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Deuces Wild
2007-01-23 19:04
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The big story yesterday was that Robinson Cano has switched his uniform number from 22 to 24 in anticipation of the still entirely speculative arrival of free agent Roger Clemens, who has worn number 22 for the Yankees and Astros since early 1999. The story was broken by the New York Post's Michael Morrissey, who reported that the team asked Cano to make the switch. Subsequent articles on ESPN and MLB.com reported that it was Cano that approached the team with the idea for the switch. An MLB.com radio interview with the writer of the later piece, Bryan Hoch, provided a clue to the most likely scenario. Since rosters are currently being finalized and uniforms tailored, the Yankees likely approached Cano about the possibility of having to switch numbers mid-season, offering to let him switch now instead. Cano likely opted to switch now--no doubt with some gentle nudging from the team looking for some cheap headlines in a slow news cycle and a chance to make an overture to Clemens--and the team subsequently spun the decision as Cano's. For what it's worth, Cano wore number 14 when first called up in May of 2005 and is named after Jackie Robinson, whose number 42 is the inverse of 24 (and is already taken by Mariano Rivera and otherwise retired throughout baseball). Tino Martinez was wearing number 24 during Cano's rookie year when he switched from 14 to 22. Last year 24 was only used briefly by Sidney Ponson.

As for Clemens, he was seen sporting one of his Yankee World Series rings at the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend, which suggests to me that the chances of him returning to the Bronx are excellent. Last season Clemens made public appearances wearing Astros gear prior to resigning with the team. Per Morrissey's article, Clemens's agent, Randy Hendricks, recently said that Roger's decision won't come until after the start of spring training and possibly not until after the start of the regular season. Last year, Clemens didn't sign with the Astros until May 31 and didn't make his first start for them until June 22 (there's that number again). By then the 20-year-old Philip Hughes very well may have eliminated the Yankees' need for the 44-year-old Rocket. Either way, by June the Yankees look to be in a great position regarding the rotation spot vacated by the Randy Johnson trade.

In other non-news, Bernie Williams' retirement is looking increasingly imminent as the Yankees don't appear to be willing to offer him anything beyond a minor league contract and an invite to spring training where he really wouldn't even have a job to fight for.

Finally, Yahoo!'s Tim Brown takes a look at former Yankee prospect and 1998 World Series hero Ricky Ledee who has been through seven organizations in his nine-year career and may very well have run out of employers at the age of 33. Whenever I think of Ledee, who was sent to Cleveland in the David Justice deal in mid-2000, I recall his pre-game interviews with Michael Kay on WABC in which Ricky, fighting Shane Spencer and Chad Curtis for the left field job, repeatedly insisted "I weel heet" in a tone of voice that betrayed his lack of belief in what he was saying. Outside of a few small samples, he never did hit.

Comments (94)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-01-24 03:37:07
1.   joejoejoe
Ricky Ledee is the kind of player you like to see filling out the hometown roster on Old Timers Day. Ten years from now some little kid will see Mattingly, Bernie, Goose, Paul O'Neill, Pettitte, Posada, and Mariano on the field. And Ricky Ledee. When that kid asks 'Who is THAT?' you can share the story of the rookie who went 6 for 10 in his first World Series.
2007-01-24 04:16:41
2.   jdrennan
If Cano turns out to be really great and they retire number 24, would they also end up putting up a plaque for Rickey Henderson as well?
2007-01-24 04:21:56
3.   C2Coke
2 Now that's a little funny.

Less than three weeks to go until Pitchers and Catchers!

2007-01-24 05:37:17
4.   mehmattski
I'm just glad I was lazy and didn't go out and get myself a Cano #22 like I had planned this offseason. It would have been a lot like when I got a #33 Soriano for Christmas, then he switched to #12, then he got traded for some guy who hits eighth.
2007-01-24 06:05:22
5.   rbj
the 22 I want from Cano is his batting average to be .322. And heck, 22 HR (or more)
2007-01-24 06:22:18
6.   rbj
Oh, and BTW, Sheffield has grabbed Alan Trammell's number in Detroit. It isn't retired, but there are some fans already grumbling about it.

So it has started even before pitchers & catchers.

2007-01-24 07:00:02
7.   Cliff Corcoran
6 That's the team's fault for giving it to him. If they can retire Willie Horton's number, they can retire Trammell's (it might even help his Hall of Fame case, which in my mind is open and shut). What's weird is that #11 remains available in Detroit.
2007-01-24 07:30:38
8.   Knuckles
Clemens wearing his Yankee ring and flashing it around Sundance is exactly like Britney Spears climbing out of a limo with no knickers on; they're both attention-seeking divas. Granted one of them can help the Yanks this year (no, not as A-Rod's slump buster, but nice idea), but I for one am avoiding all speculation and worthless columsn like the plague. I'll root for the Rocket between the foul lines if he becomes a Yankee, but until then I don't care.
2007-01-24 07:38:28
9.   Bama Yankee
It looks like InDemand has upped their offer to MLB for the Extra Innings package. But they are still $30 million less than DirecTV. So, MLB is prepared to prevent 60 million households from getting EI all for a measly $1 million per team per year. Brilliant move, Bud.

http://tinyurl.com/3dk5ep

2007-01-24 08:00:41
10.   Shaun P
9 Just so long as the tables don't flip and all of a sudden EI becomes exclusive to cable!
2007-01-24 08:13:47
11.   Bama Yankee
10 Good point. I wouldn't want to see that either.

If the InDemand offer is a status quo offer, then that extra mill a year per team seems like peanuts in the grand scheme of things. I just hope the contract with DirecTV has not been signed and that this idea goes the way of the ads on the bases thing from a few years back.

Something else to consider: what will DirecTV charge for EI once they get the exclusive rights (and after they have shelled out the bucks for the contract)?

2007-01-24 08:25:10
12.   tommyl
9 Thanks for the link Bama. Very good article. It still amazes me how much contempt the typical owner and Selig have for their fans. Yes, the DTV deal is for more money, but don't you care about making your fans happy? getting as many to watch as you can?

The answer is clearly no. I just wish there was some way to protest this.

2007-01-24 08:31:51
13.   dianagramr
12

Contact Senator Arlen Specter, who has been threatening the NFL's anti-trust exemption over their "Sunday Ticket" exclusive package.

http://tinyurl.com/5grzt

Football Outsiders has a column today on the impact of the MLB deal on the NFL's anti-trust situation:

http://tinyurl.com/24y99n

2007-01-24 08:38:24
14.   unpopster
the lasting memory I have of Ledee is his awkward catch in LF (?) during David Cone's Perfect Game?

It was the 9th inning, Coney had just retired the first batter, and the next Expos hitter lofted a fly into LF. Ledee raced in and wasn't quite sure (nerves?) how to catch it -- palm up or down. Of course, he made the catch but I think everyone's heart stopped as they watched this almost train-wreck unfold in what seemed like slow motion.

