Allow me to vent about a situation I’ve recently found myself in. I’ve been cut off from the Cardinals.

OK, maybe I’m being overly dramatic. Here’s my situation: KWKB carried all the KSDK games on TV here in Cedar Rapids, IA. I have Mediacom for cable, who has a monopoly on the cable in my area. They don’t carry Fox Sports Midwest, nor do they offer Extra Innings, so during the week I’d listen on the radio as I could, and watch the Cardinals on TV on the weekends. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but a livable one. Between KSDK and national telecasts on FOX and ESPN, I was getting by.

Well, now they’ve decided to opt for bad movies and infomercials over the Cardinals. That’s right, they dumped the Cardinals. If I could, I would turn to satellite dish or MLB.tv. Well, I can’t. I live in an apartment that won’t allow me to get a dish, and if you didn’t know, Iowa is blackout hell. The White Sox, Cubs, Twins, Royals, Brewers and Cardinals are all blacked out. The Cubs and White Sox being blacked out is understandable, they are readily available on cable no matter who your provider is. The Royals (who really cares) are available to people in the western part of the stat, the Twins to the north, and who knows why the Brewers are blacked out. I’m stuck.

I know there are ways of sneaking around the blackout restrictions, but here’s the thing…I’m a nut. I have a super-sensitive conscious and it is actually illegal to get around the system. I’m strange like that, I won’t download music  illegally or park in handicapped spots. I like to think this is mostly a good quality and something that has spared me from being a jerk. And besides my conscious, I don’t really have the technical know-how, although I’m sure I can figure it out.

But I don’t think I should have to sneak around to begin with. Why in the world is Major League Baseball making it harder for fans to access their product? This would seem like an incredibly stupid way to run a business.

So that’s my gripe. I’m stuck with radio and about 20 national broadcasts this year for my Cardinals fix. Incredibly lame. I’m not about to move, either. Not for a little while, at least.

Because of the lack of baseball on TV, I’ve taken to watching the White Sox on occasion in recent years. They have a few things going for them – they’re incredibly quirky, from their GM to their manager to their TV announcers and so on. While they’ve had their moments, I don’t think of them as a particularly well run team. I think Kenny Williams has made some great moves, like Danks for McCarthy, but who trades for Juan Pierre as their starting LF, or signs Andruw Jones to DH? Ozzie Guillen is the craziest manager of his era by far. He seems to get the most of his teams, but the man has an incredible knack for attracting the wrong sort of attention. At least he keeps things entertaining, in a weird way.

They also have Mark Buehrle, a pretty good pitcher and an unabashed Cardinal fan. I grew up in the St. Charles area, we graduated high school the same years, although different schools. The school I went to had Steve Colyer, who could light up the radar guns, which led to him becoming a high pick, I think first round. He didn’t do much in the majors. I don’t remember hearing anything about Buehrle, but obviously he has gone on to have a pretty nice career in the majors so far. I’ve long been a fan and not just because he’s a local product, but his pitching style.

And I like some of their players – Jon Danks, Gordon Beckham (and Juan Pierre! JOY!).  And White Sox fans and Cardinal fans share a common nemesis. It’s the “an enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing, although I’ve never been one big on rivalry, really. But I sure as heck am not going to start watching the Cubs just because they are on TV.

So,  I think I’m actually going to watch some White Sox this year. Heck, I might even write about them, if not here, maybe in some other capacity. I don’t know, I haven’t really decided. I just feel compelled to write about this crazy sport, for some reason. This all just really sucks.

And while it’s still baseball, it’s depressing, because I’ve grown up on the Cardinals having lived in St. Louis as a kid. I lost the love for a while, but started following again in my early 20′s and have followed close ever since. I’ll definitely still be listening to Rooney and Shannon the radio, and I’ll watch what I can, but I need some televised baseball, and unfortunately it’s either the Sox or the Cubs, and I can only take only so much of the Cubbie lovefest that goes on those broadcasts before I want to gag. Listening on the radio can be wonderful at times, and Shannon always keeps things entertaining, but I tend to tune it out after a while if I’m not careful. Maybe I’m just a product of my generation like that.

Anyway, I know you all can’t help. Just sharing my plight. I don’t think you could beat being a fan of the Cardinals out of me, and I’m still going to follow close, but I guess I’m adopting a second team out of necessity. I thought of following the Rays on MLB.tv, but I can’t bring myself to spend the money. (Sorry RJ, Tommy and Steve, if any of you are reading).

This is just so incredibly lame.

Erik Manning

Erik became addicted to Cardinals baseball as a young lad growing up on the mean streets of O'Fallon, MO. He moved away to Tulsa to attend Bible College, where he met his wife, who talked him into moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as the Bermuda triangle of baseball. His dream is to see the MLB.tv blackouts end, and his other interests are theology and philosophy of religion. He is the parent of two young boys.

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11 Responses to “Major Bummer”

  1. This stinks. My husband and I have changed service providers 3 times in the past 8 years just so we can keep the Extra Innings package and watch Cardinals baseball. Can you get the mlb.com package in Cedar Rapids? If not, and if you are ever in California, we have an extra bedroom– you can stay with us and catch our beloved Redbirds!

  2. I understand your ethical dilemma, but you would be paying for the product. You could always contact MLB and vent your frustrations, see if they’ll let you legally use MLB.tv.

  3. Do you have a balcony or patio that faces south? If so, and it’s an area that is entirely yours (not a shared thing with a neighbor, your apartment complex can’t legally stop you from getting a dish. There is an FCC regulation on it.

    In my first apartment building, I had to get all the documentation and basically force them to let me have one.

    If you don’t, how much do you like your apartment building? Last time I went shopping for one, I took a compass with me to make sure the balcony was facing the right direction.

    You can check which local channels (included stuff like FSN) DirecTV offers here:
    http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/packProg/localChannels.jsp?assetId=900018

    If you have any questions about the FCC regulations or DirecTV, feel free to shoot me an email.

    • It turns out I technically can get a dish, but they have to come and install something to the patio, they charge an arm and a leg for it, and I actually am facing north, which means I’m still stuck even if I was willing to pay for it.

      To point a dish south would point it directly into my living room, which won’t work.

  4. It’s odd that Mediacom won’t offer FSMW. I lived in Marshalltown until December when I moved to upstate NY, and it was offered there. I switched from DirecTV to Mediacom on opening day 2007 after DirecTV had their blackout fiasco with FSN, and then switched back to DirecTV sometime late in 2008 after Mediacom jacked my rates up.

    But while I had Mediacom, FSN was a local channel that was included in one of their standard packages.

  5. I feel your pain. I was a Cards fan for many years in California before Extra Innings/Gameday Audio/MLBTV started. I would call my brother on the phone and we would have long conversations about how the Cards were doing. Once I listened to part of a game with him over the phone.

    When you find a solution (and you will!) you will be so thrilled.

  6. I have Mediacom cable here in Springfield, MO and I get Fox Midwest. It’s really the only reason I watch TV or keep my cable service active. Do you get a different Fox Sports channel? I had to get the “sports pak” to pick up FSMW but it is only $3.95 a month.

  7. Why won’t MLB TV work for you? I follow the Cardinals games in Chicago all year. Only the Cubs games are blacked out, and they can be seen on WGN or another local channel. MLB shouldn’t black out home Cardinal games in Iowa. That makes no sense. It’s only a $100 or so.

  8. You need to simply contact MLB.tv and explain your situation

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