Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blacked out

The first time I tried to rant about this, I found out I was wrong, so I didn't post anything. At the time, the Tigers were playing the White Sox, and knowing Chicago owners' penchants for making money at the expense of their fans, when I tuned in to FSD and didn't see anything, and then tuned to the Extra Innings channel and didn't see anything, I suspected foul play. Turned out I simply hadn't added CSN Chicago to my list - eleven clicks later (I still have my outdated Pegasus system from the DirecTV-is-a-monopoly era), I was watching the game.

So last night, I get home, remember the game is on, and go through the same steps. FSD: nothing (which makes sense, because the game's in Chicago, so MLB stupidly blacks out the visitor's feed). ESPN: nothing (which also makes sense, because it's on CSNC).

CSNC: Cubs.

Uh-oh.

WGN: not baseball.

So here's the problem. I live about 150 miles as the satellite flies from Chicago. Apparently that's close enough to be in their local market, so CSNC is a "local" channel. The Sox are at home, so no ESPN or FSD feed. But the Cubs are on TV, so the Sox are probably on some local Chicago station I don't get. Result: no baseball.

Why is this? It's because all pro sports subscribe to the 1950's theory that the only thing stopping Jack and Jill Couchpotato from going to the game is the fact that it's on TV. Prevent them from seeing it, and tickets will be sold. Never mind that this is a "school night," that I'd have to leave work about 4, and that I wouldn't get home until 2 or 3 in the morning ... it must be blacked out.

Some day, one of the major leagues will figure out that all they're doing is decreasing their potential audience, and they'll change this insanely stupid policy. I'm not holding my breath, though. If anything, they'll just come up with another tier for their pay packages: for an extra $150 or $200, you can see every game, no matter what! Sign up now and save $5!

Stupid. In this day and age, I don't understand why you would try to stop people from following your team, especially not local viewers. Then again, this comes from the league that thought they owned the right to say "Brandon Inge, 3 for 4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI," so I really shouldn't be surprised at all.

At least the Tigers won. But I did want to hear Hawk get really quiet as the game drew to a close. I do have to give him credit, though. He's talked up the Tigers in every game that I've seen - it's not a case of sour grapes, and he does acknowledge that the Tigers are a legitimate team this year. Not everyone would do that.

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