Friday, March 14, 2003

This Way to the Egress!

You know, P.T. Barnum allegedly said "There's a sucker born every minute." Seems MLB and RealAudio take Barnum to heart considering what I've experienced thus far with MLB.TV.

Last night I get the email notice reminder that the first ever MLB.TV broadcast is about to begin, so I head on over to Of course, things are excruciatingly slow, but I cut them slack on this. It's the first time after all, so lots of folks will be checking it out.

After the page finally loads, I take the "watch it live" link and I'm immediately prompted to download the RealOne Player. While I'd downloaded a copy at work, I'd forgotten to do so at home. No biggie. I take the link to Real and, as these things go in the web world, I'm greeted with the huckster "get the Gold edition" page, free for 14 days blah blah. And as is de rigueur for RealNetworks, I can't find a link to the free, non-Gold RealOne player anywhere on the page.

Yeah, maybe it was there somewhere, but you know what? I shouldn't have to search for it at all. Anyway, at this point I'm half sucker half realist. I say realist because on previous occasions when I tried to access the demo of MLB.TV at work with my free player, all I got was the same message: Server alert Unable to play request. Internal stream error. So I'm thinking, screw it, I'll try this gold player at home and see what happens, making a PostIt note to myself to cancel the thing in a couple days before the 14 day free trial period runs out and they charge my credit card $14.95. (Forgot to mention I had to put in all my credit card info. to get the effin' free trial!)

Yep. So I've got the Gold player and head back to, again click on the link to watch the live game and what do I get? A goddamn screen from MLB asking me to put in my credit card info. for the free trial of MLB.TV! Yeah, another implicit "you can cancel at anytime but if you don't we'll charge your card, sucker" message.

No thanks.

You know how on occasion you'll go to your mailbox and inside there will be a free trial of some laundry soap or static free dryer sheets or toothpaste? That's the effin' way you do a free trial, not this crap that MLB and Real are putting us through.

To finish the story, this morning I get up and I was able to get the archived game to play just fine — But when I came into work this morning, just out of curiosity I booted up the totally free player and guess what?

Server alert Unable to play request. Internal stream error.

I'm fairly confident now that you have to have the Gold player to get any of this to work. (At least on a Mac.)


You know, maybe it is all me. Maybe it's user error or whatever, but my point still remains the same. When you say "free trial" it should be every bit as easy to access as the tiny box of trial size Tide that comes in the mailbox. No word play. No jumping through hoops. No passwords. No credit card numbers. Just free soap.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Possible Side Effects

extreme closeup of enraged Mike Piazza"An irate Piazza, red-faced and glaring with rage, yelled at Mota while being restrained by coaches and umpires. Twice he tried to charge the first-base dugout, but was held back both times" (AP via ESPN).

Hey, Piazza, have another Viagra … Heh heh heh …

Viagra is an FDA-approved oral tablet used to treat male erectile dysfunction and/or impotence. It works by inhibiting the enzyme that constricts the penile blood vessels, thus dilating the vessels in the penis and allowing blood to reach needed places to achieve an erection.

Side effects may include:
Abdominal pain,abnormal dreams, abnormal ejaculation, allergic reactions, anxiety, asthma, bloodshot eyes, bone pain, breast enlargement, cataracts, chest pain, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, dilated pupils, dizziness, dry eyes, dry mouth, emotional disturbances, other eye disorders, fainting,falling, genital problems, gout, gum inflammation, heart problems, increased night-time urination, increased pressure in the eyes, insomnia, itchy skin, joint disease, light sensitivity, loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence), low blood pressure, migraine headache, muscle ache, oral inflammation, painful erection, prolonged erection, rapid or throbbing heartbeat, rectal bleeding, ringing in the ears, seizure, sinus and throat inflammation, skin rash, skin ulcer, stomach or intestinal inflammation, sweating, swelling, thirst, tremor.

Yeah, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Sorry, I can't resist a little Mets jabbing now and again. And I still think those Piazza Viagra commercials are effin' weird!

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Ready Fo'Sum A Dat

What a friggin' relief, eh?

[Casey Fossum] redeemed himself yesterday by regaining his command as he allowed the Marlins two runs on three hits, including a bunt single, over three innings of a 5-4 victory at Roger Dean Stadium. In his previous two outings, Fossum failed to finish the second inning. And he bottomed out a week ago against the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale, allowing five runs on five hits and two hit batsmen in 1 2/3 innings (Hohler, Globe).

I wasn't in total panic-keeping-me-awake at night mode over Fossum's early struggles, but it wasn't like I could totally dismiss his shakiness either, especially when Lowe struggled the other day.

In other news, as one who lives out of the Boston TV market, I'm excited, though skeptical, of the announcement regarding MLB.TV. I'll give it a trial run tomorrow night as the Red Sox v Yankees game is slated as the maiden broadcast of the new service. I say I'm skeptical for two reasons: 1. Do I really want to watch TV on a shaky feed on my computer in what will most likely be some 300px wide screen? 2. Will it be better than the MLB radio webcasts of games? Doubtful.

Imagine I'll still be happier listening to watch most games and getting the intermittent treat of seeing the Sox on TV when they are the marquee game on ESPN or FX.

As always, Austin and SXSW were a blast. Though I suffer, to this moment, a bit from too much barbecue and too much Tex-Mex. It was a good kind of suffering though (for the most part).