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Baseball's Most Important Map Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 27 February 2010 13:28

MLB Blackout Map

MLB's blackout map is a confusing case of
overlapping territories.
(CLICK TO SEE IN LARGER VIEW)

There are two maps that MLB guards as their most precious. One is based on the operating territory for each club in the league, as defined by the MLB Constitution (see page 14 - PDF). These territories outline how close clubs can be next to each other. For example, the Brewers claim Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties in Wisconsin.

The other map for MLB pertains to their broadcast territories. This is the map you should be interested in if you have MLB Extra Innings or an MLB.TV subscription. Why? Because it is how MLB determines its blackout policy.

If you click on the image above, you’ll see that territories often overlap. If you’re in Las Vegas, 6 teams (Giants, A’s, Angels, Dodgers, Padres, and Diamondbacks) claim the location. This can create all kinds of grief for someone that purchases one of MLB’s out-of-market packages only to find that they’re not “getting all the action”. Whether it’s television, your computer, your iPhone or iPod Touch, you can find during the week that games available elsewhere are blacked out for you depending on location.

And, the broadcast map goes completely blank on the weekends. That’s because FOX on Saturdays and ESPN on Sundays have national exclusivity agreements.

Every Saturday, from 1:10 PM ET or before 7:05 PM ET, all games are blacked out on FOX, which typically broadcasts one game starting at 3:55 Eastern. That means in a six-hour window in which games are being played, you can watch two games at most--the FOX game and your local team if it's playing on TV in that window and isn't the game being carried on FOX. On Sundays, ESPN holds the rights to night games, so any games that start after 5 p.m. ET are blacked out. In practice, this only affects a handful of games, as almost all Sunday games are played in the daytime. TBS airs 26 Sunday afternoon games this year which are blacked out in local markets.

And there are national blackouts on television for beyond those two heavy hitters.

Since TBS is now a national partner, they can air an alternate game in areas that see blackouts, and as many as 13 of any single team. So those of you in Boston and New York may barely be aware of TBS' arrangement by the end of the season.

MLB Network has games on Thursday and often times Saturday. For those games, there are blackouts in each team’s home television territory. Viewers in areas subject to blackouts are provided with an alternate game telecast or other programming.

As to whether you’re expecting a change for MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV and that crazy map, don’t expect it this season, although there’s always an outside chance. Going on four years, MLB has said that they were looking to make adjustments to the territories to try and at least lessen some of the restrictions in areas where clubs have not been broadcasting for years. So, someone in Montana might soon find that Mariners games are not blacked out. As of now, the status quo is still in place, with no change in sight.

TO FIND OUT WHICH CLUB OR CLUBS YOU MAY BE BLACKED OUT FROM, SEE THE BOTTOM OF THE MLB.TV PAGE (LOOK FOR THE "GO" BUTTONS)


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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MLB Network Releases Complete 78 Game Spring Training Broadcast Schedule Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 26 February 2010 12:01

MLB NetworkMLB Network on Thursday announced its Spring Training game schedule, which will include 78 games featuring 45 live games and all 30 Major League clubs at least three times.  MLB Network’s Spring Training game schedule begins on Tuesday, March 2 at 1:00 p.m. ET with the Atlanta Braves at New York Mets live from Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie , FL. On March 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET, MLB Network will air a rematch of the 2009 World Series as the defending champion New York Yankees face the Philadelphia Phillies. All games will be carriage of local telecasts, including local announcers. MLB Tonight, MLB Network’s signature studio show during the regular season, returns live every weekday on Monday, March 1 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

“Spring Training games are the first chance to see how the Clubs revamped during the offseason,” said Tony Petitti, president and CEO of MLB Network. “With 78 Spring Training games on our schedule this year, in addition to our 30 Clubs in 30 Days series, MLB Network will provide the most comprehensive coverage for fans to catch up on their teams before Opening Day."

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE THE FULL MLB NETWORK SPRING TRAINING BROADCAST SCHEDULE

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Quotes from Mark McGwire's Interview with Bob Costas Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 11 January 2010 21:41

McGwire

The following are quotes from Mark McGwire’s emotional television interview with MLB Network’s Bob Costas that took place live today at 7:00 p.m. ET about McGwire’s admission of using performance enhancing drugs during his career. The exclusive interview was the first television interview granted by McGwire since he admitted using PEDs in a statement earlier today.

Highlights of the interview are below:

ON WHEN EXACTLY HE USED STEROIDS:

“I believe it was the winter of 1989 into 1990. I was given a couple of week’s worth, tried it, never thought anything of it. I just moved on from it. But as far as using it on a consistent basis, it was the winter of 1993 into 1994.”

