Archive for the ‘MLB Network’ Category

The problems with the MLB Network are well understood. The ratings are poor and the programming is spotty. Rather than doing more of the above, four and a half minutes of didactic baseball greatness, the programming on MLBN seems to alternate between a braying scab in a Guy Fieri costume GOT HEEMing and lists on lists on lists on lists.

Which is a shame, as this segment with Baseball Prospectus editor Ben Lindbergh is tremendous. I mean, treeeeeeeeeemendous. Ben knows his stuff, host Brian Kenny is engaged and the video accompaniment visually hammers the point — that Jose Molina saves copious runs with his next-level pitch framing — home convincingly and efficiently. The former player segment with long-time pro Dave Valle is an invaluable yin to Ben’s learned baseball nerd* yang.

Kudos, everyone at Clubhouse Confidential and great job to Ben. Stuff like this makes me eagerly await the inevitable disappointment of MLB Network Canada. Not allowing the embedded video to play on Getting Blanked (South Park reference goes here) is a serious buzz kill, however. This is why we can’t have nice things, MLBN!

* – said with love, respect, and no small amount of envy.

As per an official release from the Network, all of humanity is expected in Secaucus, New Jersey next Wednesday. The occasion? The Hall of Fame announcement, of course!

The Network is going all-in on Hall of Fame coverage, basically devoting the entire day to covering an event which may or may not have any actual selections.

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In Ottawa on Wednesday, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission approved an application from Rogers Communications to broadcast the MLB Network in Canada. The network will be included as a cable option in the near future as part of the nation’s non-Canadian programming.

You might think that such news would bring great rejoicing to the halls of a Canadian baseball blog’s offices. Flutes of sparkling maple syrup for everyone! However, the upcoming availability of the MLB Network is much like the Final Destination movie franchise – a great premise best suited to remaining theoretical. The grape you can’t reach is always the sweetest, and in our imaginations, a television network devoted to baseball is great. In practice, the MLB Network is largely unwatchable.

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The MLB Network In Canada

According to several reports, Rogers Communications has applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to bring the MLB Network to Canada.  The application will be open to comment on Canada’s broadcast regulator’s website until the middle of July, but there shouldn’t be any problems with the content considering that the CRTC has previously authorized single-sport channels like the NFL Network, the Golf Channel and Speed for Canadian distribution.

The most surprising element of this news is actually that something along these lines hasn’t happened sooner. It was previously assumed that any hesitancy on Rogers part to bring the MLB Network to Canada was rooted in the corporation’s inability to monetize it to the fullest. That’s why they instead licensed “Baseball TV” back in August of 2009, with the idea that they could combine purchased content from the MLB Network packaged with Toronto Blue Jays and other Canadian baseball content. An agreement couldn’t be reached between MLB and Rogers, and the licence for the channel remained suspended until it expired last year.

At any point since MLB Network’s inception in 2009, Rogers could have attempted to bring the network to Canada, but the corporation remained unlikely to provide the channel to its subscribers without direct equity in it, as it already owned so much of the baseball content being shown on our televisions. This was a major factor in negotiations between the company and the network essentially going nowhere.

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This scary little tidbit comes via our fearless leader here at palatial Score Towers. After some follow-up, the man who makes the decisions learned that number is last in all of cable, not just sports. Ouch.

As one might expect, the average Getting Blankard pines openly and loudly for MLB Network to make inroads into our home and native land. Many hands wrung at the One Mount Pleasant suits that hold out on us, the deprived baseball fan longing for an outlet. Perhaps those suits are not so out to lunch, after all.

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The United States of America is a wonderful place. Full of wonder and hope and people who really (really!) love being American, more than they love just about anything.

Today is my first day back at work after a week in lovely southern Florida. As the greater West Palm Beach area’s streets are…let’s say unfriendly to pedestrians I was forced inside to the warm embrace of television. And that good cable greeted me with open arms! No American broadcaster made me feel more welcome than the vaunted MLB Network. We Canadians don’t know how badly we’re missing out. Sort of.

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