by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Angel Fire, N.M.
November 13, 2009
DELTA'S WORLD SERIES BY WiFi RATES A 'WOW!'
ANGEL FIRE, N.M. -- I have no idea where this fits in the scheme of "new media" or online news, but in my brief life I don't think 20 or 30 years ago I could have imagined this.
On a recent Saturday evening during the World Series, I was flying Delta from ATL to ABQ, and learned that Delta was offering a "free" trial of their in-air WiFiservice. (Curious that the FAA is afraid of my use of a computer but didn't worry about pilots in the cockpit surfing the Web).
My wife opened her Mac and I opened my Dell and we started surfing, and I figured I'd "watch" the World Series, which I was certain MLB would "stream" free to the world to promote a resurgence of interest in baseball. But I went to the MLB site and found I could either subscribe to watch baseball games online for a year or watch each game for a $9.99 fee. I searched other "tv show online" sites and found others charging as much as $29.99 to view the game.
Wishing to vent, but at least get an update on the score, I went to nytimes.com. The Times online homepage had a box to click: "Live World Series Analysis."
I clicked and learned the game was in rain delay. I also learned that four Times sportswriters were hanging out in the press box, engaged in rapid-fire emailing with readers. From 36,000 feet I emailed about my dismay at Major League Baseball, Inc., and one reporter shot back, "MLB isn't as bad as Fox, which is using the rain delay for a rerun of some Cleveland tv show." Another reader suggested that A.J. Burnett pitching and Jorge Posada running were "their own rain delay."
Then the sportswriters slammed the Fox coverage in general for poor camera work and the strike-zone "pitch box," which supposedly confirms balls or strikes but bears no resemblance to the pitches fans at the game were seeing. Apparently, the digital pitch-plotting is short on accuracy when the ball starts across the plate at one spot and exits at another.
I signed off after about 30 minutes but it was loads of fun, and imagine: flying at 36,000 feet at 600 MPH, and chit-chatting with the guys in the World Series press box about baseball. Wow!