MLB Extra Innings ONLY on DirecTV? Why Not Common Sense?

I have just heard the devestating news that Major League Baseball has worked out a deal to make MLB Extra Innings available exclusively on DirecTV.

This, while lining the coffers of MLB quite handsomely, is horrible news for those of us who are EI customers on digital cable.

I can understand the logic: MLB can offer a better package (at a higher price) on DirecTV, as virtually all MLB games would be able for broadcast. Unlike the cable EI arrangement, which limits Extra Innings to cable broadcasts only due to antiquated FCC rules.

Lately, there has been news of Congress threatening the NFL because their package, NFL Sunday Ticket, is exclusively on DirecTV and angry Congressmen (from Comcast’s backyard) is saying it’s an unfair monopoly; which is misinformed.

I would urge any NFL or MLB fan who has digital cable and would buy either package to write your Congress-person and beg for this very LOGICAL COMPROMISE:

Ask the National Football League and Major League Baseball to make their packages available via ANY satellite or cable provider IN EXCHANGE for a live-sports exemption from the FCC’s second rule of the First Report and Order by the Federal Communications Commission on CATV.

That rule "prohibits of importation of programs from a non-local station that duplicates programming on a local station if the duplication is shown either 15 days before or 15 days after its local airing."

The rule prevents games broadcast by a local affiliate of NBC, FOX, CBS, ABC, and the UPN/WB merged network from being carried on cable television in other market, simply because other markets have local affiliates that share the same programming.

Because of this rule, NFL Sunday Ticket MUST be on satellite (as CBS and FOX are local affiliates); and only CABLE BROADCASTS can be on Extra Innings over Digital Cable (and not local over-the-air affiliate broadcasts).

This is a sound and just rule when applied to basic cable regulation. But the rule is also EXTREMELY ANTIQUATED AND SHOULD NOT APPLY WHEN IT COMES TO LIVE SPORTING EVENTS.

Basically, because WPIX New York (a WB affiliate last year) and all the other WB affiliates both carry Dawson’s Creek and Felicity, MLB Extra Innings cannot carry New York Mets broadcasts from WPIX New York. (I realize that’s an outdated example, but I don’t watch that network and I’m a Keri Russell fan. Fill in any city and any network TV show).

Can the FCC explain how WPIX NY games on Extra Innings adversly affects the local WB affiliates around the country? No. It can’t. The SOLITARY PROGRAM of Mets baseball is not offered by any other WB affiliate. The airing of the broadcast on Extra Innings in no way infringes upon the local rights of other network affiliates.

When the FCC created this rule following the United States v. Southwestern Cable (a.k.a. the "San Diego Case"), they could not have possibly known the potential sports programming ramifications, as the First Report and Order by the Federal Communications Commission on CATV was issued in 1965.

Think about that. Major League baseball had 24 teams and we were five years away from the AFL-NFL Merger. Of the four teams that played in the NFL last Sunday, the Patriots were the Boston Patriots, the Colts were in Baltimore, and the New Orleans Saints did not yet exist.

No one in 1965 could have foreseen what sports broadcasting has evolved into 42 years later.

All I am asking for is the the FCC to revisit a ruling as it applies to sports and tweaked the rule to benefit the consumer; and merge it with anti-monoply concerns in a compromise that benefits every sports fan.

84.6 percent of Americans have access to cable television.
Only 10 percent of America has DirecTV.

This compromise would enable:

1. MLB and NFL to offer Sunday Ticket and Extra Innings on satellite AND cable; making their product available to every fan in America willing to pay.

2. MLB to offer an exanded version of those packages — at a higher price — which includes EVERY broadcast. Home & Visitor broadcasts in MLB for example.

Imagine a country where you could see any NFL or MLB broadcast you wanted to, provided you are willing to pay for the right. Isn’t the the very ideal of capitalism?


JP’s Barry Zito Offer

Texas is
allegedly offering Barry Zito $100 million over 6 years. I’m sure that includes
all kinds of incentives and clauses and perks and what not.


