Time Warner Cable Sportsnet took out a full page ad in the Los Angeles Times sports section today saying unless you have one of the providers with which they’ve made a deal, “you will miss the next 12 Lakers games starting tonight.”

So what happens if you call the number 1-855-4-MY-LAKERS, listed at the bottom of the ad, which the copy urges you should contact “to switch to a provider that carries Time Warner Cable Sportsnet?”

First you get a message from James Worthy, the former Laker the network has hired as an analyst, thus transforming “Big Game James” into “Big Shill James.”

Then you’re prompted to select whether you’re a cable or satellite customer, and to designate the precise service.

When I pushed “1” for DirecTV, it transferred me directly to DirecTV’s recorded customer line, telling me I should tell them I want Time Warner Cable Sportsnet.

That’s it? You’re just enlisting me to join in your pressure campaign against the carriers — assuming I’m willing to sit through their hold system, which usually takes the better part of a Sunday even when somebody isn’t trying to clog up their lines?

This is one more reason I hate the way companies in carriage disputes handle these matters. There’s no evidence they really give a rat’s ass about consumers. They just want the public to help lobby on their behalf and irritate the other guy.

Oh, and did I mention the Lakers are currently 0-3? Maybe I don’t really care if I miss the next 12 games — or the 67 after that (roughly 40% of which, come Christmas, will be carried by ESPN, TNT or ABC anyway).

Wake me up for the playoffs, Time Warner Cable Sportsnet. Until then, I suggest you place a toll-free call to GET-LOST.