May 21, 2010

Dear MLBTV: I've Paid You. Why Won't You Show The Entire Game?

Why is it so difficult for MLB to show baseball games on MLBTV?

It seems simple enough to me. MLB has access to and makes available on its website the home and away broadcasts of every game. Fans who have paid subscriptions can log in and choose which game(s) they want to watch. In theory, it's similar to turning on your television, picking a certain channel, and watching a show. You expect the station to be competent enough to broadcast the entire program.

But it's never that easy with MLB, is it?

I was watching the NESN broadcast of Friday night's Red Sox/Phillies game. I wanted to watch the entire game -- after all, that's what I paid for (and what MLB promised me in its advertising) -- but I did not see 14 pitches of the game. I missed three entire at-bats.

Here is what MLB was unable to show me:
first 5 pitches of the bottom of the 1st (which included Rollins' ground out to first)

first 5 pitches of the top of the 3rd (McDonald's entire at-bat/single)

first 3 pitches of the bottom of the 5th (including Utley's 1-3 ground out)
I am also counting as missed the first pitch to Youkilis in the top of the 7th, which was joined in progress already halfway to the plate. There were also several instances when the broadcast came back on a fraction of a second before the pitcher began his windup for his first pitch of the half-inning.

The first inning snafu happened because MLB was rerunning the commercial for Yahoo! it had just finished showing. The other times there was only the "in a commercial break" screen; nothing was being shown. There was no reason for any delay. MLB simply could not get its act together and turn the game back on when the next half-inning began.

How can MLB be so incompetent? Because most fans have no other choice. It is MLBTV or nothing. And from looking at the Feedback Forum at, the inability to show games is a huge problem for MLB.

Long-time readers will remember my previous issues with MLB, but my problem with the Red Sox game last night is small potatoes to what "n1ghtfox" experienced last Friday, May 14:
Instead of watching MY Atlanta Braves make a comeback and score 4 runs on 2 HR's to tie the game in the bottom of the 7th, I have been watching the Commercial Break screen for the last 20-30 minutes. This is ridiculous and unacceptable. ...

I know that it is in the commercial loop and not my connection being frozen because the commercial screen has the seams of the baseball moving, which doesn't happen when it is frozen...

I am sick and tired of these kinds of issues. Going to commercials the second the ball hits the glove for the 3rd out in an inning. Coming back to the game with 1 out and a 1-1 count on the second batter ... missing actual game time is absolutely unacceptable as a customer who PAYS to see the games ...

Who is responsible for clicking the button to change from game to commercial and back? Why are they so inept at their job? Is it laziness? Do they just not care? Is this acceptable to whoever is in charge?

I want some answers!
Two days later, an MLB moderator answered [sic]:
Try retrieving the broadcast from our media center ... If you experience a long commercial break, please jump to the next inning using the DVR functionality. I apologize for the inconvenience.
If you are referring to watching the game AFTER it's over so as not to miss any innings, I hope you realize how ridiculous of a suggestion that is ...
Not to mention that most of the time, the missing footage isn't added to the archived games anyway - the huge break will still be there ...
I'll be calling MLB -- 1-866-800-1275 -- in the morning to tell them about my problem. I also started a thread in MLB's Feedback Forum. As I noted, there is no other way for most fans to see these games, so MLB doesn't have to do anything about it. It knows we have no choice. I expect nothing productive from my thread, but at least it shows another person is sick of MLB treating its paying customers like shit.


mattymatty said...

I had the same problems and I always assumed it was my browser or connection or something. In short I agree. Its ridiculous and there is no good reason that they can't show every pitch.

There is another option though not everyone has it. For more money (but not that much more than the $120 MLB.TV charges) you can get the Extra Innings package which has the added bonus of never switching from the feed so you never miss anything. This only works if you already have cable though because otherwise its prohibitively expensive.

laura k said...

Monopolies suck. I'm glad you're helping to publicize MLB's lousy service. Again.