Tonight I will leave work after my show is over, I will settle in, fix myself a plate of whatever tasty treats my girlfriend Amy has prepared for dinner, sit down on the couch and do something that I've been unable to do since the end of the 2011-2012 NBA season:
I will watch a local Houston Rockets broadcast from the comfort of my own home!
It almost sounds weird to say it, it's been so long since I've been able to do this, and I feel like Red in Shawshank Redemption. I mean... Bill, Clyde, and Bull, complemented by the dulcet tones of Kevin Eschenfelder and Calvin Murphy on the pre and post game shows.... I mean.... This is the excitement only a free man can feel!
And damn if it isn't a great game on tap tonight as well, a battle between the teams with the two best records in the league, the Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies!
So tonight, in some sense, I will be getting reacquainted with some old friends (five, to be exact, when you add up all the voices o the broadcast, although if I'm not mistaken, I think Clyde is a home-only voice, so maybe it's four ... hey, don't blame me for not knowing! I'm not the one who held out for unrealistic carriage fees!).
But in another sense, I will be getting to know someone new. All of these old faces are going to be delivered to me via a new channel. Comcast Sports Net Houston is being replaced by the AT&T/DirecTV-owned Root Sports Southwest. Honestly, as top notch as the Comcast product was in the short stints I was able to watch it (up at the studio, friends' homes) and participate in it (I guested a few times on Sports Talk Live), at this point, if watching the Rockets in my home meant that I'd have to stand next to the television holding a coat hanger in my teeth, I'd do it.
Fortunately, Root Sports Southwest is actually fed through the cables into the back of my AT&T U-verse box, so I can throw out my coat hangers. Now, the amount of enjoyment that you will get outside of your Rockets (and, I suppose, Astros) games on Root, that is up for debate.
It all comes down to how big a fan of poker, infomercials, and Dan Patrick that you are. As the channel launched Monday morning, with an episode of some-show-where-people-were-REALLY-excited-about-poker, a quick perusal of the guide was in order. And what did I find?
LOTS and LOTS of paid programming.
Yeah, the bad news with getting to see your local Houston sports teams in the comfort of your own home is that the award-winning programming that became a staple of CSN Houston (Sports Net Central, long form interviews by Steve Bunin, etc.) has been buried by a tsunami of infomercials.
That's the bad news. What's the good news?
Well, the good news is that I now own a new set of Ronco knives, a Shark Rocket vacuum, and I'm signed up for a real estate seminar in February!
The ROOT SPORTS HOUSTON ERA is underway!!! ... pic.twitter.com/udVtNmRE6M
— Sean Pendergast (@SeanCablinasian) November 17, 2014
If you're looking to find your Rockets tonight (or purchase a Shark Rocket vacuum this morning), here is the announcement of the channel listings, hot off the Twitter presses:
ROOT SPORTS is available on AT&T U-verse: 758 SD/1758 HD, DIRECTV: 674 & Comcast Xfinity: 39. See you tonight for Rockets Pregame @ 6:30!
— ROOT SPORTS SW (@ROOTSPORTSSW) November 17, 2014
Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'....
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.