Monday, October 12, 2009


I hope folks south of the border are enjoying the Major League Baseball post-season, because Canadian fans sure aren't.

In fact, we haven't enjoyed them for 16 years because of the inept performance on the field of our Toronto Blue Jays. In fact, just over a week ago they ashcanned J.P. Ricciardi the GM. So for baseball fans it is sad times up here.

What's even sadder is that the networks covering the baseball playoffs in our country are treating the post-season with total disrespect now that the Blue Jays are (once again) out. Last week was a perfect example. The Tigers and Twins played into the 12th inning of their greatest one-game playoff game ever -- except in our region, Sportsnet decided to cut away from it. They decided to start their broadcast of a game between the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens right on time, so they bumped the TBS feed of the tied extra-innings baseball game and put it on a channel higher up on the cable dial, Sportsnet East.

I remember how mad people in Canada were a few years ago when NBC shifted the end of the Buffalo-Ottawa playoff game to cable to make room for the Preakness Stakes horse racing! At least that was the Triple Crown. This, though, was a game to determine who was going to be in the playoffs in baseball being cut to make room for a stupid meaningless NHL regular season game. What a farce. Unbelievable.

And as for Sportsnet Ontario, they didn't bother to even show the sudden-death game at all. Instead of showing a live game, they put on Bob McCown and his boring freaking radio show. Even Chris Zelkovich of the Star picked up on the outrage from enraged, offended Ontario baseball fans.

That's not all, folks. Sportsnet has also been disrespecting baseball fans during the playoff games, too, with nonstop coverage of hockey between innings. I noticed on Saturday night, they were showing highlights of NHL hockey games between innings of the Dodgers-Cardinals playoff game feed from TBS, and urging people to tune in later for the full hockey highlights on Sportsnet Connected. Now, honestly -- do you think anyone tuning in to the Dodgers-Cardinals playoff game cared one whit about the hockey scores? If they wanted hockey, they would already have been tuned in to Hockey Night in Canada. If Sportsnet really wanted to inform people about the hockey scores, what they needed to do was show them in a low-key way -- put them on a scroll at the bottom of the screen, like they do for ESPN and other networks.

Besides, this was regular-season hockey highlights they were showing -- during the playoffs. Do you think they bother to show the baseball highlights during the hockey playoffs? No -- not in Canada, anyway! Besides, they shouldn't - those are the hockey playoffs and hockey fans deserve a little respect.

So why shove the hockey highlights down the throats of baseball fans who don't want to see them? It's disrespect for the sport of baseball!! Don't show us the freaking regular-season hockey highlights during the baseball playoffs!

To add insult to injury, we also get plenty of hockey commercials during the baseball games to push products such as NHL 2010 or whatever the heck it is now. And to add further insult -- as soon as the ball game ends they rush to put on Sportsnet Connected, and what is the first they show? You guessed it. "Now, the hockey highlights."

So that's what we have to put up with with Sportsnet. What's really sad is we have no choice but to put up with Sportsnet, because nobody else in Canada will do the freaking playoff games and provide a better service to the baseball fans. In fact, I even remember a time when CTV used to show the entire baseball playoffs, and you can bet they didn't show hockey highlights in the middle of those. I guess Sportsnet is afraid if they don't cater to the hockey fans, the audience will split for TSN. We have no choice but to put up with it, though, because if it wasn't for the kindness and generosity of Sportsnet, we would have no baseball playoffs to watch at all, because nobody else will cover them.

It's sad that baseball fans of this country have to make way all the time for hockey, even at the most important juncture of the baseball season. Seriously -- this ought to be the time of year to give the baseball fans their due, and their peace and quiet during playoff games, and not bombard them with hockey all the time.

Now, I understand there are plenty of Canadian fans who are down on the sport of baseball right now, and that's understandable. The steroids. The labour problems. The Blue Jays not winning. Yet --  why should we give priority to a sport with even worse labour problems, with franchises moving or threatening to move all the time, which hosed its fans a few years ago by wiping out an entire season?

Good question -- and oh, by the way, the Canadian NHL teams haven't been winning either. The last time a Stanley Cup was won by a Canadian team was 1993, by the Canadiens. So don't say the NHL is so superior.

I guess I have to put up with this hockey madness during the baseball playoffs. This is the price you have to pay for living in a hockey country.

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