FanDuel - WFBC

May 31, 2007

MLB Demands Toothpaste Be Put Back in Tubes, Andy Griffith Re-runs*: in the ongoing internal battle of "Do we get it or do we not", MLB declares using a Slingbox to watch out-of-market baseball games is a crime. Even if you like the team and y'know, pay for the channel and stuff.

But only at home, and only on the lower-tier channels. If God meant for us to watch TV on 3 digit channels, he'd have given us all a mythical device like, say, a CableCard that worked.

posted by yerfatma to baseball at 01:32 PM - 25 comments

I remember that at one time the networks wanted to stop the use of VCRs to record programming. This seems to be similar. I hope Slingbox can survive the challenge. I spend a lot of time on the road, so it would be great for me to be able to watch the Sox, Pats, etc. (not that my schedule leaves a lot of time for it).

posted by Howard_T at 02:14 PM on May 31

Whether something is legal has no bearing;witness the millions who download music without paying. The issue is whether MLB can enforce their edict.

posted by sickleguy at 02:28 PM on May 31

If you're paying for the channel, you should be able to do whatever the fuck you want with it. I did have an MLB TV subscription. The Blue Jays are blacked out where I am. I'm over 2000 miles away from Toronto! I hate them, so it doesn't really bother me, but MLB are insane. If you ever see their blackout regions it's just madness. Like someone is going to take a 12 hour round trip to see a baseball game just because it's not on TV. Now this. I love baseball, but no way in hell am I giving MLB another dime. They've started putting ads on MLB.TV from what I've heard. Now this nonsense. It's like they don't WANT customers anymore. MLB Advanced Media are doing some amazing things with online sports coverage, but this is just nuts. And what really sucks is when you've been screwed over, unlike football, the NBA etc... There are no P2P sites that have baseball games, meaning you've got no other options if you want to watch.

posted by Drood at 03:01 PM on May 31

"Hmmm, how can we piss off the fans, now?" says major league baseball. "I know, I know!" shouts an eager, young front office exec. "Let's not even televise the games and then charge a mill...billion dollars a ticket at the gate!" "Yes, yes" hisses an obviously pleased Darth Selig. "That is good, and continue with the chemical enhancement program." "Get me Lord A-Rod," he continues. "I have further base-running plans for him."

posted by THX-1138 at 03:16 PM on May 31

"Back then we called nickels Bees on account of them having bees on them. Give me five bees for a quarter, you'd say... So I was going to take the Ferry, and I was wearing an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time..." What's a CableCard? Things sure are different now in Hazzard County.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:52 PM on May 31

"Back then we called nickels Bees on account of them having bees on them. Give me five bees for a quarter, you'd say... So I was going to take the Ferry, and I was wearing an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time..." What's a CableCard? Things sure are different now in Hazzard County. Grampa Simpson, is that you?

posted by tommytrump at 03:54 PM on May 31

Baseball never ceases to amaze me. You would think that they would take a look at the NHL and realize that alienating fans is not a good idea.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:23 PM on May 31

I can't imagine the cable companies that have invested in Sling are going to sit idle if MLB takes legal action-- they don't want to see the demise of anything that encourages people to pay for cable and broadband. Major League Baseball is run by a collection of assholes. The only possible revenue loss would be for MLB TV subscriptions, which is apparently a pretty craptastic service. Is that really worth alienating your fans over?

posted by Mayor Curley at 04:52 PM on May 31

I would think that this has more to do with baseball's licenses with television stations than with trying to piss off fans. When baseball contracts with a local television, presumably there are some provisions regarding the exclusivity of the deal. If someone is in Texas and watching Devil Rays games because they have Sling, but otherwise they would be stuck watching the Rangers. Cable companies and satellite companies are prohibited from showing anything but local stations. The service Sling offers can be used to see out-of-market games and television that a person is not supposed to have access to.

posted by bperk at 04:57 PM on May 31

That MLB lawyer has a severe attitude problem. "Of course they're violating the law". What a prick.

posted by aerotive at 05:25 PM on May 31

I'm with Drood, if I've paid for my TV signal, what does MLB care where I watch it. Just to clarify, if I live in Dallas, I do not get Twins games, and I can not get them on Sling either. The Sling only forwards my home signal to me over a broadband connection. So, if I'm on the road, it forwards my Dallas connection to me...same crappy Ranger games. So, what does MLB lose if I'm not using the connection to broadcast illegally? I paid to watch the Rangers, so I should get to watch the Rangers. Obviously, I can understand why MLB would have a problem with someone setting up TV service in other cities as a way to get away games to broadcast in a bar, but that is already covered by Sling's contract. Screw MLB

posted by dviking at 05:32 PM on May 31

If someone is in Texas and watching Devil Rays games because they have Sling, but otherwise they would be stuck watching the Rangers. If I'm in a hotel room far away from home, and I can't see the Sox game, the chances are pretty slim that I will watch the local game. So I would be stuck watching something that isn't baseball. Or browsing on the Internet or out having a few drinks. I think a lot of people would fit that description.

