By Alan Vogel
Beltran stood frozen at the plate, I blinked, and it's spring training. Unlike Mike, I'm not a big fan, though I go to a game when and if I'm in Florida and love the idea that the guys are working out, smacking those home runs over the wall. I can hear the crack of the bat. And I get at least one Mets article a day in the Times which I read greedily.
But the games trouble me a bit. The problem I have with spring training problem is the belief that a player has only so many hits in him, and if he uses them in spring training he'll run out during the season. Crazy, of course, but it makes sense to me. So they should shorten spring training. It goes on too long and is just too dangerous as far as hits go. Also, they'd be able to start the season a bit earlier so the post season wouldn't include worries about snow outs.
Unfortunately, my overriding concern is the deal MLB made with Direct TV. EXCLUSIVE use of the baseball package goes to the satellite company. Seven years, $100,000,000. No more baseball package on cable. Well, me buckos, I moved from Fairfield county to Northampton Ma, and only survive because of the package. I get 80% of the games and I'm fine with that. This year: None. You can say it's my own fault for moving, and I confess I've also hade that thought. But I should be able to move about and still watch the Mets. It's the 21st century, I can drive to New York WHILE I watch Lost on my I-pod. I am not asking too much.
I often get WFAN in the car, but I don't intend to spend the season sitting behind the wheel, stick in neutral, emergency brake on. And I'm not gonna sit at my desk for the next 8 months watching the major league baseball computer package on my computer screen. I'm not alone. My daughter, Mets fan extraordinaire, lives in Philly and is also at her wits end. My other kid has the good sense to live in the city, so at least she's covered.
What's a man to do? Is there a ray of hope: Yes: Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is more passionate about the issue than he was about winning the election, and has convened hearings on the proposed contract, but even so, it's unlikely the FCC will get in the middle and void the deal. MLB hasn't spoken about or announced the contract yet, and that's something else to cling to.
I'm a Mets fan, a baseball fan, so I can't claim the moral high ground and boycott the season. I suppose I'm going to have to get a dish and use it for baseball, which really pisses me off. I also fear that, although my television is relatively new, I won't be able to accommodate both cable and satellite. I could also stream from my computer to the TV, but I hear that it's choppy, lousy.
So, enough about me. How you guys doin'?