clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

In praise of MLB's blackout rules

New, comments

The hottest take I can muster

also all of hawaii for everything
also all of hawaii for everything

For years now, Major League Baseball's blackout rules have been a favorite whipping boy of sportswriters everywhere, just because they're bizarre nonsense. Grant, for example, has talked about it here, and mentioned it here and here, because he's a CONFORMIST, man, who can't see the true genius of the policy.

For those of you unfamiliar with the blackout rules, if you have a mlb.tv account they prevent you from watching your team's games online when you're in their media market, regardless of whether they're actually on TV or not. Of course, people like to complain about that, like this piece on how there are six different teams you can't watch when you're in Las Vegas, which brings me to my first reason that the blackout rules are good:

People gamble in Vegas

So let's talk about Las Vegas. While you're there, you're in blackout zones for six major league teams: all the California teams and the Diamondbacks. This might seem terrible, but think about it: What's the greatest danger to Major League Baseball today? Gambling, of course! And where do they do a lot of gambling? Las. Vegas. Do you see how MLB's brilliant plan is all coming together? Soon, they'll expand the restrictions so that you can't watch any baseball games at all in Vegas, and that'll be a beautiful day for the business of baseball.

You shouldn't be watching TV in Hawaii anyway

There was a whole movie where George Clooney lives in Hawaii and at the start he's like "Don't call it paradise" but by the end he learns that you should actually call it paradise. So while the fact that you can't watch the Giants, or any West Coast team, in Hawaii would seem illogical and counterproductive, MLB is really just doing you a favor. Go outside. Take a hike. Stare at the ocean or whatever. MLB wants you to know that your days are precious, and you should ensure you make the most of each one, and that involves doing some crap outside. Kudos, MLB! Always lookin' out for the little guy.

Baseball's not that great

Sure, in theory it sounds great to let people pay to access your product, both increasing their commitment to your sport and taking their money at the same time. But what if the thing you're selling isn't that good? This is the dilemma faced by MLB Advanced Media. If they let people watch all the games they want, well sure, at first it would go well, but when they come to hate baseball, as anyone does who watches more than 8 hours a year, that's when revenues will plummet. MLBAM is smartly solving this problem by avoiding it completely. Like the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is hard to find because even though there are a lot of customers the manufacturer isn't selling it for some damn reason.

Cable companies are really powerful and baseball doesn't want to piss them off

LOL! Just kidding! This is obviously really dumb. Since televised sports are the most lucrative thing in the world, baseball would be able to dictate its own terms and stay incredibly rich. Sorry for wasting your time by bringing this up.

MLB is a big corporation so obviously they know what they're doing

This is probably the most salient point. Since MLB is a big corporation with a lot of smart people working for them, they are the authority on their own affairs. Therefore, we can assume that since they have their own best interests at heart, they are doing the right thing. So if you want to know what's best for Major League Baseball, the best course of action is to just ask Major League Baseball. Appealing to their authority in this way not only helps you get to the truth faster, but is exactly what MLB wants. So help them out, and help yourself out. Just agree with them. Because they're definitely right on this one.