13 June 2009

Take Me Out To The … Ball Game?

Baseball, our American national pastime. There are two important songs that are associated with the sound of “play ball!”, first being The Star-Spangled Banner which everyone knows that it’s our national anthem played as a part of pre-game ceremonies and second being Take Me Out To The Ball Game, played in the middle of the 7th Inning and is known as the “7th Inning Stretch” (or, in Tampa Bay Rays speak, the “7th Inning Squeeze”).

From time to time, either one of these songs of baseball somehow get botched up when performed in front of a stadium type audience. Remember back on 25 July 1990 in San Diego at a San Diego Padres game and Roseanne Barr’s performance of our national anthem? In my opinion, it is the most botched up performance of our national anthem to date and is well remembered.

What about Take Me Out To The Ball Game? Doesn’t that sometimes get botched up as well?

If you have been to Tropicana Field here in St. Petersburg on Saturday, 13 June 2009 when the Tampa Bay Rays took on the Washington Nationals, you probably noticed something out of the ordinary. First, the national anthem was performed properly by Miss St. Petersburg (which was a part of City of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County employees appreciation night and it was advertised), albeit the harmonics were a little distorted but did not get anyone’s attention, in my opinion.

What happened during the 7th Inning Squeeze surprised me.

Someone was invited to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame over in the area where the piano musician plays right next to Section 203. The performance was … well, the most botched up and unintelligible rendition of Take Me Out To The Ballgame I have ever heard, especially in all the Tampa Bay Rays games I have attended over the years at Tropicana Field.

That brought back memories of Roseanne Barr and the way she botched up our national anthem in San Diego many years ago, even before there was a Tampa Bay Rays here in St. Petersburg. However, I believe a botched up version of Take Me Out To The Ball Game would somehow make it onto one of the sports networks like ESPN, quoting one fan who was next to me at the Rays-Nationals game at Tropicana Field.

On the flip side of the coin, I believe a botched up version of The Star-Spangled Banner sung at a Rays pre-game at Tropicana Field would get much more media attention, first locally with Bay News 9 and the other Tampa Bay area media outlets and the potential to make national news on CNN and MSNBC. Wouldn’t you think so?

Now if you were at the Rays-Nationals game at Tropicana Field on Saturday, 13 June 2009 and stayed through the middle of the 7th Inning and tried to sing along to Take Me Out To The Ball Game but you couldn’t somehow, I would like to hear from you.

And by the way, the Rays won 8-3. LET’S GO RAYS!

09 June 2009

Are you ready for the DTV switch?

We’re a few days away from Friday, 12 June 2009. After all, that will be a day in history not only for television in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area but everywhere else in the United States as the technology used to provide you with over the air television signals for over 50 years, analog TV, will cease to exist. However, it will be the dawn of a new era in television broadcasting, and that will be digital television, or DTV for short.

I have an informative web page over at my web site that explains to you what the DTV switch is all about and whether you may be affected. However, here are some important things you will need to know:

If you receive your TV programs by antenna and you already own a DTV converter box or a new TV set that receives DTV programming, on Friday, 12 June 2009 you will want to rescan your channels as TV stations will more than likely move to their permanent channels as the digital feeds were being broadcasted temporarily on another channel.

If you still own an older TV set and still have not made the switch, you have choices when it comes to DTV: Purchase of a converter box, purchase of a new TV which incorporates the DTV tuner, or subscription to a cable TV service (such as Bright House Networks for those in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area).

Some low-power TV stations will remain broadcasting in the analog format; an example in St. Petersburg is the TV station operated by the City of St. Petersburg, WSPF-TV which operates on Channel 35. If you are using a DTV converter box for off the air signals, most DTV converter boxes feature an analog pass-through so that you can still view the low-power stations that have not transitioned to digital TV.

On the other hand, if you are connected to cable TV (such as Bright House Networks in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area) you do not have to do anything – you should be good to go! As a safeguard, be sure to check with your cable TV provider. The same thing goes for those of you that watch TV by way of satellite – your satellite provider will handle the conversion for you; again check with your satellite provider as a safeguard.

Don’t forget: Friday, 12 June 2009 is the day the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, along with the rest of America, makes the switch to DTV. If you are watching TV in the analog format, once the switch is done your analog TV will go dark if you have not taken action.

Now I would like to hear what you are doing to prepare for the big DTV switch.