Friday, June 21, 2013

Upstate Mets affiliate to viewers: you need cable to watch the games

It didn't have to be this way, but the harsh reality of one local station holding rights to carry both the Mets & Yankees set in tonight.

The schedule has both teams' games airing on broadcast TV in New York. WWOR, the Mets' former flagship station, has the Yankees, while WPIX, the former Yankee flagship, has the Mets. WCWN is the primary local carrier for both teams as of this season, when the station, in conjunction with sister station WRGB, acquired the rights to the Yankees from WNYA. Until tonight, that wasn't a problem.

Any Mets fan in my market would assume that tonight's tilt against Philadelphia would air on WCWN. Nope. The CW affiliate chose the Yankees-Rays game, and Mets-Phillies was moved to WRGB's digital sub-channel, which normally houses This TV. Why is this? Simple. Just like in New York, the vast majority of baseball fans in the upstate region are Yankees fans. The Mets are treated like second class citizens. Then again, there are also Red Sox fans, and Boston currently leads the AL East. Last year, WOFX-AM, which for a number of years was the local radio home of the Mets, switched to the BoSox, and the Mets are on a weaker channel now. Worse still, you have to be extra fortunate at night to pick up WFAN's signal from New York to catch the radio broadcast. To that end, the Mets are the Rodney Dangerfield of sports teams here, if you get my drift.

The message that the programmers at WRGB/WCWN are sending to Mets fans is, simply, if you want to follow your team, you have to have digital cable. Yes, there have been Yankees games that were farmed out to This TV, and the scenario will play itself out again as this season progresses. This unlikely conflict we face tonight is just a rare bird, but what is even more galling for Mets fans is that with the Yankee package added to WCWN's roster is the inclusion of a locally produced pre-game show, as was the case at WNYA. The Mets don't get that privelege at all. Talk about no respect.

There's no point in complaining to WCWN/WRGB. You're not going to get an answer at game time. The Yankees are and always will be #1 with baseball fans in upstate NY, and that's just the way it is.

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