For many in Braves land, Monday was spent watching the Braves’ opening game with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Braves also made some other news on Monday, however, and it wasn’t about the major league squad. Monday, the Braves released their opening day rosters for their minor league affiliates. We’ll do a more thorough discussion on the rosters at each level in a future post, but for now, you can visit the team sites for Gwinnett, Mississippi, Lynchburg, and Rome.
What this release brought for me was a quick review of the MiLB.tv coverage for 2014. Those of you who live in the Braves coverage area may not be aware, but to be frank, finding a Braves game on television outside of the southeast portion of the country is simply impossible. Even Saturday games where they’re the “national game of the week” ends up preempted by a local game (for me here, Twins, Royals, or Chicago teams). For all that many pundits may be able to rightly say that baseball has not done well in Bud Selig’s tenure, one thing will stand whenever he finally releases the commissioner duties to someone else: Major League Baseball has hands-down the best media setup and availability of any major sport.
MLB.tv is what allowed me to cancel cable. The coverage allows you to choose from a multitude of broadcasts for each game as you watch, whether it’s the video feed from Fox Sports South or the rival team’s video feed. You can also take MLB.tv with you on your cell phone or tablet and have multiple connections at the same time under one login. Of course this requires some serious bandwidth to be able to get quality game video for multiple games, but it is feasible. You can also watch multiple games and even watch a completed game. If you wanted to watch every single game of every single day for Major League Baseball, with some restrictions, you could do it. I’ve also been encouraged in the last two years by the reduction in blackouts through different contracts with media partners.
Is it perfect? No. As mentioned, there are some blackouts still, and I’d love to see MLB put together a package that someone could purchase for the season that would allow for blackout override at the right price. I’m not sure what that price point is for MLB and their media partners, but that’s a seemingly feasible next step. The other angle I’d like to see is more collaboration with different ways to host MLB.tv (though they are adding more every year!). I watch through my AppleTV, my laptop, and my mobile phone, but there are some quality issues in the feeds at times for PlayStation 3/4 reported as well as other providers. When I purchased my AppleTV, one of the things I reviewed while shopping among different similar options (Roku, etc.) was the quality of MLB.tv on the system.
So that brings us to the coverage that MiLB.tv brings. For anyone who is interested in minor league prospects, MiLB.tv is an amazing service, and at nearly 1/4 the cost of the MLB.tv package (and even cheaper if they’re paired together) with tons more game offerings, it’s a great way to get baseball until it’s coming out of your ears! MiLB.tv covers every single AAA and AA affiliate for every team, and it also covers one selected affiliate below AA. The Braves’ selected affiliate is Rome this season, our class-A affiliate. While this is a very cool option, many fans looking over the rosters on the linked sites above will notice that a significant portion of the Braves top-end prospects will be in Lynchburg, the Braves’ high-A club, this season to start. That doesn’t mean viewers cannot watch Lynchburg at all, but it will require scoping Lynchburg’s schedule against one of the affiliates covered under MiLB.tv.
The Braves became popular in the 1980s and 1990s due in large part to the coverage on TBS that brought the Braves into every household from coast to coast. As TBS moved away from the Braves, it became quite difficult to catch the Braves for those outside the main coverage area. MLB.tv and MiLB.tv will allow you to enjoy your favorite squad whether it’s on television, laptop/tablet, or mobile phone no matter if you live in Atlanta, Los Angeles, or one of those Dakota states!
*Just so everyone is fully aware, this is not an endorsement of MLB.tv by Tomahawk Take or FanSided as a whole. I’m not making a nickel by plugging Major League Baseball’s media department, either. This is simply good information for those of you struggling with the idea of purchasing a limited viewing baseball offering from your cable/satellite company just to see your favorite squad if you’re outside the local market.
Oh, and happy birthday to my favorite fool, my father!