2007-01-24 08:47:09
15.   Jimmy Clark
I can't remember exactly what Suzyn Waldman said on WFAN when the Yankees traded Ledee and others for David Justice. It was something on the order of "Ledee is going to be a fine player for some team." That didn't happen but Ledee played for about 10 years and has a World Series ring. I wish I could say that.
2007-01-24 09:00:35
16.   jervo
All I can say about Ricky Ledee is that his pseudo-mustache always drove me insane.

And one other thing - I distinctly remember playing the Yankees in some baseball videogame and the in-game commentator pronouncing his last name "Le-deeeee", which always cracked me up.

2007-01-24 09:02:57
17.   williamnyy23
Oh great...another thread co-opted by people complaining about MLB selling its product, which is in high demand, to the highest bidder. Let the whining ensue.

As I stated before, watching baseball is not a birth right. Baseball is a business, and programming is the most lucrative product that the sport has to sell. Over 20 years ago, everyone complained about how moving games from free-TV to cable was unfair to the fans and would prevent millions of loyal diehards from watching the product. Well, lo and behold, the game actually exploded in popularity instead. Now, once again, the bleeding hearts are vilifying the greedy owners because they want to maximize their profit (I wonder if Dan Wetzel would ever be disloyal to his readers and take a higher paying job at a fee-based website?). Give me a break.

The bottom line is that if one really wants to watch up to 60 out of town games a week, they can still do so by either switching to DirectTV or tolerating a lower quality Internet feed. After all, it's not as if MLB is limiting access to local market games. Baseball fans with cable all across America will still be able to watch regional broadcasts. Having access to EI is a luxury, so forgive me if I don't shed any tears for the "loyal fans" being impacted.

Finally, as for the argument that MLB is selling out for $1mn per team per year, that completely ignores the other revenue implications, namely MLB.TV subscriptions and future network deals. Also, $1mn isn't exactly spare change, even for a MLB team.

2007-01-24 09:06:26
18.   Cliff Corcoran
15 Ledee has two World Series rings, actually.
2007-01-24 09:14:45
19.   Knuckles
17 If baseball is a business, as you claim, then why does it still enjoy the anti-trust exemption and seen as Congress as a 'local affair' rather than 'interstate commerce'?

We're reaching the point where it's really gotta be one or the other...

2007-01-24 09:17:20
20.   Bama Yankee
12 I actually found Bud Selig's phone number and gave him a call to voice my concerns over this (seriously). To my suprise, a lady answered the phone (I thought I would just get a machine) so I asked for Mr. Selig. She did not put me through since she was not familiar with my name (I knew that I should not have tried to use the name Karim Garcia). I asked her if she could put me through to his voice mail so I could leave a message. She said that if you call back after hours then you get the voice mail. So I will try that. Here is the number:
Baseball Commissioner Office
777 E Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 225-8900

Also, I found another number to call (this one was in NY). I was transferred to a guy who listened to my concerns and told me that they were aware of the problems. Give them a call, it might not help, but at least I gave it a shot.
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167
(212) 931-7800

2007-01-24 09:19:36
21.   tommyl
17 No one is claiming its their divine right. But the league has two choices, take a deal for less money and allow a large percentage of fans the opportunity to see out of town games, or take more money and allow only a few.

Please remember that not everyone even has the opportunity to switch to DTV, and even some that do report very spotty service. We can't all live in the nice, big house with perfect southern sky exposure that you clearly do.

2007-01-24 09:26:37
22.   Cliff Corcoran
19 Shameless Plug Warning: Within Brad Snyder's A Well-Paid Slave, a book on the Curt Flood lawsuit that I edited, there's an excellent history of Baseball's antitrust excemption that fully explores all of the faulty logic and damaging legal precedents that have allowed it to survive to the present.
2007-01-24 09:32:57
23.   Shawn Clap
MLB internet audio. Every game & the Playoffs. Both home & away broadcasts. $14.95 for the entire season. Works on both PC & MAC.

Best 15 bucks I ever spent.

With the possible exception of that night I spent in Kiev, where 15 American Dollars can bring you a long, long way.

2007-01-24 09:37:00
24.   OldYanksFan
17 Thanks for the lecture to us 'bleeding hearts'. As Tommmy just said, it's not the money, but the availability. Furthermore, even when available, DirectTV is known for bad service and support.

As a good capitalist, please remember that every dollar MLB makes, ultimately comes from fans. It is not too much to expect, and maybe even a good business move, for MLB to pick a provider with the greatest reach and potential audience.

I mean, Ford also had a right to maximaize their profits on the Pinto, but burning a number of their 'whiney' customers to death wasn't really nice (although I guess they had the right).

I do wonder this however. I imagine technology might have computer-to-television feeds vastly improved in the future. If so, MLB.TV might be an obvious choice, and would certainly eat into DirectTV revenues. Thoughts?

Lastly, MLB is not just another business, but more of a monopoly with a special exception. Am I wrong on this? If not, applying the rules of traditional businesses to MLB does not always stand up.

2007-01-24 09:38:15
25.   dianagramr
23

Hmmm ....

"night I spent in Kiev, where 15 American Dollars can bring you a long, long way" ...

that isn't by chance connected to your posting name ... :-)

2007-01-24 09:38:49
26.   williamnyy23
19 It is a business and more recent Supreme Court rulings have confirmed as much. Congress does have the legal basis to revoke baseball's anti-trust status, but hasn't chosen to do so. Whether this issue pushes them over the edge remains to be seen. I find that notion to be highly unlikely, however.

After all, only 750,000 people subscribe to Extra Innings in the first place. So, while Arlen Specter is making a lot of noise (maybe with a little prodding from Comcast), I don't really see this as being a hot button issue. What's more, lifting baseball's anti-trust exemption wouldn't necessarily impact how MLB distributes its programming very much. It would, however, pose challenges to the Minor Leagues, which is probably a much bigger constituency than EI subscribers.

I can understand why many people want things to be made easier for them, but that doesn't justify criticism of a sound business move.

2007-01-24 09:39:05
27.   Jim Dean
Embrace the future - the Wonder of Internet Tubes.

Oh wait, if you're reading this you already are.

TV is dying. It's not if but when. Order baseball online to watch or listen. If you have Sprint you can stream the games to your cell phone.

If anything this is better than the cable switch because you'll have more choices - not less. Embrace the future.

2007-01-24 09:40:38
28.   Bama Yankee
17 Nice to see that the CEO of DirecTV could join us again today... ;-)

Seriously, I realize what you are trying to say and that you are trying to be the "Jim Dean" (sorry Jim) of this issue. But with all due respect, this is a bigger deal than you are trying to make it out to be. I wonder if you would feel the same way if the exclusive contract was with Dish Network or some cable company and you were being forced to switch?

Also, since that EI package is a "luxury" and baseball is a "business" I guess you won't mind paying a lot higher price this year since DirecTV has a monoply now. Of course, you could just go with MLB.TV (wonder what will happen to that $80 price now?).

Lastly, if $1M per year is such a big deal to teams, they probably should stop throwing around all these large contracts that we have seen this winter. Hmmm, maybe that's how they can afford those contracts. Thanks to DirecTV now the Royals can go overpay another free agent... Whoopee!

