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It is apparently “tremendously unethical and unfair” for MLB to schedule playoff games like it always has

Oct 9, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT

protest sign

Earlier I laughed at Nats fans who were complaining about the start time of tomorrow’s playoff game. But I’ll acknowledge this much: it’s ok to complain some. I mean, it is kind of annoying when your team gets stuck with a game you can’t watch. Shucks. Darn. That sort of thing seems quite alright.

The problem is when it goes beyond a mild complaint and turns into some entitlement-based outrage. I mean we can all agree, can we not, that it’s not a violation of some fundamental right or a transgression of ethics or human decency for a playoff game to be on at 1PM, right? Oh, wait:

Of course, this is tremendously unethical and unfair to the thousands of DC residents who are unable to afford to attend the game or afford the high cost of cable and satellite service (not to mention the additional costs for MLB Network). This migration of sports to pay TV is particularly troubling given the massive public subsidies, tax exemptions and antitrust exemptions we’ve given the leagues. By moving games — particularly playoff games — to pay TV packages and forcing fans to spend even more money to watch games, the leagues are abusing that relationship.

MLB should allow DC 50 or one of the local stations to retransmit the MLB Network feed of tomorrow’s game immediately.

If you feel that way, go join the fight. Alternatively you could wake up and realize that Major League Baseball is a business that has been operating this way for as long as anyone can remember and don’t act so surprised and outraged. And that there is no way on Earth that baseball is going to give up an MLB Network broadcast to free TV simply because some Nats fans are upset.

Bonus question: Nats games are on cable (MASN). If Nats games on cable are such a violation of societal norms, why weren’t you fighting this fight a few years ago?

  1. chill1184 - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Its not fair to compare this with the NFL games on NFL network. One has to remember up until last month the NFL didn’t have a deal with Time Warner therefore its customers were locked out from getting NFL network. To compensate for this the NFL will broadcast the local game on a local channel. That is completely different from not wanting to pay the extra money for the network itself.

  2. darthicarus - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    You know what, screw MLB for the Tigers/A’s game starting at 9pm ET. I’ll have to stay up till 1am possibly to watch the end game & see if the Tigers can finish off the sweep. That’s absurd & disrespectful to those of us who work & have to wake up early in the morning. Screw you MLB & screw you California for being 3 hours behind the East Coast. You know what, up yours to time zones too all they do is cause confusion and chaos & tape delays (zing to you NBC!!!!)

    Oh wait, forget it. I usually stay up that late anyway & I have Wednesday’s off so no big deal.

    • bklynbaseball - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:59 PM


    • statslady - Oct 9, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      When you get home, TAKE A NAP!!! That way, you’ll be able to watch the whole game and not be too tired to get in the morning. (I’m in the eastern time zone, and it’s what I do before watching my team play on the west coast.

      There are always solutions that don’t involve the ridiculous. And remember, while you’re at it, that a 1:00 pm eastern start time is 10:00 on the west coast and 8:00 am Hawaii and Alaska. Why should the fans in those states have to get up so early to watch a ball game? That, after all, is the logical corollary of your attitude.

  3. DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    When DC council narrowly approved the stadium funding that moved the Expos to DC, Bud Selig was quoted:

    “First, we get killed all these years for not going to Washington,” Selig said in an interview. “Now, we get killed for going there.”

    Now we have a new version – fans bemoaning no Playoff since 1933, now complaining about the first playoff since 1933.

    Dear Nats fans: please allow the Philles to play out the rest of your games

    • jaguar0413 - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Dear DelawarePhilliesFan,

      Please kindly suck my dick.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        Oh my….jag, this is the big leagues. If all you have is 3rd Grade comebacks, brush up a little will ya? El Bravo can give you some pointers

      • El Bravo - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:35 PM

        Hey, I thought I heard a shout out. Woot woot! For your own sake, I hope no one has ever done that in an “unkindly” fashion. Can’t imagine what that entails.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 9, 2012 at 7:57 PM

        @ El Bravo

        “For your own sake, I hope no one has ever done that in an “unkindly” fashion. Can’t imagine what that entails”

        I guess the “unkindly” would be of a Lorena Bobbit/Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction kinda thing?

  4. brjones9 - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    MLB is free to do what they want, however stupid it is. The overall question remains, what does MLB think they’re gaining by limiting the potential viewership of their games? Do they really think the addition of a dozen or so DC area MLB Network subscriptions will offset the negative feelings felt by the remaining thousands of fans who can’t see the game? Does it make sense to make games harder to view at the most exciting time of the year? You’re not going to turn casual fans into die hards by not letting them see the payoff to a 6 month long season. It’s just bad business.

    This is just as silly as the blackout restrictions that keep people from being able to watch any out of market game on Saturdays, or prevent them from seeing their “local team” that plays 300 miles away.

    • natslady - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Exactly. Why are you contracting the market, not expanding it? This is your showcase, MLB, so—SHOW IT.

      I’m not worried about the gov’t employees, contractors and consultants. But what about the majority of this town that is African-American and works at jobs like teaching, social work, etc.

      We have watched on MASN and MASN-2 all year, with occasionally DC-50 (a local channel). This is like bait and switch, even if you can afford upping your cable to the next tier, try getting your cable company to make the change on short notice. And to the person who said, go to a sports bar–yeah, right. Try that on a Sunday afternoon, they will have ten televisions, all tuned to RG3. Not a chance, it’s been documented.

