[un]necessarily angry.com

Category: Hockey

May 22nd, 2007

[un]thinkable

This past Saturday I'm sitting in my living room watching TV. There are 2 things on. Game 5 of the Buffalo Sabres / Ottawa Senators playoff series which started at 2:15pm on NBC. And the 2nd game of the Mets / Yankees series at Shea Stadium which started at 3:50pm on Fox.

A few things about me before I angry up the blood a bit more. First, Hockey is my favorite sport, followed closely by baseball. Second, I am a (NY) Rangers and Mets fan. Third, given an opportunity to watch playoff hockey not involving the Rangers and a Mets / Yankees game, I will be unable to choose which I want to watch.

So, now, let's jump back to last Saturday. Unsurprisingly, come 4 o'clock, I'm torn. I decided that since the hockey game was further along, it would get more attention, so I watched mostly hockey, jumping for commercials over to the Mets / Yankees game. And now the fun starts. Buffalo ties up the score with 45 seconds left, and the game is going to OT. I hit the channel+ button and begin watching the Mets/Yankees. The inning came to an end and I flipped back to watch the intermission recap and analysis of the hockey game only to see pre-race coverage for the Preakness. WTF? Excuse me, I was watching that...

Apparently what I (and presumably many others as well) missed, was that NBC said "We're going to be moving our coverage over to Versus." So, I sat there, dumbfounded as to where the hockey went. It would not occur to me that they would simply turn off the coverage on one channel and two minutes later pick up the coverage on another channel. And, oh yes, there was a two-minute delay. But, I didn't know any of that, so I went to my computer and pulled up the box score so that at least I would know the final score. And I sat there and watched baseball. Happily, might I add, because I do love a good Mets / Yankees game.

A few commercial breaks later I'm starting to flip out there. There is overtime playoff hockey afoot, but I didn't know where it was. On a whim, I decided to turn to Versus. Maybe, I thought, they would put the game here. And sure enough, there it was. Daniel Alfredsson had his arms in the air, his teammates were mobbing him, the Ottawa Senators were going to the Stanley Cup finals, and I had not seen the goal or the overtime. And that's fucked.

But there's more to it. For, you see, the Playoff game ended at 5:14pm, and the main event at the Preakness wasn't scheduled to start until 6:09pm. So, instead of running playoff hockey overtime for 14 minutes of their Preakness coverage, they started their Preakness coverage early (at the end of the 3rd period) with barely an announcement as to where the game went. There was no reason for that. There was no reason to deprive people of watching the game. There are plenty of people around the country who don't get VS, but most of them get NBC. What were they supposed to do if they wanted to watch hockey instead of horse racing? You can't do that. It's total nonsense and unfathomable. In the spring of 1994, that wouldn't have happened. But 13 years later, the NHL is such a weak draw that things like that do happen, and that doesn't just make me angry, it makes me sad. It makes me sad to see that one of the most beautiful displays of athleticism and team work is so downtrodden now that it is broadcast on a network that no one had heard of before it picked up hockey. And, many people still have not heard of it even now that it does have hockey. I've already ranted about this, though, so I'm not going to again, but it's a fucking disgrace.

And there's still more. NBC broadcasts in HD and that HD channel is available to most viewers with HD capable cable boxes or satellites. Versus also broadcasts in HD, but I have yet to meet someone who has VS HD as a channel available to them. So, if I had figured out quickly enough where the game was, I wouldn't have been able to watch it in HD anymore. A small complaint, maybe, but hockey is a sport that is meant to be seen in HD. It looks so much better, it's mind-blowing.

The Mets beat the Yankees 10-7 that game. David Wright hit 2-run home runs in his first 2 at-bats before getting intentionally walked his next 3 times to the plate. That wasn't so bad.

03.37.24.pm, by unnecessarily angry
Categories: TV, Sports, Hockey

May 16th, 2007

[un]dead

After some initial difficulties, I have finally restored the website and now with a shiny, new URL: www.unnecessarilyangry.com.

But, what good would it be if I posted something that wasn't angry?
I went to the Mets vs. Cubs game last night at Shea. Look up the box score yourself, I'm not going to link it. I'm a huge Mets fan. So, I'm sitting there watching a 3-1 game, and Scott Schoeneweis is pitching with the bases loaded and one out. TO FUCKING ALFONSO SORIANO. Schoen, I like you man, but Willie, you gotta take his ass outta that situation, and pronto.

But I was proved wrong. Schoen got Soriano to weakly pop out to short left. That's fine. Willie, I still think you should've taken him out. Now it's Schoen vs. Aramis Ramirez who is off to a somewhat slow start this year. That's not surprising, because he is on the Cubs, and therefore is more-or-less doomed to failure. But, not last night. Last night he hit the shit out of the ball over the left-field fence and up in to the stands. Grand slam. a manageable 3-1 game starts on its way to becoming a 10-1 blowout. I like Willie Randolph. A lot. I think he's a great manager most of the time, but there are some times when he trusts in his guys more than in his gut. Or, if not his gut, than the gut of every other person in the freakin stadium. Last night was one of those times. Schoen has no business pitching to those two guys, and he got burned because of it. I'm not going to suggest who I think should have been in there instead, because I'm not sure that any of the Mets pitchers, with the stuff they brought last night, could've done much better, but I just don't think after Schoen's last appearance, that he should've been in there to face that, and then the stadium-wide boos upon his departure.

Which brings me to the topic of booing. As a NY Sports fan, it is our right, nay, duty, to boo our own teams, right? WRONG. Now, I can understand booing someone on the home team. If the highest paid player on your team is not showing up night after night, and then running his mouth to the media, boo him, he deserves it. If a player is playing so poorly over a long stretch of time, then maybe you can boo him after a particularly bad play, but excessive booing, believe it or not, doesn't help.