ON WHETHER HE THINKS HE WOULD STILL HAVE PERFORMED AS WELL WITHOUT STEROIDS:

“I truly believe so. I believe I was given this gift. The only reason I took steroids was for my health purposes. I did not take steroids to get any gain for any strength purposes… I’ve always had bat speed. I just learned how to shorten my bat speed. I learned how to be a better hitter. There’s not a pill or an injection that is going to give me -- or any athlete -- the hand-eye coordination to hit a baseball. A pill or an injection will not hit a baseball.”

ON EXACTLY WHAT PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUGS HE TOOK:

“The names I don’t remember. But I did injectables. I preferred the orals. The steroids I did were on a very low dosage. I didn’t want to take a lot of it. I took very, very low dosages, just because I wanted my body to feel normal. The wear and tear of 162 ballgames and the status of where I was at, and the pressures that I had to perform, and what I had to go through to try and get through all these injuries, it’s a very, very regrettable thing.”

ON REGRETTING HIS STEROID USE:

“I wish it never came into my life. But we’re sitting here talking about it. I’m so sorry that I have to. I apologize to everybody at Major League Baseball, my family, the Marises, Bud Selig… Today was the hardest day of my life.”

ON CALLING ROGER MARIS’ WIDOW THIS MORNING:

“Well, I think she was shocked that I called her. I felt good…I felt that it was…that I needed to do that. They’ve been great supporters of mine. She was disappointed. She has every right to be. And I couldn’t tell her how so sorry I was.”

ON THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE 2005 CONGRESSIONAL HEARING:

“So, 2005…Flying back there…I was ready, willing, and prepared to talk about this. I wanted to talk about this. I wanted to get this off my chest… My lawyers, Mark Bierbower and Marty Steinberg -- I meet them back there. We talked about the situation. Marty, a former federal prosecutor, laid out a couple of scenarios. ‘If you go out there, and talk about this without protection, there’s a very good chance of a possible prosecution, or grand jury testimonies.’ So, we talk to – we were in meetings downstairs with Congressman Waxman, and… Congressman Davis… my lawyers were downstairs trying to get immunity for me. I wanted to talk. I kept telling myself, ‘I want to get this off my chest.’ Well, we didn’t get immunity. So here I am in a situation where I have two scenarios, where a possible prosecution or possible grand jury testimonies. Well you know what happens when there’s a prosecution? You bring in your whole family, you bring in your whole friends, you bring in ex-teammates, coaches, anybody that’s surrounding you. How the heck am I gonna to bring those people in for some stupid act that I did? So you know what I did? We agreed to not talk about the past. And it was not enjoyable to do that, Bob.

ON HIS TESTIMONY BEFORE CONGRESS IN 2005:

“I’m gonna tell you right now, standing up there – or sitting up there, listening, the Hooten family or the other families behind me that lost their loved ones… And every time that I kept on saying “I’m not talking about the past,” I hear these moans. It was killing me. I was not gonna lie. I was not going to lie. I wanted to tell the truth, but because of the position I was in; to protect my family, to protect me, I decided that I would take the hits. I think anybody’s going to take the hits. I’ve been taking hits for five years…doesn’t feel very good.”

ON THE HALL OF FAME:

“I’m not here doing this for the Hall of Fame. I’m doing this for me, to get this off my chest. I played this game of baseball because I was given the ability to play. If I’m lucky enough to get in there, that’s just icing on the cake. But I played this game because I loved it.”

ON WHAT HE’D TELL CARDINALS PLAYERS ABOUT STEROIDS:

“It was the stupidest thing I ever did. There’s no reason to even go down that road. It’s an illusion. And look what I have to do. I‘m sitting here by a stupid mistake.”

ON POTENTIALLY BEING FORGIVEN BY FANS AND OTHERS:

“Well, I’m asking for a second chance. I hope they give it to me. Because you know, I have a lot to offer. I have a whole rolodex of things that I love to teach hitters, and I can’t wait to get to spring training. I can’t wait to teach, and it’s just, it’s always been a passion of mine so it just came to a head this last October when Tony sent me a text to see if I’d consider being a hitting coach.”

Source: MLB Network


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BOB COSTAS TO INTERVIEW MARK McGWIRE AT 7PM ET ON MLB NETWORK Print
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Monday, 11 January 2010 16:52

Mark McGwire

MLB Network’s Bob Costas will have an exclusive in-depth television interview with Mark McGwire tonight on MLB Network live at 7:00 p.m. ET about McGwire’s admission of using performance enhancing drugs during his career.  This is the first television interview granted by McGwire since he admitted using PEDs in a statement earlier today.

