A new opportunity for MLB.tv

Two sides to the A-Rod debate
A-Rod to speak this afternoon

For the past three years I’ve subscribed to MLB.tv, and this year shouldn’t be any different. The $120 per year has always paid for itself in terms of entertainment dollars per hour, and now that they’ve lowered the price to $110, that goes even more so. No, I can’t watch Yankees games on it, but I can watch the Yanks on TV and have another game in front of me on my monitor. Or, if I’m feeling really ambitious, I can hook up my second monitor, allowing me to watch the Yanks, watch another game, and comment on the game thread.

As Brad Stone of the New York Times notes, there are a few upgrades to the MLB.tv package this year. It sounds like they’re going for a Netflix streaming system, rather than having the user select a speed: “Technology by Swarmcast, a content delivery network with headquarters in Minneapolis and Tokyo, will help the league determine the speed of a fan’s Internet connection and adjust the quality of the video accordingly.” So if we’re somewhere between the 800K and 1.5MB quality, we’ll get something in the middle, not the lesser of the two.

My favorite upgrade is that you can now overlay radio broadcasters on the TV feed. Sick of Kay? Listen to Sterling. Sick of them both? Listen to the out of town radio announcer. I’m not sure how widely used this feature will be, but it does raise the possibility of a feature I’ve been pondering for a while.

Why not really open up the platform? Allow users to start their own announcing channels. An individual or group could enter a special room, kind of like our live chats, where they can provide their own play by play and color commentary. Other users can then overlay that rather than a mainstream broadcaster. I can see this not only being a fun feature for fans, but something that could drum up some more interest in the MLB.tv service. Most people do not want to watch baseball on their computers, but I’m sure a number would give it a shot if they either got to call the game themselves, or if they got to listen to a less insufferable commentator.

On the technical end, the downside is that the amateur commentators won’t have a view of the whole field like the guys in the booth do. That could be remedied, I suppose, by providing multiple camera angles to the amateur announcers. Would MLB and the broadcasters be willing to do that? I’m not sure, but I don’t see why not. In fact, that might be another feature in itself, the ability to watch the game from any camera in the park.

The question which will determine the feasibility of this: How will the media outlets react? They pay big bucks for the exclusive rights to broadcast games, and they might not be on board with amateur announcers cutting into the time of their professionals. MLB won’t want to compromise their relationships with these outlets, so if they say no, that could render this idea DOA. Still, it’s something which I think would bring more viewers to the MLB.tv platform and which would provide an opportunity for new voices to be found.

Two sides to the A-Rod debate
A-Rod to speak this afternoon
  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

    “My favorite upgrade is that you can now overlay radio broadcasters on the TV feed. ”

    That is awesome. I wish this were the option on TV as well. I subscribe to MLB.tv every year so I can listen to radfo calls throughout the league.

    Great news. Thanks.

  • pat

    Oh my god that would be so freaking awesome. I bet anyone trying to call their own game would find out pretty quickly that it is alot harder than it seems.

  • Glen L

    I was actually thinking of ditching cable all together as I rarely watch TV outside of baseball games, and whatever I do watch can easily be found on the internet.

    However, I was unaware that the yankees games wouldn’t come through over MLB.tv … is that correct?

    • Clayton

      Even is the games are blacked out, you can change your IP address to something overseas and then nothing is blacked out by MLB.tv

  • Axl

    I live north of Hartford, CT and Cox Communications, our cable company, doesn’t have the YES Network. I ONLY have NESN.

    What’s even worse is that I’m not allowed to order the baseball package because it THINKS that I do get the YES Network and the games are blacked out. Even when the Yankees are on ESPN, my ESPN channel is blacked out thinking that I get the YES Network. How awful is that?

    I have called the cable company and written letters to the YES Network themselves and all they can tell me is to get Direct TV or whatever…but I can’t because satellite dishes are against the covenants of the apartment complex.

    So I’ve ordered the radio version online because they can’t black out the radio for some reason or another.

    I think blacking out things is stupid and pointless. Especially when things like this are happening in certain places. I understand the marketing stand point and local commercials and all that garbage…but it’s not THAT big a deal where certain people like myself can’t watch a baseball team AT ALL…so that Bob down the street can get his used car commercial in this week.

