Today, after a day spent feeling under the weather, the cable guy came by and fixed my TV, bringing me the gift of HD. The very first program I put on, on Time Warner Cable's HD Special channel, and there it was -- Yankees baseball in high definition.
Now, I'd been an HD skeptic. I'm not much of a an audio or videophile, in the sense that I'm someone who usually keeps the preset equalizer and color settings on my stereo or TV, and usually I'm pretty satisfied by the viewing or listening experience. Back when I had a 32MB MP3 player, I had absolutely no problem ripping my MP3s at the lowest quality, because the difference between radio quality and "near CD" quality didn't mean nearly as much to me as a few extra songs.
But this was different. I kept on flipping between the HD channel and the normal YES feed, and I couldn't get over how crappy and small the regular image was. I have no other way of explaining it. The regular screen covers about three quarters as much as the extra-wide HD image, and the detail is much higher.
The difference in screen real estate between HD and normal TV leads to some weird stuff. For example, in-game you'll notice that none of the graphics that YES puts up on screen reach the whole way accross the HD screen -- that's because they're formatted for the smaller screen. For the same reason, the "diamond" that most channels display in one of the corners of the screen--the one that gives you the score, the men on base, the count, and sometimes pitch velocities--is disconcertingly not in a corner of the screen, but closer to the middle. Also, the commercials--which are not made for HD, come with bars or distracting special effect on either side of the image.
I know, I'm probably rapturously describing something everyone is already familiar with and bored of. But it's new to me.
Anyway, I couldn't really enjoy the exciting new image, because of the disturbing crap that was going on on the screen. After the Yanks and AAA callup Sean Henn got pasted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Monday, you figured that Randy Johnson was going to get the team back on track...right.
Wrong. The Big Unit was getting smacked around like Zed's Gimp. He gave up a homer to Damon Hollins (7 HR in 175 or so MLB PA) in the second inning and immediately thereafter another homer to Kevin Cash (7HR in 328 MLB PA). After putting the D-Rays up 5-0 in the second, he gave up an opposite field shot to power prospect Jonny Gomes (his fourth career homer). After two and a half innings, Johnson had treated Tampa to a 7-1 lead.
This is not one of those situations where the extra screen detail is appreciated. And since I had to leave the house anyway, I left the game at this point.
I got home, to see a number of emails from a group you could call Internet Baseball Geeks Anonymous--Yankees Chapter. Mainly, the topic of interest was what forms of self-mutilation the members would subject themselves to if the Yankees traded Tom Gordon and prospects to the Florida Marlins for Juan Pierre. And in that thread of messages, there was a note from Brother Joe, mentioning that the Yankees had come back and were now up by nine runs.
Went to MLB.com to check things out, and wouldn't you know: the Yankees put up a thirteen spot in the eighth inning. Four homers--Posada, Sheffield (his second), A-Rod, and Matsui (a black seat-job)--in that inning alone. The final? Yankees win, 20-11.
I mean, I love this. I'm also glad that Tampa Bay didn't beat the Yanks for a fifth straight time, a phenomenon which I think would officially make the Yankees their prison girlfriend. But 1) I'm kinda sad I missed the whuppin', particularly the chance to see it in high def, and 2) I feel a little sad for Lou Piniella. I mean, back in the day, this was a guy that took a single crummy at bat really badly. If there's any proportionality to things, you're not expecting an angry tirade or a closed doors meeting from Piniella--you're waiting for a killing spree.
Really, if Tampa reliever Travis Harper (9 ER and 4 HR in 2/3 of an inning of work) turns up dead tomorrow morning, would anyone be surprised? And while I'm sure that Piniella would be arrested and tried, I'm not sure there's a jury out there that would convict him...
Obviously, I didn't get to hear Tim McCarver's call of Saturday's game. But based on this transcript, Jetes might consider getting a restraining order against McCarver, who has clearly got a crush on the Yankees' shortstop. Unless someone intervenes now, McCarver might start getting angry about all of Jeters girlfriends and whatnot, and things might get scary.
Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld used to say.
But seriously, we know how Carl Everett feels about dinosaurs and gay marriage and whatnot, but has anyone asked him how he feels about this whole McCarver/Jeter issue?
In other news, let the record reflect that the Red Sox' honeymoon lasted almost exactly eight months. Longer than I expected, but still disappointing given the magnitude of what that team accomplished.