Posted on: March 4, 2009 9:27 pm
  •  
 

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu!

It seems like I've been following CBS Sportsline for ages.  I even remember the CBS Rewards days where you could get "prizes" based on site usage points!  (This apparently proved to be a loser for CBS.)  I finally set up a profile in August 2006.  There have been a lot of great conversations and a lot of great smack-talking.  Lately, though, CBS has made a number of changes, and most of those changes have made this site less fun and less interesting.  What's more, I discovered what I had been missing on this site.  Some of the more notable changes over time are:

- The Content.  So many articles, stories, whatever -- compared to years ago -- seem to be (1) designed to have little or no substance (Tony Dorsett's Third Cousin Once Removed Arrested for Reckless Driving), (2) seem to offer opinions for no reason other than to invite controversy rather than take a position (POINT: Brett Favre is good, COUNTERPOINT: Brett Favre is bad), and (3) are rife with factual errors and sloppy reporting.  As a sports fan, I want -- no, I deserve -- more than that.

- Removing the ability to see who leaves you feedback.  I relied on this to meet fans of similar teams and those with similar interests.  Now, it's all invisible, and making new connections in the fandom is difficult.  I know that a lot of people abused this privilege, using it as a chance to merely "get back" at others who left low scores.  But it seems to me there are easier and more effective ways to deal with that.

- The new avatar policy.  I rather liked my picture of a roping horse, head back, chugging a beer, along with the caption "What drinking problem?".  But I can see how that would offend so many.  Like, um... recovering alcoholic horses.

- The bizarre rating system.  I've never been able to make heads or tails of it, but it seems to be even more misaligned than ever lately.

So, I went searching for a new home.  And I have landed as ESPN.com.  I had never been there until CBS Sportsline effectively forced me there.  And what I found was thoughtful, accurate articles and user postings that were contentious but substantive and well-supported.  I was truly dumbfounded, and somewhat embarrassed.  I came away thinking, "Wow.  So this is where all the serious sports discussions have been occurring the last ten years."  Sure, their system is different.  It has its weaknesses in terms of social interactions.  But, my god, the substance.

Then, it dawned on me.  CBS Sportsline was trying to be more like ESPN.  They were trying to bring a level of integrity to sports reporting and coverage by imposing new, austere rules on its users rather than upgrading its writers, coverage and content.  I will give CBS Sportsline one thing: a more user-friendly layout.  But I guess that goes hand-in-hand with dumbing-down content while at the same time trying to smarten-up its users.

In any event, I won't be a complete stranger.  I'll check in from time to time.  But if you find yourself on ESPN.com, please be sure to look me up:  my name is stickdeke.

Be good, and may the call always go your way. 

Category: General
Posted on: May 15, 2008 10:42 pm
 

Miracle on Ice

In the last 10 years, I've been a number of Predators games. A couple each year starting in 2000, then a few more in 2002, then a few more and some playoff games in 2003, right up until this last year, when we got a Flex Pack and took in about 17 games, including playoffs.

Every time I got tickets, my request was always the same: "Sideline balcony, as close to center ice as available, and as low as available." I'm a firm believer that the best seats in the house are sideline balcony, on the rail, center ice -- nothing in front of you but a rail and the ice, plus extra leg room to boot. And you can see every bit of the action. All of it. Not too low. Not on the end. Perfect angle.

So, we decided to get season tickets for 2008-09. I asked our ticket rep what the odds were of getting anywhere on the rail in the sideline balcony. His answer (and I quote): "The first three rows are pretty much taken, and 'on the rail' is out of the question. Nobody ever gives those up." He said that there were decent seats still available -- 4th or 5th row off the rail, pretty close to center ice, but they're hard to find and a little luck is needed.

Luck is what we got.

As seat-picking night approached, a co-worker and friend named Jessica asked when my time slot was. I told her I hadn't received a notice. She said she was going Thursday (tonight) at 7:30 and that I needed to check on it. I kept forgetting right up until this morning when I called the ticket office. They apologized for my not receiving a notice and told me to show up at 5:30 tonight. I asked what the odds were of getting my usual request -- "sideline balcony, down low, near center ice" -- and was told that it was a longshot at best, but that there might be something fairly close. They explained that all the full season ticket packages were picked last night, but I could pick tonight with the partial season ticketholders and that there still might be something good. So, Jessica and I agreed to split season tickets (which works well for both of us, since neither Blake nor I want to take in 43 games), and we would just go at my 5:30 time slot instead of hers.

We got a great parking space and made it to the Sommet Center a few minutes early and took seats near the front. We received brief instructions that the available seats would have tags on them -- yellow tags mean partial season is available, red tags mean full season -- and we were turned loose into the arena. We quickly made our way to the sideline balcony.

As we speed-walked past Section 310 (also sideline balcony), I looked through the tunnel across the way to see what was available in 325 and 326 (mine and my buddy's preferred sections). I'll be damned if it didn't look like some seats were available down low. We walked faster.

As we got around to 320, we decided to see if we could take a shortcut through the arena over to 325-26 to beat out any other land-rush prospectors. We could. As we got closer, our eyes grew wide.

There they were. The Holy Grail of seat pairs. All by themselves. Nothing available anywhere near them. We ran to them and stood silently, shocked, eyes moving from the seats to the arena floor, then back again.

Four red tags (full season) hanging on Section 325, Row A (ON the rail), seats 1 through 4 (center ice). We picked up the tags for Seats A1 and A2 and looked around. NOWHERE in the arena was ANY other rail seat available. Not even the first three rows, for that matter. I could've pissed my pants.

We quickly made our way down to the ticket office with the seat markers in hand. Jessica warned me that it might be a mistake. It wasn't. Each Predators staff to whom we presented our seat tags replied the same way -- "Wow. How'd you bag these?" We just shrugged and grinned stupidly. I even sought out my ticket rep and said, "Ask me where my seats are", then showed him. He just smiled and shook his head. "Wow" was all he said.

It turns out that the previous owners turned them in late last night. They did it so late that they weren't able to be tagged for resale for the full season folks. So they just sat until 5:30 today, when they would be made available for any otherwise "partial" buyer who wanted to make the leap and upgrade. They were available for a total of 4 minutes, if I've done my math right. Seats A3-A4 were snagged right behind us by a cute brother-sister team who seem like they will make great game neighbors.

I cannot stress enough that these are DEAD-ON Center Ice. Not close. Not nearby. They are ON the redline. And they are ON the rail. Leg room. No one in front of you. Just ice. For individual games, we'd never gotten closer than Section 326, B18-B19 (second row, just left of center ice) and thought we might never again get seats that perfect. Now, we're season ticket holders in two of the most coveted seats in the Sommet Center. It's Hockey Heaven.

I also cannot stress that if (1) I had not failed to receive my notice, (2) been pestered by my friend, Jessica, to follow up, (3) left early, (4) found a great parking space, (5) made a beeline for 325-26, and, MOST IMPORTANTLY (6) the previous owners hadn't waited until the last minutes to relinquish their seats, it wouldn't have happened. What if I'd gotten my notice and showed up last night? What if Jessica hadn't said anything? What if we'd checked 310 first? What if traffic was bad? Wow. We're the luckiest SOBs.

Now we get to wait until fall for hockey. GO PREDS!
Category: NHL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com