Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Indians and Cox playing a game of chicken where only fans lose

I like to watch sports.

How much? Last week, there was a night where I didn't have a game to cover, so I paid $2 to watch a grade school game. When I am home I want to watch sports on television.

For some reason, my cable provider doesn't want me to watch sports. I overheard the other day someone say that cable companies are the new phone companies, everyone hates them. I live in Lakewood, so the cable company I hate is Cox Cable.

I live in an apartment so a satellite dish is not an option. Cox knows they have me by the short ones and they don't really care. I get charged a lot more for less channels then my father does by another company. Cox doesn't offer OLN and therefore I can't watch Hockey Night. Cox doesn't offer ONN and therefore I can't watch the high school state championship games. But Cox just added LOGO and a channel showing Ohio legislative doings. Obviously I am not the target demographic.

When I complained to Cox, the answer I got was basically "what are you going do about it?" and they tried to sell me an expensive national package. I don't need

I am not a lawyer so I don't understand why cable companies are allowed city monopolies. This is America. Where is the free market? Why can't I choose my own cable provider? I find it hard to imagine that another ompany’s digital signal can't make the journey a few miles north.

Now Cox is leading the charge against the Indians new network. What really ticks me off is the way they are doing it. They won't pony up the dough to get a network like ONN (just how much could a regional news network cost) and thereby black out my high school sports, but they can afford a website trying to get people to complain against the Indians WITHOUT PUTTING THEIR NAME ON IT.

Cowards. They let people know how to contact the Indians on how unfair this is, but they don't link to themselves so people can say-- Give me my Tribe!

I like living in Lakewood. But I swear to God, I will move (and not to Rocky River, Fairview Park or Olmsted Falls - all Cox kingdoms) if Cox and the Indians continue to play this game of high priced chicken.

Does Cox care about losing one subscriber? Nope, not at all. They have made that clear over and over. When I moved back to Lakewood this summer and found out the rate difference. Their customer service representative said my former cable company could only offer that rate because they were desperate and having money problems. I got a three month deal and then saw my bill double. I have continued to pay the extortion because I can't go to the bar every time I want to watch sports. I also have high speed internet and their cost is more than I paid before as well. I saw a deal for cheaper high speed internet. But I am waiting to see if I move before I lock in for a year.

Cox wants me to pay extra for the new Indians network. Fine, let them put together a real package of sports programming and then delete from my bill all of those channels I don't watch and they force me to pay for. They should not be able to have it both ways. But hey, they have a monopoly so screw the sports fan.

I am not going to hold the Indians blameless either. It is a money grab. I get that and I understand why. If it is what they wanted to do, then they should have had the foresight to plan this out a lot further back. Instead they are throwing it together at the last minute. The business side of the team seems to be the exact opposite of the baseball side. I trust Mark Shapiro. I trust Eric Wedge. Not sure I trust anyone on the business side.

It appears the Indians are losing the PR battle (the irrational Coco backlash included) and if the team falters in April once again, those bandwagon fans are going to not only fall off again, the venom is going to be so nasty it is going to overpower all the good this team did last season. Heard of the perfect storm? I see all the potential for a nasty train wreck this summer.

It was said at the press conference that one deal was being held up because one cable company's negotiator is going on vacation. Are you kidding me? Go on vacation after the deal is done.

This whole mess makes me feel disrespected by the Indians and by Cox. I doubt either cares.

While the first spring telecast is March 12, no one seems motivated to have deals in place by then. The Indians said that they expect 90 percent of the local area will have the Indians network by April 4.

That's not good enough. Quit the posturing, put away the tropical drinks and get it done now.