Considering what Zito would bring to the Mets, I’d have no
problem giving him an ABSURD amount of money in salary. What I am NOT
comfortable with is giving him a massive amount of money for a long period of


If I were Omar Minaya, my offer to Zito would be:

Five years, $98 million dollars:

2007: $20 million

2008: $20 million

2009: $20 million

2010: $15 million player option; full no trade clause

2011: $18 million team option, $5 million buyout clause.


Basically, $80 million guaranteed four seasons as opposed to
$100 over six, with the opportunity of Zito to become a free agent again at age
31 instead of age 34.


If he has a serious injury in 2009 (or career-ending before
that) he can exercise his player option and then the Mets would buy him out
after year four; giving him $80 million over four years.


If he’s healthy for three seasons and thinks he can get more
than $33 million over the next two seasons — or if he just hates playing in
New York — he can decline his option and become a free agent (the JD Drew saga
this off season would make that likely possibility), resulting in more money
earned than by taking the Texas deal.


If he stays with the Mets for the duration, it’s a better
offer than Texas, because he’d
only need to find a $2 million contract for 2012 to make more money than what Texas offered.


I’d offer only a full no-trade for 2010, so the Mets can’t
trade him to a team that would pick up his 2011 option. And there isn’t really
a need for anything more than that.


In the first three years, if he’s good, the Mets have no
reason to trade him.

If he’s bad, no one will want him at $20 million through
2009 (the $15 mil plus $5 million buyout)


If the Mets somehow did trade him just to make the team
better — say for Brandon Webb or Jake Peavy (although, I doubt such a scenario
would arise), his player option for 2010 gives him the ability to walk from
that team anyway after 2009.


Plus, if the Mets are rebuilding in 2009 or 2010 (again, I
doubt such a scenario would arise) he could ask to be dealt at the 2009
deadline, decline his option with the new team and become a free agent after
the season.


But if he asked for a full no trade clause, I’d negotiate it
in there, because if he’s good, the Mets are not going to want to trade him. If
he’s bad, no one will take him at that salary anyway.


And it makes sense for Zito personally. if you look at his
total career path. If he leaves us after three seasons ($60 mil) and then signs
a 5-year $75 million deal from someone who doesn’t have apprehensions about
injuries, he’d make $135 million over eight years.


He gets to play for a clear contender that should compete
for the duration of the contract baring some doomsday scenario. And he has the
escape clause if he’s unhappy in New York,
simply wants more money, or just wants to go back to California.

His injury protection is drastically reduced (by $20 million
guaranteed in 2011 and 2012 compared to
the Texas offer), but in a
realistic sense any baseball player of his caliber is set for life with either


Also, he would become a 10-year service man with our
contract even if he gets injured before the end of 2009 (by exercising his
player option for year four), so full pension no matter what.



So, why did the Mets lose?

So, why did the Metslose?

Popular opinion would say “Well, Pedro and El Duque were

And that’s true. However, if anyone thought Oliver Perez
would be that good in the playoffs as starter, they were smoking something.
Perez and Maine (2.63 playoff ERA)
stepped up and filled in the gap nicely. Glavine was also ace-like (1.59 ERA). 

Willie managed to the starters situation brilliantly, I
thought. He knew the number one priority was turn it over to the bullpen with a
lead, and we win. And the only time the bullpen failed to protect the lead was
when Trachsel left early, and then the pen imploded in game two vs STL.

We survived the injuries.

I think the real reason we lost was David Wright.

Wright has long been the golden boy who could do no wrong.
And this by no means is me “laying blame” or turning on the guy.


But as the Golden Boy, I expected Wright to step up in the
playoffs, relish the spotlight and deliver clutch hits. He owned the All-Star
game, and I expected him to be the consistent star that he has been in his
career. I expected after his big series, the FOX guys getting lovesick eyes and
talking about how great he is so much that everyone else is almost nauseated.
Just like Derek Jeter.

Our main weakness was lack of production vs lefties. As
such, we needed Wright to step up and carry us against lefties… like he did the
first half of the season.

It was devastating to me to see Wright struggle in the
post-season. It hurt that discover our hero is mortal.

