As the Cablevision/TWC impasse continues, Manhattan Mets fans are being screwed and there’s very little the team’s ownership can do about it, writes the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman.
Fred Wilpon is in a box. He is not going to push Time Warner to settle because the company is already partners with him in a new Mets Network, which debuts in 2006. Wilpon also cannot get funky with James Dolan. The Cablevision boss can, and probably will, make it tough for Wilpon and his partners to get the new Mets Network on Cablevision’s cable systems next season.
Unfortunately for the Mets, and their blacked out fans, there has been little public groundswell over the current Cablevision-Time Warner Cable negotiating impasse. Compared to the outrage Yankee fans displayed over Cablevision playing hardball with the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, this current cable stalemate has all the sound and fury of two guys playing a game of chess in the public library.
There could be a few reasons for the relative silence and lack of protest. The fact Ch. 11 airs 50 Mets games (all weekend tilts), along with about 10 more telecasts on Fox, eliminates some of the sting of a cable blackout. The apathy factor cannot be ignored, either. Some fans, who have lived through this kind of jive before, are resigned to the fact they cannot fight these cable monopolists, particularly Cablevision, a company with a long history of squeezing fans.
Then there are fans who actually see some good in the MSG/FSNY blackout because they are not subjected to the unique baseball stylings of Mr. Fran Healy.
Seriously though, as things stand now, there may be just one way to put pressure on Time Warner and Cablevision. The heat probably will have to come from the Mets. The players. Not the front-office suits.
Only a winning streak, the kind that creates a significant buzz, will stir the kind of emotion and passion that might not only force each side to move, but bring in a politician (like attorney general Eliot Spitzer) to forcefully move them.
Hmmmm. OK, how does a 3 game winning streak sound? With tonight’s 11-inning, 1-0 defeat of the Astros, the Mets have now won 3 straight in which the opposition put John Smoltz, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens on the mound. Of New York’s latest conquest, Sam Franks writes “I guess the knock on Ishii is right–you start him and then you need 4 innings from 3 relievers. Bum!”
But in all seriousness, the trio of Roberto Hernandez, Mike DeJean and Braden Looper were tremendous (perhaps they read Jon Heyman’s column?), as was Kaz Ishii making his first start at Shea (7 IP, 2 hits, no runs). Doug Mientkiewicz is proving to be every bit as capable fielding at 1B as promised…and on a night when Houston’s pen was getting the job done as well, it was terrific to see Willie Randolph’s smallball-by-neccessity being executed with aplomb (the usually unselective Victor Diaz earning a leadoff walk in the 11th, Chris Woodward bunting him over to 2nd, etc.). As for Jose Reyes (above), whose RBI single off former Met Dan Wheeler ended the long night, if he can stay off the DL and learn how to work deeper into the count, New Yorkers will soon forget Rey Ordonez. Perhaps not the collection agencies, but everyone else.
Of the Marlins’ 5 wins in 2005, 4 of ’em are via complete games, and 2 of those are by Dontrelle Willis (above), the D-Train striking out 7 Phillies en route to a 3 hit, 4-0 decision. Florida’s pitching staff has a misery 1.39 ERA after 9 games, though the home-field advantage of playing ball at the Dade County Public Library cannot be understated.
If you’re near a TV this morning, you’ll have an easy enough time catching up with Kerry Wood’s rough afternoon, Curt Schilling’s mixed night or Mark Prior’s great day. So maybe you’d instead like to contemplate this terrifying line for Colorado’s newly acquired Byun-Hyung Kim (above) against Arizona :
1 IP, 2 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 4 walks, 2 K’s, 40 pitches.
Kim also managed to knock home plate umpire Kerwin Danley out of the game with a wild pitch that hit Danley in the wrist.
In an unrelated story, the Pawtucket Red Sox have removed one of Kim’s old game-worn jerseys from their on-line store, perhaps because someone with a particularly strange sense of humor had paid $125 for it. Or perhaps they were asked to take the item down by local authorities who couldn’t guarantee the purchaser his or her safety from public attacks.