2007-01-24 09:46:43
29.   Jim Dean
28 I can still be me.

I understand folks resist change, but it's really not a bad thing. And five years from now when you're watching the games on your iPhones, you'll be very happy MLB has been so progressive (and business-oriented) about the .com side. And they'll be very rich.

2007-01-24 09:47:34
30.   vockins
1. How many of you will stop watching baseball if the league signs this DirecTV deal?

2. How many new/casual fans want to spend hundreds of dollars for the ability to watch over a thousand games a year?

If you're in the market for this kind of product, they've got you by nuts. It's like a guy that does five eight balls a day complaining to his dealer about the terms of his heroin purchase. Can't get DirecTV? You're going to get pixelated MLB.TV and you're going to love it, junkie.

2007-01-24 09:51:31
31.   williamnyy23
24 For starters, I have found my experience with DirectTV to be very satisfying. Since fleeing Cablevision several years back, I have never regretted making the switch. Besides, does any industry have a worse reputation for service and fairness than cable?

The "every dollar comes from fans argument" is also somewhat misleading. A large percentage of the "dollars" come from media companies. Media companies then sell the ratings they get to advertisers, who then sell products to you. Indirectly, everyone pays for everything, so what relevance does that argument have?

Furthermore, we are talking about a decision that will only impact the cable portion of 750,000 subscribers (considering that the product has been available on DirectTV much longer, that could be a rather small percentage). Are you really suggesting that baseball should allow the desires of these fans to dictate business decisions? That doesn't make any sense, especially when you consider that all of impacted will still either have access to local games; the option to switch to DirectTV (which for me, at least, is cheaper than Cablevision); or, in the worst case, access to the games via MLB.TV.

2007-01-24 09:53:54
32.   Knuckles
29 This is what I don't get. I have a 42" TV, a 17" computer, and a 2" cell phone screen. I'm willing to pay $160 for the Extra Innings package for the sole reason that I can watch it on one of 2 TV's in my house, not on the computer. If I was in a position to follow a Yankee game while I was walking around, I'd probably choose to do so via radio, not on a palm sized TV screen.
Looks like I will be re-upping my XM Radio subscription and maybe buying one of their portable units, and possibly splitting an MLB.tv sub with my brother, if they can prove it's of adequate quality during a free trial or something.
2007-01-24 10:04:17
33.   Jim Dean
PC vs. TV is irrelavant unless you're so fixed in your ways that you aren't willing to learn how to merge the two. Pixalation is an issue, now, but it won't be soon enough.

You think MLB doesn't understand that fans would rather watch on a 42" screen rather than 17" screen? Really?

They're pushing the technology for live broadcasts more than I've seen anywhere else. For that you'll be thankful some day even as MLB may not get the credit they deserve. The profits they will get.

Otherwise, the distribution channels really don't matter. If you want cell, car, and home access you'll be able to pay for it no matter where you live. That's significant progress in my book.

2007-01-24 10:07:36
34.   williamnyy23
28 It would be nice if a DirectTV executive is reading this blog and decides to offer me free service.

Seriously though, I was already presented with this situation when my cable provider refused to offer the YES network because the price was too high. While many sobbed and complained, I switched to DirectTV. Sure, it required taking a day off from work and getting used to a new product, but now I am very happy I made the switch. It is a much superior product to cable.

As for the price of EI, yes, I would be willing to pay much more because I LOVE baseball. Some people over spend on cars, movies, music, etc. I overspend on baseball. We aren't talking about life saving meds here. 60 out-of-town games a week is, in fact, a luxury. Other than die hard fans, how many people would even want that much access anyway?

29 Just like people resisted cable in the 1980s, they are now resisting non-cable options. It's funny how things come full circle and yet people still think the sky is going to fall.

2007-01-24 10:18:55
35.   Bama Yankee
20 BTW, I just realized that I got that NY number for the Commish's office from dianagramr's blog.
http://tinyurl.com/2ryngb

Thanks for the info dianagramr and nice job on the blog. I see you are a scrabble fan. I used to love to play scrabble with my grandmother when I was a kid, I could never understand why she would not let me use words like: "dawg", "aint" and "yall". She would say, "the fact that people in the south say those words, does not make them actual words". I loved to visit her, she was always playing some kind of word game or working on a puzzle. I never realized that I was learning things from her, I just thought we were playing a game. I can remember watching the 1981 Serious with her while we worked a crossword puzzle together. Man, I sure do miss her...

2007-01-24 10:20:42
36.   Yankee Fan In Boston
32 FYI: if you plan on splitting a subscription to mlb.tv, you should be advised that only 1 computer can be logged in at a time. (so the two of you can't be watching games simultaneously.)

...that was the case for me last season, anyway.

2007-01-24 10:21:47
37.   OldYanksFan
32
AND... while I also have a 17" monitor, the actual piture size is much smaller... akin to an 8" screen. And the resolution is crappy compared to TV... and especially compared to Hi-Def TV.

And Jim Dean (yeah YOU, the REAL Jim Dean)... I don't think anyone here is 'afraid' of the future technology. But we have just entered the age of Hi-Def, large screen TVs. You simply CAN'T compare the MLB feed to your computer with watching the game on a large screen Hi-Def TV. And while I would imagine that one day you will have a 42" Monitor/TV in the living room, that functions as both computer screen AND TV, I believe that time is still a ways off.

I do have, and have been watching Yankee games with MLB.TV on my computer for 2 years. I'm glad to have it... but I much, much, much prefer watching games that are televised.

Are the any 'tech-heads' that have any info of the 'computer-monitors-will-be-TV' issue. Are there technological barriers to it? Is the very nature of an Internet broadcast limited compared to a cable-TV boradcast?

2007-01-24 10:23:02
38.   standuptriple
I wonder how many homes DirectTV has now? I wonder how many new customers they will gain because of this and how many existing will pay for the baseball service? Wouldn't it be poetic if they took a huge loss on the deal? I don't think baseball fans are nearly as rabid/addicted as NFL sheep...er fans.
2007-01-24 10:27:17
39.   Shaun P
17 "Oh great...another thread co-opted by people complaining about MLB selling its product, which is in high demand, to the highest bidder. Let the whining ensue."

Just my two cents here.

You make some very sound arguments as to why the MLB-DirecTV exclusivity deal makes a lot of sense for MLB from a business perspective. However, some of your comments - like the one I cut and pasted above - destroy the points you are trying to make.

I imagine that if you were in Bama's shoes, or tommyl's, or Knuckles's, you might be complaining to the high heavens about this too, and that you wouldn't appreciate being told by a fellow Banterer to essentially "quit whining already".

Sticking to your arguments, as you did in 31 and 34, gets your points across a lot better.

Again, just my two cents.

2007-01-24 10:28:39
40.   Yankee Fan In Boston
37 re: 8" screen

you can maximize the screen to fill your entire monitor. it doesn't look that great, but you can walk away from your computer and see what's going on. (i often use my wireless connection to watch games while BBQing, for instance.)