It was like watching Clark Kent
go into a phone booth, make a phone call and tell his step-parents “I just
watched Jimmy Olsen fall to his death,” and go back inside the Daily Planet in
his suit and glasses to write the obituary.

Why didn’t you save us, Superman?

This is the real world, there are no Supermen. And it was
hard to watch the good guys lose.

 I can’t help but wonder if the Cardinals know something
about Wright that everyone else doesn’t.


So, where’ve you been, JP?

Is probably what my reader has been wondering. After all, it’s been two and a half months since I’ve posted here. And it’s not like I haven’t been posting on the Mets Refugees Message Board

The truth is I:
moved to New Orleans,
got extremely busy with a new job
only occasionally had time to post online about the Mets
and that was replying to a topic someone else brought up on the aforementioned the Mets Refugees Message Board.

Since I’ve been gone, a lot’s happened and I probably don’t have anything to say that you haven’t already read. Like other Met fans, I’m distraught we lost.

Unlike most people, I wonder why the Cardinals only won 83 regular season games. After all, this isn’t some "bad" team who somehow put together a good run in the post-season after winning a bad division.

This was a team that won 100 and made the World Series two years ago; won 105 last year; had the reigning Cy Young and MVP on the team; Has six former all-stars in the lineup (Rolen, Pujols, Edmonds, Eckstein, Wilson, Belliard); Has arguably the best defensive player in the league at four positions (1B, 3B, C, CF); and was the preseason favorite to win the NL by the majority of baseball writers (more than the Mets, Dodgers or Padres combined).

I’m sure I’ll talk more about the offseason all offseason; and also talk about the loss to the Cards in the NLCS. But for now, I’ll just give the Cards their props.


Once again, Mike & The Mad Dog have dipped into the ridiculous in their efforts to make stupid, un-informed and ignorant comments about the Mets.

I don’t normally do this (because I’d have to daily with those guys), but since no one is listening to reason, I’ll blast the duo here.

Apparently, Chris Russo (Mad Dog) was "blasting" Dunaer Sanchez for being out at 1:45 in the morning (before an off day) night looking for a restaurant with his brother and a friend when a (possibly drunk) driver swerved across four lanes of traffic and hit the taxi the trio was in.

The accident, on I-95 in Miami, dislocated his shoulder and put "Dirty" as we affectionally call him out for the season.

The ridiculousness of ‘Dog’s statement apparently isn’t obvious at a glance.

Dog’s looking at it from a "trouble happens more often if you’re out late than if you’re in your hotel room." And to be fair, that is true.

However, this is not a case of a group of partying college kids getting liquored up and getting into a fight outside of a Denny’s.

Sanchez was "attacked" while sitting in a cab catching up with his brother and a friend. It’s entirely reasonable to expect that you can go get some food in a cab without having someone careen into you.

Why is a person looking for food at 1:45 am?

For people with 8-5 jobs, 2 a.m. dinner is something that happens when you’re out drinking and being irresponsible.

The life of a MLB ballplayer (or NBA or NHL) is different. The players are at the ballpark for an hour after the game doing interviews, showering and going home/back to the hotel. They work from 4 pm to 11 pm or later.

One of the reasons teams stay at five star hotels — not just because they are millionaires — is because they need things normal businessmen do not need. Things like 24 hour bell hop, room service, and weight rooms. If you don’t have an off day before a road trip, you’re checking in at 2-6 in the morning.

A 2 a.m. dinner is like a 9 p.m. dinner for normal people.

I find implying the actions of Duaner Sanchez "irresponsible" absurd. If anything, it’s irresponsible journalism on Russo’s part.

I doubt very highly that Chris Russo would think that he was acting irresponsibly if he left his job at 6 p.m., went back home, got in a cab to get dinner with his friends (hopefully not paying for his large radio partner) and his cab was in an accident that was no fault of the driver, let alone himself.

Welcome Back Roberto

Lastings Milledge survived the deadline. Which is good. While I’d be fine with trading him for Zito (and only Zito or late addition to the market Roy Oswalt), I look forward to his next six-plus seasons for the Mets.

