A Very Taxing 24 Hours

Happy Tax Day! That’s a greeting that is likely to get you punched in the face. You may as well say “Hey I’m an obnoxious Red Sox fan and I am here to dance on your grave!” It just seems somehow fitting that today is the day all American tax payers dread after the day we have just had to endure. Yesterday seemed like such a bright spot to this early season. The Arizona Diamondbacks were out of town but they were headed to San Francisco home of the last place Giants. There is nothing like a first place team visiting a last place team to make you burst in to songs of joy. Well unless you are a fan of the last place team then you’re more apt to burst into flames. To top it off it was the return of Randy Johnson after nearly a year away we were going to witness the wrath of the Big Unit. Yes, this was indeed going to be a great day. At least that is what I thought.

All day long I sat at work but my mind was 752.39 miles away according to MapQuest. All I could do was think about getting home to watch the game. I had already paved the way with my family so that they would not expect anything from me tonight. Trina had the kids clear a path from the front door to the family room with the remote and a sandwich carefully positioned for when I got home. Yep, this was going to be great. I came through the door just moments before first pitch tossing my briefcase to the floor and my car keys to Dakota who was stationed in right field (I think Trina calls it the dining room). I rushed down hoping to catch the final comments from Daren Sutton and Mark Grace before the game started. I wielded the remote like a ninja and in a fluid motion I had turned on the television, the surround sound, and flipped channels to Fox Sports Arizona which as we all know is the new home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. I was in rare form which I took to be a good sign for the game. But instead of a wide shot of AT&T Park I was instead staring at what looked like hardwood flooring at US Airways Center. By beloved Diamondbacks game looked suspiciously like a Phoenix Suns basketball game. Did I somehow hit a wrong button? Did I instead flip to Channel 45 where the Suns usually play? I flipped the channels and the picture momentarily changed but the image remained the same. I immediately grabbed the television guide to see what was supposed to be on. There in black and white was listed the Phoenix Suns versus the Golden State Warriors. Well it was Phoenix against San Francisco. The problem was it was the wrong sport and the wrong location. I frantically flipped through channels looking for my beloved Diamondbacks. Nothing! I ran upstairs to the computer and immediately went to MLB.com to Gameday. Maybe the game had been rained out or something. No, it was currently going on and the Diamondbacks had already scored two runs in the top of the first to lead 2-0. This was horrible, I was missing the game! I clicked over to KTAR radio via the Internet to listen to the game. Instead I got a tape delayed version of Game Night from ESPN. What the? I clicked over to KTAR FM to see if maybe the game had been moved. I got some sort of talk show. This is crazy! I went back to MLB.com and clicked the audio feed. I was presented a welcome screen and asked for a credit card number. MLB wants me to pay $14.95 for the season for low grade audio that is broadcast on public radio. Forget that, that’s not going to happen. I went to the Diamondbacks web site and saw that the game is being broadcast on MLB.TV. I clicked on the link and was taken to a page advertising their service. For 400K broadcasts they want $89.95 or if I want “TV-Quality picture” I would need their MLB.TV Premium package which costs $119.95. Wait, let me get this straight. If I want “TV-quality” not high-definition but standard-definition I need to pay $120 for the season? If we assume a 6-month season; that price equates to $20 per month. Wow, I thought the cable companies were outrageous. Let’s compare that to DirecTV’s MLB Extra Innings package. DirecTV wants $199 for their package which includes 80 games per week with 40 of those being in high definition. It seems to me that MLB has their pricing pretty out of whack for their Internet offering. I wasn’t going to debate that though after all this game was free (according to the Diamondbacks web site). But why wasn’t it loading? At first I thought maybe it was because I was using FireFox as a browser so I dusted off Internet Explorer and navigated to the appropriate page; still nothing. Maybe it was a Vista thing (not the first time that operating system has screwed me over). I ran over to another computer running Windows XP and loaded it up, still nothing. I was starting to reach panic mode especially since the Giants had just scored 3 unearned runs to take the lead. Did I have a firewall problem? I disabled my firewall, still nothing. I changed cables, still nothing. The Diamondbacks just scored 2 more runs to lead 4-3. I was frantically uninstalling and reinstalling drivers, software, browsers, and utilities. Finally the 400k version of MLB.TV loaded. The resolution was so bad I could barely recognize the players. After a few more tweaks I got the 800K version of MLB.TV running. The resolution was better but still not what I would call TV-quality and I have a very fast network connection (T1 speed). I tuned in just as Eugenio Velez singled off Chad Qualls to lead off the bottom of the seventh. This was followed up by an error by Stephen Drew that cost the Diamondbacks a double play and put runners on first and third with no outs. After a walk to Aaron Rowand to load the bases Ray Durham hit a ball to Conor Jackson who went to second instead of throwing home allowing the tying run to score. Bengie Molina hit a sacrifice fly to give the Giants the lead. And like that the game was pretty much over. The Diamondbacks failed to score. In fact other than Chris Young’s walk in the ninth inning they failed to even get a base runner. The Diamondbacks had somehow found a way to snatch defeat from the hands of victory. San Francisco scored 5 runs and not one of them were earned. Randy Johnson pitched 5 strong innings striking out 7 got no decision and the Diamondbacks gave up a game to their National League West opponents. The technology of MLB.TV was a disaster. The new home of the Arizona Diamondbacks television broadcasts had chosen to show a meaningless basketball game where neither team hit the first 9 shots. The local radio stations somehow decided they would not broadcast via the web (probably due to MLB wanting more money as if they haven’t gotten enough from the fans already). It was one of the most frustrating evenings of my life. And to top it off I realized that I have less than 24 hours before my income taxes are due to be postmarked. It seems the Diamondbacks are not the only ones in the midst of a losing streak.

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