Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chi Gets its Day, Unfortunately on Fox

“The World Series will begin today in Chicago…”

I have to admit, that takes a little getting used to. I get irritated quickly by the incessant harping on the futility of Chicago’s two baseball teams, but I confess (it must be Sunday morning, what with all this testifying going on right off the bat) that the sensation is all the more discomforting in that I know damn well the record is so horribly shabby it can’t be ignored. Two teams, no championships in nearly 100 years, it is hardly possible. But in this town which for the fifty-some years of my lifetime has had a football team without a quarterback for about forty-nine of them, the hardly possible is everyday.

But these White Sox are something. So far, they are not only in the dance, they appear to own the hall. They play the small ball and hit for power. Their outfield chases down the ball and the infield is as loose and efficient as if this were spring training and not the first game of the first World Series in Chicago since the year of the big fin. Their starting pitching is dominant and the relief pitching, when it appears, is wicked.

They get ahead early and never look back. They dispatched the darlings of the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network, the Red Sox, in three straight, and then flicked away the Somewhere-North-of-Oceanside Angels, who had defeated the Evil Empire (you know who I mean).

They not only act the part, they look it. They are confident without being haughty, serious with being sullen, handsome without glamour. The Houston Astros look like a bunch of minor leaguers from the swamps of Mississippi with their scraggly beards―like a bunch of clowns, with Bobblehead Biggio and his goofy oversize batting helmet and Bagwell up there looking like he taking a dump. And what’s with that Ensberg and that do-you-object-if-we-search-your-car inducing stare thing he’s got going?

The park looks good, too. Because it is. I am a Cub fan first, and there’s nothing like the historic ambiance of Wrigley field (Fenway doesn’t come close), but the “Cell”, (call it that in your paper and several corporations will request a meeting with your editor), is a better place to watch a baseball game. Better seats, better aisles, better concessions and better parking. Recently highlighted in blue, it is now classic black and white, and a truly videogenic backdrop in the crispness of the near winter weather into which the money men have stretched the baseball playoffs.

Not that Fox has a clue how to capture that. Fox exemplifies the way quality becomes a parody of itself. Fox is great with the graphics and all those whooshy sound effects, they just don’t know how to take a picture or capture the sound of the event. Just beyond the left field line of the Cell lies one of the most photographed cities in the world. Last night the weather was in a clearing window, a brilliantly black sky partly criss-crossed with low, scudding clouds that reflected brightly the orange glow of the city. It was pure Halloween out there, reflected in shimmering wetness; a Batman director would have been out shooting all over the place. Cheap-ass Fox sent a guy with a hand-held to the edge of the stands to take a couple of zooms of the back of the skyline. Such imagination! Way to capture such a long-awaited Chicago moment!

And who else was there to help diminish the experience for me? Who aids and abets all flashy-pants Fox in their stingy little effort to look like the real thing? Who chimes in with their typically Christian non-generosity to muck up all the works? Lurking behind another curtain is that parsonage of parsimoniousness, Sinclair Broadcasting, who owns the local Fox Affiliate. They, and only they, want fifty cents from every cable subscriber a month before they will allow Charter to carry Fox hi-def. That’s right. In the heart of Packer, Bears and Vikings country I pay $105.00 for cable and internet and can’t watch the NFC in Hi-def over 50 cents of it.

As always, there is more.

And who is it that won’t negotiate these 50 cents? Who owns Charter? The author of the following:

What should exist?

To me, that's the most exciting question imaginable.

What do we need that we don't have? How can we realize our potential? What will
it take to solve important problems and improve people's lives? What should
exist, and how might we create it—right now?

This is from Paul Allen, multi-gazzillionaire and also owner of the Portland Trailblazers, Seattle Seahawks and the Sporting News. Big sports guy.

Well, you overblown wind-bag, I’ll tell you what should exist, post 1950’s signals carrying the freaking World Series over your cables. May you could quit gallivanting around on your sea and sky polluting private ship long enough to sit down with the creeps from Sinclair and get this 50 cents deal done.


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