Well here it is Opening day. The Mets are beating the Cards and MLB really gets going tomorrow. Now for some observations:
1. MLB & DirecTv
I have read and heard alot made about the exclusive deal between MLB and DirecTv. I have been a DirecTv customer for about 10 years and the reason I got a Dish was because of the Extra Inning Package that was only available on DirecTv. Now what is old is new again. All the numbers support MLB’s contention that only a small amount of people will be affected by this agreement. MLB wants a channel and the only way it can achieve this was through DirecTv. The NFL, NBA, and the PGA all have channels. Most got their start through satellite deals that became cable channels soon thereafter. It isn’t something that is new. MLB is a business. A very large entertainment business. So it suprises me when people act as if MLB is different then any other sport.
If MLB was so fan friendly I would not be watching a baseball game on a Sunday night on April 1st. It would’nt be 9:50 PM and in the bottom of the 6th inning. This game would be played in the daylight tomorrow. If MLB wasn’t a business there would be far fewer night games during the first couple of weeks of April in the Northeast and Midwest. If MLB was fan friendly there would not be game ticket tier pricing. One game, one price. If MLB was fan friendly there would be scheduled doubleheaders during the year. If MLB wasn’t big business we would have more players that play their entire career with one team. If MLB wasn’t big business fewer players would take steroids and HGH to achieve better numbers and thus bigger contracts. Baseball is a business.
MLB to their credit have made vast improvements. Now I can watch up to 40 out of market games a week on my TV. I can listen to every baseball game on my satellite radio without static. I can watch every game on my computer everyday (some restrictions apply). I can get all the game day press releases from every team print them out and bring them to the ballpark. I can watch all the highlights and great plays I can handle everyday and for the past two years. I can enjoy baseball games in beautiful new ballparks such as Camden Yards or PNC Park. I can enjoy wonderful old parks like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. I can marvel that Shea Stadium is the 4th oldest ballpark in the Majors (not for long!). I can buy the exact same ballcaps, jerseys, and jackets as the Major Leaguers. I can access and watch and listen to the great games of the past. See the oldtimers, hear the great announcers that helped me became the fan that I am today.
When I was growing up on Long Island, I would sit in front of the TV and watch the Mets play on channel 9 WOR TV. I would listen to Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner call games. I would scream at the TV when the Mets blew a big lead or lost a tough game. My father, a non-baseball fan would walk into the room and state, ” Why are you screaming at the TV? It’s a business. The players and owners run it like a business. Stop wasting your time.” I would of course roll my eyes and mutter under my breath that my father didn’t understand because he wasn’t a basball fan. Well years later I would learn he was right. MLB is a business.
Now just because MLB is a business doesn’t mean I don’t like it. Far from it. I love baseball, especially MLB. I attend as many games as I can. Doesn’t matter where it is. I attend minor league games. I even bring my daughters, one who loves it and the other who got my fathers gene. MLB is not the baseball of a ” Field of Dreams “. It is entertainment. If a person want to see baseball like “Field of Dreams” then go to a High School game, or sandlot game if one even exsists. There is where you will find people playing for the love of game.