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When I Finally Get SNY, Will It Be Worth the Trouble?

Mike SteffanosSaturday, March 18, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


My dilemma that I wrote about a couple of days ago is simple -- my cable company won't be adding SNY any time soon, and the desire of Lisa, my girlfriend/life partner of the past dozen years to purchase a condo within the next few months had left me uncertain about satellite. On DirecTV's web site, you find out that if you move while under contract to them they'll do all the work for you free of charge. That's certainly a good deal, but what about if I move somewhere where satellite reception is impossible -- what happens to that 1-year agreement I sign?

A call to DirecTV's toll-free number eased my mind in that regard. If I move to a place where I can't install a dish, or don't have a clear shot to the southern sky, I'm not responsible for the remainder of the term of the agreement that I sign. Now the only holdup is DirecTV and SNY actually making a deal. (And thank you to all of you DirecTV subscribers for your generous advice via both comments and e-mail.)

The prospect of finally cutting my cable company loose is attractive to me. I'm sick of a sanctioned monopoly dictating to me what programming I can and cannot watch. Deregulation of the communications industry was supposed to both lower prices and increase customer choice. What it actually seems to have accomplished is to create even larger media monopolies without any benefit to end consumers. My company can't provide me with Mets games, but they have devoted 5 full channels to insipid shopping networks.

Of course, the Mets and Fred Wilpon are far from blameless in this matter. Regional sports networks (RSNs) like SNY are all about making rich men more money, and have little or nothing to do with the team's fans. It is the insistence of these networks, and the millionaires that own them, that cable companies include them in their basic channel lineups that is the real sticking point. Each subscriber is forced to subsidize the network, whether they are fans of the team or not. Since these networks are among the costliest on basic cable, this adds up. If RSNs were available by subscription to only those that wanted them, I would be watching SNY right now (and saving money by not having the absurd YES network).

When DirecTV comes to an agreement with SNY and I finally have it, I can only hope that it's worth it. Like many Mets fans, I'm concerned that SNY wants to be so many things to so many people that Mets fans will get lost in the shuffle. After all, we wouldn't want to offend Yankee fans with too much Mets on this network, now would we? The final irony would be for Fred Wilpon and company to put Mets fans through hell just in getting his new cash cow of a network, only to find out that the "Mets network" comes up far short for Mets fans.

Gotham Baseball: The New Park
Mike McGann has a report on the latest design for the new Shea Stadium, and doesn't seem to be all that impressed:

New StadiumOn first blush, while improved, there are some design disappointments in what appears to be the final design. To be blunt, the overall design is a bit derivative and looks like Ebbets Field was tossed into a blender with four or five of the newer ballparks - it's nice, but there is nothing new or striking in the design, unlike the new Yankee Stadium which represents a new vision in ball park design.

... Obviously, this new ballpark will be a vast improvement over Shea - built in 1964 in the first wave of multi-use stadia which proved not to be ideal for either football or baseball - but the first details make you wonder whether this facility will offer anything to make it stand out from the pack of new ball parks dotting the baseball landscape.

Mets.com: He'll need to wear shades...
Marty Noble reports on the steadily brightening future of pitching prospect Brian Bannister. It appears that the Mets are seriously considering bringing Bannister a lot farther north than Norfolk when they break camp.

Daily News: Kaz Update
Adam Rubin reports on the knee injury that will keep Kaz Matsui out of the Mets' lineup on opening day. Rubin cites club sources that the Mets would find Matsui's replacement from within rather than in a trade, given the short-term nature of the injury. Perhaps the silver lining will be that Anderson Hernandez or Jeff Keppinger will step up and prove to Mets management that one of them is a viable answer in the long term. Rubin quotes Matsui (through an interpreter):

They told me three weeks, but I'm going to do my best to get back as quickly as I can. Obviously it's disappointing not being able to be on the field because of the injury. There's really not much I can do.

I'm not a Kaz hater, but I can't help thinking as I read this that when Kaz is supposed to be out for 3 weeks, you can figure on at least a month.

Daily News: More SNY Snafus
Bob Raissman reports on the glitches that plagued the second day of operations at SportsNet New York.

Book and DVD Reviews Coming
I'll be doing a number of book and DVD reviews in the coming weeks. First up will be The Last Nine Innings, by Charles Euchner I'm about halfway through and I'm quite impressed by this book.

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