St. Louis Sports Online

Eric Niederhoffer 

St. Louis SportsOnline

columnist & principal photographer

I Want My WB! 23 April 2001

After a long drive to St. Louis from Southern Illinois, I looked forward to a nice dinner and some Cardinals baseball. But Friday 20 April 2001 was not going to offer an evening of visual entertainment.

Instead, I was reminded of how cable has worked its way into our everyday lives. How cable has allowed Major League Baseball to experiment with a form of direct pay-for-view. Some of you will be thinking, "what pay-for-view?" I remind you that it's part of your monthly cable bill, similar to buying the Post-Dispatch only for the business section.

For those of us much older than most of the new networks, including WB-11, we seem to have grown accustomed to watching a full schedule of broadcasts of the local team on television. Ah, the old days of watching the NY Mets on WOR (channel 9) or the Yankees on WPIX (channel 11). And when there was a rain delay or canceled game, an old movie from the vaults would appear, usually a war movie.

But those days have passed, long gone, adios amigo!

What I faced instead was an evening of Cardinal baseball on KMOX, a radio broadcast that suited me just fine for the evening because it allowed me to do some reading and enjoy the company of my fiance and her cats.

The events of the evening were a barometer for the rest of the weekend. A weekend that was devoid of sports, including my usual serving of golf, although I already knew that Tiger Woods was not playing this weekend. Even Annika Sorenstam's attempt for five-in-a-row was televised on the Golf Channel. Jennifer Capriati defeated Martina Hingis in the Family Circle Cup; oh how I remember when she was on network television and failed to win.

By now it should be obvious that we are a non-cable household in St. Louis, probably one of the few such oddities in the city. As a result, I have fewer distractions and fewer choices during baseball season. It also allows me time to reflect on my situation and do some thinking, some number crunching.

Here are the numbers: 115 broadcasts on televison (less than an entire season of Cardinal baseball), of which 59 games appear on Fox Sports Net (FSN), 45 games on WB-11, 8 games on FOX, and 3 games on ESPN. So this season, I will have the opportunity to view the Cardinals 53 times (WB-11 and FOX) without having to leave my home in St. Louis.

Would I have a better chance of catching the Cardinals in action on KMOX? The numbers again suggest that this would be true. There are 162 radio broadcasts (entire season of Cardinals baseball on 1120).

Maybe I should give more of a listen, rest my eyes, and wait for Big Mac to return from the DL.

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