Monday, January 26, 2009

Programming

It's that time again. As the football season lumbers to its merciful conclusion, thoughts turn to February and to baseball. Not to, you know, real baseball, but to real baseball's harbingers. Stained artificial turf is its wilderness; fat former major leaguers are its locusts and wild honey. The Caribbean World Series is about to set straight the paths to Opening Day.

MASN in the winter is as useless as TNT without Law and Order reruns, but they've earned their slot the last few years by covering the Caribbean Series. The problem with this thing is that it appears that I'm the only one who cares. I'm not making this up (and I don't remember if I've mentioned this before): I was watching this thing being brought into my living room live during the Super Bowl, and announcer Victor Rojas actually made fun of everyone who was watching baseball instead of the football game. He may as well have mentioned me by name, because I must have been at least 100% of the viewing audience.

My point, though, is that it's tough to find news on this thing. No one cares, and there aren't websites being set up, rich with multimedia features, weeks before it happens. The best you can get - if you're as solidly monolingual as I am - is the occasional obviously Babelfished press release from midsummer. I hadn't seen any news on this, so I went to the MASN website and went to the trouble of filling out one of those forms they make you do to communicate with them. That thing is as uncomfortably curious as the survey you take before you give blood. Naturally, I made most up of the info. What the hell does MASN need to know my address for? An Anita Marks candygram? Anyway, I asked them - in between demands for more Buck Martinez and more less Bob Carpenter - whether they'd be bringing us the Caribbean World Series. I made sure to appeal to their ratings-grubbing side by truthfullly nothing that it's the only reason I would even think about watching them.

I never got a response, and I just figured out why.
MLB Network announced today that it will televise live the 51st annual Caribbean World Series from February 2 through February 7, 2009 scheduled to be played in Mexicali, Mexico. The telecast of the Caribbean World Series will mark the first live games telecast on MLB Network.
Hell yeah!
In addition to televising 12 games of the winter tournament, otherwise known as "La Serie del Caribe," MLB Network will air game highlights and recaps of tournament play, preview match-ups and provide extensive coverage as part of its studio show "Hot Stove."
HELL YEAH! Look, it seems like it's the in thing among people who hate everything (I'm a member in good standing since about 1982) to hate the MLB Network, but take it from me, your favorite avuncular, trustworthy, intermittent internet commentator: it's rad. Super rad. Sure, the studio show is as dumb as Sportscenter, but don't watch that. Where else are you regularly going to find footage of Stan Musial on your television? When's the last time that or any other appliance emitted the words "Tris Speaker"? Finally there is a channel that loves baseball as much as I do, and it's replaced Oxygen as the thing I check first during my television viewing hours.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

John Patterson

I quote from my last post, which is more temporally than visually distant from this one.
Seriously, historians are going to look back and see the early history of the Nationals as little but a parade of shitheads.
That parade does not include John Patterson, who announced his retirement today. I get the feeling that years from now, vivid memories of Patterson will be one of the things that distinguishes Day One Nationals Fans from those who adopted this painful pastime more recently. He never did much other than that first season (which becomes more amazing the longer ago it gets), but that was enough for me. His record that year was only 9-7, but without looking at more closely, I don't think that tells the whole story. 2005 was a year of thrilling, last-minute victories, and that's not the kind of outcome that inflates a starter's victory total. He was there, and he was as big a part of it as anyone.

I almost regret that the John Patterson content of this blog, which serves as a mausoleum for the mildly magical 2005 Nationals just as much as any image of Vinny Castilla in the jersey, is restricted to two topics: 1) He wants to be called "Big Nasty"? That's hilarious and 2) He's going to get hurt; TRADE HIM. He deserved better. But now, the profession he'd spent most of his life preparing for is now cut off to him by medical necessity (i.e., excruciating pain). His ruminations on this turn of events are heart-breaking.
"That's a year I look back on and go, 'You know, that year really went right for me.' That's the way my career was supposed to be," he said.
Patterson came to the realization that his life wasn't going to work out the way he'd dreamed later than most people, which makes it even more poignant. The end of the article is crushing; it's a quick tour of the landscape of a broken dream:
Patterson, a Texas native, declined to say what he was going to do with the rest of his life, but acknowledged that he has been doing a lot of hunting this offseason.

"There are a few things I have going here in town with a friend of mine -- business-wise," Patterson said. "Now that I have made the decision to move forward in my life, maybe some opportunities will open up for me. As of right now, it's up in the air."

Good luck, John.