By Mike Steffanos
I know this affects many people, including me, so let's lead off with it. John Brennan is reporting on the SNY situation in north Jersey. Those of us in other areas are in a similar situation, certainly in the case of satellite providers.
Despite a report on Bloomberg.com that a settlement had been reached with Cablevision, they are still negotiating. According to Brennan, a settlement is likely with Cablevision soon, and also DirecTV.
My cable company where I live in Connecticut is a small company that is supposedly being sold to Comcast, which would of course work out well for me. However, this sale has been rumored for 2 years, which leads me to believe it won't happen soon. No one knows anything about adding SNY, and there are no plans to do it in the immediate future. So basically, I am waiting for DirecTV to strike a deal, and can identify with the doubts and uncertainties of many Mets fans.
Probably many of the people that read this are young enough to take cable tv for granted, but I remember the old days of watching my Mets games on a ghostly signal on Channel 9 as a kid. Then we bought one of those roof antennas with a motor that you could adjust to pull in a better signal. It was better, but far from perfect. Then cable came in with amazing reception and the promise of many more channel and program options.
Sadly, for sports, those options over the years have resulted in a proliferation of channels that subscribers must pay extra for (you're paying over $2 per month for the crap the YES network serves up, even if you never watch it). All of these channels want to be on the basic cable tier, because they also sell commercials and want a maximum amount of potential viewers. It's this that is working against Mets fans now.
We'd be better off is channels like YES, SNY and NESN (Red Sox -- huge in these parts) were premium channels that you had to pay extra for. Cable systems in this area wouldn't think twice about adding SNY in that capacity, and we'd all be watching the Mets and the Braves tomorrow night. We'd pay more for it, but we'd save money by being able to drop all of those channels we never watch.
Another thing that works against us here is that cable is still a monopoly in most places. By now, there was supposed to be competition in this industry, not just satellite (which is still a pain in the ass), but a choice in cable providers. That has not happened in the vast majority of areas. If there were 2 cable companies where I live, I would think there would be a good chance that one would add SNY as a draw to lure customers. As it is, there is only one company where I live. Red Sox fans and Yankee fans far outnumber Mets fans, and I am forced to go the satellite route.
Bergen Record: Toe update
Steve Popper reports on the long conversation that Pedro Martinez had with reporters about the condition of his toe:
On the possibility of surgery:
Maybe right now I should. But it's not as bad for me to go out there and say, 'Hey give me surgery.' That would be the last resort.
That's something that's out of the picture. I would not consider that. That's nowhere yet unless I see myself with no exit.
On avoiding another cortisone shot
The risky part with that is my cartilage. The [Mets'] doctor didn't want to give it to me last June, July, because there is not enough cartilage there to be taking cortisone, cortisone, cortisone. It'll mess up your cartilage. And pretty soon you'll be shaving your bone and that's what we don't want.
On the toe affecting his mechanics in the second half last year:
Toward the end of the season I was throwing funny. I watched the videos and I didn't like what I saw. I didn't like what I was feeling -- my lat's getting tight, my shoulder was getting low, my velocity wasn't there. [I didn't like what I was seeing], what I was feeling, either. It was different. I knew it, but I didn't know what to do. In the middle of the season you don't know what to do.
I guess these revelations will cause another round of dire predictions concerning Pedro from the usual suspects in the media. As opening day gets closer you have the feeling that Pedro might miss a start or two in April. They'll jump all over that one, too.
New York Times: Brian Bannister
Ben Shpigel has the best look of the morning at Brian Bannister, offering a couple of nice quotes from other Mets:
He's one of those guys who makes you feel like you're out there facing a [Greg] Maddux in his old days, when he was throwing a little harder. It's like if he gets down in the strike zone, he could throw a strike with his eye closed."
Ramon Castro, who caught Bannister yesterday:
Whew, he was nasty today. Fastball. Cutter. The 12-to-6 curveball. Everything.
Daily News: Gooden Update
Sam Borden and Corky Siemaszko report that Dwight Gooden might be looking at up to 5 years in state prison for his latest slip-up.