Following the exclusive interview, MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian, Mitch Williams, Joe Magrane, Tom Verducci and Ken Rosenthal will discuss their reactions to the conversation.  Costas will provide reaction from location in California and MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds and Peter Gammons will also provide commentary.

Source: MLB Network


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Peter Gammons' MLB Network Debut on Weds. Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 04 January 2010 12:57

Peter GammonsHall of Fame award-winning baseball writer Peter Gammons will make his debut on MLB Network with the 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Election announcement show on Wednesday, January 6. MLB Network’s Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, Matt Vasgersian, Tom Verducci, Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal and National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson will also be part of the 90-minute announcement show beginning live at 1:00 p.m. ET. Gammons, Costas, Reynolds, Vasgersian, Verducci, Heyman and Rosenthal will then recap of the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot results with the hour-long show Class of 2010 at 9:00 p.m. ET. This will be the first time that Gammons, a baseball journalist for 40 years, and Costas, a 30-year sports broadcasting veteran, will work together.

Also on Wednesday, Victor Rojas, Dan Plesac, Sean Casey and Jon Heyman will cover the latest updates and moves all 30 clubs are making and planning in preparation for the upcoming season with Hot Stove, MLB Network’s nightly studio show in the offseason, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Following Hot Stove, MLB Network will air the premiere of Baseball’s Seasons: 1959 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The documentary-style series, created by Major League Baseball Productions, will feature the most memorable moments of the 1959 Major League Baseball season. The episode covers the Go-Go Chicago White Sox and their quest to top the New York Yankees in the American League; the adjustment of the Dodgers to the team’s new home in Los Angeles; the debut of Maury Wills and the emergence of future Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale; the two-time defending NL Pennant winners Milwaukee Braves with Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews and pitchers Lew Burdette and Warren Spahn; and the World Series between the Dodgers and the White Sox. As Baseball’s Seasons examines each year in the context of the time’s culture and society, the 1959 episode highlights integration throughout the United States in comparison with integration in Major League Baseball, who had seen the debut of Jackie Robinson twelve years earlier.

Source: MLB Network


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In MLB Network, MLB.com Gammons Looks Forward to Baseball-Only Platform Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 14:54

GammonsWith the addition of Peter Gammons to MLB.com and MLB Network on Tuesday, the league-owned platforms continue to draw in some of the highest caliber on-air personalities in the business of sports media.

As was the case with Bob Costas joining the then fledgling network in Feb., the allure of giving the talent input into the content has been key.

After the announcement yesterday of Gammons leaving ESPN and joining MLB.com and MLB Network, Gammons, MLB Network President and CEO Tony Petitti, and MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman addressed the media.

While Gammons said he was was exceptionally grateful for his 20 years at ESPN, he added that he was flattered to join MLB.com and MLB Network citing the ability to be on a baseball-only platform. Gammons said he looked forward to bring more awareness to the personality of the players.

“I think we've become jaundiced when it comes to the players,” said Gammons. “I love the players and look forward to covering that side of the game.”

The conversation about Gammons coming over to the MLB platforms was said to have started in the Fall.

With the first anniversary of MLB Network coming on Jan. 1, the league-owned network is now in a position where there is a steady stream of original content. With MLB.com having such a strong online video presence and MLB Network settling in, Bowman and Petitti said that there would be more of MLB Network streaming online in 2010.


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Winter Meetings Buzz: After Leaving ESPN, Gammons to Join MLB Network Print
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Tuesday, 08 December 2009 19:51

GammonsOne of the biggest stories at the Baseball Winter Meetings here in Indianapolis had nothing to do with players, and everything to do with the media that covers it.

The announcement of Peter Gammons leaving ESPN after 20 years was the buzz throughout the halls here at the Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

While Gammons cited family reasons, rumors circulated that Gammons would not be out of the media business for long.

Word came late on Tuesday, and is now confirmed by The Associated Press that Gammons will be joining MLB Network, with an announcement possibly as early as Wednesday. If true, Gammons will be yet another industry icon landed by the league-owned network that saw Bob Costas added to their on-air talent roster in early February of this year.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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MLB Owners Meetings: Extra Innings Blackout Update #8,265 Print
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 12:44

BlackoutTomorrow, MLB’s 30 owners will begin holding their final set of meetings of the year at the Chicago O'Hare Hilton, the same location that MLB’s general managers just recently met at.

What to expect out of the two days of meetings? For you fans, possible lower ticket prices, which is good news. Beyond that, not much.

The agenda will be light with the focus being the economy, economy, economy. That translates to ticket prices, what has been working (and not working) for the clubs during the recession, and well… not a whole lot more.

For those that keep hoping that the blackout territories for MLB Extra Innings will be addressed, that doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.

