Great Moments In Living with the NFL Hegemony

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A true story from late this morning:

Guy: Thank you for calling DirecTV, how can I help you?

Me: Hi, I just got the notice that my NFL Sunday Ticket package is going to renew in September unless I call to cancel. I’d like to cancel, please.

Guy: You currently have NFL Sunday Ticket, correct?

Me: Well, I had it last season. It was free as part of that offer. I don’t want to pay for it, though, so I’d like to cancel.

Guy: Would you be willing to keep NFL Sunday Ticket if it were offered at a lower price?

Me: No. I don’t watch football. Just, not at all. I had it free last year and didn’t use it once.

Guy: You don’t watch football?

Me: An occasional college game, but I don’t like the NFL.

Guy [somewhat incredulously]: You’re not an NFL fan? Really?

Me: Really.

Guy: I see you have the MLB Extra Innings package, though.

Me: Well, yes. That’s baseball. I like baseball. I don’t like football, though, so I don’t want the football package.

Guy: I’m sorry, I just meant that I see that you’re a sports fan, so . . . [tails off, realizing he’s straying from “the customer is always right” thing]

Me: Nah.

Guy: OK, I’ll have to transfer you to our cancellations department. I’ll just put a note on your account [quotes note as he’s typing] “Does. Not. Like. The. NFL.” [there is still a pretty strong note of incredulity in his voice].

To be fair, the representative to whom I spoke was quite pleasant and, after that brief exchange, my request was handled to my satisfaction, as was another unrelated request. I really do love DirecTV and have never had a thing to complain about with respect to their product or their customer service. I highly recommend them if you have the means and don’t have tall trees to you direct southwest.

Still: the notion that someone merely saying that they’re not a fan of professional football is surprising to people tickles me. You can tell it made him go off script for a second. I almost felt like it would’ve been easier to whip out the almost always inadvisable “don’t you know who I am?” thing. Because if he was aware of my football-hating bonafides, it woulda saved us some time.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.