Posted by Reese Kaplan at 12:00 PM
So one thing I've learned in my lifetime as a project manager is that you always have to develop contingency plans for whatever risks might happen. Now you might think settling in to watch a ballgame is not exactly fraught with peril, but it turned into one of those kinds of nights.
The weather in El Paso has returned to temperatures warm enough to keep the air conditioners running. They had predicted rain initially for Wednesday and Thursday this week, but this morning they revised it to a storm warning with hail a distinct possibility.
I hadn't really thought about it much beyond deciding not to take one of the motorcycles to work as I'm not a fan of slipping and sliding on two wheels. Why it mattered was my method of catching TBS in my home – DirecTV. I've had them all, Dish Network (a local provider which I'm not supporting), Time Warner and have kept DirecTV for several years despite rate increases and billing problems. They usually respond well when something goes wrong and the picture quality is far superior to their competitors.
Their Achilles' Heel, however, is weather. When the bad rains wind occur, the satellite signal becomes iffy at best. The picture will pixelate and eventually freeze, with an error code appearing on your screen.
As you can see from the pictures provided here, the prognosticated storm occurred in spades. The hail was a little under golf ball size (photo taken after it had had some time to melt). It was only a matter of time, therefore before the satellite signal would drop. Sure enough, in the middle of the game while the Mets were tied 2-2, I lost my signal!!!
It was then it occurred to me that my lifeblood during the regular season still existed. A few years ago I purchased a refurbished Slingbox to place into my brother's New Jersey home where his daughter had moved out and the TV in that room was seldom used. This device sits between your cable signal and your Internet connection and provides full broadcast capabilities over the Web.
Hats off to AT&T for its U-Verse fiber-optic Internet service that did not fail me during the poor weather and with ome fiddling and software updates I was able to resume watching the game just in time to see Yoenis Cespedes score on the ball that got away from the Cubs' catcher, Miguel Montero.
A few minutes later the DirecTV signal came back and I saw in crystal clear high definition Dexter Fowler doing the best on-field acting this side of an NFL punter when he lost the ball in the ivy. The Mets then benefited from some less-than-stellar fielding by Chicago, and you know the rest. There were a few scary moments for sure...the ball off the bat of Jorge Soler in the 7th that Granderson caught looked like it was headed over the wall when it came off the bat. Then there was Dexter Fowler's double off Tyler Clippard. There were a couple of defensive plays in the 9th by Murphy and Wright that were not guarantees and then the rain came and added a wildcard dimension, but they got it done and now are poised for game four.