I realize that Clipperblog is a site devoted to basketball and, specifically, the Los Angeles Clippers.  Though I have many interests [actually, I've traditionally placed baseball first and basketball second in my hierarchy of sports fandom], I feel that a strong focus is one of the things that strengthens this blog.  Having said that, I want to offer a comment on Major League Baseball's decision to grant the rights of its Extra Innings package exclusively to Direct TV.  Is this relevant to the NBA? Absolutely, because once this trend takes hold, I'm nearly certain that the NBA could follow suit.

As a disclaimer, I'm a subscriber to DirectTV, so this decision doesn't directly affect me.  But when I think about my pal, Steve Daly, who's a longtime subscriber to Extra Innings so that he can follow his beloved Red Sox and, more generally, service his devotion to baseball, MLB's cynical maneuver makes me want to never stop throwing up.  Could Steve cancel his cable subscription and switch DirectTV?  Probably.  But not without creating friction at a house he shares with a fastidious control freak - the "senior partner" in a residence where Steve is the junior partner. 

Being a baseball fan ain't easy.  Unlike football, baseball requires a fan's daily attention.  Whereas an NBA game lasts a hair over two hours, AL Easts contests run as much as four hours.  It requires turning the other cheek on any number of issues - pick one.  In the mid-1990s, when Major League Baseball was in danger of slipping into irrelevance, hard-core fans stuck by it, even though ticket and concession prices went through the roof and continue to [my season ticket has gone from $17 in 2005, to $22 in 2006, to $25 in 2007, even though the Dodgers have won exactly zero playoff games over that stretch].  When NASCAR and soccer began to surpass some MLB broadcasts in the local ratings, MLB fans stuck by.  When it became evident that the league's leading players have been injecting fucking horse steroids into their asses, the diminishing number of Sabermetricians [present company included] and tradionalists, respectively, stuck by.  Despite an insane amount of player movement that makes following one's home team virtually impossible, we continued to defend the soulfulness of the game.

So how does Major League Baseball repay its loyalists?  By extending its middle finger in our direction.  By telling fans in an increasingly transient society in which a good plurality of a team's fans reside outside their native city, that their loyalty is worth nothing. 

Well, fuck you Major League Baseball.  You crack dealers.  You ungrateful dolts.  I hope John McCain and John Conyers yank your antitrust status and insert a congressional shower curtain rod up your collective asses, you myopic nimrods.