Seattle Mariners base runners seldom elude the tag, but Mariners management has finally managed to elude this fan who for many years watched part of most games on TV and went to Seattle once or twice a summer to see them in real life.
About this time last year the Mariners disappeared from my TV set where they had been shown on Fox Sports Northwest for years. Comcast, which now calls itself Xfinity to better describe its corporate policy of raising prices to infinity and beyond, had taken away FSN. They explained that Channel 30 was going High Definition, so people without cable boxes couldn’t watch anymore. But we could rent a cable box costing $2 a month for infinity, and Channel 30 would could back.
Not being one to succumb to blackmail, I stubbornly refused the cable box all last summer and as a result failed to see the Mariners’ annual milestone, which is losing their 100th game. It’s a notable accomplishment, if not a positive one, and longtime Mariners fans generally believe that if they can’t be good, it’s better that they be really bad. Then we can watch them use their young players who when they show any sign of being good at all, are traded away to some team that is willing to pay them, and in exchange we get one veteran with missing hamstrings and one prospect best described as “bad field, no hit.”
It was a miserable summer without the Mariners on TV, no matter that they were the worst team in baseball. Playing at home, you can watch much of the games during American Idol commercials. In away games, they fill the TV hours between 7 and 8 p.m. when Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy compete to see who can make their audience feel dumber.
For these reasons I knuckled under to Xfinity pressure and ordered a cable box this spring, which consisted of a box with some cables that could be hooked up in only a few minutes. A week later mine was working, but the DVD player had somehow been killed off in the process.
I turned to Channel 30 with great anticipation, but it was still blank. All the cable box gave me was Bloomberg News (all bad), the Disney Channel (all insipid), and a few other channels nobody would buy if they were the last channels on earth. So I packed up the cable box and sent it back.
With the Mariners season about to begin, I actually considered paying for the next level of Xfinity, which costs another $30 a month for infinity. While I was mulling over this financial suicide, I noticed in the paper that many Mariners games were now being shown on ROOT TV, which I had never heard of. I hold the Mariners in such disdain for going to ROOT that I won’t even google it and find out what it is. Probably a couple of kids with iPod cameras filming the game from the bullpen. Besides, I have no idea where ROOT is on the Xfinity package level. It could well cost $100 a month to watch the Mariners lose 100 games, when in fact they should be paying us to watch them play so poorly.
With no FSN and no ROOT, I’ve got no Mariners, nor can I turn to the radio and listen to Dave Niehaus broadcast the last two innings. His replacements sound like computerized voices as they describe the lack of action on the field. Dave at least had perfected the art of making a bad baseball team sound interesting.
After all this time without TV I can only name a handful of Mariner players, and only Ichiro and Felix are particularly good. I’ll secretly root for them for infinity, but Xfinity won’t be getting any money from me.