5000 Miles Away, It’s MLB.TV FTW. In Peoria, Not So Much.
Spring Training in Chile
I’ve been watching a lot of spring training baseball this month. At least compared to recent years, when I was able to watch somewhere between none and two games; most recently none because Fox Sports Midwest now owns all the Cardinals games, so no free TV baseball for me in the spring. But 5000 miles away in Chile, I can watch MLB.TV with no restrictions, being out of the local broadcast area (though I suspect not by much if Rupert Murdoch had his way). And while not all the games have been broadcast, recently they have been.
It’s been fun, and I’m really looking forward to opening day on Monday. It will be the first time in several years I’ve been able to watch, though it used to be a tradition. Again, before Bud Selig (cursed be his name forever by baseball fa ns) sold out the fans to the highest bidder, thus moving almost all local baseball away from over the air broadcasts and onto cable. We cut the cable several years ago, partly because Fox Sports Midwest was one of the stations Comcast took away, along with several others, while they continued to raise our prices.
I’ve been lucky though, I think, because in Peoria a local radio station picks up the Cardinals broadcasts, so if I listen really carefully I can sometimes figure out what’s going on in the game amidst Mike Shannon’s ramblings. (OK, I have to admit, I’ve developed an odd fondness for the combination of his old baseball stories and complete obliviousness to what’s actually going on in front of him.) So oddly enough, because of the stupid and anti-fan way in which Bud Selig has set up baseball, the further away I am from the actual games, the more I can watch.
MLB.TV Kind Of Rocks
So thanks to a generous friend and MLB.TV either not caring or not being savvy enough, I’ve been able to watch live baseball as if it were on free TV. The experience has generally been quite good, and when streaming hasn’t worked well I’m pretty sure it’s because the internet here, while generally fast and stable, sometimes decides to go on strike (much like Cecile’s students are expected to, but you’ll need read her blog to find out about that). I find it particularly amusing, or ironic, or something that with MLB.TV I specifically DON’T need to use any tricks to watch, while with everything else (Hulu, PBS, Amazon Prime) I do, as described here. In fact, it’s worked so well that I’d actually be willing to give them my money, just not in Peoria. Because again, I wouldn’t be able to watch ANY Cardinals games there.
Death to Cable
MLB needs to figure out that the future is NOT with the usurious cable companies, but with actual consumers. More and more people are cutting the cable, and that trend is only going to accelerate. If the cable companies won’t give us a la carte pricing, they will go extinct. It will take longer than it should thanks to their current near-monopoly on live sports, but it will happen. In fact live sports are one of the few reasons people still keep their cable; in addition to studies showing this, I’ve had to answer the question several times on Twitter for people interested in cutting the cable but still wanting live sports.
When I get back, I’m probably going to try some of my newly learned VPN tricks to see if they work there. And if it does, I may just, gasp, give MLB my money to watch. It’s a lot better than giving it to Comcast, and then I’ll really know what’s going on in the games.
For now, enjoy highlights from Adam Wainwright’s performance yesterday.