When another Saturday of college football is almost done, and you’re thirsting to see the last game of the day, Oregon State-Washington, the last place you think you’ll find yourself is in the back of a bar, just you and Stella Artois, staring at a laptop computer.
But that’s where I found myself Saturday night. Call it another woebegone chapter in the saga of the continuing joust between DirecTV and the Pac-12. (I’m sure you have your own stories.)
I was covering the Stanford-Washington State game in the Bay Area. I wrapped that up just before halftime of the OSU-UW game (shown on Pac-12 Networks) and was anxious to get back to the hotel in San Jose to catch that second half. Word was, the hotel didn’t get Comcast or Dish or any of the other carriers the Pac-12 has signed up, but that it would be available at a nearby tavern, the Blue Chip.
So I hustled over there, through throngs of Halloween-partying crowds, figuring the game would be on when I walked in. It wasn’t. Bad sign. I inquired about whether they could switch a TV to it, and the owner, Rudy DeAnda, told me they got DirecTV, which, of course, isn’t on board yet with Pac-12 Networks.
Uh-oh. For those of us who also get DirecTV at home, this is getting awfully tiresome.
DeAnda couldn’t have been nicer. He offered to hook up his laptop computer to the game — still not sure how that’s possible — and initially, I hesitated. But by now, it’s after 9:30, and getting a little late to be scouring downtown San Jose for a bar that might be carrying the game.
So gratefully, I said yes. He produced his laptop and took me to the back of the bar, turning up the volume on the computer and saying I’d be able to hear the sound OK.
Well, not so much. As I watched the final quarter or so of the game, behind me there was some booming hip-hop and rap music being played. I was the only one in that area of the bar — well, me and Stella. Around me there were chairs upturned on tables.
It was hardly big-screen, HD viewing, but it was as good as could be found. The computer version has some odd surges, but it’s certainly viewable.
When I left, I discovered that the persistent, percussive music behind me was karaoke — or somebody auditioning for the few remaining patrons at the place.
I thanked Rudy for his kindness and left.
One of these days, this silly impasse between the Pac-12 and DirecTV will be solved. By then, I fully expect I’ll be hooked up with another carrier.