And, for those that wondered whether in-market streaming of games might be the mode by which MLB never addresses the MLB Extra Innings issue, at least there is some signs that on the face of it, that model may not be as lucrative as expected.

Last week’s SportsBusiness Journal noted that the landmark “Yankees on YES” deal between the Yankees, Cablevision, and MLBAM to stream games in the New York market was less than optimal. With only 6,000 subscribers at $49.95 for half the season garnered approx. $300,000 – small potatoes when you factor in that the revenues were being split up between the principles in the deal, with the lion’s share going to MLBAM.

“No matter how you slice it, 6,000 subscribers off of a base of 3.1 million is a tiny take-up rate,” one RSN executive said, referencing the total number of New York-area customers who subscribe to Cablevision, Verizon and Blue Ridge.

<snip>

The San Diego Padres also rolled out in-market streaming this season, in partnership with Cox Communications, but sources branded the purchasing for those games as minimal, falling below even 1,000 users.

Back to the MLB Extra Innings black out issue… Odds seem exceptionally high that a year from now, the topic will still be on the owners’ plate. It’s been over 3 years now since MLB talked of addressing the issue, so the notion of “4 years” does not seem a far off.


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Costas Interview with Ernie Harwell: "This will be my last World Series, I think" Print
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Thursday, 12 November 2009 15:58

Harwell

MLB Network’s Studio 42 with Bob Costas will debut an interview with longtime Detroit Tigers play-by-play announcer and Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell on Tuesday, November 17 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Throughout the interview, Harwell, 91, discusses his 55-year career in broadcasting with the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers, as well as the incurable cancer he was diagnosed with in September 2009. At the interview’s close, Harwell recites the speech he gave upon being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on August 2, 1981. A preview of the interview, which will re-air on November 17 at 10:00 p.m. ET, can be seen here.

Prior to the interview, MLB Network will air Hot Stove, its live studio show in the offseason with updates and analysis of the moves all 30 clubs are making and planning in preparation for the upcoming season, at 6:00 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. ET/PT. Following the interview, MLB Network will re-air Studio 42 with Bob Costas featuring Major League Baseball umpires Don Denkinger, Bruce Froemming and Steve Palermo at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Highlights from the interview with Harwell include:

ON HIS HEALTH

This will be my last World Series, I think. Back in July, the doctors gave me six months to live, give or take a few months. I’m hoping to reach my birthday on January 25 but I’m pretty sure I won’t make the baseball season. But you never know as the Lord works wonders.

I’m not overwhelmed by the circumstances. One of the doctors said, “If you were my father, I’d say, don’t do anything, just relax and wait for the inevitable.” But I had great peace about that and closure to it and I knew God was in charge and whatever happens, happens for the best. I really have a lot of serenity and great support from my wife family and friends. It’s been so far a fairly easy task to accept it.

ON RETURNING TO COMERICA PARK ON SEPTEMBER 16

That was a great event for me. First of all, I addressed the team, which was a real honor. Jim Leyland had the whole team around. And after a couple innings, they sent me out there with a microphone and I said a few words of farewell. It was very heartwarming for me to see the way people felt about me.

The old voice hasn’t changed that much in 50 years and I thank mainly the genes, the good health the Lord gave me, and the fact I enjoyed the job so much. I never looked at it as work. It was something I got great pleasure out of; Getting to know the people in baseball, traveling with them, and being a part of that great Major League Baseball fraternity.

ON SUPPORT FROM FANS

I don’t think there’s any reason for this response except that I was the Tiger announcer. I showed up and did the best I could. I tried to be myself and my whole philosophy was the game was the main thing and don’t ever interfere with the game. People tune in to what the Tigers are doing. No matter whose doing the game, they’re going to tune in.

ON BEING A LOCAL MLB ANNOUNCER

I do feel like those people out there were my friends and I hope I was their friend. It is a unique association that you have with your listener. I really appreciate the fact that they’ve taken interest in me. I don’t know that I deserve that. All I tried to do was be myself. I wanted to broadcast the game that I thought I’d like to hear as a listener. I tried to give the score as often as I could. I let the play take over and fill in with anecdotes or historical information that maybe nobody else came up with. There were going to be some people who like you and some who don’t like you and you have to accept that when you start out.

On MOVING FROM THE SEGREGATE SOUTH TO BROOKLYN IN 1948

It was a little strange seeing a black man play against white competition. I accepted it and Jackie Robinson became a very good friend of mine. I played cards with him, played golf with him, rode the train with him. It’s the most exciting and most eventful thing that’s happened in sports history, the breaking of the color line by Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey.

