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Stephen Kaus

Stephen Kaus

Posted: July 11, 2006 10:24 PM

New MLB Television Pact is All Bad For Fans


Call me one upset baseball fan.

Not only has my Rotisserie league team dropped into third place, but Major League Baseball has announced that it has extended its contract with FOX until 2013 and has signed up with Turner Sports for Sunday afternoon games, wild card games and Division Series for the same period. Fox will do 26 Saturday games instead of the present 18.

Why is this bad?

1. Tim McCarver. The worst national announcer in the history of baseball will continue to deface broadcasts of Saturday games and post season games. McCarver could not shut up if his life depended on it. The Giants hired him to do a few telecasts and he was run out of town quicker than Crazy Crab. He was fired by both the Mets and the Yankees, but somehow he has stuck at FOX. Joe Buck is passionless and annoying, but McCarver is so bad that one does not realize it. Check out shutup timmccarver.com and the I Hate Tim McCarver Home Page ("Remember, Only YOU can prevent Tim McCarver")

2. Less ESPN. In recent years the Division Playoffs have featured the mad dashes of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan from coast to coast to cover as many Division Series games as possible on ESPN. Even the other ESPN teams are vastly superior to FOX or Turner's present announcers. Now ESPN will no longer be doing Division Series (They have Sunday nights, Mondays and Wednesdays sewed up until 2013). Jon Miller and Joe Morgan are the best informed and funniest national broadcasting team ever. Miler is Hilarious (the highlight of any dull game is his impersonation of Vin Scully announcing in Japanese) and Morgan is well informed and pleasing to listen to.

3. Blackouts. I have not found the new blackout agreement on-line, but presently FOX is able to chase all games off local TV, off the Extra Innings out-of market package and off the Internet from 10 a.m. PDT to 4 p.m. PDT on Saturdays. Will Turner get the same rights on Sunday? At least in L.A. and the Bay Area (actually pretty much every place except Seattle), the local telecasts are vastly superior to FOX or Turner efforts. Even Vin Scully was a sterilized shadow of himself when he did national games on NBC and CBS Radio. Plus, fans want to see their home teams and in two team markets (L.A., N.Y., Chitown, Washington-Baltimore and Bay Area), we get two local games when there is no blackout.

4. No HD. Unless TBS is going HD, the only HD Division Series games could be overflow on TNT.

5. Less Braves. Turner has agreed to remove Braves games from its national feed, meaning 70 fewer national telecasts. I am not a Braves fan, but these telecasts have a certain charm. That being said, MLB has been trying to squash the Braves' cablecasts for years. Ted Turner fought them off, but now Bud Selig has bought Turner off.

I understand that this is a business, but I have to think that success depends to some extent on putting out a good product. As they say on sports radio, this sucks.

Unless Turner hires Vin Scully. Then I take it all back.

UPDATE: watching the All-Star Game, I realized there is a reason number 6: Jeanne Zelasko. Spare me! (link from umpbump.com)

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