The Baseball Desert

Monday, March 05, 2007


I have a confession to make: tonight, when I get home from work, I'm going to watch some baseball, and it will be a game that does not involve the Red Sox. Not only that, but it will be a game featuring the arch-enemy, the Yankees, who are playing the Tigers at Legends Field.

Before anyone gets on the phone to try to get my membership of Red Sox Nation revoked, I'd like to explain. Baseball here in the desert is synonymous with the Internet. All the games I get to see are broadcast via MLB.TV on my PC. Occasionally I've been able to watch games on my TV on DVD, but tonight is a truly historic night for me: we have a new cable service, which carries NASN (not to be confused with NESN, unfortunately), and tonight is the first time ever that I will get to see a live baseball game on my TV.

There has been a lot of talk recently of the Direct TV / MLB Extra Innings fiasco, but despite that, the average baseball fan has a level of access to the game that I can only dream of. Tonight's game is an inconsequential spring training contest that would barely register a tiny blip on the radar screen of most baseball fans, for whom baseball is only ever a click of the remote away. It's something the average fan might switch on as background whilst making dinner or balancing the checkbook, but for me to be able to sit down, switch on the TV and see baseball being beamed (or whatever the word for cable images is - 'fed'?) into my living room is huge.

So, please be kind - don't banish me for willingly watching the Yankees. It's a bit like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon: "One small step for ESPN, one giant leap for the Baseball Desert." Don't worry - I'm just going to walk around for a while and plant my banner. I'll be back in Red Sox Nation quicker you can say "Schilling's new pitch".