ON LEAVING BALTIMORE IN 1960 AND TAKING THE JOB WITH THE DETROIT TIGERS

So I made the jump and it was probably the best move I ever made because the people in Michigan have really been super. They’re great fans, it’s an original franchise, and they have a great passion for baseball.

Source: MLB Network


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MLB Network Adds Aaron Boone As Guest Analyst for ALCS Print
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Thursday, 15 October 2009 11:30

Aaron BooneTo complement the ALCS between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 2003 ALCS hero Aaron Boone, will serve as a guest analyst for MLB Network from October 19-21. Tomorrow, October 16, marks the six year anniversary of Boone’s walk-off homerun for the Yankees against the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS and MLB Network will air this All-Time Game in its entirety on Saturday, October 17 at 10:30 a.m. and Tuesday, October 20 at 1:30 p.m. EST.

Aaron Boone played for Houston this year, just five months after undergoing open heart surgery to replace a bicuspid aortic valve. Boone has enjoyed a 12 year Major League career with the Reds, Yankees, Indians, Marlins, Nationals and Astros highlighted by an appearance in the 2003 MLB All-Star Game.

Source: MLB Network


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MLB Network Adds Millar, Pena, Aaron Boone for Postseason Games Print
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Tuesday, 06 October 2009 14:23

MLB NetworkMLB Network today announced that current MLB players Kevin Millar, Carlos Pena and Aaron Boone will serve as guest analysts on MLB Tonight as the network plans for 100 hours of live postseason coverage throughout the month of October. MLB Network will provide extended coverage today, October 6, with Path to the Pennant: Postseason Preview at 4:00 p.m. ET and following the Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins division tiebreaker.

Guest analysts will begin October 7 through 9 with Millar, first baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays, who was part of the 2004 Boston Red Sox that won the team’s first World Series in 86 years. Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Pena, who faced the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 World Series, will appear on MLB Tonight October12 and 13 and Houston Astros third baseman Boone, who hit one of the most memorable home runs in MLB Postseason history as part of the 2003 New York Yankees, will appear from October 19-21.

MLB Tonight will feature daily one- and two-hour pre-game shows analyzing all of the day’s games. Following every game, MLB Network will feature Path to the Pennant with highlights, updates and press conference coverage and lead into MLB Tonight which will recap the day’s events and preview all the games ahead from MLB Network’s Studio 3 with MLB Network reporters on-site with each club for player interviews and behind-the-scenes updates. On off-days during the postseason, MLB Tonight will come on for two hours starting at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Throughout the month, MLB Network will air episodes of All-Time Games to complement the Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series. During the Division Series, MLB Network will air some of the great All-Time Division Series games, including the Marlins walk-off win against the Giants in Game Three of the 2003 N.L.D.S. During the League Championship Series, MLB Network will feature some of the All-Time League Championship Series games, including Aaron Boone’s walk-off home run for the New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox in Game Seven of the 2003 A.L.C.S. During the World Series, MLB Network will feature some of the great All-Time World Series games, including the Tigers clinching victory against the Padres in Game Five of the 1984 World Series and the entire 1969 World Series between the Orioles and Mets. Beginning on Thursday, October 8, MLB Network will also air every episode of World Series Highlights beginning with 1943 and running chronologically for three weeks through the 1999 World Series.

“We are very excited to welcome Kevin, Carlos and Aaron into our studios to gain their unique perspectives on postseason baseball,” said MLB Network President and CEO Tony Petitti. “As we enter our first postseason, we want to be the fans’ destination before and after each game. We’ll take the time to go in depth into the day’s stories and showcase some of the game’s most memorable postseason moments with All-Time Games and World Series Highlights.”

Source: MLB Network


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MLB Network to Air Critical White Sox - Tigers Game Print
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Sunday, 04 October 2009 11:16

MLB NetworkMLB Network today announced it will provide extended coverage of the last day of the regular season with MLB Tonight starting at 12:00 p.m. ET and lead into the Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers at 1:00 p.m. ET from Comerica Park. The Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins are tied for first place in the American League Central Division heading into today's play.

MLB Tonight will follow the game live and air through 9:00 p.m. ET with Victor Rojas, Greg Amsinger, Barry Larkin, Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter, Joe Magrane, Dan Plesac and Jon Heyman recapping the pennant races and previewing the postseason matchups. MLB Network's Matt Yallof will be reporting from Detroit while Trenni Kusnierek will be reporting from Minnesota .

The White Sox @ Tigers Game, which will be blacked out in the White Sox and Tigers' home television territories, will be a simulcast of the Fox Sports Detroit local broadcast, including local announcers. MLB Network viewers in the White Sox and Tigers home television territories will be provided with alternate programming.

