Neal: Hurt most by Bally-Comcast fight? Superfans like Debbie

Debbie Weinberg needs a walker to get around but that doesn't stop her from heading over to the family business, a supply company established in 1938. She processes invoices, answers the phone and helps with office work. Headquarters is just a few blocks away from her St. Louis Park home, where she lives with one of her sons and his family.

She keeps her work shifts to just a few hours. She is 87, after all, and that leaves her plenty of time for her two other professions.

One is being the matriarch of the huge Weinberg family. She has three children, 22 grandchildren and 65 great-grandchildren. Two of her three children had 10 kids each.

"How do you like that?" she said. "That's pretty good, right? I see them and they come over and call me all the time. I'm always on the phone with my great-grandchildren. They love me and I love them. I have a great life. No complaints."

Weinberg's other favorite role is being a passionate sports fan. She's a walking, talking sports library. She watched George Mikan star for the Lakers at the Minneapolis Armory. She's followed the Vikings since their arrival in 1961. A relative showed me a video from their viewing party the day of the Minneapolis Miracle, where more than 30 family members sat with her and celebrated when Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs on the final play for a 61-yard touchdown during the 2018 divisional playoffs. A grandson formed a human shield around her to keep relatives from knocking her over while they jumped around.

"If the Vikings are playing, I tell them, 'Don't call me because I won't answer the phone,' " she said. "I'm too involved with the game. It's not normal."

Weinberg loves many sports, but there's only one staple of her summer.

The broadcast of the local nine fills her TV room each day. They keep her company.

"The Twins are my babysitters," Weinberg said, drawing a laugh from family members in her home last week.

And that means Weinberg is one ticked-off octogenarian these days.

"I am very aggravated!" she said. "I'm not happy. We'll see what happens."

Weinberg normally watches Twins games on Comcast Xfinity, but the cable giant was unable to reach an agreement with Diamond Sports, the parent company of the Bally Sports chain of regional networks, by a May 1 deadline. Diamond Sports doesn't want Bally on a higher-priced tier. Comcast has such agreements with other cable and satellite carriers, so why not Diamond Sports? It is incomprehensible that this stalemate continues between one company, Diamond Sports, attempting to emerge from bankruptcy, and another, Comcast, battling to keep customers from cutting the cord. Yet here they are, alienating Twins fans.

The Twins and Major League Baseball should be blamed for not anticipating or planning for such a scenario. But the failure by Comcast and Diamond Sports to reach a deal means executives on both sides deserve the brunt of the scorn.

Now Weinberg finds a hideous purple screen with a message in white lettering — "Bally Sports is no longer available" — when she turns to what is supposed to be the home of the Twins.

There's a larger problem here. Elderly supporters make up a large chunk of baseball's fanbase. Senior centers and assisted living facilities might be hit the hardest in this dispute, as the game provides residents and visitors with daily programming for more than six months. Not everyone can go to what I consider to be another adult daycare center, the local sports bar, to watch games on DirecTV or Fubo.

It's not just the Twins. Seven other teams who are part of the Bally's group of regional networks — including the defending champion Texas Rangers — can't have their games viewed or streamed by customers. Locally, it also affects Lynx broadcasts. And if there's no solution, Comcast subscribers will have to find other ways to watch pro hockey and basketball next season.

"Do you think I should switch to DirecTV," sweet Weinberg asked. As an Xfinity bundler, I fret about going through the process of changing providers. Imagine what older Twins fans face if they have to learn how to use a different cable/satellite system.

I told her I was going to wait to see if the suits can come to their senses before I cancel my subscription.

So, suits, come to your senses.

"You better remember people like me who are tied to the house and have to watch TV," Weinberg said. "It's a matter of life and death. So get going. People like me depend on it."