I think Omar Minaya’s strategy at the deadline changed completely with the news of Dunaer "Dirty" Sanchez getting hurt.

Instead of "let’s get creative and see if we can find a significant
upgrade at starter without losing Milledge, or a great starter worth
losing Milledge for" it became a simple case of "we can’t get worse"

When Dirty got hurt, our holes became:

#3 starter, setup man, offense vs lefties.

Omar knew the market for starters and decided to shift that second hole from setup man to #8 hitter.

He basically turned a potentially glaring weakness into a small weakness by adding Roberto Hernandez.

Not to mention we got a great 24-year old lefty project in the process. He got Oliver Perez, who has  a ton of potential (Pittsburgh has a history of destroying young pitcher’s mechanics and almost all of them bounce back elsewhere. See Arroyo, Bronson; Wells, Kip just to name a couple).

We downgraded in RF by about 20 OPS points (But IMPROVED our RF defense) and did so at our least important slot in the lineup.

And as luck would have it, our top prospect, and the guy with most potential to step in and be a superstar (Milledge) happens to play that position!

Sure, it would be nice to have a great #2 starter. But none were really available at a realistic price.

My main disappointment is that we didn’t add someone who excels vs lefties, at 2B or RF. Like Ray Durham — who could be available via a waiver trade.

But given 15 hours to replace Dirty, Omar did a great job.

Speaking of waiver deals, the Dodgers designated for assignment Jose Cruz, Jr, who absolutely kills lefties. If Omar doesn’t jump at him, I would be surprised, because productin vs lefties was a weakness BEFORE we dealt Nady (who excelled vs lefties) and Cruz can fill that need if Milledge isn’t ready to drop a .875 OPS vs lefties at the MLB level

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Trade Lastings Milledge

The way I see it, the Mets acquiring Zito is a calculated risk that they can win a World Series with him and resign him after 2006.

I’ve explained in great detail that should the Mets trade & sign Zito, the cost of getting him for the 2006 playoffs is the difference between Milledge and our 2007 #1 draft pick.

Obviously, with our without Zito in 2007 and beyond, losing Milledge hurts. Because he’s good, we envision him being in our OF for years to come, etc.

Aside from Zito/#3 starter, another glaring weakness in my mind is our production vs lefties. We need a RF or 2B who hits lefties well, because we’re not going to pull Floyd and Delgado vs a lefty in the playoffs.

We’ll also need a corner OF for next season, with Milledge in Oakland and Floyd a free agent (personally, I resign Cliff on the cheap to save that #1 draft pick).

What about Eric Byrnes from Arizona?

Hits well vs lefties, plays great defense, apparently hits well at Shea.

What would he cost us? He’s on a one-year contract and the D’Backs have DeVanon and Green as OFs with Gonzalez in LF and Quinten recalled.

Brian Bannister for Byrnes?

Either keep Nady to DH vs a lefty on the road in the World Series (Detroit has a pair of lefties), or trade him and Soler to Pittsburgh for Roberto Hernandez.

Then in the offseason, you resign both Byrnes and Floyd, keep the #1 pick, go all out for Zito. If you sign Zito, you have most your team returning (save Trachsel, Zambrano, Matsui; which means you have some money to revamp the bench without losing a draft pick and piece together some good role players)

Your young core on offense is still Wright-Reyes-Beltran with Byrnes in between the Floyd-Delgado-LoDuca age group.

Your rotation is: Pedro-Zito-Glavine-Pelfrey-Maine

If you lose Zito to someone, you can use ONE of the draft picks to sign a starter (Meche?) and get two more to replenish with.

And you’ve got a good shot at winning the World Series in 2006 and beyond.

Early Dog Days

With a 12.5-game lead and nothing but the same repetitive trade talk, I’m struggling to find things to talk about that are different and new with the Mets.

We just keep beating every one (although, doing so through the use of grand slams is a new twist).

On a side note, props to  BPhunk and Senor_Mike for the impressive growth of the Mets Refugees message board. Over 500 members in a shade over two months. If you’re a Mets fan and haven’t been there, check it out. It’s a great community, albeit uncensored and extremely blunt.