2007-01-24 10:35:08
41.   dianagramr
38
From their website:

http://tinyurl.com/3bvb9f

As of September 30, 2006, DIRECTV U.S. had approximately 15.6 million subscribers with average monthly revenue per subscriber, or ARPU, of $72.74. DIRECTV U.S. currently distributes to its subscribers more than 1,500 digital video and audio channels, including about 130 basic entertainment channels, 31 premium movie channels, over 33 regional and specialty sports networks, an aggregate of over 1,100 local channels, approximately 70 Spanish and other foreign language special interest channels, and approximately 50 pay-per-view movie and event choices. Although DIRECTV U.S. distributes over 1,100 local channels, a subscriber generally receives only the local channels in the subscriber's home market. As of September 30, 2006, DIRECTV U.S. provided local channel coverage to approximately 142 markets, or about 94% of U.S. television households.

2007-01-24 10:35:45
42.   yankz
You can definitely hook your computer up to a TV. It's just not all that clear.
2007-01-24 10:49:20
43.   Jeteupthemiddle
I will say that because DirecTV is a satelite dish, a lot of people can not get it.

If you live in an apartment complex it is possible you don't face in the right direction. Or if you are renting, the landlord may not allow it.

I think instantly it is a good business move for MLB; however, in the long run, I would think it could cause problems.

2007-01-24 10:49:23
44.   Bama Yankee
34 "60 out-of-town games a week is, in fact, a luxury. Other than die hard fans, how many people would even want that much access anyway?"

I don't want 60 games a week, I just want to watch every Yankee game. Is that too much to ask of MLB? Currently I pay for EI, MLB.TV and XM radio but I still can't watch every Yankee game (stupid FOX blackout and My9 games). Even if I switch to DirecTV I will not be able to watch every Yankee game. How does it help MLB or the Yankees to limit my viewing of my favorite team? It's not a case of me making another choice, there is no choice that allows me to watch every Yankee game (other than moving to NY, I guess).

I would gladly pay a premium to just get the YES network but they can't show live Yankee games in out-of-town markets. Please, MLB come to your senses and make your product available to everyone regardless of what market they are in. I'm no economist but more viewers would be a good thing for your business right?

2007-01-24 10:50:07
45.   williamnyy23
38 I am sure DirectTV (currently 15mn subs)is betting that they will see an influx of new subscribers who will not only be paying for EI, but other content as well. Like any other business decision, it is a risk.

I disagree with your assertion that MLB fans aren't as rabid as NFL fans. In fact, I think baseball fans are more die-hard (you have to be to follow 162 games). Rather, what makes Sunday Ticket so popular are the gamblers and fantasy players that dominate the NFL fan base (but that's another thread for another day).

39 I agree Shaun. I did try to be more tactful in another thread, but was dismissed as being a DTV shill. Still, civility always beats shrillness.

2007-01-24 11:21:24
46.   williamnyy23
44 If you switch to DirectTV, you'll be able to watch upwards of 135 games. That's not bad, and no worse than what you have now.

I am sure if you represented even a significant minority of MLB's fan base, they would take your circumstances very seriously. Unfortunately for you, I have a feeling you are part of a very small customer segment.

2007-01-24 11:31:35
47.   Shawn Clap
At first I didn't care, I had Extra Innings in 2005, but didn't watch it enough to justify the cost. But upon closer inspection...

I feel the real problem is MLB's wanton (and continued) disregard for it's fanbase (both present & future). Baseball should transcend these petty exclusive ties.

How far away are we from the Post-Season being a pay-per-view event offered exclusively on Dish Network (or whoever the highest bidder may be)?

Cable companies and Satillite providers will be irrelevant in 10 years. Seems silly for MLB to be hitching it's wagon to these dying horses. And disenfranchising a portion of it's base in the process.

2007-01-24 11:34:02
48.   Chyll Will
45 I don't understand why your ignoring the most obvious issue; a huge proportion of folks simply cannot get satellite service because they have no line-of-sight to the satellite feed. And it's not even just a matter of facing south. Some folks have topographical obstructions that they don't have the right to alter (a tree on a neighbor's property, a bluff or a building, etc.) It's not that they don't want to spend the money at all. When I was a satellite installer for DirecTV, people would get extretemly emotional if I told them they could not have satellite service because there was no line of sight. What can they do? Even with equipment to reposition the satellite higher than the obstruction, there were further issues of service (I wasn't going to climb eighty feet on a forty-foot ladder by myself to install or adjust a dish under any circumstances), and THEN if you tried extending the cables say fifty or 100 feet to an area with line-of-sight, then there is the degredation of signal issues that's a pure matter of physics.

Which, by the way, is part of the problem with mlb.tv's feed. Unless they've invested in boosting their signal, which I assume would be an FCC issue, expect more of the same.

So what's the only hope in this case? Hope that DirecTV finally releases the technology to allow satellite service to be fed to an omnidirectional receiver that you could simply stick to the side of the house anywhere. Unfortunately, as a business decision, DirecTV is maintaining their round and oval satellites because they've already manufactured a billion of them and need to unload them somehow.

And I'm NOT being facetious.

Doing business is not always about making money. There is a social responsibility inherent in all codes of conduct, and the fact that so many people are up in arms about it makes this an issue of ethics, which the government and any other abiding agency would have a right to examine and perhaps act on.

2007-01-24 12:03:57
49.   Jim Dean
47 "Cable companies and Satillite providers will be irrelevant in 10 years. Seems silly for MLB to be hitching it's wagon to these dying horses. And disenfranchising a portion of it's base in the process."

That's exactly why they're grabbing the money - while they still can! And it pushes more diehards to the .com. It's an easy business decision. Diehards will buy the product wherever they can, even if they're fuming as they hand over their credit card.

48 By most estimates, 60 million US households will have broadband access this year. That number jumps to 80 million by 2010. Percentage-wise that's going from 50% to 60% of all households. Of course, those numbers don't factor in the folks that use broadband at the office, universities, etc.

Does anyone here use dial-up? If not, you'll all be able to watch or listen to Yankee games next year.

2007-01-24 12:20:47
50.   Schteeve
Within 5 years, fans should be able to access an interface on their Web/TV dial up any MLB game they choose and pay like $8 to watch it.

This will happen. It's only a matter of the business models catching up with the technology.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-01-24 12:24:05
51.   Andre
I am a Yankee fan in Massachusetts. I subscribe to EI on cable at the exorbitant price they charge, even though more than a few games are blacked out each season. I watch every Yanks game that is avail on EI (or I record it).

I have no reasonable alternative - I spend all day staring at a computer screen, and at home, I prefer to watch on tv. Radio signal for Yanks coverage is spotty, at best. I refuse to pay for XM (yet another pay service).

I already pay a premium to watch EI on cable. I refuse to jump through more hoops or pay more $ for baseball (I would have to buy equipment for several tv's, buy local channels, etc. -- I've done the math and DTV is much more expensive for me to get the same channels I get through cable, so not only are they requiring me to change service providers, they're requiring me to pay more to do so.

