(Quick note: I'll be blogging about the poll on the right at some point during the day on Monday. Don't vote until then! Okay, vote if you HAVE to, but I promise, I'll explain it more then.)
The snow is melting, the sun is out, and spring is almost maybe finally here. I'm currently sitting in front of the TV waiting for the first official baseball game of the year, and I'm very, very excited about this season. For some reason I've been craving a good baseball game for a while now. As a Pirates fan, I can't wait to see if Andrew McCutchen continues to play well in his second season. I can't wait to see if Garret Jones' sudden explosion last season was a temporary thing or if he's suddenly found a comfort zone at the MLB level. I can't wait to see if Pedro Alvarez makes the leap this year and if he's as good as everyone thinks he's going to be please.
Unfortunately, I will not actually SEE any of this because of Major League Baseball's ridiculous blackout rules. Buffalo is somehow considered part of the local market for both NYC teams, the Cleveland Indians, and yes, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite the ads for MLB.TV that blare, "MLB.TV. Baseball Everywhere. Watch all 2,430 regular season games LIVE or on demand in HD quality", all those teams are blacked out on MLB.TV and MLB Extra Innings. That's fine for the Yankees and Mets fans among us because we get those teams' regional networks. But Indians and Pirates fans? Crap out o' luck. As if it wasn't hard enough being a fan of one of those teams right now.
I feel like MLB might need a geography lesson. Buffalo and Pittsburgh are not that close to each other. Oh, sure they're a comfortable distance for a little road trip. I'll probably get there a couple of times over the course of the season to see the Pirates play. But I think to call Buffalo part of Pittsburgh's local market is stretching the definition of the word local juuuust a bit. I think MLB needs to use this test to determine local markets (if indeed such a thing is even necessary in this day and age). Can I make it from work to the stadium in time to catch a game? Use 5:00 as the standard since that's roughly when the average American gets off work and go from there.
Going by Google Maps, if I leave work at 5:00 and don't eat, change my clothes, or run into any traffic at all (a very unlikely thing in and around Pittsburgh), and park right out front, I'll get to PNC Park at roughly 8:35. Realistically we're probably looking at something more in the 9-9:30 range. That is decidedly too late to catch first pitch at 7:05. Therefore Buffalo is NOT local to Pittsburgh. It's really not that complicated. Extra Innings would not cause the Pirates to lose me as a TV viewer because I can't see their local broadcasts and they would not lose me as a game attendee because Pittsburgh is a three hour minimum drive. They're just losing me as a viewer completely. Which kind of sucks.
MLB, I don't have a lot of money for frivolous spending, but I'm willing to throw hundreds of dollars your way. BUT YOU WON'T LET ME. You're lucky I love you. I'm betting on the Pirates finishing 25 or better. Yes, that's probably optimistic. Such is life as a Pirates fan.