used Arizona's TV guy for play-by-play. He was mindnumbingly bad as he concentrated most of his chatter on Eric Byrnes, the D-back outfielder Fox has deemed goofy enough to be spotlighted on such major events as the All-Star Game. I guess perhaps they feel Eric Byrnes and Seth Rogan are interchangeable with the younger set.
Tim McCarver is over 60 and still getting a Fox paycheck. I wonder what he thinks about it all.
Dinner last night: German sausage sampler at Dupar's.