      • wretchu - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM

        If you have DirecTV, package changes are reflected in mere minutes. Not that it fixes the bigger issue of trying to get people to buy a product instead of growing the market.

    • statslady - Oct 9, 2012 at 7:10 PM

      You can get audio only of each and every game from Spring Training through the end of the WS by subscribing to Gameday Audio, and it’s less than $20 for a full year. Not season, but year. That means that you can go back and listen to any game, because they are archived.

      And there’s always Gameday, which gives you pitch by pitch accounts of every game and does so for free. All you need is internet access.

      AKA, you have no excuses for sounding and acting like a bunch of 3-year-olds none of whom is getting his/her way.

  5. cratsbats - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Wait, who’s whining? This seems like a constructed controversy based on a few HBT posts.

    I’m a Nats fan. I’m skipping work and college class tomorrow to go to the game. But I knew when I bought my ticket that this game would probably be scheduled either at 1 or 4pm.

    I’m not sure why this deserved two posts. This is a total non-story.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      I’ll be there. Fortunately, my schedule works out so I can attend Wednesday.

      It doesn’t deserve two posts. Craig is just “trolling” Nats fans. For those new to HBT, this is a practice where someone (usually, the chief blooger) takes cheap shots at some team’s fans, to get them riled up, and generate more views of the blog. This, in turn, has some benefit to NBC Universal. Previously, Phillies fans have been the prime target. Now, because the Phillies declined and the Nats rose, the fans of the latter have become the chief target. Thus, Craig beating this to death is entirely in character for him.

      As to the “controversy,” Craig misses the point. No one should have to play at 1:00 PM on a non-holiday weekday.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:58 PM

        “No one should have to play at 1:00 PM on a non-holiday weekday.”

        Judging by yesterday, your pitching staff appears to be opposed to playing any weekday afternoon 😉

        Oh, and on all the other stuff (trolling, bad start times), anythign you have, we have had 10 times over. Ever had a World Series Game start at 10:30 PM?

      • natstowngreg - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        The 10:30 PM start was due to a rain delay. was it not? What a feeble attempt at trolling.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:56 PM

        A) It’s not feeble if you replied
        B) Never said it wasn’t – just that you get these unepexted suprises in the playoffs (no way would they have started a regular season game that late). We all very fondly remmber Game 3 of the W.S., and you will too with the 1 PM start if the Nats win

  6. dowhatifeellike - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    I don’t see what the problem is. If you can afford a playoff ticket you can probably afford to skip a day of work to attend the game.

    Natslady: I call BS on your assertion that a sports bar won’t show you the game. My local bar put the O’s game on for me even though I live in Denver and the Broncos game was still going. Go to a better bar.

    • natslady - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      • dowhatifeellike - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:34 PM

        That article doesn’t support your assertion. One bar wouldn’t put the Nats on until the Redskins game was over because it runs ads based upon being a football bar. All of the others said they would and do.

      • natslady - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        True, and the only sports bar near me only shows Yankee games, so can’t testify from personal experience. (Yes, there is a NY sports bar in the middle of DC). There was a lot of twitter stuff on Sunday that I saw, but I guess most of it turned out to be noise. I’m not affected by this myself, as I planned long ago for the Nats going to the playoffs. But a parent called me yesterday afternoon while I was teaching and asked me to get him tickets for the NLCS. I mean–yesterday? It is just starting to sink in. And that’s part of the problem. We don’t have a fan base like St. Louis that is accustomed to the vagaries of scheduling and TV. You want to draw them in, not shut them out.

      • bmorelikeme - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM

        I will vouch that a certain DC area sports bar wouldn’t put on my O’s game during the 1 oclock NFL slate the other weekend.

        Though I’ve never really had a problem other than that. Bars will generally change the channel to anything upon request.

  7. normcash - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    The simplist sollution would be to permit a local over-the-air station to broadcast a cable-only game
    in the two cities whose teams are playing. The NFL does this for Thursday night NFL Network
    games and the Monday night ESPN game. Now, it’s true that there’s a difference between the leagues
    in that, other than Thursday & Sunday nights, NFL games are broadcast on over-the-air
    networks, while baseball has increasingly moved to cable over the years. But for the playoffs, MLB
    should consider the NFL model in future years. At least they got rid of the “exclusivity window” for next year and thereafter that Fox used to get on Saturday. From now on you will be able to get
    any Fox regional telecast with the MLBExtraInnings package. One small step for man….

  8. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    I’ll ask the same question here that I asked on the other thread…are the Nationals fans going to whine about having a championship parade on a workday if they are lucky enough to win the World Series???

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Depends on the Metro schedule…..

  9. djpostl - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Yet you never addressed the very valid questions he posed concerning “massive public subsidies, tax exemptions and antitrust exemptions we’ve given the leagues”.

    If taxpayers are giving them these kind of sweetheart deals they DO owe the public some consideration.

  10. goskinsvt - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    The only thing worse than having to watch your team on mlb tv must be not being able to watch them at all, right Crag?

    • goskinsvt - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:06 PM


  11. kicksave1980 - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    I agree that their argument may be kinda dumb, but I do think the MLB should change their broadcast rights. If a regular season game is on MLB Network, I have no problem with that. With playoff games, I think they should allow a local network to pick up the game in the home/away markets.

    I love MLB Network, but also keep in mind that not all cable providers even CARRY the channel.

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