It breaks your heart. It is designed to break you heart.
~ A. Bartlett Giamatti
A swing and a miss and the Mariners leave the bases loaded. That’s how the top of fourth ended and how my season began.
Today was special. I kept it close to the chest, not to appear giddy. The beginning of baseball is sacred as much as it is a delight. It’s not a day to paint numbers on chests, but to look forward to the promise of what might be and a look back at was has been. It wasn’t meant to be.
But first, the plan: 162 games, a clumsy blog, a dirty nickel fan. It was going to be beautiful. Now the set-up: A mortgage, a car payment, a baby, and tenuous employment left my wife and I cutting back in a way congress can only dream about. We cut cable. Is it missed? It is not. The only problem with this plan was baseball. At the time it was still three months away, an abstract issue not quite formed, but as the weeks ticked by it grew slowly in my mind until it was a throbbing behind my left eye. Then came a solution. A perfect solution: http://www.mlb.tv. For $100 I would be able to watch every game of the season, not just the Mariners, but every game being played on my choice of iPhone, laptop, or internet ready LG TV and good lord almighty, I had all three! This wasn’t a solution it was providence. When history is finished and the ink dried let it be known that it wasn’t man or beast or even the New York Times that killed God, it was the fine print:
Blackout restrictions may apply.
Opening day played out like a terrible April Fool’s prank. I turned on the TV and went to the pre-loaded MLB.TV widget scrolled to the broadcast of the Mariners and Athletics and clicked ok.
Blackout restrictions applied.
Here it is, in order to be given licensing rights to broadcast the games over the internet our cable companies forced mlb.com to blackout all games of the team nearest your zipcode. That means a Mariners’ fan in Seattle can’t watch the Mariners. Ever. Even away games. Red Sox fans living in Boston can’t watch the Red Sox. Well, that’s not entirely true – if you have cable. And now we’ve come to the rub. I can’t watch the baseball I want to watch because Comcast is such a greedy son-of-a-bitch they’ve blacked out my local team’s games. If I want to watch I have to buy cable. If I stand on principle Comcast doesn’t care and I simply don’t get to watch baseball. If I cough up and buy cable they get my money and my pride. It’s vile. I’m a lone sign holder crying end times and only I hurt myself.
Figgins who recorded that out at the beginning of this post, just homers giving the Mariners the lead for the first time in the game. Hope does spring eternal.
How do I know that while living beneath heavy blackout curtains? Radio my friends, radio. That glorious twisting of tubes and wires and luminous crystals that gives forth the great wireless sound.
I will not purchase cable. I will stand with my sign and beat my chest and bleat my complaints to the echoing wilderness and I’ll listen to my baseball on the radio.
Tomorrow is game two and a new plan.