The last two games of the National League Championship Series have been like night and day for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Game 3 on Monday night saw the Cardinals play one of their worst games of the year from a defensive standpoint as Jon Jay appeared to be on another planet and Carlos Beltran apparently had something else on his mind as they failed to catch balls hit their way which they would normally catch with no problems.  Add David Freese’s calf injury to the mix and it was not a fun night for the Cardinals who wasted a good start by Adam Wainright as they were not able to execute much better offensively than they did if the field.  The Los Angeles Dodgers on the other hand did everything right and it looked like the change of scenery could possibly change the whole series. 

The Cardinals rebounded last night though to win 4 to 2 to go up 3 games to 1 and are one win away from reaching the World Series.  Lance Lynn had one of his best outings in what seems like forever last night as the Cardinals got back on track and pulled out a 4 to 2 win.  The Cardinals still are not scoring many runs but have received excellent pitching during the NLCS from all four starting pitchers and the bullpen has been solid as well. 

This afternoon’s Game 5 pitching matchup is a rematch from Game 1 as Joe Kelly faces off with Zach Greinke.  Both Kelly and Greinke had bad third innings in Friday night’s game but pitched dominantly otherwise.  You may recall that was the game that went 13 innings before the Cardinals came away with a victory.  I predicted before the series started that it would go six games but if it wants to end today that’s OK by me.  The Dodgers will most likely be without their starting shortstop this afternoon as Hanley Ramirez has played through an incredible amount of pain due to wrist and rib injuries but may have finally reached his limit last night.  This will certainly affect the Dodgers from an offensive standpoint and should help the Cardinals.  It would not bother me to see this series come back to St. Louis for Game 6 on Friday but if the Cardinals can wrap things up today then that’s all the more better for them as the extra rest would benefit them and they can reset their rotation for the World Series.  I think that at this point it will be hard for the Dodgers to win three in a row against the Cardinals but it could happen.  It happened last year but the circumstances were different.  I think the Cardinals will eventually win this series and move on to the World Series it’s just a question of when. 

The American League Championship Series finds the Boston Red Sox with a 2 games to 1 lead over the Detroit Tigers with all three games being decided by one run.  This has been a fun series to watch thus far but is also being played at a snail’s pace.  The Red Sox are by far the slowest team in baseball and their pitchers seem to take great delight in torturing me by standing on the mound for hours in between pitches.  The Tigers are only a little better.  I understand that a major aspect of this game is mental but think a little less and throw a little more and let’s get these games over with in under four hours please.  The only way a game should take that long is if there is lots of scoring which there hasn’t been except for Game 2 on Sunday night which was actually played at a decent speed. 

I wanted to take a second to talk about the current situation between Cable One and Time Warner/Turner.  Before I do that though I think this would be a good time to remind everyone that the opinions stated in this blog are my own and in no way represent those of the Kirksville Daily Express, or its staff.  I have been seeing numerous posts on Facebook and Twitter from Cable One subscribers who are upset they aren’t able to watch the Cardinals games on TV.  Several of them are now former Cable One subscribers.  These people have every right to be upset.  These types of situations seem to be happening far too often in this day and age.  It is important to remember that this is not something that the Kirksville office of Cable One has any control over.  This is an issue between Cable One’s corporate office and Time Warner/Turner.  It’s OK to be mad at Cable One but don’t take it out on the local office, they have nothing to do with it.  I think for many people it was the last straw in an increasingly frustrating situation of increasing bills with no end in sight.  In this current situation I think both sides are at fault.  I’m certainly not privy to all the issues at stake here but based on what I have read in the newspaper and elsewhere I think both sides are to blame here.  First, according to Cable One Time Warner/Turner was demanding a huge increase in subscriber fees.  Anytime that happens the customer generally sees an increase in their bill to cover those increased subscriber fees.  I understand Cable One’s concern over this because they are actually the ones who pay the increase with that increase filtering down to the customer.  However, these types of negotiations happen all the time and there is usually a compromise found somewhere in the middle.  Some cable and satellite companies are better at negotiating than others.  In the case of Cable One they appear to have gone in a different direction.  They are really the only ones who know how hard they negotiated so it would be wrong for me to say they didn’t try but I find it very interesting that they decided they only wanted to carry three of the channels in the package and not the other ones.  That in itself is interesting and although I understand their position I don’t fully agree with it and am not surprised Time Warner/Turner balked.  The more interesting thing to me is that they apparently signed a contract with another organization that appears to represent independent cable companies to carry TBS, TNT, and the Cartoon Network.  This is really where the problem appears to be, they signed a contract with someone else and Time Warner/Turner refused to honor it.  I can’t say that I blame them for not honoring the contract, it wasn’t signed with them.  Unless I’m missing something here Cable One basically has a contract with one company to carry another company’s channels.  I’m sure there is more to it than that but that’s the gist of it as I understand it.  Had Cable One continued to negotiate and work out a deal with the company who actually owns the channels those of you who are Cable One subscribers would almost surely still be able to watch the Cardinals on TV.  As I said earlier these types of negotiations go on all the time in the cable and satellite TV world and in many cases the stations affected continue to be carried while a deal is being worked out.  It’s a win/’win for both sides.  However, Cable One apparently decided to sign a contract with a third party which Time Warner/Turner chose not to honor.  Therefore, they pulled their stations from Cable One.  Wouldn’t it have been a better business practice to continue to negotiate with the company who actually owns the product you are negotiating for?  At some point I’m sure some sort of settlement will be reached because these channels are too important for a cable system to be able to attract new customers or retain the ones they have without those channels.  As things stand right now not only is the NLCS not available but any NBA games shown on TNT would not be available, two thirds of the NCAA college basketball tournament would not be available, plus all the other non sports related content that is shown.  These channels are too important not to carry especially when the number of homes who have traditional cable TV continues to decline.  The channels will eventually be back, when that will happen and what form that will take remains to be seen.  It is quite possible and maybe even likely that the return of those channels will come at a price which will be eventually passed onto the consumer.  That’s just the way these things go.  However, I do think that a majority of this mess could have been avoided if Cable One had continued to negotiate faithfully with the actual company that carries the channels and not chosen to go in a different direction which turned out to have had a disastrous result for many of its customers.  Both companies need to stop blaming the other one because there is enough of that for both to share equally and get down to the business of coming up with a workable settlement.  Posturing proves nothing and only serves to infuriate your customers.  Work it out!

I just remembered that my Internet service is through Cable One so if there is no blog on Friday you will know why because I’m guess I just made them mad at me.  Assuming they don’t cut me off we’ll be back on Friday with a look at all this weekend’s sports action and a preview of the KHS Tigers football game against Trenton, Missouri’s big game with Florida, and Truman’s homecoming game with McKendrie.  If the NLCS is still going on we’ll talk about that or else get ready for the World series.  Thanks for checking out this blog and all the other ones on this site and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at KDE Blog.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!