Just like lunch, there's no free sports.
Which is why I expect the new Pac 12 TV Network is going to inflate my already inflated monthly Comcast bill.
Ok, maybe I'm wrong. I hope so. But I doubt it.
This week the Pac 12 Czarzilla, I mean, Commissioner Larry Scott trumpeted his latest scheme to make Oregon and the 11 Dwarfs happy happy happy - by breaking ground, ceremonially, for the Pac 12 Studios in San Francisco, in the same building with Comcast SportsNet/Bay Area.
See what I mean? I already smell a conspiracy to cost me money.
San Jose sportswriter Jon Wilner "caught up" with Scott on Monday to get the scoop (actually, when there's a reporter around I seriously doubt it's hard to get Scott's attention. But try asking him a question if your a low-dollar fan).
Wilner reports the Pac 12 will launch its TV empire August 15, about two weeks before football kicks off. But there are "many unanswered questions in regards to distribution of/access to the national and regional networks," he reports.
Translation: What is this going to cost me?
Wilner pressed Scott for the facts, Sir, just the facts.
I also triple-checked with Scott about broadcast plans for football and men’s basketball games not shown on ESPN or Fox. (I’ve sensed confusion about who will see what and where you need to be to see it.)Here’s the answer: You’ll see everything no matter where you are, provided you’re a subscriber.
As Scoobie would say at this point of the interview, Ruh- Rho.
(The Big 10 Network, BTW, is available in Eugene on Comcast, for an extra subscription. I have no idea what it costs because there's no way in hell I'm paying a dime to watch some loser Big 10 team. On the other hand, I did some checking and it sure sounds like there are fees on top of fees.)
But Scott told Winer not to worry, because Pac12TV is a sweet deal at any price.
... from an operations standpoint, the Pac-12 Network(s) will be revenue-positive in Year One, although he doesn’t expect the league to distribute any network-related income to the schools in 2012-13.
I don't want to know what that means.
But I do have a question.
What's it going to cost me?
So Darron Thomas is turning pro and skipping his senior year at Oregon.
And exactly why does this surprise you?
Here's a real news flash - Kids from Texas don't move to western Oregon for the weather.
In the Matter of D. Thomas, this young man had his sights on the NFL long before he ever thought of wearing the thunder green and lightning yellow. Now he's chasing his dream. Oregon was a stepping stone.
What's more, I don't buy into the doom and gloom out there over the "loss" of DT and LaMichael James next year. Come on people - we knew they were just passing through. These guys aren't our children who move home after college.
Darron and LaMichael always were leaving Oregon for the brighter lights of paid football - we just thought we knew when that day would come. It came a little sooner than we hoped. That's all.
No big deal. So cease and desist with the outrage, O Mighty Autzenites. A new day is about to dawn.
And it won't last forever either.
Here's what I will remember about the Thomas/James years, and it isn't anything that happened in Autzen Stadium. It was last year in the new Matthew Knight Arena near the end of the season.
The loss in the National Championship had faded and hometown interest in basketball had shifted, enough that I paid the ransom to watch Oregon play in the Matt.
At half time I wandered the concourse checking out the sights. Somewhere near the gourmet hot dog concession I spotted two young men strolling, all decked out in red Nike gear - and instantly recognized Darron Thomas and LaMichael James.
LaMike was smiling broadly. He had stopped to talk to a small clutch of adoring middle schoolers, signed autographs, and obviously enjoyed the interaction.
Meanwhile, DT just stood there, towering over the shorter James. He utterly and completely ignored the kids - who only had eyes for LMJ. Thomas kept his gaze fixed high, over the heads of the crowd. He was imperious, uncomfortable even, and detached from the hubbub LaMichael was causing in the corridor.
Here was a contrast of two heroes. One fit in, and the other didn't. I could tell by his face Thomas didn't live in Eugene. He slept here. He didn't enjoy it. He endured it. I also saw this was LaMichael James' town, these little boys were his people. He did live here and, as effortlessly as he slipped into the end zone so many times, he was one of us.
So it is no surprise whatsoever that Darron chose to leave with less than 24-hours' notice. I suspect LaMichael - who has a much better chance of success in the NFL - struggled with his decision to skip his senior year as a Duck. I doubt Thomas struggled at all.
Speaking of quarterbacks, there is one ex-Oregon signal caller whose name won't likely be mentioned in the Oregon transition from Darron Thomas - his ol' buddy, Jeremiah Masoli.
After he left Oregon and finished his college career at Ol' Miss, JM tried out for the 49ers and ended up playing last year with a minor league pro team in Omaha. Rumor is that he may play in the Canadian League next year, and he still has his eye on the NFL - San Francisco wanted him to return kicks, but Jeremiah wants to prove he is a quarterback, so he's chasing that dream.
I follow Masoli because I had a small hand trying to help him out of hot water in Eugene two years ago. As events turned out, my role was meaningless. For a minute or so, before the traffic stop in Springfield ended it all, there was a glimmer of hope Jeremiah would be cleared of the Fratgate charges and regain his leadership of the Ducks. It was not to be, but in the process I learned a little bit about what made him tick.
This fall I reconnected with a guy who also was involved in Jeremiah's case. He asked if anyone ever followed up with me? No, I said, that wasn't expected and certainly not necessary. Then a few days ago I received a large envelope in the mail - a photo of Masoli in his Duck uniform, signed with a kind note that he appreciated my help and thanked me. Next to his signature, he wrote in big letters, GO DUCKS!
I only met Masoli once and he hardly knew me, yet he still has a connection to Eugene. That sort of character isn't what I expect from petty crooks and hoodlums, and Masoli is neither. He - like LaMichael - is a young man who adopted Eugene as a home.
This may be unfair, but I believe it - Darron Thomas will not send any thank you notes to any one who helped him in Eugene.
Certainly not two years after he bolted town in the dead of night with stars in his eyes.
Hey Duckies - due to overwhelming demand (I'm easily overwhelmed as some of you know... ) I've created a twitter link on this page for all of you who want to follow MDC at hyperspeed. I will tweet new posts and other stuff, so there's no reason for you not to be the first to know the scoop on the Duck poop.
Just scroll down the left side of the blog page, at the bottom of the green field cleverly titled "Twitter Link."
If you’re going to lose badly, may as well do it in style. Right?
Neuheisel's imminent demise sets up a classic gotcha opportunity - his team is badly outmatched, and his best chance at going out on top is to draw the attention away from the game.
And hope Oregon's coaches and players are caught up in his drama and forget about Friday. Unlikely - but this is grasping straws time. Oregon is favored by 31.
So it almost certainly ends in Autzen. The LA Times warned Saturday night that even an upset probably isn't enough.