Since I won't switch to DTV, my fan interest will wane (no, I won't start watching Red Sox games), which means I won't be interested in going to games, won't be purchasing merch, etc. I won't be taking my kids to games, so another generation of fan will be lost in my family.

This, in turn, will hurt sportswriters, because I won't follow along on blogs, won't subscribe to sports mags (my only sports interest is baseball).

If a service provider doesn't care about me as a customer, why would I bend over backwards for them? Doesn't MLB understand that baseball is NOT as popular as football in America? You would think they'd make financial concessions in order to maximize fan base.

2007-01-24 12:24:59
52.   Andre
My only hope is that YES becomes a nationwide channel (like TBS for Braves) but I know that's unlikely.
2007-01-24 12:31:09
53.   williamnyy23
48 I am not ignoring the issue. I just think it is irrelevant. While currently not as readily available as cable, DirecTV does have a pretty sizeable addressable market. Still, there will likely be people who want, but can not get DirecTV. Unfortunately for those people, they will either have to live with local games/ESPN/TNT/TBS/WGN, or purchase MLB.TV and deal with the inconvenience and lesser quality (for now). Neither option is horrible.

You are also exaggerating greatly when you talk about "social responsibility". Do you really mean to suggest that "social responsibility" involves the availability of out of town sports programming to a tiny number of people? Remember, there are only 750,000 EI subscribers, and some (perhaps many) of them already have DirectTV. This isn't an issue of social responsibility; it is a business matter affecting a very small percentage of fans.

2007-01-24 12:35:44
54.   Bama Yankee
52 That would be great. Is it even possible for YES to show Yankee games nationwide under the current MLB contract? If not, how do TBS and WGN get to do it?
2007-01-24 12:36:23
55.   tommyl
39 Well said Shaun, its funny because I just recently moved to Manhattan so this actually doesn't affect me at all. I used to lived in Philly though, and happily paid for EI through Comcast. In both my current and former location I lived in an apartment complex without good southern exposure so DTV was not an option for me. In addition, many people like cable over DTV for a variety of reasons.

To address some of the other comments. While streaming internet may be the future, it most certainly is not here yet. I applaud MLB for pushing this technology, but we are several years away from streaming broadcasts being of anywhere near the same quality as digital or high-def tv. MLB.tv is an option for many, and not a horrible one, but it does not compare to TV. Also, I do not believe that DTV is the way of the future and we'll all be moving over to it, if for no other reason that not every apartment building has southern exposure. It is not any better than cable in its current incarnation, so I see no argument for pushing it as the technology of the future. Also, while watching on my IPhone sounds like fun for some situations, I doubt I am going to go home, sit in my comfy couch, take out my IPhone and watch it on a 3" screen while my 42" plasma TV sits nearby.

While william is right, out of town baseball is a luxury item, I think requiring people to literally move to be able to watch it is absurd. Notice that not a single person on here has objected to paying a bit more for the opportunity, people are complaining about either being forced to switch or not even having that option. That to me, is unfair. It is of course MLB's right, but I think it is a slap in the face to some of their most loyal fan base.

2007-01-24 12:42:19
56.   weeping for brunnhilde
A story about Ledee.

I happened to be in Chicago in 2000 and watched the Yanks play the Sox.

The game was memorable for two reasons.

One, Paulie was tossed early on for arguing balls and strikes.

Two, we had driven to the ballpark and decided to leave early to beat the traffic. Really lame, I know, but I thought I would fall victim to road rage on the way there (and I'm a very peaceful soul) and just couldn't bear to go through it again on the way home.

Anyway, there we were, in the car, listening to the remains of the game in which our heros were trailing and what happens?

Ricky Ledee hit a big home run in the ninth. Game-tying? Game-leading? Can't recall, but as I recall, that was his last game in a Yankee uniform: he was traded the next day.

Maybe some of this is legendary embellishment, I'm not sure, but that's how I remember it.

2007-01-24 12:42:21
57.   williamnyy23
51 First off, equipment and installation are free for new subscribers of almost any service, so start up costs shouldn't be an issue. So, you are basically saying that having EI isn't worth the added programming cost of switching to DirecTV. If that's the case, then you are making a financial decision and have nothing to complain about. While I can understand someone who can't get DirectTV being unhappy, people who don't want to pay the minimal marginal cost (if it is even more expensive) do not deserve sympathy.

The ultimate irony in your post, however, is the mention of the NFL, which already has an exclusive contract with DirecTV as well as more restrictive blackout rules. Besides, MLB is plenty popular without having the gambling appeal of the NFL (and I would argue is still the national past-time for that reason). With record setting revenue and attendance, MLB doesn't have to make any concessions.

52The only way that will happen is if YES scraps Michael Kay for reruns of Seinfield.

2007-01-24 12:43:49
58.   Yankee Fan In Boston
the good news of the day?

bobby murcer seems to be doing well.

http://tinyurl.com/36y54t

2007-01-24 12:45:12
59.   bobtaco
54 From Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstations

With the advent of C-Band satellites, Ted Turner had the idea of distributing his WTCG in Atlanta, Georgia via C-Band to the entire country (and beyond). This was the first national superstation, and his idea was soon copied by companies who applied for satellite connections to distribute other stations, including WGN-TV in Chicago, Illinois.

One key legal point is that Ted Turner's contracts with content providers charged him for content as if his station were reaching only a local market. No one had thought of adding contract language to deal with satellite broadcast to a much larger market. This loophole was eventually closed, so other local stations that could get a satellite spot were charged appropriately.

This eventually caused conflict between these stations and providers of similar, or identical, programming in local markets. Eventually TBS, the successor to WTCG, gave up its status as a superstation and became a regular cable television channel. The FCC placed tight restrictions on the remaining superstations (excluding Superstation WGN), allowing no new ones and limiting the distribution of the five grandfathered ones to rural areas without distributors of similar programming.

The five remaining true superstations, WSBK-TV in Boston and WWOR-TV in Secaucus, New Jersey (part of the New York City area), and CW Television Network affiliates WPIX-TV in New York, KWGN-TV in Denver, Colorado, and KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, California, are carried on some rural cable systems, and on the DISH Network direct broadcast satellite system to many customers in small media markets. As of 2006, Superstation WGN boasts over 68 million households on cable and satellite.

YES can't ever be a Superstation, which is too bad because then I would not have to buy EI, .tv and XM to follow the Yankees.

2007-01-24 12:45:24
60.   dianagramr
55

well said .... bravo ....

"Also, while watching on my IPhone sounds like fun for some situations, I doubt I am going to go home, sit in my comfy couch, take out my IPhone and watch it on a 3" screen while my 42" plasma TV sits nearby."

---------------------

LOL .... there's a "Far Side" cartoon in that image somewhere :-)

2007-01-24 12:51:16
61.   williamnyy23
56 Ledee's last game as a Yankee was at Detroit on June 28, 2000. He went 1 for 4 in a 13-6 loss.

