Thursday, September 1, 2011

Quick Story: The Night I Changed MSG Telecasts

I'm not one that causes trouble, but there's one memorable episode that I must share.  You know those dull Wednesday night hockey games where your team is facing a bad team and it's just a really awful game?  Well, it was one of those boring Wednesday nights (if I recall, it was during the 2009-10 NHL season), and the Devils were losing midway through the game.  I went to the MSG website to vote on their question of the night poll.  I'm pretty sure it was a multiple choice poll asking about which player that played for the Devils and their opponent that night was the most important to the Devils or something.

For example, which player who played for the Rangers and Devils was most important?  Scott Gomez, Bobby Holik, Brendan Shanahan or Mike Mottau (it was actually different, I just don't remember).  So I picked Mottau for fun.  I was the only person who voted for him.  So I voted again.  And again.  And about 4,000 more times (if anyone from MSG reads this, I really am sorry).  Now usually 200 or 300 people vote on these polls, but now 4,000 votes had been casted.  Here's what happened.

Post-game: "Okay, let's check tonight's poll...the reponse was quite telling as thousands of you voted tonight," Steve Cangialosi said.  "98% of you voted for Mike Mottau."  To be honest, watching that on MSG live was one of the funniest moments of my life to date.

So during random weekday nights when there was nothing to do, I'd skew more polls.  I skewed a few Rangers polls, in fact, I specifically remember the Rangers' poll was "Will the Rangers make the playoffs?"  Of course the Ranger fans were biased (as I was...the other way), so I skewed the poll to about 55% "No."  That also made it onto MSG.  I skewed a few Islander polls too, but the first two are most memorable.

By the start of the 2010-11 season, each computer was restricted to a single vote per poll.  I was heartbroken, but I also realized that I had actually caused that.  It was a somewhat satisfying moment, to be honest.

I guess the lesson learned here is that next time your team is losing a bad weekday night game, just turn it off and leave, or tweet to me and tell me you wish your team had an online poll you could skew.