The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

October 9, 2012

Mike Pound: Un-American trend grows in baseball

I’m one of those folks who always try to make the best of a bad situation.

The way I look at it, when life gives you lemons, you should say, “Cool! Free lemons,” and move on. So, when I found out Monday afternoon that today’s St. Louis Cardinals playoff game would be televised only on the MLB Network, I tried to look at the bright side.

“At least I won’t have to listen to Bob Costas call the game,” I said.

I don’t mean that in a bad way. Well, actually I do, in the sense that I don’t like the way Bob calls baseball games. Look, Bob’s probably a nice guy, and he is a pretty good announcer, but he just talks too much for my taste. See, Bob loves baseball, and he wants everybody to know how much he loves baseball, so he constantly talks during the games.

When I watch baseball on TV, I want to — follow me here — watch baseball. I don’t want to hear Bob tell me how, in 1961, Mickey Mantle hit two doubles from both sides of the plate and found a quarter in the Yankee dugout.

Since I can’t watch Bob call the Cardinals game on the MLB Network, I will instead take my free lemons and listen to Mike Shannon and John Rooney call the game on the radio.

But I have to admit that the fact that the greedy suits in charge of Major League Baseball have taken a playoff game off basic cable and placed it on their own network — which, I believe, is available to approximately 38 people — bothers me.

OK, I know the MLB Network is available to more than 38 people, but it’s not available to me. The reason the MLB Network is not available to me is the same reason the NFL Network is not available to me: I’m not a moron. I don’t want to pay for a TV channel that I am going to watch only six months out of the year. From what I understand, even if I did want to pay for a TV channel that I would watch only six months out of the year, I would have to switch from my cable provider to some sort of satellite provider.

I read somewhere that if I knew what I was doing, I could watch the Cards game on my computer for a small fee, but that doesn’t appeal to me, either. Over the past few years, my wife and I have slowly replaced our old TVs with newer, flat-screen TVs. I like watching games on them. The idea of having to pay to watch a game on my computer doesn’t appeal to me much. I mean, what am I supposed to do between innings? Has it come to this? Baseball, apple pie and Dell?

I don’t think so.

It’s un-American, is what it is.

Many years ago, the late, great Peter Gent — a former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and the author of the classic “North Dallas Forty” — wrote a novel in which he described how the NFL would gradually shift all of its games to some sort of pay-for-view channel. At the time, I thought Peter was exaggerating. Now, I’m not so sure.

I’m pretty sure that if a bunch of St. Louis Cardinals’ or Washington Nationals’ fans who don’t have the MLB Network run out and purchase it or pony up the money to watch the game on their computers, next year the greedy Major League Baseball suits will put more playoff games on their network.

Call it a hunch.

But I won’t be one of those folks who run out and sign up for the MLB Network or watch the game on my computer. Instead, I’ll just dial up Mike Shannon and John Rooney.

What the heck? Free lemons.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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