Pulse: An Exile in Comcast Country

With less than a foot between his residence and the western end of the soon-to-be, 57-story Comcast Tower, the Reverend Clayton Ames, the persnickety 61-year-old pastor of Arch Street Presbyterian Church, is the skyscraper’s closest neighbor. So you’d imagine his complaints would include construction noise and debris, closed sidewalks and parking headaches. But all that stuff “is no big deal,” says the Ambler native, over a single-malt at Twenty21. “The real problem here, and one might, I suppose, choose to call it ironic, is that I am, ahem, ineligible for cable television.”


In 2001, shortly after moving into the church’s 150-year-old parsonage, Ames, a ravenous Phillies fan, called Comcast and requested the digital baseball package, since antenna reception in the building is impossible. But the company informed him he was out of luck. “They told me my address was not in their ‘registry,'” he snoots. “Meanwhile, there’s a cable box right out front.”

In the five baseball seasons since, Ames estimates, he’s been on the phone with the nation’s largest cable provider 40 times, and although they have offered to send out survey teams, he still doesn’t exist to Comcast — as our own call to the company’s customer service department confirmed. With Phillies spring training less than three months away, Ames is not exactly feeling Comcastic about his chances of watching anything but snow this season. “It’s more frustrating than you could ever believe,” he says.