Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How the greedy bastards of Major League Baseball are screwing an entire state.

Those of us privileged to live in Hawaii seldom get any sympathy from mainland folks when we complain about the occasional downside. For instance, when a mail order company whacks us a $20 or $30 surcharge to send something here and Sheila-the-Mail-Lady delivers it for the same six bucks it would have cost someone in Des Moines, we know how to deal with that: never order from that company again.


But when it comes to Major League Baseball, there is no choice. We have our favorite big league teams and there is no alternative. And that’s why it's so damn frustrating that Major League Baseball and the people who broadcast their games are screwing baseball fans in Hawaii.

It’s complicated, and I won’t bore you with all the fine points, but the short version is that most of the games played by West Coast teams are blacked out in Hawaii. Why? Because those teams – in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland – all claim Hawaii as part of their “home territory”. That means they have control over who broadcasts their games here.

(As an aside, how the hell can they claim us as “home territory” if we’re more than 2,000 miles away? We can’t receive TV signals from their local stations and we certainly can’t just pop on over there to catch this afternoon’s game and be home in time for dinner. Worse, how can all of them claim us?)

At any rate, for more than two years the team owners have been unable to agree with the cable companies on the financial terms that would permit the games to be carried here. Apparently they’re no longer even trying. And – what the hell – the season’s almost over anyway, so why bother?

Why bother? Well, for one thing, because we’re not able to watch the concluding games of the season being played by the San Francisco Giants who are in the thick of the pennant race with a skinny one-game lead over the San Diego Padres.

For three years, a handful of baseball fans in Hawaii have been pleading our case … to team owners, to broadcasters, and to Major League Baseball. You know what the bottom line is here? No one gives a rat's ass – not the ball clubs, not the broadcasters, and most especially not Major League Baseball. No one.

So, instead of watching the Giants-Diamondbacks game this afternoon – it’s blacked out here, you see – I’ll put on my authentic $35 Boston Red Sox baseball cap and spend that time spreading horse poop on our pasture. And isn’t that just perfect!

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