Take Marek Malik of the Rangers. During the PLAYOFFS, a large number of jackasses at Madison Square Garden decided that it would be a good idea to continue harassing Malik because of bad plays he makes. And, unfortunately for Marek, a lot of the mistakes he makes are very very visible, because they are large, and lead to big goals for the opposition. What gets lost is his positional play and the plays he does make, which are many. In fact, even I booed him on occasion at MSG during the regular season. But NOT IN THE PLAYOFFS. There is no place in professional sports for booing a player on the home team in the playoffs. He was so shaken up in Game 3 of the Buffalo series this year by the boos on his first shift, he could barely handle the puck. So, now, not only have you demoralized him, but you're affecting his play on the ice, and for what? For you to be an asshole? If you pay money to watch a team that you want to win, then during the playoffs, you don't fuckin boo them. That's just stupid shit. I mean, STUPID.
But the Rangers fans got it right in the end. At the end of Game 6 vs. the Sabres, the World's Most Famous Arena was as loud as it had been for the entire series. For 5 minutes, both before and after the final buzzer, Rangers fans showed themselves to be classier than they did when Malik first got on the ice in Game 3. It was moving, it was appropriate, and it was what NY Fans should be like. It was NY sports fans at their collective best.

One last item for today, check out my friends at SaveTheApple.com. They're fighting to make sure that the Home Run Apple at Shea Stadium becomes the Home Run Apple at Citi Field. I fully support the cause and couldn't agree more. Let's Go Mets! Let's Go Rangers!

03.41.09.pm, by unnecessarily angry
Categories: Sports, Baseball, Hockey

April 26th, 2007

[un]watchable

My list of complaints about the Versus network is long and all-encompassing regarding their NHL coverage.

It's a real kick in the face to the NHL that the games are broadcast on Vs. Vs, the home of such other great sports as WEC - World Extreme Cagefighting, PBR (no, not the beer, the bull-riding), the NLL (indoor lacrosse), and Hunting and Fishing. If I have to see another WEC commercial during a hockey game, I may have to get a brick to throw at the TV. It's just absurd.

Meanwhile, ESPN, the former partner of the NHL, is promoting sports like Arena Football and MLL Lacrosse like they're real sports (and, to be fair, compared to the rest of the Vs lineup, they are). The NHL is a joke at the moment because it is on a network that, before the NHL came to it, no one had heard of. In fact, there are still plenty of people who haven't heard of it. It's disgraceful. They've allowed the NHL to become a weirdo sport that can be stuck on a channel with other crap.

I'd rather see the NHL make a deal with ESPN giving them the games FOR FREE than take another cent from Vs. Even Fox, with all of it's stupid gimmicks (glowing puck, anyone?), had much better coverage than Vs and people could see the games, because everyone has Fox. Bettman's trying to "grow" the league? Well, here's a thought, maybe you should start by putting it somewhere that people will see it.

And then, as if just the concept of being on Vs wasn't enough, the coverage is horrendous. The announcers are third- and fourth-rate, the camera work is appalling, and the producers obviously don't know how to broadcast a hockey game. To put anything over the ice while the puck is in play, a graphic, anything, is unacceptable. And this is the network that for the first 5-6 months that they had hockey put the SCORE on the bottom covering the ice.

But what really put it in perspective for me is when Vs was broadcasting the TSN or CBC feeds of the late-night games last round.

CBC and TSN have their cameras zoomed out a bit. You can see the whole offensive zone while the players are there. It was wonderful to watch. So there's a bit of extra crowd on the top and bottom of the screen. That just means that the score isn't covering anything important. Meanwhile, Vs has zoomed in so far that oftentimes the camera man loses track of the puck. Hockey's not an easy sport to watch on TV, but if the puck's not on the screen, it's impossible. You can't follow something that's not there.

The announcers sit there and promote Vs and their sponsors during the play-by-play. It's an art, play-by-play announcing, and it's an art that gets tainted when they're forced to pitch products and sponsors rather than tell you what's going on in the game. And, one last thing, ENOUGH WITH THE ADJECTIVES and SYNONYMS. I don't need you to find new words to describe things that are happening in the game. You can use the same words over and over again. It's not going to make me lose interest, I promise. I don't care if someone "feathered a pass towards the cage." You can say that he "threw it on net" instead and then tell me something else in the time it took you to think of a different way to say that.

And now, I'm forced to watch the Vs coverage for Games 1 and 4 of the Rangers-Sabres 2nd round playoff series? And some of you who aren't so lucky as to get MSG will have to watch it for all of the games besides 3 and 6? It's a slap in the face. Hockey fans deserve better than this shit, and Hockey deserves better too.

12.09.07.pm, by unnecessarily angry
Categories: TV, Mini-rant, Hockey

April 13th, 2007

[un]inspired

As it turns out, there's not much going on at the moment. I have a few complaints that I'm working on, but they're just not there yet. I've been too preoccupied watching the Rangers clinch the playoffs and then win their first game against Atlanta, and watching the Mets begin another great season.

I'm a New Yorker. I like NY teams. When they're doing well it's great entertainment and is fun to watch. It keeps me busy, so I have less to be pissed off about.

Sure, I could rant about how slow and worthless Marek Malik is, but he's actually been playing a decent positional game and enough other people have already written about him.

In any case, I haven't given up on this experiment just yet, so keep tuning in.

05.47.51.pm, by unnecessarily angry
Categories: General, Baseball, Hockey

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