On June 25, however, Ledee did hit a pinch hit, 3-run homer off Keith Foulke in the top of the 9th. The homer wasn't enough and the Yankees wound of losing 8-7, despite scoring 6 runs in the top of the inning.

2007-01-24 12:55:47
62.   weeping for brunnhilde
61 See what I mean about legendary embellishment?

:)

Thanks for that. I think it was the June 28th game I saw, and it was indeed that rally, capped by the 3-run homer that I missed.

So he wasn't quite traded the next day, but three days later. Close, right?

:)

2007-01-24 13:14:55
63.   Bama Yankee
59 Thanks bobtaco. I thought it must be something like that.

Does anyone know if you can get the My9 local channel that shows some Yankee games (isn't that WWOR) as one of your "local" channels when you subscribe to DirecTV even if you are not in that area?

2007-01-24 13:15:33
64.   Chyll Will
53 Business ethics dictates a certain level of social responsibility and decorum. You cannot ask a municipality to subsidize a baseball stadium, then provide substandard entertainment and prices that close out a majority of the community it's located in. If you were Disney, for example, and decided to open a store in Harlem just because they were a faceless demographic, you'd be ignoring the possibility of whether a need exists for the products you offer. Disney didn't last long in Harlem because they ignored the needs of the community and sales didn't justify their existense.

How does this apply here? Look at what Andre said 51 and multiply that by the number of people who would be left with no options and no budget to upgrade to another service, as well as a reduction in in satisfaction if they did choose the alternative. Is that really worth the nominal amount of money that the clubs would get from the deal, versus the reduction of fans and resentment that would develop from such a business deal that, while smart, doesn't necessarily mean it's right.

Or try it this way: imagine if Ken decided to make this a pay site for the same reason that the Yankees decided to build a new stadium across from their old one: because he can, and it doesn't hurt to make money. Meanwhile, how many of us would continue to blog here is we had to pay a fee equal to say 20% of what you pay for satellite or cable service, on top of what yo already pay for internet. Some can, some can't, sure. But of those who can't, would you not miss what they actually bring to the conversation? It's a total experience, and though not out of the realm of possibility, it would definitely be a bad move for our "community" and perhaps the reputation of the site itself.

Baseball can become an elitist sport if it chooses, and that's why you're seeing ratings drop off and that's why lots of people cannot afford to go to the park and that's why baseball has to subsidize itself with broadcast deals that constrict its present fanbase in order to satisfy a bottom line. Smart; debatable. Right? BS.

I live in the Bronx, so this getting a radio feed or watching on My9 is a non-issue. But it's wrong to exclude so many people that otherwise would support you simply because you're making a deal that puts an extra pea in the bucket. And I would find it very strange that a network would suffer itself to lose subscribers you consider irrelevent by number that it would have otherwise have gained faster.

2007-01-24 13:31:35
65.   williamnyy23
64 Again, please explain how social responsibility applies to out of town baseball games? Your local factory not polluting the river is social responsibility. I have no idea how that can be stretched to cover a sport selling exclusivity rights to premium programming.

As for Andre 51, he basically said he didn't want to pay the extra cost for DirecTV. Quite frankly, if a few extra bucks are too prohibitive for him, then it must not be that important.

Also, and everyone criticizing the move keeps ignoring this, but the number of EI subscribers is a very small percentage of MLB's fan base. So, while you argue that $30mn per year is nominal (which ignores the other financial implications), the number of EI cable subscribers is even more so.

Also, I fail to see the relevance in your example about making Banter a pay site. Considering that we all have to pay to access the internet, every website is a pay site. A more apt example would be if Banter was only available via one ISP. In that case, each member would have to weigh the value of the site versus the proposition of changing providers. As an adult, we are faced with similar decisions like that every day.

As for baseball becoming an elitist sport, well that's plain ridiculous. Baseball is still the cheapest ticket of all major sports and local programming is either still free or available on basic cable.

Basically, you have no basis for any of the claims you have made, other than you are not personally happy with the move.

2007-01-24 13:32:26
66.   bobtaco
63 Bama, you can't get My9 outside of NYC area on DirecTV. That's why I get mlb.tv, so I can get those games and also the ones that we employ the little trick for on Fox Saturdays.
2007-01-24 13:32:44
67.   yankz
Actually...42 isn't the inverse of 24.
2007-01-24 13:37:50
68.   Bama Yankee
57 "people who don't want to pay the minimal marginal cost (if it is even more expensive) do not deserve sympathy."

I don't think any of us who will have to switch want your sympathy (or the sympathy of MLB for that matter). All I want is to watch my favorite team play baseball on my 60" Sony TV. If I have to switch to a dish to do that then so be it, but I am not happy about it. Switching will not be that easy for everyone (my only access to broadband is through cable, so I might have to actually have to subscribe to both cable and dish).

Forcing us to switch might be a good business decision for DirecTV and certainly makes MLB that whopping $30M a year, but I still don't see how making their product available to fewer television viewers and upsetting your most avid fan base in the process is a good long term decision. Of course this comes from the same outfit that allowed the 1994 Serious to get cancelled, mishandled the PED issue, had a tie in the All-Star Game, tried to place Spider Man ads on bases and forces Tim McCarver down our throats every Saturday and during the playoffs. What was that Bud Selig phone number again....

2007-01-24 13:44:34
69.   OldYanksFan
Is this old news?
"Jim Leyritz talks about using amphetamines and HGH on ESPN Radio's Dan Patrick Show. Leyritz admits to taking HGH, but says he never took steroids because of a family history of prostate cancer."
2007-01-24 13:44:50
70.   dianagramr
64

Bravo! .... now if we could just find someone in MLB to listen to that .... :-(

Unfortunately, given that MLB already has long-term multi-billion $ deals sewn up with ESPN, DirectTV, Fox and the like, the ONLY way MLB will listen is if actual attendance at Major League games plummets.

And the fans haven't made that happen ... yet.

2007-01-24 13:47:03
71.   weeping for brunnhilde
64 I haven't been following this conversation, and I'm in a hurry, but I want to add to your point.

I grew up a raging baseball fan in the eighties and then fell away for a number of years during high school.

The reasons are complex, having to do with my increasing turn towards hippiedom and music and away from jocks and sports, but later in life I looked back on that period and realized something fairly profound.

My fall away from baseball coincided with the introduction of Sportschannel. We didn't have cable and so I could no longer watch the games, as simple as that.

Once a week or whatever on channel 11 wasn't enough to keep me involved.

In other words, years of disconnect from baseball can in large part be directly attributed to access.

That's all I want to say, I'm not sure if it's germane, as I say, but there it is.

