MLB Blackouts Ruin Opening Day
Help me pick a team to support.
Today is Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Every year I celebrate by watching as many games on TV as possible while eating my weight in hot dogs. In years past I’d spend the afternoon flipping between WGN, ESPN, Sun Sports, MLB Network, and any other random cable channel I could find. Now I live in the future and my baseball fix comes from an MLB.TV Premium subscription.
At least, I thought it was the future.
The blackout restrictions of the past marred my dreams of future baseball games. I live in Florida yet cannot watch any of Tampa or Miami’s games (both home and away). I also cannot watch any “nationally televised” games (ESPN’s game of the week, the All StarGame, etc.) because, well, tv contracts or something.
So I have to ask, why sell a premium subscription streaming service when part of the content is excluded.
Netflix wouldn’t sell subscriptions and then blackout Stranger Things in Georgia, where the show is filmed. This seems ridiculous to even entertain the thought, yet that’s what MLB — and the other major sports leagues — are doing with their antiquated blackout restrictions.
It’s time for a change.
I grew up a fan of the Atlanta Braves. I had cousins who lived outside Atlanta so we’d attend games when visiting in the summer. At home in Florida, every game was televised on TBS. It was easy to be a fan. Until it wasn’t. TBS gave up on the Braves years ago and as access to games fell away so did my interest in supporting the team.
So I changed my allegiance to Tampa Bay. They’re only an hour away, so proximity was not an issue. Every game was available on our local cable partner, so access was easy. Until I gave up on cable. Now watching Tampa Bay games is impossible because MLB.TV says no. Sure, I can add a VPN to my router and trick the league into thinking I live somewhere else, but that’s a hassle.
So I need a new team to support.
Proximity doesn’t matter in the streaming blackout era and access to games is super easy — unless it’s Tampa Bay, Miami, anyone they’re playing, or a game on ESPN. So I am taking applications for fandom.
Could it be Chicago? They’re typically my go-to team when looking for something to watch. Chicago is a great city and Wrigley is the coolest ballpark I’ve ever visited. Seems like a good combination. But is that the requirement for fandom?
Maybe it’ll be Seattle. They’ve got a fun team in a cool city. But those West Coast games are always so late and I’m an old man now. I’m asleep before those 10:00 pm start times.
I guess it could be Atlanta again since I’m no longer at the whim of TBS. But can I return to the team who turned their back on me?
I open it up to you, dear reader, to suggest the new team for my fandom. The only exclusion is teams from New York. They are only for loathing.
Or, maybe, just maybe, Major League Baseball could move MLB.TV into the future and remove the blackout restrictions. Then I could watch Tampa Bay’s games and support the local team.