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Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Great Blackout of 2005

As you may recall, I ended yesterday's posting by saying I was headed out to a sports bar to watch Red Sox-Yankees since Fox in DC was showing the Nationals game instead. As it turned out, bars couldn't get the Boston-New York game via satellite either. Even the designated Red Sox bar in Georgetown had plenty of angry people in Jason Varitek jerseys but no game on the big screen. I left before things got ugly there, only to have a similar lack of luck at other watering holes. Based on the outcome, I guess it's just as well that I missed the game yesterday.

This was an interesting experience, though. It strikes me that Fox has no satellite arrangement for the showing of out-of-market games during its regional coverage. This probably is the case because the only time a baseball game of the week generates this kind of interest is the last weekend of the season, and there's not much reason to make the games available on such a one-off basis, especially now that people can watch the games by subscription on their computers or listen on satellite radio or use GameCast or whatever.

So with ESPN covering Friday and Sunday, I saw two of the three this weekend, including today's anticlimactic finale. Cleveland's epic choke job ensured that what I predicted would come to pass: both the Yankees and Red Sox in the playoffs. I also never realized that a tie in the division would go to the winner of the season series (Yankees 10-9 this year), and yesterday thus caught me a bit by surprise when the Yankees were celebrating up by a game with one game to go.

Winning the division would have been nice, but also as I noted the other day, getting the White Sox is a better draw, both in terms of travel and the relative hotness of the opponent compared to the Angels. Much as I hope the Los Angeles/Anaheim/California franchise can repeat its ALDS feat of three years ago, I have a feeling we're headed for another Boston-New York ALCS.

On the other side, I'll go with Houston over Atlanta and St. Louis over San Diego, followed by another Cardinals defeat of the Astros in the NLCS. (When was the last time the ALCS and NLCS were the same matchups in consecutive years? Seems too unlikely to predict this, but what the hell.) In the World Series, I foresee St. Louis over New York. You can laugh at me when this turns out completely wrong.

Another thought I had today was how the Red Sox and Patriots, despite the overwhelming success of both the last few years, seem to have bad news when the other has good news, as if intentionally to temper the mood of the Boston sports fan. It can't be an entirely good day when the Patriots are blown out at home to lose their home win streak, even if the Red Sox clinched a playoff berth today. This reminds me of the Patriots losing their streak in Pittsburgh last Halloween, just days after the Red Sox won the World Series.

Not many football thoughts right now, as baseball has dominated the sports weekend, but I must remark on the amazing similarity between the USC-Arizona State game yesterday and the Philaelphia-Kansas City game today. I missed the first halves of both and was clueless as to how the Sun Devils and Chiefs actually built leads to begin with.

Both the Sunday night and Monday night NFL games suck this week. How did the league convince 100,000 Mexican people to go watch the 49ers and Cardinals tonight?