Categories
Baseball

Burned by MLB and DRM

I know this isn’t really business related, but I thought I’d write a post about this problem just in case anybody knows a solution.

In late 2004, after the Red Sox won the World Series, I purchased the downloadable broadcasts of all of their playoff games from Major League Baseball. That came to about 20 gigs of downloads covering 14 games, each of which was playable in Windows Media Player only (the only supported player at the time).

In each case, the first time I tried to play the file on a new computer, the program contacts MLB for a license file, which is then stored locally. After that I can play the files without a problem.

Well, I’m not really an “early adopter,” but that is almost three years ago and I’ve gotten new systems since then. The field of digital downloads has also, shall we say, moved on. Anyway, the other day I tried to play one of those files on my current computer, only to discover that the license download site no longer exists.

I contacted MLB about this at their 800 number. I eventually had to talk to a manager in order to find somebody who understood the situation.

He informed me that their digital download service is down and therefore unavailable. I explained that the files had already been downloaded years ago and I only needed the licenses, which I’d bought and paid for long ago.

That didn’t matter. I still need to contact the digital download service, which is not available. Worse, it’s been down all year, and, believe it or not, he had no idea when — or even if — it would ever be back up. He suggested I keep checking periodically, because he’s doing the same thing. And no, there is no one else I’m allowed to talk to about this.

The bottom line is that I now have a complete set of video files that I can’t play. I guess this is yet another example of the evils of digital rights management. Probably serves me right for going through legal channels to get them in the first place.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Categories
Baseball

Quick moment to gloat before the Yankees start hitting again…

Everyone says you should stop and smell the roses, right? My own variation on that line is, whenever you find yourself in a good position, be sure to enjoy it, because everything changes.

Well, the Red Sox are currently 36-15, the Yankees are 21-29, and the difference between them is a whopping 14 1/2 games. That’s so cool I can hardly stand it.

Reality (in the form of the adjusted standings at Baseball Prospectus) says that the Sox are playing slightly over their heads (1.5 games above their third-order adjusted wins) while the Yankees are way below (by a huge 7 games). That’s not going to last. Part of that is due to the Sox closing games better than the Yankees these days, but that should level out some, too. Once the Yankees start hitting the cover off the ball again, watch out.

Still, this is really a fun time to be a Sox fan. I want to make sure I enjoy it, so that later in the season after the Yankees have won 10 in a row and the Sox have dropped six, I remember this.

Categories
Baseball

20 days and counting…

In honor of the first Yankees/Red Sox game of the season (okay, pre-season), let me just remind everyone that opening day is only 20 days away. Sweet.

Just to prove to myself that my son (Xander, age 14) doesn’t read my blog, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve told him that we’re going out together on April 15. He doesn’t know where. Well, as an official member of Red Sox Nation (a Monster member, no less), I was able to acquire a pair of front row tickets on the Green Monster in Fenway Park.

I’ve always said to my wife that someday before I die, I was going to get monster seats. That someday is April 15. Hey, why wait, even if I did have to take out a second mortgage to afford them?

(That was an exaggeration, if only a small one.)

Don’t tell anybody about this. If the boy comes to me tomorrow and knows about the game, then somebody here said something. 😉

Categories
Baseball

Baseball Tour 2006

Normally here I’d rather spend time talking about technologies I’m working with and the process I’m going through learning them, but I thought I’d take a small moment as an aside to mention the baseball tour I just finished with my son Xander, 14.

A week ago Sunday (8/6) we went to McCoy Stadium to see the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Boston AAA affliate, generally known as the PawSox. We were very fortunate to get two tickets. The stadium was packed and enthusiastic. We had a great time, even though the PawSox lost 12 to 2.

We originally planned to spend the following weekend checking out the Lowell Spinners (the Sox’s A league affliate) and the Portland Sea Dogs (AA for the Sox), but both were sold out. That came as quite a surprise to me — I’m not used to minor league teams being sold out, but there it was. Instead we decided at the last minute Friday morning (8/11) to make a trip south. I was able to get tickets to the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park. We drove all the way to Philadelphia, which I now realize is not an easy thing to do on a Friday afternoon. We left at about 12:30 pm and made it to the part at 6:30 pm for a 7 pm game. Whew. Then the game (against Cincinnatti) went 14 innings (!) before the Phillies won.

We spent the night at my sister’s, then traveled to Reading on Saturday (8/12) to see the Reading Phillies take on the Harrisburg Senators. That game, too, went extra innings, but Reading won in the 10th. That stadium was rocking, too. It was practically full and loud. Probably the fact that it was Harley night didn’t hurt.

On Sunday we then went to see the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons, who were playing, interestingly enough, Pawtucket. That was the first place we went where the crowds were small and not really involved, but we had a good time anyway. That was also the first stadium Xander had ever been to that had artificial turf. After the game the Red Barons let kids run around the bases for five minutes, so we were able to see how spongy the turf was first hand.

A long drive later we were home. That ended that particular trip, but on Tuesday we went down to see the Connecticut Defenders (the former Norwich Navigators) defeat Altoona 2 to 1. I splurged at that game, paying the extra $5 for sky box seats, which were great. They even had fireworks after the game, which were very good, except for the fact that the smoke was thick and hovered over the field, making it hard to see the fireworks after a while.

So in the end it was five games in about a week and a half, including the Phillies and their AA and AAA affliates, the AA affliate for Boston (once home and once away), and the San Francisco AA affliate (the Defenders). Most amazing, in every case the weather was absolutely perfect. Hopefully we’ll be able to say the same next year.

I’m trying not to think about the fact that the Red Sox are two games behind the Yankees, who are coming into town for five games in four days.  Jason Veritek is still on the DL, as are Trot Nixon and Tim Wakefield.  The pitching is very shaky these days.  This could be an ugly, ugly weekend.  Or maybe not.