MLB Network's postseason coverage continues on October 5 and 6 with Path to the Pennant: Postseason Preview at 6:00 p.m. ET in advance of the Division Series starting on Wednesday, October 7.

Source: MLB Network


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With Start Time Moved, No National Blackout For Major League Baseball Print
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Sunday, 27 September 2009 12:22

ESPN Sunday Night BaseballFor those that follow the Jewish religion, today marks Yom Kippur -- the Day of Atonement -- the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. And, because of Yom Kippur, MLB and ESPN moved the start time of today's Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game in New York from 8:00 p.m. (EDT) to 1:00 p.m. (EDT).

Each week, as part of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball agreement with MLB, ESPN has an exclusive window in which games on baseball’s out-of-market packages (MLB Extra Innings for television, and MLB.TV for computer and mobile devices) are blacked out nationally. How does moving the start time impact the agreement?

Patrick Courtney, a spokesperson for Major League Baseball, said early this month that for today's game the national blackout restriction will be lifted, meaning that all games played on Sunday will be available for MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV.

Just how many times before has the national blackout policy been lifted? It is believed that due to the time start shift for today's game at Yankee Stadium, in observance of Yom Kippur, the lifting of the blackout policy is a first.


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MLB Network to Air "Wired For Baseball" Print
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Friday, 11 September 2009 12:26

MLB NetworkHow many "Cowboy Up" references will there be in the ALCS footage? If Lasorda were wearing a mic, the censors would have had a field day.

MLB Network will televise the premiere of Major League Baseball Productions Wired for Baseball on Sunday, September 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Kevin Millar, the show focuses on the behind-the-scene sounds of the game that have been recorded thanks to players wearing wireless microphones. Wired for Baseball takes an inside look at conversations exchanged among players and coaches during Spring Training, All-Star week and the Post Season throughout the past five seasons, including Millar during the 2004 American League Championship Series, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder.

The show also contains vintage clips of MLB Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Jimmie Fox, Tommy Lasorda, Yogi Berra and Ted Williams as well as footage of Cal Ripken Jr., wearing a wireless microphone during his final All-Star Game in 2001.

Wired for Baseball will re-air on MLB Network on Wednesday, September 16 at 5:00 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 27 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Source: MLB Network


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MLB Network Announces Sept. Live Game Schedule Print
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Wednesday, 09 September 2009 09:34

MLB NetworkMLB Network today announced its live game schedule for September 10-12, beginning with the Cincinnati Reds at Colorado Rockies at 3:00 p.m. ET on September 10, as part of Thursday Afternoon Baseball. The game, which is not scheduled to be broadcast locally in Cincinnati , will be aired on MLB Network in the Reds’ home television territory as a simulcast of the Fox Sports Rocky Mountain feed. The game will be blacked out in the Rockies’ home television territory and viewers in the area subject to blackouts will be provided with alternate programming.

On Friday, September 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET, MLB Network will air Team USA  vs. Germany from Regensburg , Germany  as part of Round One of the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup, followed by an N.L. West showdown between the Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants at 10:00 p.m. ET with Matt Vasgersian and Clint Hurdle calling the game. The Dodgers @ Giants game will also be available in Spanish via SAP, called by announcer Clemson Smith Muniz. Saturday Night Baseball will showcase the Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants at 9:00 p.m. ET on September 12.

MLB Network’s complete live game schedule for September 10-12 is:

  • Thursday, September 10, 3:00 p.m. ET Reds @ Rockies
  • Friday, September 11, 1:00 p.m. ET Team USA @ Germany , 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup
  • Friday, September 11, 10:00 p.m. ET Dodgers @ Giants – Matt Vasgersian and Clint Hurdle
  • Saturday, September 12, 9:00 p.m. ET Dodgers @ Giants

On September 11, MLB Network will air HBO Sports’ film Nine Innings from Ground Zero at 4:30 p.m. ET. Focusing on the 2001 World Series matchup between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks and produced in association with MLB Productions, the documentary looks at how baseball helped New York and the rest of the nation begin to recover in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Emmy-nominated film will re-air on MLB Network on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13.

For games on September 11, “God Bless America ” will be played at each ballpark during the seventh-inning stretch. Major League Baseball will also continue its second year of national fundraising and awareness initiatives for Welcome Back Veterans, a program which addresses the mental health and job needs of returning American Veterans. During Friday’s games, all Major League Baseball Clubs will wear special “Stars & Stripes” caps. The caps will have the American flag etched into the team’s logo and will be red in color (the Toronto Blue Jays hat will incorporate a Maple Leaf design instead of the “Stars & Stripes”).

