Yankees: Got Melk?

What a great game last night!

  • Jeter hits a nice homer
  • Gardner gets an in-the-park home run
  • Melky wins the game with a walk-off single

Nathan intentionally walked Cano to get to Melky for the last out, but Melky hit a nice outfield single to score two runs and win the game. Now, where’s all of the people who were crying “trade Melky” earlier in the season? He’s really turned it around so far and done well for the team — this is his second walk-off of the year (first was the walk-off homer on Apr 22).

On the bad side, Damon getting ejected was pathetic. The calls on both at-bats were definitely off; the first one was over the belt and crossed the batter’s box line — how was that a strike? To be fair, calls were bad for both teams. But why would you toss somebody for arguing calls? Damon never touched the ump and he was ejected very quickly — maybe he hurt the ump’s feelings or something…

Also, we really didn’t look that sharp at the plate, but we never gave up and won it in the ninth. A win is a win — take it anyway you can get it! 🙂

MLB.tv – the 2009 Season experience

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I’ve been a customer of MLB.tv for three years now. And every single year, a new adventure is born.

  • The first year, they were using Windows Media streams. It worked pretty well, both in Windows and Linux. Unfortunately, I had a lot of issues losing the connection (especially near the end of the game) and often had trouble reconnecting. I know the problem was on their side; their servers were just getting hammered.
  • The second year, MLB moved to Silverlight (with the Windows Media streams as backup). This was actually much better (at least, after the initial issues were fixed). The video quality was better in Silverlight and I don’t think I lost the connection ever. And I could still use the WM streams in Linux. Unfortunately, they started showing really annoying commercials between innings — they were overly loud and repetitive (I often saw the same commercial multiple times during the same inning break).Another great new feature was introduced in September: MLB.tv offered both home and away feeds. So I could finally watch YES for away games. Woot!
  • This year, MLB switched to Flash. I was hopeful that this would be a good thing, as it would remove the OS dependency (flash works nearly everywhere). The NexDef client may not work in Linux but the game would still be viewable. The commercials during the inning breaks are the same ad for MLB.tv Premium (which I already have!) but at least they are silent! 🙂

Initially, I never got the high-def (NexDef) feeds to work; going to fullscreen meant choppy video and audio, regardless of the quality level that I chose. However, the non-NexDef feed worked quite well and didn’t look that bad on my 19″ widescreen television.

I recently built a new computer and (shock surprise!) NexDef works nearly-flawlessly on it, even in fullscreen. There have been exceptions: some nights MLB has problems across the board (all games have issues) and some nights there are problems with individual game feeds (like last night’s YES feed — I had to watch the game on NESN). But on the whole, it has worked pretty well for me on the new machine.

That leads me to believe that MLB’s suggested system requirements is not correct for NexDef fullscreen. I think you need a pretty beefy machine (with a decent video card) to get NexDef to work correctly.

I will say this: when NexDef works, the quality is amazing! It looks much better than SD programs from Comcast and rivals the HD cable signals.

Once major complaint, and this is about Flash and not MLB: if you watch a flash video fullscreen, clicking on the desktop (I have triple-monitors now) causes Flash to lose the fullscreen. There is a fix for it, though, so I’m quite happy now!

At least, I will be when they get the YES feed fixed! 🙂

The season thus far…

This has been an interesting season so far.

  • CC had a rough start but has played better lately
  • AJ Burnett has been awesome! Nearly had a no-hitter against Tampa Bay.
  • Ditto for Tex!
  • Nady may be out for the year…not good!
  • Swisher has had a great season thus far; he’s really fun to watch. With Nady being out, that should give Swisher more playing time.
  • Wang…well, that has been rough to watch. I’m hoping he can turn it around soon.
  • What’s up with our bullpen? We spent a lot of money on pitchers this year and the bullpen has let us down. Ok, Bruney has pitched pretty well. But today’s game was painful! (gotta love it when the crowd started chanting “we want Swisher!” to pitch!:))
  • Melky has gotten some playing time; hasn’t done too bad.
  • Gardner is still fun to watch. 🙂

I’m hoping that we can figure out our bullpen and Wang can get back to normal soon. This good still be a great season!

30 Clubs in 30 Days?

Much as I love having MLB Network, they’ve really annoyed me this spring. I’ve tried four times now to watch the 30 Clubs in 30 Days episode about the Yankees, and every single time they have shown another team. Every time it listed the Yankees (on both Comcast’s on-screen guide and on MLB Network’s website) and every time it was somebody else (the Tigers, the Mets, etc).