    Any other suggestions?? (besides moving obviously)…

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.
    • Dave M

      I don’t have any suggestions, but I do have the same problem with the blackouts. I live North East of Hartford. My cable company is Charter. They just plain suck. I did have DirectTV the last few years (in addition to cable), but it got too expensive. I’m thinking of getting rid of cable and going to DirctTV now. But they wack you $5 a box after the 1rst one. I have 6 TV’s. It adds up real quick.

    • A.D.

      If you have a friend or relative that lives somewhere with YES. Buy them a slingbox and then you can stream live onto your computer.

      I have friends who do this for their football teams or baseball teams if they no longer live in their home area.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Careful, A.D. – don’t let Selena Roberts find out you’re cheating, using illegal television P.E.D.’s (program escorting devices).

        • A.D.

          This would be PRE-1991 PEDs, it’s not illegal & they’re not testing for it.

          Anything goes.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Anything goes.

            Nice.

            BIG ERN’S FINALLY ABOVE THE LAW!!!

    • A.D.

      Even when the Yankees are on ESPN, my ESPN channel is blacked out thinking that I get the YES Network.

      That is a major kick in the balls.

  • Donald Duck

    Do you get EVERY Yankees game on this? Or is it a selected amount like MLB Extra Innings?

    I have always thought of getting this, and tested it the first year when they had a free trial but the quality seemed crappy at the time.

    Any opinions? Thanks in advance.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      You get every Yankees game if you’re out of market. If you live in the New York Metro area, you won’t get to see any Yankees games on MLB.tv.

      • Dave M

        Do they let you watch them the next day when they are archived?

        I did get MILB.tv 2 years ago. That was kind of fun watching Scranton on my PC while watching the Yanks on my Direct TV.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

          Yeah, you can watched the archived games, which usually come online an hour or two after the game ends.

          • Donald Duck

            Thanks for the answer to this and the answer to my question.

        • Clayton

          Yeah, you can watch the whole game or just a condensed game, which just shows you the final outcome of every at bat. You can get through a game in about an hour that way.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

            Great, great feature. It’s really improved since its inception.

          • mko

            Actually the condensed games are just 10-20 minutes…
            I’d love to see a version where every pitch and every happening is shown, but I guess that’s not gonna happen…

      • whozat

        You don’t get the ones that are on national channels, though. Usually not a problem, but I often ran into the situation where a Saturday afternoon game was on Fox, so it was blacked out…but Fox wasn’t carrying the game in my area.

        • Donald Duck

          I have had that issues with MLB extra innings while spending time in different parts of the country. I HATE that.

  • Jay CT

    Ok just because I am an idiot, can someone please explain the nuts and bolts of this? I have heard you guys talk about it, but never really thought about getting it. Now that I read a piece like this, it sounds pretty cool. Does it open up the ability to watch any game thats on, like the NFL ticket on DirectTV? Can you change games while you are watching? Also, where do you go to order it, and do you need any special software?

    • A.D.

      You don’t need anything special, and can watch any game except those that are subject to blackout restrictions (i.e. Yankees games in NYC).

      The site to order is mlb.tv

  • hoosier daddy

    Edited by RAB. See Commenting Guideline No. 3: “Do not post links to or make mention of any unauthorized retransmissions of Major League Baseball game telecasts. These comments will be removed.”

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Looks like Hoosier Daddy didn’t get the express written consent of River Ave. Blues before he redistributed his comment…

      • pat

        Unauthorized retransmission of mlb telecasts fail.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

          They were rebroadcasting Major League Baseball games with implied oral consent, not express written consent.

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Or, if I’m feeling really ambitious, I can hook up my second monitor, allowing me to watch the Yanks, watch another game, and comment on the game thread.

    You have that much room in your mother’s basement? Can I move in?

  • A.D.

    My favorite was when the showed the local commercials, during the games, which was a few years ago. Some of the Canadian ones in particular were funny.