2007-01-24 13:48:48
72.   Cliff Corcoran
67 42 is, however, the inversion of 24 ("a reversal of position, order, form, or relationship"), it is also 24 written inversely ("in an inverse order or manner")and 24 inverted ("to reverse in position, order, or replationship"). One could also say that 42 is the *re*verse of 24.
2007-01-24 13:49:36
73.   Cliff Corcoran
69 Yes, that's old news.
2007-01-24 13:55:49
74.   tommyl
71 The same thing happened to me when I first went away to college. I did make it back for some postseason games (luckily my family has tickets) but for the most part I was less fanatical than I had been. My interest experienced a surge when EI was offered by Comcast and I could start watching the games again. That, and this blog renewed my love of my hometown team. It will be a shame if the reverse happens to people like Andre of 51 now.
2007-01-24 13:59:00
75.   Chyll Will
65 You're right, William (I feel like I'm talking to myself!) Baseball owes no more social responsibility to certain regions than the US owes to Iraq or third-world countries. It's my own principals I'm defending and there's no reason to force that on anyone else, as far as I'm concerned. Nevertheless, I do believe these types of decisions have a way of coming back to hurt people who make them, as I've seen happen all-too-often in person.
2007-01-24 14:01:33
76.   Shaun P
65 "the number of EI subscribers is a very small percentage of MLB's fan base. So, while you argue that $30mn per year is nominal (which ignores the other financial implications), the number of EI cable subscribers is even more so."

Ah, but that 'small number' is not only vocal, but financially supportive, as Andre lays out in 51. Baseball is not alienating the casual fan who might decide to, on a whim, shell out $15 one time for a Yankees hat or the $20 (or whatever it costs) for a ticket to a game. Baseball is alienating the folks who tend to spend lots and lots of their disposable income on baseball-related merchandise, and who tend to spend lots and lots of their free time connected to baseball. Joe Sheehan argued that such people aren't going to stop being baseball fans just because of this - but maybe the key point is not that they'll stop being fans, but that they'll become casual fans who give, say, only $30/year to baseball, or perhaps nothing, where before it might have been significantly more.

2007-01-24 14:06:13
77.   yankz
72 All correct. Math nerd off.
2007-01-24 14:12:29
78.   Shaun P
66 You'll have to describe that trick sometime.

On that note, if you live somewhere that you can't get DirecTV, but you have a friend who can and does, and has a dual-input tuner, and also has a broadband Internet connection, there is always the Slingbox option. If your friend subscribes to EI, perhaps they'd be willing to let you put a Slingbox on one of their inputs. If they don't, perhaps you could offer to pay for the EI subscription and then put a Slingbox on one of their inputs.

Dual inputs not needed if you friend is, like you, a huge Yankees fan and is going to watch the games anyway. You might also be able to substitute "family member" for friend.

Two friends of mine worked out such an arrangement when one moved into a condo with no view of the southern sky, but could not bear to give up Sunday Ticket and his beloved 49ers. Obviously with baseball on almost every night this could be a bigger inconvenience than not having both tuners available for 3 hours on a Sunday, but it is an option.

2007-01-24 14:33:38
79.   Knuckles
78
I did some Slingbox research yesterday, hoping I'd stumbled upon a golden solution.
Put a Slingbox at someone's place in the NY/NJ area (or anywhere, provided they have DirecTV and EI), along with a dedicated cable box/receiver.
The drawbacks though are:
- need to trek somewhere else to set it up
- then rely on the 'host' to maintain, if knocked offline, etc.
- eats up hosts bandwidth sending the Sling'd content out of their house
- only one person can log in at a time (this sucks b/c my brother and I are both out of the NY area and looking for a remedy)
2007-01-24 14:49:57
80.   Andre
Some facts:

I currently pay $156 per month for cable + cable modem. I get ALL channels that my cable co offers (including all premium channels) + HDTV package + On Demand (all channels) + DVR service, all on 2 televisions. Yes, I am a tv junkie - I have 3 kids under 4 years old. I don't get out much.

For the same service with DirecTV, it would cost:

$199 (HD DVR Box #1, after rebate)
$299 (HD DVR Box #2, no rebates offered)
+ $99 per month total choice premier package
+ $9.99 per month HDTV service
+ $50 per month cable modem service (no discount because I would no longer be a Comcast subscriber).

I also have to allow someone to run additional cable lines through my house, and attach a few satellite dishes to my roof.

I also have to worry that as technology changes, I'll have to buy new equipment to take advantage of the tech - cable would just give me an upgraded box for no add'l charge.

I also have to worry that DirecTV can raise rates at any time - cable companies generally have contracts with the city/town you live in, and cannot raise rates by more than an agreed rate annually.

So my monthly rate would largely stay the same for the same service, but I'd have an upfront cost of $500, potential future costs of upgrade, and no security on price increases, all for the privilege of paying an additional $180 per year (last year's price) to watch baseball.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a die hard Yankees fan (you have to be a little bit crazy to watch 150+ games on tv) but I'll be damned if I'm going to shell out all that money on top of a premium annual fee to watch baseball on tv. As many people have pointed out, the number of people subscribing to EI is not tremendous. I would guess that most people who don't have DirecTV today either are or have been resistant to getting it for one reason or another. I can't imagine that of the 275,000 people who currently subscribe to EI, a large percentage of them will switch to DirecTV. Also, a majority of the people who DO subscribe to EI, are out of market people who follow their team, and cannot do so otherwise (comfortably - computer/phone access is still not ready for primetime). Therefore, a majority of the 275,000 will no longer follow baseball.

Not a HUGE amount of people, but not insignificant either. Baseball is 2nd or 3rd in popularity of major sports in the US. Why sacrifice numbers for money at this stage? Going through the steroid scandals, etc., there has not been much good press of late. How does the additional $mill help long term? It's a short sited, short term money grab that stands to further disenfranchise a very devoted (albeit smallish) segment of their fan base.

2007-01-24 14:54:59
81.   Andre
Yes, I am whining because it affects me, and yes I do have the money to spend, and yes, it will kill me not to have Yankees baseball all summer long, but I will not switch to DirecTV on principal.

I was ready to start complaining to MLB this year about blackouts (it's 2007, blackouts on television don't make sense anymore given they're already offering MLB.tv, etc.). I didn't expect they'd take a huge step back and totally shut me out!

2007-01-24 15:58:05
82.   bobtaco
80 Oh, don't forget the $5.99/month for the DVR service and $4.99/month for additional boxes. But you can get a splitter, so you can avoid having multiple dishes on your roof.

I have DirecTV EI and DirecTV Sports package, and I pay a lot for extra DSL bandwidth, (1mbit upload speed). If someone wants to buy me a Slingbox I can guarantee you every game on a good connection.

In fact, I would pay for the additional Satellite box to connect it to on it's own in my basement, which means you can get all SF Bay area channels, HBOs and YES Network. Not a bad deal.