Personally, I don’t think they had a full show on the Yankees; you can watch a clip of the show on their website (a whopping 1 minute, 15 seconds) and since they haven’t aired the full episode (or at least aired it with the correct guide information), I don’t think it really exists. 😉

Way to drop the ball, MLB! With that and the current problems with MLB.TV’s NexDef plugin, you aren’t looking very prepared for the season, and it started tonight. How about working a little harder, mmmkay?

Good service: MLB?

MLB’s Customer Service is notoriously bad; mlbsupport.com has a lot of people complaining about overbilling, nobody answering their calls, etc.

I have to change my mlb.com account for various reasons so I’ve had to call them twice (once in late fall, once last Monday). So far, I’ve got nothing to say about MLB Support except good things. My call was answered immediately by a really nice lady named Melissa (with a great southern accent — made me miss home!) and she was very helpful on fixing my problem. I still need to call again and verify the old account has been deleted, but I do not dread that phone call.

With all of the negative complaints out there, I feel it’s important for me to complement MLB Support. Time will tell if my problem is completely resolved, but so far they’ve treated me well. 🙂

In other MLB.com news, the new season starts today (woohoo!) but I’m not sure MLB.TV is ready. They’ve moved to a new Flash-based viewer (should now work in Linux!) but the video is very very choppy. There are a ton of people complaining about it on mlbsupport.com/forum and I’m having the same problems. They’re claiming it’s a problem with our computer not meeting the required specififications (mine does and then some) or a problem with our bandwidth (not! I’m getting 10MB down most times). The problem has something to do with their NextDef plugin. I do believe they are looking into the problem, but because of these issues, I’ll be paying month to month in case they do not get it fixed. I was planning on paying for the whole year up front, but I don’t want to spend $109 on a product that simply isn’t working.

I am hopeful, however; earlier betas worked quite well for me and the picture was excellent. Here’s to hoping they get it resolved soon.

It was the best of games, it was the worst…

Tuesday night’s WBC game between the USA and Puerto Rico had to have been one of the best games I’ve seen in a long time. The ninth inning comeback was definitely something to remember. Could the USA do it again?

Nope. Last night’s game was painful. Dunn’s bad throw to home started us off on the wrong foot and then the pitching – just how many runs does a pitcher have to give up before a change is made? It was just awful.

But I’m not going to waste time blaming the loss on any specific player; I’m going to “blame it on the rain”.

Good luck getting that song out of your head! 🙂

At least we had already clinched a semifinal spot, so really that game didn’t count for much.

I’m hopeful for the semifinals and finals, but we’ve had so many injury problems (kinda reminds me of last year’s Yankees season.) Now Youkilis is out for the duration; I hated to see that. I gotta admit that I’m a fan of his (and Pedroia too, for that matter). We’ll miss their bats…

A-Rod: my two cents

I suppose I ought to comment on the A-Roid scandle — everybody else is! 🙂

I was disappointed to hear about A-Rod testing positive during a test in 2003; I’d hoped that he could have remained clean and surpassed Aaron’s record without any hint of juicing, but that’s out of the question now.

Here’s the thing that bothers me most about this whole thing: he (along with 103 other players) tested positive in an anonymous test in 2003. The test was designed to see how big the steroid problem was in MLB; it was a successful test — 95% of the players tested negative, but the positive number was large enough that strict penalties were put into place in 2004.

The test results were supposed to be destroyed immediately, but our government (with nothing better to do, apparently) confiscated the records. MLB has fought to regain them but has failed in the courts (*shock surprise!*)

Out of 104 players, A-Rod’s was the only results leaked; perhaps not coincidentally, the reporter breaking the story has a book coming out about A-Rod later this year. Hmmmm, do I smell a rat?

Should the remaining 103 player’s names be released? On one hand, yes — it isn’t fair to A-Rod. However, I believe that the remaining 103 names shouldn’t be released; 2 wrongs (or 104 wrongs in this case) don’t make it right.

MLB has had a decent drug policy in place since 2004; that has gotten lost in the recent media blitz. Should all players be randomly tested throughout the year? Perhaps; that would help close the book on the so-called “steroid era”.

What do I hope happens as a result of all this? I hope we can move on and get back to baseball, and watch as the Yankees capture our 27th World Series! 🙂