26 March 2007

John Kerry: Man of the Fan

Senator John Kerry has had quite the distinguished career as a politician. He blew the 2004 Presidential elections. He almost blew the 2006 midterm elections. But this politician is also a sports fan. Sure, he once said the Packers played at Lambert Field, and spawned perhaps the best 527 committee of all time - Football Fans For Truth. A Bostonian, he also once referred to great Red Sox slugger "Manny Ortiz." But his heart is in the right place.

Tomorrow Senator Kerry will lead a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing to address the much discussed MLB-DirecTV deal. While Kerry concedes that the deal may be legal, the points to the obvious fact that it's bad for fans.

"When you've got 75 million people who currently have the option of doing something and you reduce it to 15 million, you've got to ask are the terms of this deal fair and does it work for the fan and for the sport itself?" he said during a conference call Monday.

Kerry obviously has a lot of time on his hands these days, but he must be applauded for sticking up for the common fan, and standing up to the powers of big business (and big leagues). There will be fans out there suffering this season away from their beloved baseball teams (not me! I'm back in LA), and they deserve to be able to watch them. Sure you say, one could easily switch to Directv. But imagine you're living in an apartment building and can't put up the dish. Then what? You're stuck watching the crappy team in your local market (see: Milwaukee Brewers).

The MLB/DirecTV deal may be good business in terms of revenue for MLB and its teams, but its also bad business in that the deal stands to alienate large numbers of fans. As usual, it's the fan, the average Joe, who gets the raw deal (example: it's now $15 to park at a Dodger game - up from $10 last season). Kerry gets it:
"Fans are pretty discerning," Kerry said. "I think they'll have a terrific ability to say, 'Well, that's crock or this isn't,' and kind of get a read on it."

We commend Kerry for his pro-fan stance. Commendation must also be given for using "crock" in a political statement.

Lion In Oil salutes you, Senator John Kerry. You are a man of the sports people!