There are many things that are less than desirable about living in Upstate New York. The weather is not particularly favorable for roughly 6-7 months a year, our property taxes are exorbitantly high for some unknown reason, and the place is absolutely crawling with Yankee fans.
Even though I can get from where I live in Rochester, N.Y. to the stadiums in Toronto, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and maybe even Boston (depending on the traffic) in less time than it takes to get to Yankee Stadium, the Yankees are still our “hometown” team. Thanks to that, and Major League Baseball’s horrendous blackout policies, I am stuck watching every Red Sox/Yankees game on the Yankees network, YES (
Yankees Eat Yankees Entertainment & Sports).
I’ve tried everything I can to avoid this problem. I disabled the GPS location on my MLB.TV account, but the evil blackout henchmen at MLB.com outsmarted me and updated the app so that it would only work with location services enabled. I attempted to turn the WEEI broadcast on the radio and mute the worthless commentary on the TV, but television’s 7 second delay (thanks so much Justin and Janet) means that you hear the play before you see it and at a certain point that becomes incredibly frustrating and anticlimactic. So despite paying $130 a season for MLB.TV, for 19 games a season I’m stuck with the wonderful YES Network. I jotted down some thoughts from Opening Day so that you could share in my misery.
- First, let’s start with the positives. YES has an absolutely beautiful, crisp HD picture. It’s one of those channels that the cable or satellite installer turns on to showcase how great the picture quality is before he leaves your house. And, that concludes the positives. Now on to the negatives.
- The broadcast begins with a stirring tribute to Mariano Rivera and his upcoming final MLB season. If you missed it, I can summarize it by saying that it was a lot of the same things that churches were saying about Jesus on Easter Sunday. You know, he walked on water, overcame death, forgave your sins, etc.
- Play-by-play man Michael Kay just admitted that the Yankees aren’t going to be the run-scoring machine they were last year. I’m shocked by this early bout of honest evaluation. Even a blatant homer like Kay can’t pretend to be enamored with Robinson Cano and the Replacement Level All Stars.
- Kay made it through the Yankees starting lineup without laughing or cursing out loud. Serious professionalism props to my man, Michael, right there. That was no small task.
- Kay noted that the Dodgers trade wasn’t about what the Red Sox got back from the Dodgers, but the money they saved in the trade. While this is true, the only player he mentioned them getting in return was James Loney. Is it safe to say that he didn’t see much of Allen Webster or Rubby De La Rosa this spring? Someone cut this video and bring it back in another year or two when those guys are anchoring our rotation. Not to mention the other assets that were used, in part, to acquire the new closer, Joel Hanrahan. Thanks for doing your homework, Michael!
- Word to the Wise: Never watch a YES Classic game. The Yankees always win. It’s like playing blackjack knowing that the dealer has 21 every single time. You’ll see old baseball, you’ll feel nostalgic, and you’ll get sucked in…but don’t. It’s a trap.
- Jayson Nix just struck out looking with the bases loaded and it is immediately praised from the YES booth as a “professional at bat.” Man, these guys would have absolutely loved J.D. Drew’s professional at bats, too.
- I just learned that the Yankees are more motivated when they see Yogi Berra in their clubhouse. Because, you know, if playing on the biggest stage or making a few million dollars won’t keep you motivated, having a guy who says outrageously goofy things will certainly do the trick!
- Kay just let the audience know that a lot of people are curious to see who is going to close games for the Red Sox. He suggested it could be Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, or Alfredo Aceves and then speculated that he thinks it will be Hanrahan. Really? Does he even read about any of the other teams? I know this guy has a new baby at home, but so do I, and I can still name any of the other American League closers without looking. John Farrell named Hanrahan as his closer in December. I would say that ended a lot of the curiosity right there, Mike. At least for those that pay attention to more than one team.
- As the game wraps up with the Red Sox cruising to an 8-2 victory, I’ve got to be honest, this wasn’t a terrible YES broadcast and my blood pressure remained at healthy levels. David Cone is actually one of the more reasonably fair and unbiased commentators in their putrid rotation (Ken Singleton, John Flaherty, Al Leiter, and Paul O’Neill are some of the other regulars who all bring varying degrees of awfulness to the table). They were actually very complimentary of Jackie Bradley, his great run-saving catch, and his keen eye at the plate that earned him 3 walks. Plus, even for a colossal blowhard like Michael Kay it’s hard to be too insufferable when your team is being soundly beaten down. If the Yankees had pulled off the Opening Day win, I’m sure that the two of them would have started engraving “New York Yankees” into another World Series trophy during the telecast.
- Only 18 of these YES encounters left for me this season. I pray to Mariano Rivera they all go this well.