Cable throws a strike. No, wait, it’s a ball.

I’m cautiously optimistic and peeved, even though I’ll probably get most of what I wanted from the beginning.

Cable television said it offered to match DirecTV’s deal for the “Extra Innings” package of out-of-market games, but Major League Baseball said the proposal fell short.

IN Demand, owned by affiliates of the companies that own the Time Warner, Comcast and Cox cable systems, said Wednesday it was agreeing to the terms and that its partners would carry The Baseball Channel when it launches in 2009 to at least the same number of subscribers who will get the channel on DirecTV.

Here’s why I’m cautious:

“The communication sent to our office today by iN Demand is not responsive to that offer,” [Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer] said. “In spite of their public comments, the response falls short of nearly all of the material conditions (among them requirements for carriage of The Baseball Channel and their share of the rights fees for Extra Innings) set forth in the Major League Baseball offer made to them on March 9.”

DuPuy said the March 31 deadline to match remains.

At this point, with ten days to go, I don’t imagine this deal falling apart. Yay, me, since I tried to watch a game on my computer last night. The experience was as excruciating as I’d imagined. Three hours of television isn’t meant to be watched on a tiny screen. I’m not signing up for DirecTV, more because I don’t want to drill holes in my house than anything, so the status quo¹ would be excellent.

I’m peeved because this means that Bud Selig gets what he wanted all along, times two. That makes me angry. Sure, this can be seen as a shrewd move, but that’ll be nothing more than spin. Selig sold out his hardcore fans. He only relented when they complained, and probably then only because someone else in the Major League Baseball office interpreted the obvious signals of disgust. He shouldn’t be rewarded for that with many extra millions. He will be because I’m an addict. Still, it makes me ill.

Go Phillies.

¹ I know my cable company will have to raise prices to pay for this. I’m crazy enough about the Phillies that I have a higher threshold for the inevitable financial pain than I should.