Email, and ye shall receive an answer. That’s my credo for today.
So after my rant yesterday about how mad I am that the YES Network, which televises Yankees and New Jersey Nets games, won’t show the games on their YES national channel, which I get living down here in Central Florida, I figured I’d ask a few experts if there was a good explanation about it. I was particularly incensed because the Yankees are in the midst of kicking the holy hell out of those Boston boys this weekend.
So I emailed Richard Sandomir, the fine sports media and business writer for the New York Times on Sunday morning, asking if he knew the reasoning behind the YES Network games blackout outside of the tri-state area.
I figured, since it was a Sunday afternoon and all, and he’s probably a pretty busy guy, that I’d hear back from him in a couple of days.
Stunningly, he wrote back in 34 minutes, while I was at the beach (had another outstanding hot dog from this guy who sells them at the Ormond Beach beach cutout, by the way. Foot-long hot dog on a delightfully toasted bun, all for $3.50. Yummy goodness, I tell ya. But I digress.)
I say “stunningly” because while I do my best to answer every reasonable email I get, I’ve found most other journalists don’t. But Richard’s clearly a good guy.
Richard’s explanation goes like this: Major League Baseball sets out exclusive territories for each team, which for the Yankees is the tri-state area, and a little bit of Pennsylvania.
Beyond that, MLB doesn’t let teams show their games on basic cable, because they’re afraid it would severely damage that other hometown teams ratings. So, theoretically, if Yankees games were allowed to be shown here in Florida, Marlins and Rays games would see a big ratings drop, because all the New Yawkers living down here would watch the Bronx Bombers instead.
The only way to 100 percent guarantee that you’ll see all the games you want is to shell out a few hundred bucks for the MLB Extra Innings pay-per-view package.
OK, a few thoughts. First, I understand MLB’s position, but by blacking out the Yankees, they’re assuming that baseball fans are baseball fans, and that if we can’t see the Yanks we’ll watch the Marlins or Rays. I don’t think that’s accurate. If you’re that diehard of a fan, you’ll buy the Extra Innings package. I’m not going to suddenly become a huge Evan Longoria fan because he’s on my TV every night.
Second, why even have the YES Network nationally as an option if you’re not going to be able to show the programming? I just feel like it’s a big tease.
Anyway, so there you go. I apologize for assuming this was all YES Network’s fault, when I should have realized that the blame truly lay with MLB.
I absolutely hate it when bloggers rip and rant one day, then, when it turns out they’re wrong or there’s an explanation, never own up and apologize.
Also, a couple of really good stories I read this weekend that I wanted to link to:
- Michael Sokolove has written a feature for the New York Times magazine about the dying newspapers in Philadelphia. Obviously this hits home to me as an ink-stained wretch, but this really lays out the Philly issues well.
- Speaking of Philadelphia, my friend Brian Hickey, a victim of a near-fatal hit and run accident last November, has written a strong column asking for stronger penalties against hit and run drivers. Couldn’t agree more. What kind of despicable person hits another human with their car, then keeps driving? I think hit and run drivers should be thrown into the same pit of acid as rapists, child molesters and New England Patriots fans (Ha!, I kid the Patriots fans, mostly because I’m jealous.)
- Finally, very interesting story by George Dohrmann in Sports Illustrated last week about just how much paper college football and basketball coaches waste, sending old-fashioned letters to recruits. Truly staggering, and wildly ineffective. Wait till you see the photo of how much mail just ONE kid got.