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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My Beef With MLB.tv

Last season, I subscribed to MLB.tv and was very happy with the service - I got to see Phillies games on the West Coast, and even better, while I was in Europe for a month. So I re-upped my subscription for this season, but I'm noticing a few changes for the worse, one of which is particularly irritating.

MLB.tv added an in-progress linescore to the player, which you would think is a good idea, except for the fact that it seemingly has been done to replace the score bug that typically appears in a corner or along the top or bottom of the screen during a game. What happened to the bug? Well, MLB.tv is affiliated with ESPN, so it doesn't want regional sports networks like Fox Sports Net or Comcast Sports Net to get face time on MLB.tv's service. The RSNs typically have their logos on the score bugs. To counter this, MLB.tv is either using a clean feed, or, more likely, stretching or zooming in on the picture so that the bug isn't on screen. As a result, the bug is gone, which means you can't tell at a glance what the count is, how many outs there are, and how many runners are on base. The linescore only tells you the score and inning. Also, you miss some subtleties of the game, such as the bobbing head of a runner taking his lead from second base along the bottom of the screen.

Apparently I'm not the only one to be miffed at MLB.tv this season. I also sent the following e-mail to MLB.tv, but I don't expect a response - apparently the customer service has been atrocious this season. Also, I don't even know if they got it - I didn't get any confirmation, and after I clicked "submit" to send the message through their customer service page, I just got a blank customer service form as the next page.
I've noticed that this season, when I watch MLB.tv, that I don't see the usual bug with the score, outs, count, and baserunners on the screen. I assume this is because the bugs typically show the logo of the station producing the game, and MLB.tv is affiliated with ESPN, so you don't want to credit RSNs. You're either using a clean feed or stretching the picture to get rid of the bug. I wanted to express my displeasure with this, as the linescore only tells me the score and inning - not the outs, count, or baserunners. Also, if you are stretching the picture, I would prefer to see the entire view (for example, I might not be able to see a runner leading off second base if the bottom part of the picture is cut off). Please do what you can to fix this - the MLB.tv product was better last year.
Well, I may have spoken a little too soon - the issue might just be with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which showed the last two Mets-Nationals games bug-free (at least on MLB.tv). Currently, Padres-Marlins is on FSN Florida with the bug. Hopefully it stays there the entire game.


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