Additional live games will be announced coinciding with MLB Network’s selection windows. The Thursday Afternoon Baseball and Saturday Night Baseball games will be simulcasts of local broadcasts, including local announcers. Games will be blacked out in each team's home television territory. Viewers in areas subject to blackouts will be provided with alternate programming. MLB Network will continue to announce additional programming for the month of September as well as future live games coinciding with its selection windows.

Source: MLB Network


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Weekend Means National Blackouts for MLB Extra Innings, MLB.TV Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 05 September 2009 12:08

BlackoutsEach weekend, our log files get filled with the search words, and our in-box overflows on this topic: “MLB Extra Innings blackout” or “MLB.TV blackout”. While the timeframe is different for each day, on Saturdays for FOX and Sundays for ESPN, Major League Baseball negotiated exclusivity agreements in which all games on MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV are blacked out.

Also, TBS and MLB Network show alternate games, if you are in a blackout territory (see a map of MLB’s television blackout territories)

As noted above, the country is blacked out due to agreements with FOX, ESPN, and alternate games for TBS and MLB Network. Here’s how that breaks down:

Every Saturday, from 1:10 PM ET or before 7:05 PM ET, all games are blacked out due to an exclusivity agreement with FOX, which typically broadcasts one game starting at 3:55 Eastern. That means in a six-hour window in which games are being played, you can watch two games at most--the FOX game and your local team if it's playing on TV in that window and isn't the game being carried on FOX. On Sundays, ESPN holds the rights to night games, so any games that start after 5 p.m. ET are blacked out. In practice, this only affects a handful of games, as almost all Sunday games are played in the daytime. TBS airs 26 Sunday afternoon games this year which are blacked out in local markets--TBS can air an alternate game in those areas, and as many as 13 of any single team. So those of you in Boston and New York may barely be aware of TBS' arrangement by the end of the season.

MLB Network has games on Thursday and often times Saturday. For those games, there are blackouts in each team’s home television territory. Viewers in areas subject to blackouts are provided with an alternate game telecast or other programming.

How long will these blackouts be in place? At the very least, it will be 2013. FOX and TBS, who negotiated their broadcast agreements in July of 2006, while ESPN negotiated their deal in Sept. of 2005.


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Time Change for Red Sox/Yankees Game on Yom Kippur Means National Blackout Lifted Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 04 September 2009 01:40
Sunday Night Baseball

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball and ESPN agreed to move the start time of the September 27th Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game in New York from 8:00 p.m. (EDT) to 1:00 p.m. (EDT) so as to not conflict with Yom Kippur. The game is part of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball agreement with MLB that allows ESPN to have an exclusive window in which games on baseball’s out-of-market packages (MLB Extra Innings for television, and MLB.TV for computer and mobile devices) are blacked out nationally.

During ESPN’s normal broadcast schedule, all games on MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV are blacked out that begin after 5:00 p.m. (EDT). So, how does moving the start time up to 1:00 p.m. (EDT) for the game on Yom Kippur impact the exclusivity agreement and the blackouts?

Patrick Courtney, a spokesperson for Major League Baseball, said late Thursday that on Sept. 27th, the national blackout restriction will be lifted, meaning that all games played on Sunday will be available for MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV.

Just how many times before has the national blackout policy been lifted? It is believed that the game that will be played early on Sunday afternoon on the 27th in observance of Yom Kippur is a first.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Will In-Market Streaming Model Be How MLB Extra Innings Blackouts Are Addressed? Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 11:45

MLB Blackout Map

MLB's blackout map is a confusing case of
overlapping territories.
(CLICK TO SEE IN LARGER VIEW)

By the time the 2009 MLB season comes to a close, it will have been over two years since MLB President and COO Bob DuPuy said that the baseball was looking into adjusting the league’s arcane and convoluted blackout policy. For years, fans that purchased MLB Extra Innings, the league’s out-of-market television package, have found that “watching all the action” depends greatly on where you live. And even then, exclusivity agreements with FOX and ESPN for weekend games blacks out the subscription service across the country. The adjustment that DuPuy has been lobbying for would have clubs lose a portion of their television territory, if they have not broadcast within it for over a year.

And, it’s not only been MLB Extra Innings. Ostensibly, the same blackout policy impacts MLB.TV and MLB.TV Premium for your computer, or mobile device where games are streamed.

(Select the map provided to see the MLB blackout territories in larger view)

But, this year saw a fundamental shift for those looking to get games “in-market” – areas would normally be blacked.

In mid-June, the Yankees, YES Network, and Cablevision announced a deal, that through a partnership with MLB Advanced Media, would allow fans to catch Yankees games on their computer in their home broadcast territory. The deal was outside of any MLB.TV subscription, coming with a one-time fee of $49.95 for the remainder of the season or $19.95 for any 30-day period, which started on July 8. The Yankees in-market deal was followed a shortly thereafter by a similar deal between Cox Communications and the San Diego Padres.