  • Joey

    Had MLB.tv last year and loved it, especially since I live in Orlando and don’t have YES in my dorm room. It annoyed the hell outta me when they played the Rays though, the games were blacked out and almost never on TV. I doubt I will be getting it this year though, even with the $10 drop off, college prices (tuition and housing) will be going up significantly and well, I’m a college kid without much money to begin with. I guess I’ll follow the games in the game threads and with the MLB.com gamecasts

    • Yankeegirl49

      Joey..you need me to be your mom. I pay for my daughters mlb tv package. She goes to the U of Miami and would probably leave if she couldnt have her Yanks! I look at it as an educational expense since she is studying to be a baseball writer.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Yankeegirl49, will you be my mom?

        I wipe my own ass…

        • Yankeegirl49

          LOL..thankfully so does SHE!!

          You wont find 2 women that know and follow baseball like we do. Im also flying her home for opening day!

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            You wont find 2 women that know and follow baseball like we do.

            I’m very aroused…

            • Yankeegirl49

              Ha ha..youre not the first!

  • A.D.
    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’m hoping he does good PR and “gets out in front of the story”.

      Be honest, and forthright. Give more information than what is known. Explain why you did what you did. Here’s what I’d write for him if I was his PR guy:

      “I took steroids from 2001-2003. I got to Texas and saw there were lots of guys in the clubhouse using it, there was expensive designer stuff that I was told wouldn’t harm my body, wouldn’t turn me into a cartoon, and wouldn’t be detected on tests. I did it because I didn’t want to get left behind, I didn’t want to be the only guy doing something that it seemed like all the guys were doing, that all the great guys were doing… I thought it could improve my performance and help me be a better player, help me help my team win ballgames, and I honestly never really thought about the consequences, never thought about it as cheating because there were so many guys doing it, guys I looked up to and emulated. I realize now that it was a mistake, but I have always wanted to be the best and always wanted to win, and in a moment of confusion and weakness, I made a decision back then that I wish I could have back now, a decision to do whatever it would take to try and be the best player I could be.

      When I was informed that I tested positive in 2003 I decided to stop because I didn’t want to have my reputation ruined. I kept it a secret out of vanity and to protect my family. I regret lying to the public about it when asked, but I was only doing what I thought was best for my reputation, career, and family. Now that it is out in public, I regret not only my deception but also my initial choice to use steroids in the first place. I feel I have let down my teammates, the organizations that have employed me, and myself. All I can offer you is my sincere apology and my promise that I have seen the error of my ways, as well as the promise that I have not used any performance enhancing substances since 2004 nor will I ever do so again.”

      • Nady Nation

        I’d much prefer this route than any Clemens-ian denials. Just out of curiousity, did you think Andy’s statements and presser were acceptable last year?

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Yup. Although, I honestly don’t care a whit about the P.E.D. issue anymore, so he could have said anything or nothing, it wouldn’t have mattered to me.

          I offer that up as what I think ARod should say in order to try and get steroid-haters on his side, to try and make them understand the circumstances/mindstate he was under and see how, given the same set of circumstances, they may have done the same thing.

          I wasn’t offering that up as what I want/need ARod to say to me, because I don’t give two shits about this story. I’m already past it, I need no apology. I thought he was a great player and a Hall of Famer on Friday, I feel the exact same today.

          • Nady Nation

            I hear ya. As we got into in the last thread, even though I am disappointed, it is what it is. All I can ask for from A-Rod at this point is just honesty.

      • A.D.

        Thats exactly it, if anything he should give out too much detail on why & when. Essentially give all the details so no one has anything to talk about further.

      • Yankeegirl49

        THAT is excellent!

  • Pingback: A-Rod to speak this afternoon | River Avenue Blues

  • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

    You can watch the yankees lol I’ll show you if your really interested I just won’t post it here.

  • Donald Duck

    One more question on MLB.TV can you DL them like a podcast? The games or even the condensed games? Would be cool to be able to watch them on my phone whilst waiting for a plane or something.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Don’t know for sure, because I’ve never tried. Unfortunately, I won’t have access until I pony up for the service, which usually happens in mid-March. My best guess would be no, though, since they do sell some games for download.

      • Donald Duck

        I figured as much. Thanks.

  • http://techdirt.com/ Mike Masnick

    Joseph,

    A company called FanCast tried to do exactly what you proposed back in 2001: http://archive.salon.com/tech/feature/2001/06/27/fancast/print.html

    Unfortunately, it didn’t get very far, but I’ve always been a big big believer in the idea and have talked to some others who have thought about setting up something similar as well.