North Carolina State Wolfpack Pumpkin Carving

I’ve wanted to do this for years.  This year, I decided to it for real, regardless of the intimidation factor.  I think it turned out pretty nicely and it only took around an hour or so with a break in between.  Tools used were a very sharp small chef’s knife, a printout of the logo to guide me, and scotch tape to hold the logo in place while I was carving.  Pumpkins don’t last long down here in South Florida so we took a lot of pictures.

Marlins vs. The Braves

Last night we took the Sentry interns (well, some of them) to see the Marlins play the Atlanta Braves.  Marlins tickets can always be had for relatively cheap right up to the game starting, and even though many complain about sharing the stadium with the Dolphins, I think the upper deck seats behind home plate give you a pretty incredible view.  This was our second Intern Excursion of the summer, the first being a deep sea fishing trip chartered and captained by Sentry’s own Keith Collins, and since most of our interns are from the Midwest, this usually fits into the “can’t get it back home” category.The last Marlins game The Wife and I attended this season was Halladay’s perfect game on Memorial Day weekend.  Yesterday’s game saw the Marlins ahead by a comfortable margin of 5-2 until the eighth inning when the Braves ignited for eight straight runs.  Not as good as a perfect game, but definitely something I hadn’t seen before.  I also experienced something else I hadn’t seen before: being asked by a woman in front of me to keep the conversation related to baseball.  No, we weren’t using any language, no we weren’t talking about any offensive topic, no we weren’t being loud, we kind of were just minding our own business.  I’m as annoyed as anyone and often turn around to tell people to be quiet when people are loud in a theater or some other venue, but at a sporting event?  I had people kicking my chair, yelling, spilling stuff on me, and that’s just part of the fun.  Oh well.  My seatmate immediately announced “if we stop talking the terrorists win” and we commenced on a game of seeing just how well we could relate every single comment back to baseball.  A couple times I caught a bit of a grin from the lady’s husband who had somehow imported around eight Publix subs, a pound bag of peanuts, and other miscellaneous snacks without being intercepted at the gate.The third thing I’d never seen before was a post-game concert by Diddy, formerly Puff Daddy, formerly P. Diddy.  Every Saturday night game the Marlins provide post-game fireworks and a concert by some no-name (usually from Latin America) washed up musician.  It’s rarely in English.  Somehow, Diddy’s agent answered the Nigerian email scam like invitation from the Marlins and agreed to “heat it up in Miami”.  The Marlin’s in-game deejay could barely contain himself as he reeled off accomplishment after accomplishment and asked us repeatedly to “do better than that” for Diddy.  Did we ever.  DJ Vertigo was very pleased with our performance, and as the music kicked off, the rapping started ricocheting across the stadium into a sludge of “uhhs” and other unintelligible syllables.  We left along with the would-be censor shortly after.Three things I’d never seen before on a hot night in Miami.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night.

Sports Video Subscriptions?

I know this is probably a pipedream, but I would pay serious money to be able to get an entire season’s worth of NC State Wolfpack games either streamed to me in Hi-Def, or mailed to me on Hi-Def DVD or BluRay after the game is played.I think there’s a huge market for the displaced college sports fan, and the first person to figure out how to get me a one stop shop for Wolfpack basketball and football wins.  Now, a few things to remember: I am very busy, and making 4 hours a week of my schedule available for two basketball games or one football game means a lot.  I also just want to come back home on a Thursday night and know that my game is being covered, I don’t want to have to think about it too much.Here are the things I’ve tried, and their limitations:

  • ACCSelect – a streaming video service that shows usually non-broadcast games for 10 bucks a month.  The camera work sucks, it’s not HD, the games are bizarre, and often don’t work, and it’s not all games.  Plus, every now and then they put on this ridiculous kid to commentate games and get all the player’s names wrong, etc.
  • Slingbox – you still can’t get all the games (those that aren’t shown on TV), and you have to have someone living in a broadcast area that you can depend on.  Depend is the key work as you’re introducing a major weak link into the delivery chain (their internet, the existence of that person to start with, their TV schedule, and even the weather if there’s an ice storm or power outage, etc.)
  • Pirated Broadcasts – this is way too much work, and it means trying to find torrents of the game while banners of scantily clad women jump all over the page.  Then you have to wait for it to download.  Then it’s not what you thought it was.  It sucks.
  • CBS Sports – this worked OK for March Madness, but it doesn’t get me regular season games.

The killer is, I can’t get the broadcasts even AFTER the season is over, so I can go back and relive a really great season (Philip Rivers’ junior year, culminating in a Gator Bowl win).Here’s what I’d like and what I’d be willing to pay:

  • Netflix style streaming of the event, it can have commercials, but I want to be able to skip them if I’m time delayed.  I’d pay up to 50 bucks a month for this, as long as games were archived for the entire season, so I could re-watch them whenever I choose.  I’d also pay a flat rate of up to 150 bucks for each season.
  • A DVD set with each game from the season.  I’d pay up to 100 bucks for this at the end of the season, or I’d pay 10 bucks more per month to get this if it was packaged with the streaming service.  For bonus, throw in a database of the box scores and writeups from the home town paper and you’ve got basically a must-buy gift set that families will have to give their sons and fathers each Christmas or birthday.

I don’t know anything about the content delivery or television business, but it seems like this is a golden opportunity to deliver college sports to fans across the world.  My entire life I’ve lived in spots where I couldn’t watch my favorite teams, and we’re not much more advanced than when I’d check the sports scores in the International Herald Tribune at a nice hotel in Asia.  Sure, now I can read blogs and get recaps, but I can’t WATCH anything or see a game, let alone see it live.  It kills me that so much time and money is spent on bringing TV Shows to fans for free, but nobody hones in on getting all the content owners together, and generating what would be some serious recurring revenue for college sports fans.