With the blackout issue for MLB Extra Innings languishing for years, the question becomes, could MLB consider doing something similar for television? At the time of the Yankees in-market streaming deal, the question was posed by DuPuy who said that the streaming model would not be put into place with MLB Extra Innings. Bob Bowman, CEO of MLBAM said that the blackout issue is MLB.com's number one customer service question.

While DuPuy has said that the league intends to address the blackout policy for MLB Extra Innings, if revenues for the in-market streaming deals are decent, it may be all too tempting. to add, say, MLB Extra Innings Seattle for the Mariners.

By adding in-market game availability you are adding revenues, not taking them away, as DuPuy’s proposed plan would have it. Also, DuPuy’s restructuring plan removes only part of the blackout areas, not all. Many fans would still be hit with the Blackout Blues. Adding in-market games for an added sub fee would allow all that are willing to pay extra to see games in their market.

DuPuy has said that MLB still plans to address the MLB Extra Innings blackout issue, but then they have been saying this for years now. With the economy still chilly, the notion of adding revenues through in-market subscriptions, as opposed to only tweaking the blackout territories becomes more tempting by the minute. The next quarterly meetings by the owners is set for Nov. 17-19. With the sale of the Cubs a priority, and the season at end, odds seem exceptionally thin that DuPuy’s blackout changes get addressed… again.

Whether fans are willing to pay for extra for something that many believe should be freely available is a major consideration. While there were quiet rumblings with the Yankees and Padres in-market streaming deals, it seems a certainty that more noise would come out of any similar television package.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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MLB Network to Air "The Eddie Gaedel Story" on Monday Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 29 August 2009 02:09

Eddie GaedelMLB Network will air on Monday, August 31 MLB Network Remembers: The Eddie Gaedel Story, narrated by Bob Costas about 3’7” 65-lb Eddie Gaedel’s at-bat stunt between the Browns and Tigers for an MLB game in St. Louis in 1951. After Browns owner Bill Veeck concocted the idea to boost attendance, St. Louis manager Zach Taylor sent Gaedel, a stunt performer, to the plate to pinch hit for Frank Saucier. Veeck had instructed the diminutive Brownie to crouch low and to not swing his toy-like bat.

The piece includes original interviews with former St. Louis Browns outfielder Roy Sievers, former St. Louis Browns batboy Fred Buchholz, Gaedel’s nephew Bob Gaedel and St. Louis Browns Historian Bill Borst.

The piece will first air between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. ET and re-air throughout the night on MLB Tonight.

Source: MLB Network


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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MLB Network to Air 15 Hours of Trade Deadline Coverage Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 31 July 2009 08:46

MLB NetworkFor those following the trade deadline, MLB Network will have 15 hours of coverageas part of MLB Tonight: Trade Deadline Special, beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET. The network will go live from Studio 3 in its Secaucus, New Jersey headquarters and remain on-air until MLB Tonight is off the air, totaling approximately 15 hours of live coverage.

MLB Network hosts Greg Amsinger, Victor Rojas and Matt Vasgersian will alternate hosting duties with analysis from MLB Network's John Hart, Jon Heyman, Joe Magrane, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci and Mitch Williams. MLB Scouting Bureau Director Frank Marcos and MLB.com senior writer Jonathan Mayo will also join to discuss projected club line-ups and starting rotations, free agents in 2009 and 2010, and what Minor Leaguers may soon become household names. MLB Network reporter Hazel Mae, who is traveling with the Toronto Blue Jays tracking updates on pitcher Roy Halladay through Friday, and MLB Network Baseball Insider Ken Rosenthal will check in throughout the day offering updates and predictions.

MLB Network's Bob Costas will narrate six editions of "MLB Network Remembers," looking back at significant trades in Major League Baseball history, including Hall of Famer Lou Brock's trade to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964. Other editions highlight David Cone's trade to the New York Yankees, Mark McGwire's trade to the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Boston Red Sox trading for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek in 1997.

"The Major League trade deadline generates tremendous interest from baseball fans and we knew it would be important to provide expanded coverage on Friday and throughout this week," said Tony Petitti, President and CEO of MLB Network. "We're looking forward to using all of our resources to give fans the latest updates on each club's trade activity and predict how these trades can affect the second half of the season."

Friday's coverage will also include live streaming on MLB.com from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. ET, use of MLB Network Ballpark Cameras at U.S. Cellular Field, PETCO Park and Busch Stadium for interviews with club managers and players, and graphics with a trade-specific ticker highlighting information about clubs' trade deadline history.

Source: MLB Network


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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