2007-01-24 15:58:22
83.   standuptriple
I'm feeling all of this...and then some. Since I live in a apt with no So exposure I can't do this. Living in the Bay Area where the A's only host 1 series w/the Yanks (and the closed 3rd deck means tix are scarce. A second trip to SF, but with the AS Game and Bonds + the fact that it's the Yankees those tix are going to be rough to get too.
Bottom line, I'm going to have to get the majority of my Yanks games on ESPN (because FOX will force the regional Sat game on me).
I will not watch a game on the internet. I have a laptop and I stare at a computer all day. It sucks that I'll only be able to see approx. 20 Yanks games all year.
2007-01-24 16:04:33
84.   Zack
williamnyy23, do you work for DirctTV? Because otherwise, your argument, and more so, your resoluteness in closing your ears to what is, at least here, a majority of consumers, makes no sense, and really smacks of the same kind of narrow focus that brought this whole issue up in the first place. It doesn't matter if people are given the luxery of watching sports, the fact is that they are the ones that allow mlb to exist. period. So that it is in mlb's best interest to attract as many fans as humanly possible, not the opposite. While DirectTv might be giving them tons of money, if viewership drops as much as it probably will, guess what? Directtv loses a lot of money, so its bad business for them, AND mlb loses viewership, so its bad business for them. It makes far more sense for mlb to take LESS money to ensure that MORE people are watching, which will then cause MORE people to be interested, which will then cause MORE people to spend MORE money on mlb.

You can argue all you want about everything else, the fact of the matter is that mlb is choosing immediate financial gain over longterm health...

2007-01-24 16:27:34
85.   ny2ca2dc
For the record, I think the possible direct TV deal is a travesty. I live in a condo building in DC and have no exposure to the southern sky, nor anywhere to mount a dish, so DirectTV is not an option for me. If it were, I would probably suck it up and switch (from Cable). I don't want to get into that argument really, I just want to suggest an alternative (one that I'll be using): Hook your computer up to your TV. Buy MLB.TV, and hook your computer's S-Video Output (if your computer is, say, 4-5 years old or newer, it probably has one) up to your TV, and watch MLB.TV on your TV. I have a "Tivo" that i built using an old computer (and Snapstream's BeyondTV software, www.snapstream.com), so i already have a machine hooked up to my TV (actually it's a high def front projector - i get a 90" screen ;). The quality is not wonderful by any stretch, but it's something.
2007-01-24 16:50:16
86.   rilkefan
71 - reading the boxscores in the IHT amidst Europeans who had never heard of the Yankees greatly diminished my fannishness.
2007-01-24 17:00:02
87.   SF Yanks
82 Hey bobtaco, I sent you an email about the slingbox. I'm not sure if you are serious or even if you still have the same email address. Anyways, shoot me back when you get a chance. Topher00@comcast.net
2007-01-24 17:19:58
88.   Start Spreading the News
for the record, I don't like the directTV deal. But since I don't have a TV, i can remain impartial.

But from MLB's perspective, this deal doesn't hurt the fan base that much. Here is the crux of Joe Sheehan's argument on BP:
"Back up a second and consider what Extra Innings is: 1200 or so baseball games a year beamed into your house. Some nights, there are 15 games to be watched, and the only nights during the season when you're not getting something are over the All-Star break. That is, by even the standards of a lifelong fanatic, a lot of baseball. It's a product aimed at the very top of the pyramid; 750,000 subscriptions were sold last season, a bit more than a third of the number that bought the NFL equivalent.

MLB is going to tick off a subset of that group: EI subscribers who either have Dish Network or cable. However, they're not going to lose that group of people as fans of MLB as a whole. Some of those people will switch to DirecTV, others will make do with MLB.tv, still others will not purchase a package and live without the extra games. The number of fans that MLB will lose because of this decision, however, could fit in my living room. You simply don't go from being such a big fan of baseball that you would purchase 1200 games a year on satellite to a non-fan based on one decision. "

Basically, MLB is figuring that the fans that don't get may become less rabid. But the money that DirectTV pays them more than offsets the decreased income from these fans.

Whenever there is a shift from one medium to another, there will be outcry.

I remember when the Yankees went from free TV (WPIX-11) to cable, there was an outcry about the Yanks hurting their fan base. Local tv reporters interviewed "the man on the street" who was properly outraged. My family never got cable. So my yankee viewing as a kid went from all games on Free TV to zilch. I ended up following the yanks via radio.

But did the move from free TV to cable reduce the fan base? At first, yes. In the long term? Who knows? All the Yanks know is that they got 4 million fans at the Stadium last year as well as decent dollars rolling in from the TV contract.

So will baseball be hurt by this move to DirectTV. I really doubt it. And they will be richer for having made the move.

2007-01-24 17:53:41
89.   dianagramr
Jayson Stark weighs in on the EI deal ...

(in an ironic twist .... his blog is ESPN Insider only)

http://tinyurl.com/2nw3mu

2007-01-24 18:24:31
90.   Shaun P
89 I really liked Jayson's argument about losing every single potential EI customer in the San Diego and Philly areas. But he's wrong. Every regional cable sports network in the country is carried by DirecTV, and those that are local to your area are free to you - for example, I get NESN and FoxSportsNewEngland, as much as I'd rather not.

He really does seem ticked off, and I don't blame him (his error notwithstanding).

I really see this as a way to funnel more people to MLB.TV, which gives MLBAM even more revenue, which (baseless speculation follows) maybe lets MLB take MLBAM public as has been rumored to happen before. At which point MLB can start printing its own money. (IIRC, MLBAM has been valued by some at upwards of $3 billion. If it becomes the primary way for fans to watch out-of-market games, I imagine that number will skyrocket. Imagine what an IPO would bring in.)

2007-01-24 19:10:41
91.   bobtaco
87 Hey SF Yanks, I emailed you back with details.
2007-01-24 20:18:23
92.   Eric Stephen
90 I really liked Jayson's argument about losing every single potential EI customer in the San Diego and Philly areas. But he's wrong.

Shaun, I didn't read the Stark article (no insider access), but I live in San Diego and all Padres games are on a local station (Channel 4) only accessible via cable. For Padres fans to purchase EI, not only will they have to purchase DirecTV, but they have to also keep some form of cable (to keep Channel 4) to view the Padres games.

I am a Dodger fan so I am in a bit of a pickle. If I stick with cable, I get only the 19 Dodgers-Padres games plus any national games. If I go with DirecTV, I get quite a few more Dodger games but lose the 19 Dodgers-Padres games unless I also keep cable.

To top it all off, I live in an apartment with a patio that does not have a clear view of the Southern sky, and I can't put I dish on the roof per my lease agreement! So, basically I have 2 months or so to convince my landlord to let me put a dish on the roof, or I have to settle for the unsavory MLBtv solution.

2007-01-25 05:54:09
93.   Shaun P
92 Ah! Thanks for the clarification. I guess Jayson was right; my bad.

That not only makes the argument against this deal stronger, it makes the deal worse.

2007-01-25 07:03:57
94.   williamnyy23
88 Thanks for posting Sheehan's argument, especially because it is pretty much in line with the point I was trying to make.

The only credible argument against the deal from most on this board is: "It's bad because I don't like it."

As much as we'd all like to think our own personal preferences should determine the actions of others, that doesn't work in the real world. MLB has made a sound business decision that has the potential to benefit millions of fans (in the form of more innovative content and franchise financial health) at the expense of a very small segment (most of whom simply do not want to make any effort to adapt to the new distribution outlets).

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