Cablevision vs. YES Network ‘s ode to greed.

Aquarian Weekly 4/10/02 REALITY CHECK


1-2-3-4 cretins wanna hop some more. 4-5-6-7 All good cretins go to heaven. – The Ramones

The latest furor over Cablevision subscribers being bilked by the new YES Network and their cable provider, resulting in fans all over Westchester, New Jersey and New York City area being shut out of the New York Yankees television broadcasts, has brought to light many disturbing things about the rapacious participants in this passion play. Not the least of which is Cablevision CEO, Charles Dolan and Yankees principle owner, George Steinbrenner. What you are about to read may shock, even dismay you, but I must first preface its stirring truths by revealing that I no longer live in the Empire State and happily receive the YES Network quite clearly at my current post in Fort Vernon. I am also a Yankees booster, born and bread in the Bronx and good friends with the general manager of the team. I have been nothing if not a Steinbrenner apologist, even back in the dark days when he turned the most revered franchise in American sports history into a poor man’s Nixon administration and the laughing stock of baseball.

Rich men trolling in the same business or geographic proximity is a dangerous paradox. It is nature’s way of presenting extinction as a survival impetus. Thus two men of equal pomp cannot flourish in close quarters, if so, the results are often severe.

You see, for eight years before George, the Yankees sucked. After George, they began to win and spend money and win and spend money and then lose in record fashion; and it got ugly, believe me. But, for me, George Steinbrenner will always be the man who brought Reggie Jackson to New York, and aside from murdering my family in cold blood or siphoning money from my check account to bankroll third world oppression, the man could do no wrong. On the other hand, Charles Dolan, for whom I have peripherally worked in a freelance broadcast capacity, is the scum of the earth. And this is not simply a derogatory observation; he is literally borne from the slime that coagulates below the planet’s surface, a sort of mutated quagmire that takes shape in human form. This is not uncommon among corporate moguls and/or politicians, child molesters or theologians. It’s scientific fact. Casey Stengel, a good baseball man and a world-class loon, always said, “You can look it up.” And I suggest you do. With that, I present evidence that the gorging of your entertainment dollar is alive and well in the distended bellies of these gluttonous power mongers. For the past five years, prior to the launching of the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, Steinbrenner sank $300 million of his billion-dollar enterprise into the Madison Square Garden Network, owned and operated by Dolan. For Dolan, this included principle ownership of both the Knicks and Rangers and anything swinging through the Garden, like the Circus or Billy Joel or whatever political rallies reared its miserable head. To say the two of these guys made tons of dough for their prospective stockholders is an understatement. And to say there is any love loss between them is an outward misunderstanding of how these men function below the surface. There are more scientific findings which back the theory of chemical endorphins routinely released in the rich man’s muscle tissue. This affects the glands and motor functions, and finally, the brain. Rich men trolling in the same business or geographic proximity is a dangerous paradox. It is nature’s way of presenting extinction as a survival impetus. Thus two men of equal pomp cannot flourish in close quarters, if so, the results are often severe. Steinbrenner has the most envied of all financial sports franchise cash cows. The old adage about the Yankees being like U.S. Steel is laughable now. The Yankees are sports merchandising and marketing. Most teams have regional value, unless they are lucky enough to have a few years of a Michael Jordan or a Wayne Gretsky, but the New York Yankees are national, and even global in reach. The team could win a total of six games this year and still earn Steinbrenner more than half of Major League Baseball’s gross income. But this is a team coming off its best six-year period in the last half-century, and the owner knows it all too well. Meanwhile, for over two decades Cablevision has monopolized the cable viewing area of three million subscribers throughout the tri-state area. Charging for set-up and dismantling fees, upgrades, pay channels, including at one-time Sports Channel, which is now FOX Sports for people interested in the rest of the areas pro teams, movie channels, HBO, etc. This subscriber monthly fee is also subsidized by advertising fees, both local and national, and fees paid by stations on the basic package, which includes MTV, ESPN, CNN, The Food Channel, etc. Despite living in such close proximity and having the combined wealth of two Roman Empires and a Microsoft beach party, Dolan and Steinbrenner, the Yankees Empire and the Cablevision Reich had coincided, even prospered in their dysfunctional wake. The irony is that if the natural order of things were not involved these two men could have owned half of the free world in one long power lunch, but instead they have decided to use your hard-earned money and rabid love for sports and “The Sopranos” to treat you like their jail-call bitch. Woe is man, MSG no longer has the mighty Yanks, or their revenue or their powerful moniker, and Steinbrenner no longer has to feed in the same feces-addled cage as his sworn enemy because he has his lovely YES Network. And Dolan doesn’t have to allow Steinbrenner’s little experiment to rake in the dough without the proper groveling reparations. So people living across the street from Yankees Stadium cannot watch the team on television, because there will only be twenty of 162 games broadcast over free TV this season. The YES Network people tell you to bag Cablevision and buy a satellite dish and sign contracts and chop down trees and get apartment ordinances so you can watch baseball. And the Cablevision people tell you that you have to pay even more money to view baseball games. And somewhere in a smoldering cauldron of sulfur and brimstone, MLB commissioner Bud Selig tells you the sport is doomed to poverty. Play ball!

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