The 2012 Major League Baseball season kicks off in Japan Wednesday morning with the Seattle Mariners taking on the Oakland Athletics. Yet, for some inexplicable reason MLB has decided not to broadcast either of the two games on ESPN or on MLB Network. Mariners fans are in luck as Root Sports will be broadcasting the games live while MLB TV will air both games on a three hour tape delay. As for the A’s local station Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, the game isn’t going to be shown live or tape delayed.
A’s fans aren’t happy with that decision by Comcast not to show the game. David Koppett the Senior Executive Producer/Live Events for Comcast wrote in response to A’s fans dissatisfaction in regards to not being able to watch the game. He responded with “we did give this a great deal of thought, and there were extensive discussions about it with the A’s and MLB. For contractual reasons (and, honestly, financial and logistical reasons too,) adding these two games would have required trading them for two others on our 144-game regular season schedule. Given that the games will be played at 2 am and 3 am PDT, and that Sharks and Kings conflicts would prevent us from re-airing them in prime time when most viewers could watch, we couldn’t justify losing two games played at friendlier times of day later in the season.
MLB Network will be airing the games at 6 am on Wednesday and Thursday, so you will have an opportunity to see them.
We’re A’s fans as well as TV producers, and under better circumstances, we’d have loved to take on the challenge of televising from halfway around the world… it would have been great fun. But we did try to make our decision in the best interest of our viewers. Thanks for your note and go A’s!”
This situation could have easily been avoided though. In 2008 when the A’s opened the season in Japan facing the Boston Red Sox, the games were on ESPN. How come ESPN is not broadcasting the two games in 2012? Is it because the Mariners and A’s aren’t projected to be very good this year? Even if that’s the case the two games should still be shown since it is opening day for MLB.
Another reason why it should have been live is because it’s the debut of Yoenis Cespedes, the Mariners debut for Jesus Montero, second year stand outs Jemile Weeks and Dustin Ackley, two former Cy Young Award winners in Bartolo Colon and Felix Hernandez and the most important reason of course is because of Japanese legend and superstar Ichiro.
Dallas Braden an A’s starting pitcher tweeted it best stating “Guess a CY young winner, Japanese born UBER star & the Cuban missile debut aren’t enough 4 the A’S & M’S on live TV huh? thx 4 the love MLB.” Beyond those reasons it allows for ESPN to broadcast the game with neutral announcers, with it being Root Sports that isn’t the case.
MLB clearly struck out by not broadcasting the game live and there’s no justifiable excuse for why it is not.