Baseball – no longer an All-American pasttime

WTF is up with these legal broadcasting restrictions?! We have a local TV station here that advertises as being the “Nationals TV Station”, yet they broadcast hardly any of their games. I had checked their calendar last week and it showed they would be broadcasting all the games this week – so over the weekend I ran out and bought a firewire TV Tuner and amplified antenna for my laptop, so I could hook it all up to our projector and watch the games on the back of my garage in “big screen” mode and pretend I was at the game (hey with kids and the cost of 4 season tickets, it’s not possible to go to all of them, although we do have an 1/8th share of season tickets). I even stocked up on Cracker Jacks and roasted peanuts for the events!! I eagerly anticipated the first gameday of the week.

So I ran out and hooked everything up at 7:20 (about 15 minutes after the game started) only to find a rerun of “Friends” on. Uh – huh?? (dumb blonde look). So I ran back in the house and checked the Titan TV listings only to find the game was not being broadcast after all. Sorely disappointed, I returned to the local tv station site (“Home of the Nationals”! bah), rechecked the calendar, and then it only showed weekend games being broadcast. So I am now sorely awaiting Friday night and back to checking the “Gameday Live” application on which doesn’t freakin work in Safari (doesn’t auto-update) or the old version of IE that comes on Macs. Pooh.

A little Googling taught me that the owner of the Orioles has sued for TV rights to the Nationals games (this has been going on since early in the season, if not before). There is a case in court about this and a complaint and request for hearing has been filed with the FCC (I did some searching there, but couldn’t find any information on it). Apparently Comcast and satellite providers want rights to broadcast as well and the Orioles dude doesn’t want them to have it. MASN can broadcast, but only a small portion of the game (and the localy rabbit-ears station I was trying to pick up is part of the MASN network).

But TODAY! Ah yes, a 1:00 PM game today – woohoo, I planned on paying the $4 per game charge on and watching it through Real Player at work. Yep, good plan, eh?

So I pay my $4 and eagerly click on the link for the game. The popup screen is blank. Frustrated, I close that browser (Mozilla) and try another (Firefox). Same thing – blank screen. Grr… Open IE and try again – choose Real Player as my viewer and another blank screen greets me. @#$#! close IE and switch back to Mozilla again. This time I try to login and it tells me I’m already logged in. Find the convoluted way of logging out in IE and try again. This time not taking any chances, I pick Windows (gak) Media Player. To which I’m greeted with a lovely message:

“We’re sorry! Your data indicate that you are prevented from watching this game LIVE due to the flo local or national live broadcast restrictions. Please try an MLB-TV game that doesn’t include this team…”

Why on EARTH would I want to watch another team (and what does ‘flo’ mean?)??? So I think fine, ok, I’ll just listen to the live audio since I noticed another coworker was. But no, if you pay for video, it doesn’t include audio. That’s a separate purchase and subscription!!

So I called support thinking fine, maybe they can switch me to audio or give me my money back. Nope, no refunds and it’s a separate product. “You can check your blackout market by zip code.”

I retorted, “Oh, yes, I saw that AFTER I paid and clicked on the game because it’s in small print way UNDER the game options – you people must be making a lot of money on this!”

So there you go – great American past time and hallmark of our country is now controlled by the corporate bigwigs and litigation-hungry scoundrels, and those of us who love baseball and want to watch our first childhood friend play ARE FREAKING DENIED ACCESS!!! I suppose getting some apple pie is outta the question too?!


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