2005-05-13 / Sports

Mets’ Fans Need Spitzer

from page 79

By Joe McDonald

Sports Columnist

Where Have You Gone Mr. Eliot Spitzer?

Opening Day at Shea finally gave Met fans something to cheer about. It was a thrilling comeback win, which highlighted many of the off-season changes the Amazins did this winter.

There was really only one problem with the game.

Two and a half million New Yorkers could not see it.

With Time Warner and Cablevision at odds with over subscription rates paid for the MSG Network and Fox Sports Net, Time Warner was forced to take the two regional sports channels off millions of homes in the Tri-State area. It robbed New Yorkers of the Knicks for the past month and it’s taking the Mets away from their fans.

The Knickerbockers have been playing so terribly that this dispute was doing the fans a favor. With the ‘New Mets,’ the era of good will that was expected to be ushered in has a rain cloud over it right as it started.

And, this dispute may also last a long time. Unlike last season - when MSG and FSN were removed for only a few days – this year’s conflict is about the two oldest problems in the book, money and power.

According to Time Warner, Cablevision wants to significantly increase the subscription paid per subscriber to put the channels on the standard package. It was enough of a raise that forced the Time Warner to make the stations go dark. Also, the Mets exercised their right to leave the MSG Network next season to start their own regional cable channel with Time Warner joining in on the production.

Like a spurned wife, Cablevision chief James Dolan will take any measure to get back at his former partner and much like the YES Network two years ago, don’t expect the new Mets Network to be on Cablevision next season.

The situation looks so bleak, something needs to be done and a white knight needs to save the millions of New Yorkers who can’t see the games of their choice.

Eliot Spitzer needs to come to the rescue.

New York’s Attorney General has been busy the last few years cleaning up the wrongs posed by big business in the little man. He cleaned up the insurance companies and mutual funds and got the YES Network shown on Cablevision after Dolan refused to put the Yankees on his stations.

But Spitzer is planning to run for governor next year and may not want to upset two of the largest cable companies in the state. If he does try and step in, he threatens to alienate both companies and they can easily sell space to rival organizations that will support the Attorney General’s opponent.

And it makes sense, because Spitzer has remained strangely quiet. So MSG and FSN remain dark on the Time Warner system and Met fans grow more and more frustrated.

If this is what Spitzer is doing, it is very shortsighted, since a resolution to this problem will put him in the good graces of many registered voters.

But until the Attorney General comes to this conclusion, Met fans will ask the question, “Where have you gone Mr. Spitzer?

The Metropolitan fan base turns their eyes to you.”

Now New York waits for his answer.

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