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Big Night

So much to watch on TV tonight. What to do? We are 14 hours into the final season of 24, and tonight is the night FOX has chosen to broadcast two episodes back-to-back. It’s also the night of the NCAA men’s basketball championship game between Duke and Butler, now underway, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. For several years now (except when 24 wasn’t on a couple of years ago because of the writer’s strike), the Monday night broadcasts of the NCAA championship game and 24 have created an annual conflict, but the double 24 episode only exacerbates the problem. On top of that, it’s opening day of the baseball season, and the Mariners, rather than playing a daytime opener like most teams, are playing tonight against the A’s. The game would have just started 5 minutes ago.

Earlier today, Joel and I watched bits of two openers, on ESPN and ESPN2 — the Reds hosted the Cards and the White Sox hosted the Indians. We got to talking about whether it would be worth paying $200 ($180 this week, with a special opening week discount) to get the season’s baseball package on cable. Joel has paid the much smaller fee the last two years to be able to follow the games on the web, and last year I paid $20 or so to get the MLB app on the iPhone, which let me follow feeds of every game — not video, but pitch-by-pitch accounts in real time. The cable package lets you see TV broadcasts of every game except on Saturday afternoon, when there’s a blackout to avoid conflict with FOX’s national broadcast, and on Sunday evening, when there’s a similar blackout to avoid conflict with ESPN’s national broadcast. Joel pointed out to me that the Sunday blackout isn’t so bad, since games on Sunday nights are rare, but the Saturday blackout is an annoyance.

Then we remembered that there was a special first week promotion– the MLB cable package is free this week. We immediately switched from the ESPN games to all the other games being played at that time, to get a taste of what life could be every day if we buy the package. Marlins at Mets, Phillies at Cardinals. Rockies at Brewers, Tigers at Royals. Tigers-Royals meant an opening day matchup of Zach Greinke and Justin Verlander. Just think. I could be seeing baseball’s top pitchers every time they face off, and for less than a dollar a day. Maybe this isn’t a tough decision.

Meanwhile, what about tonight? How do I choose? And why am I writing this post instead? Better go.

Categories: Sports, Television
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