posted by Mayor Curley at 06:16 PM on May 31

That MLB lawyer has a severe attitude problem. "Of course they're violating the law". What a prick. aerotive, the explanation they would give is they have to be absolute in their comments lest they open themselves to legal problems. You and I might note that sounds an awful lot like trading your humanity for a paycheck.

posted by yerfatma at 07:12 PM on May 31

See, this is why I always get express written consent.

posted by drezdn at 07:16 PM on May 31

Huh, for all these years I've been expressing unwritten contempt. Goddamn announcers and their speech impediments. No sense holding a grudge, only 5 years left, assuming good behavior.

posted by yerfatma at 07:50 PM on May 31

Here's another thought: They say this is becase it's violating the broadcast agreements... Surely, then, Sling's issues are with the cable companies. MLB still get their millions of dollars regardless. I love baseball, but seriously, I'm turning back to my "Old Time Baseball" game, and "Out of the Park". Since MLB are clearly living in a fantasy world, so shall I.

posted by Drood at 08:37 PM on May 31

Here's another thought: They say this is becase it's violating the broadcast agreements... Last time I checked... "broadcast agreements" don't equal "laws"... just my $0.02 worth.

posted by RobertL at 11:29 PM on May 31

Damn! That was my first post on Spofi and it really has nothin' to do with sports... My apologies to you all

posted by RobertL at 11:32 PM on May 31

I appreciate everyone's frustration but since I live in the cold dark corner of the US (New Hampshire) MLB assumes I can only be a Red Sox fan (which I am) and since I get all Sox games on NESN I can watch anyone else on MLB TV with basically no blackouts except for your national Saturday (Fox) and your Sunday night (ESPN) games. Sometimes its good to be in NH. I remember reading something about the Midwest where they are blacked out from 5-6 teams (it might have been Iowa).

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 05:18 AM on June 01

It is in Iowa (where I currently reside), and it is 6 teams - here's a blackout map for anyone interested. The blacked out teams don't matter much to me (though I wouldn't mind seeing a Cubbies or Cards game once in a while) as I'm a Rockies fan. With the way the Rocks play (pretty much every year!), I'm not sure if it would bother me that much if they were blacked out!

posted by cobrajet at 09:34 AM on June 01

Just to clarify, if I live in Dallas, I do not get Twins games, and I can not get them on Sling either. The Sling only forwards my home signal to me over a broadband connection. So, if I'm on the road, it forwards my Dallas connection to me...same crappy Ranger games. Install one at your Mom's (or someone you know) house in Minneapolis...then you can get the local games in Dallas or wherever. And no...not even that is illegal. What TV station...or advertiser wouldn't want more people watching?

posted by stofer71 at 04:35 PM on June 01

The entire concept of the MLB blackout baffles me. "Since this team doesn't sell out their games, we will stop showing them to the fans who can make it to the stadium. That way, uh, wait..." Major League Baseball is the most anti-fan league in all of sports, worldwide. Also, Slingbox is no more illegal than taping a game and taking it with you to a hotel room 2000 miles away (yeah, MLB probably says that's illegal too, but then they say playing fantasy league is illegal -- because they hold contept for their own fans).

posted by dirigibleman at 04:54 AM on June 02

The entire concept of the MLB blackout baffles me. The NFL has similar rules to encourage ticket sales.

posted by yerfatma at 07:45 AM on June 02

If I'm in a hotel room far away from home, and I can't see the Sox game, the chances are pretty slim that I will watch the local game. So I would be stuck watching something that isn't baseball. Or browsing on the Internet or out having a few drinks. I think a lot of people would fit that description. Mr. Mayor, have you been following me? You just described my current lifestyle to a T. At this moment, I have the FOX MLB broadcast on the tube, hoping to catch an update on the only game that matters. Tonight, after a thrilling session in the laundromat, I will have a few drinks. I have seen nothing that tells me much about Slingbox, but I'd really like to know more. I may have to jump all over it.

posted by Howard_T at 05:26 PM on June 02

Stofer nibbled around the edge of their complaint. I think the main concern is that it can be, in effect, pirated. Say I buy the MLB package. My buddy, who's moved from Michigan to Colorado, buys a Slingbox and we hook it up to my service as the "home" location. He can now watch his Tiger games to his heart's content and not pay a penny for the MLB package. Of course, if the powers that be at MLB would take their heads out of their asses, they'd design a system that's fan friendly where you can buy access to whatever games you want, with the participating teams getting a cut of the action. Black out the area within a REASONABLE drive of the stadium to protect ticket sales. Otherwise, leave the fans to their fun. Let's face it. My buddy isn't likely to make the trip to Detroit from the western foothills of the Rockies, but if he could buy an MLB package that gave him the content he wanted, it would make more sense than spending the money on a Slingbox anyway.

posted by ctal1999 at 12:18 AM on June 03

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