With opening day a mere six days away, teams have begun to assemble their rosters; some have announced their starters, others have had to make last-second moves to keep their core intact, but over all, 2007 is upon us.

Traditionally, I would’ve spent a good amount of Spring Training glued to my monitor at work, watching MLB.TV as my team prepared for the regular season. Watching all of the pre-season action was one of the few features of the Online service I actually considered an incentive. I understood I had to pay the price if I wanted to enjoy in-demand games at my fingertips, and though steep, I would willingly pay the $80 dollars it used to cost to subscribe to the service.

But that was the premise set four years ago when MLB.TV began. More than a service it was a luxury; I knew some people that had bought the monthly plan, and though they had enjoyed the service, they canceled it for the price.

My brother and I, both baseball nuts, put together enough money to get both the Extra Innings service for our house, and the MLB.TV service that allowed us to watch any game that, on a rare occasion, was not broadcast on cable’s version of the Extra Innings package (any one remember the “Tier 1” channel?).

Together we spent more than $200 a season on paying for what I’m sure Selig and his New Media Goons consider premium product. The Major Leagues are, after all, the cream of the crop, and as such, you should pay top dollar to watch it, be it by the dugout, or in your living room.

Or should it?

MLB New Media GoonsI feel like, as anything in this country, it should have it’s price, but it should be accessible to me if I wanted to. I mean, that’s one of the inherent freedoms we get, isn’t it? Freedom of commercial choice? Freedom to buy whatever the hell we want?

But now, it has gotten to a point where a U.S. Senator has to step up and say, “I don’t like this on behalf of my constituents.” That is ludicrous. He should be paying attention to more pressing matters; he shouldn’t have to call a hearing on the deal. But I applaud him for it, and I am glad he’s doing it.

That hearing takes place tomorrow, and surprisingly, a day before it happens, MLB.com runs an AP story in which Kerry cites some drastic numbers:

“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.

Regardless of whether the deal goes through or not; the fact that Kerry (and it could’ve been Sen. Jim Bunning for that matter) is defending us before a bunch of greedy businessmen who continue to degrade the nature of the National Pastime, is uplifting.

I did not renew my MLB.TV (and they totally ignored my email asking why they had automatically renewed it when nothing stipulated they could do so) and if the Direc TV deal is matched by Cable and/or Dish, I may not buy the MLB Extra Innings package. Or maybe I will.

But that’s the point; it should be my choice, not Selig’s.

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