Friday, March 28, 2014

Another game

We moved to Ohio, where my parents are from, when I was five years old. My mother and father divorced, and my two sisters and I went to live with my grandparents in Englewood with my mother. We'd been born in California and had lived near San Diego for all of our brief lives. It's where I got my need for beach, I'm convinced.

The 1941 University of Dayton athletic board
My mother came from a Catholic family in Dayton, which meant that my grandparents had attended Catholic high schools - my grandfather went to Chaminade and my grandmother Julienne, back when they were segregated by gender. Now it's one high school - Chaminade-Julienne. I don't know if my great grandfather, Merle P. Smith, went to Chaminade, but he did go to University of Dayton, from where he graduated in 1925 as class president. He went on to become a professor of English and Journalism at UD. I feel proud of that, knowing that writing runs in our family. But he went beyond that. He was an officer in the alumni association, and he was on the UD athletic board in 1941. A love for sports runs in our family, too.

My grandfather graduated from UD as well, and he had season tickets for UD basketball for many, many years. He used to take us to a few games every year, and those were treasured times. I'd often get to go for my birthday (the only good thing about having an early January birthday. Also, as the oldest child, I feel like I got to go to more games, as there were only four tickets. Sorry, Sandy and Jennifer. :D) The most cherished times were when we'd go to the restaurant above the court before the games where you had to be a member - we felt special when we went up there. Sometimes the women's team would play before the men's and we'd get to watch them through the glass at the restaurant and that was an added bonus. After the games, sometimes we'd stand at the players' entrance and get autographs as the players were leaving the court. It seems funny to me now, but that ink on the programs was priceless then. Going to these games was almost like going to Reds games for us - we didn't distinguish between pro and college because to us they were all men good at sports.

I'm not a big March Madness person. To be honest, I feel like it epitomizes the commercialization of college sports in a way that's unmatched even by the BCS Championship. I mean, there's so much money involved in these kind of events that soon, college athletes will mostly likely be paid to play ball. Don't get me wrong - I used to like it and appreciate the excitement of it all. I just don't personally engage. But I've been watching UD, because it's personal to me. 

I just wanted to mention that.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Presidents: John Adams

John Adams played a form of baseball called "One Old Cat" when he was a child. Coming from Boston, he would have been a huge Red Sox fan.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

He played baseball at Valley Forge

I'm launching a new baseball-related project this spring. You'll have to come to DC to participate. Hint: it has something to do with this:

Yes, I made this.

I'll be working out the details this week, so stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Trouble at MLB.TV

I recently got a new phone. I'd had an old BlackBerry for four years and it was getting to the point where nothing was updated and it hardly worked anymore. I was motivated to upgrade by the impending baseball season; I had been jealous of those who were able to use MLB At Bat on their phones like I had a few years ago and thought how wonderful it'd be to watch Reds games from anywhere.

I had already paid for the MLB.TV Premium subscription - I pay $24.99 monthly so I can watch the Reds. MLB At Bat comes with the Premium subscription. When I went to download it on my phone, I discovered that what MLB.TV makes you do is pay for the download, then you have to request a refund or a credit to your Premium account. Annoying, right? So I paid the $16.99 for the download and followed the instructions to get my refund/credit.

Here are the instructions:

*MLB.TV Premium is available on select Blackberry devices. Separate purchase required.
To access At Bat 14 content (including MLB.TV Premium subscription content) on your BlackBerry device, you must purchase the device-specific version of At Bat 14 from BlackBerry World. Current MLB.TV Premium subscribers who purchase At Bat 14 from BlackBerry World are eligible for a refund of the At Bat 14 purchase price. For more information, purchase, download and log into At Bat 14 using your MLB.TV Premium account credentials, then launch MLB.TV Premium content, and follow the instructions by which eligible subscribers may request their refund. Please contact Mobile Customer Support at with any questions.

When I purchased the download, I received instructions to contact the above email address and forward my purchase receipt. So I did. A couple of days later, I received this:

Dear Fan,

Thank you for sending your email, as we appreciate the time that you have taken to
contact us.

Please call our toll-free customer service hotline at 1-866-800-1275, as taking this step will allow us to do some additional troubleshooting to attempt to resolve your issue.

Thank you again for taking the time to write!

Customer Response Team

So they wanted me to call them and waste my time on hold (if you've ever tried to contact MLB.TV customer service, you know how long the wait is. Since I seem to have some sort of billing issue nearly every year, I have experience in this area.)

I sent this response:

You are supposed to send me the refund for MLB at Bat since I am a premium MLB TV subscriber!!! Sending the receipt to your customer service email was in the instructions that you gave us. I shouldn't have to suffer though a phone call to your customer support. Get with it and give me my refund.
Yeah, I was annoyed. That they gave instructions on how to get a refund then couldn't even follow those instructions was ridiculous. But it seems pretty clear that I want a refund for MLB at Bat, right? Since, you know, I state that?

Here's what I received this morning:

Dear Valued Subscriber:

Your request for a refund in connection with your 2014 MLB.TV Premium Monthly Subscription subscription has been approved and a credit in the amount of 24.99 will appear on the statement of the credit card to which you were being billed.

Please allow your credit card company 5 to 7 business days to process the refund. If your credit does not appear after 7 business days or should you have question about your account please contact Customer Support toll-free at 1-866-800-1275.

We thank you for your patronage.


They cancelled my MLB.TV Premium Subscription instead of giving me a refund for At Bat. Now I can't access anything.

While it was ridiculous they charged us a full month for March, given the limited number of games there are, I still wanted the subscription.

I haven't called the number yet. I fired off a nasty email and will call when I calm down. (I feel bad about it now.)


It took forty minutes - mostly on hold - to learn that I have to resubscribe and that "corporate" is going to  contact me about the refund/credit for At Bat.  At first I was on a call with what was clearly an outsourced call office. I don't think the woman even knows what baseball is. She couldn't understand that I didn't want anything cancelled, I just wanted the refund/credit that was due to me. She finally transferred me to someone in accounts who was probably in the New York office and at least progressed the issue. (Can "progressed" be transitive?) We'll see how the refund/credit saga goes...

Update 2: Hooray! Situation resolved. Corporate called me when I was still on the phone, left a message. I called back, they comped me a month for my troubles and turned my account back on. Once I got through the first layer, the people were very helpful. Thanks, all!