The MLB/DirecTV nuptials have been making the rounds in the media and blogosphere for some time now, but if you haven't heard the news, MLB is on the verge of entering into an exclusive deal with DirecTV which would make DirecTV the sole carrier of the MLB Extra Innings package. For those of you who follow local teams, and don't care to watch more out-of-town games than you can find on ESPN and Fox, this deal won't affect your life in the least. For everyone else, it could be a major pain in the ass.
Personally, I don't care at all. I already have DirecTV because my choice was to either never watch an Eagles game, or get DirecTV and sign up for the NFL Season Ticket package (which is exclusive to DirecTV) ... then I was forced to pay an additional $99 to upgrade to the "SuperFan" package to get the games in HD, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, I've got experience in being held hostage by media companies, and my words of advice to those of you who may be saying, "Hey, it'll never happen. John Kerry won't let it happen!" Be prepared for the worst.
It sucks, it's a raw deal, it isn't fair, I love my cable...these are all valid responses, but they're falling on deaf ears. It's a matter of economics, and you have no one to blame but your cable providers, as Mr. Bud Selig will explain to you below, in a fictional letter thanking you for paying $300 for 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 2 beers an a foam finger at your local stadium.
My Dearest Baseball Fans,
I know it's been a long time since I've written, and I'm so, so sorry, but I thought that in light of recent slanderous news stories you could use a letter from Uncle Bud.
First and foremost, I want to apologize to all of you fans out there who "can't" get DirecTV. My unpaid intern has read all of your letters, summarized them for me, and I'm really sorry your neighbors won't cut down their trees to allow you a clear path to the southwest sky for the dish, or your landlord won't let you put a dish on your building, but those are "YP's" (your problems), the bottom-line is an "MP" (my problem) and I gotta tell ya, my bottom line is looking firm! Anyway, can't you just cut the tree down while your neighbor is away? And how often does your slumlord go up on the roof? Just install it yourself for Christ's sake. And you call yourselves fans.
Where was I, oh yeah, this DirecTV thing is going to happen, and it's not my fault. You see, we've got big, big plans here at MLB headquarters. We're just chock-full of original ideas on how to
bilk you suckers out of more moneyenhance your viewing options for MLB content. We've got MLB.TV where you can watch any game you want on your laptop or PDA screens, we show thousands of games on ESPN, we give you the verbal gymnastics of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on Fox for national games. Not to mention our most original idea ever: We're going to launch our own proprietary television network, called the MLB channel, not to be confused the the NFL Network or NBA TV.
This is where the problem comes if you don't have DirecTV. You see, we tried to play ball with the cable guys, and man they can't hit...just kidding. When it came time to negotiate we had one simple request, we wanted them to add the MLB channel to their standard broadcasting packages. We told them they could pass the cost on to the customer, like any good middle man SHOULD do, but no. They wanted to force you loyal baseball fans out there to opt in to the MLB channel. I mean, how inconvenient is that? Everyone should get the MLB channel, and everyone should be charged another dollar for the privilege of being able to watch it, and if they don't watch it they're obviously commies so who cares about them anyway. Well, the cable companies wouldn't capitulate (that means give in, forgot I was talking to customers here, I'll try to keep the syllable limit to 2 so you can keep up), so we finally returned DirecTV's calls.
If you aren't familiar with DirecTV, they're that satellite company who is only in business because they've been holding NFL games hostage for years. You see, they don't have a business plan without that exclusive deal, and they've been after us since the beginning of time to help them out. This is what we like to call a synergistic relationship in the biz. DirecTV gets yet another exclusive product to draw people into their web, and we get much, much more money than this product is worth. It's a win-win.
One last thing, if there are any fans out there relying on John Kerry's bid to squash this deal (heh, ask the Democrats what it's like to ride that donkey), I've got some bad news. When Kerry said he would question FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin at a Senate Commerce committee hearing about the proposed deal, Kerry left early. Presumably there were "some killer headwinds on Nantucket Sound." Instead of standing tall for this issue, he stated his case in a strongly-worded letter to the chairman. Of course, some clerk filed that one away in the "to be ignored" folder on Martin's desk.
Face facts baseball fans, you exist to amuse us, not the other way around. See you at the ball park!