Dear Fox Sports Houston: I realize this is your last season with the cable rights to the Houston Astros. I realize that at this time next year you'll probably be losing cable systems while justifying that Little League game you're putting on in primetime.
I also realize that you're tied into Fox Sports Southwest, and that Fox Sports Southwest has this huge-ass deal with the Texas Rangers, and that you're probably focusing much of your attention on the Rangers right now. And yes, I realize that the Astros are a bad team, but I'm still tuning in to watch the Astros games, and frankly, I'm tired of you treating me like I'm a Drayton McLane-esque moron who doesn't know how to enjoy a baseball game.
I was watching the Astros/Braves game on Tuesday, and the Astros were busy loading the bases. Luckily I was actually watching the game because while Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies are the without-a-doubt best baseball broadcast duo in the country, they weren't talking.
They weren't talking because Patti Smith was busy interviewing some mediocre chef while the Astros were batting, and she was asking "penetrating" questions about the new food options at Minute Maid Park while video of the actual game was shoved to the corner of the screen. Here's the thing: When I'm tuning to Fox Sports Houston to watch the baseball, I want to watch the damn baseball game. I don't want to watch an interview with a chef talking about the overpriced, crappy food he's serving at Minute Maid Park, especially when the Astros are loading the damn bases.
Then came Wednesday night's Astros/Braves game and the Progressive Fan of the Game feature. Frankly, of all the stupid features Fox Sports Houston does at baseball games, this is the stupidest. I don't care what a person sitting in the stands thinks about the game, especially since, as it's an Astros game, Fox Sports Houston ignores the action on the field for the insipid interview. If I want to hear a fan talk at Minute Maid Park, I'll go up there and sit next to the fools who still boo Carlos Beltran.
But the Wednesday Night Fan of the Game was a New York Yankees fan. And it wasn't a Yankees fan who even lives in Houston, it was a Yankees fan from New York and the interview was all about this guy's damn AL-only fantasy baseball team and how he was here scouting Astros players so he'd know who to draft next season. And to make it worse, this New York Yankees fan was surrounded by people wearing Atlanta Braves shirts and caps.
I realize that nobody's attending Astros games. I realize that most of the stadium is empty. But really, is a New York Yankees fan surrounded by Atlanta Braves fans the best that Fox Sports Houston could do for the fan of the game? I know that real Astros fans were there because they kept punching up shots of people in the stands wearing Astros gear, so at least the camera people knew how to find actual Astros fans, but it just must have been too difficult for Bart Ennis and the broadcast producer.
I know this might be hard to believe, but when I turn to Fox Sports Houston, I'm doing so to watch the baseball game. I don't care how bad the Astros are, or how good. I want to watch the actual game.
I'm not watching for an interview with a chef (and frankly, if you're the type of person who goes to the ballpark for something besides a hot dog, peanuts and beer, then just stay at home because you're part of the reason that the in-game experience has become so miserable for real baseball fans). I'm not watching to hear an interview with a fan of the game (who most of the time I suspect is someone known by one of the TV crew). I'm watching so I can see the game.
I don't want to listen to Patti Smith yammering on about absolutely nothing, or to hear Bart Ennis do whatever it is he does. I don't want to hear about that authenticator guy authenticating some piece of memorabilia. And frankly, I'm not really sure what Greg Lucas adds to the broadcast besides that little bell he rings when Bill Brown or Jim Deshaies answer the trivia question correctly.
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It's obvious from the past couple of televised games that Fox Sports Houston has already checked out and doesn't really give a damn about what the Astros are actually doing. But I'm still tuning in. And so are other people that I know. And all we want when we tune in is to listen to Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies while watching the game.
Seriously, is that really too damn much to ask?