MLB admits radio has changed
Relaxes some controls on broadcasts
Good morning, all. I hope your week has gone well. As many of you readers of this newsletter know, I was off for a few days, but I did want to publish a Good Friday newsletter, the day after the 2021 MLB season opened. Just a heads up, I will not be publishing next Monday but will return to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, beginning April 7.
MLB makes big admission
Now that the 2021 MLB season is underway, the sport has made a major admission. Not as many people are listening to games on the radio, although they are listening to radio broadcasts. What? That sounds like something Casey Stengel would say.
MLB is now permitting the radio affiliates of ballclubs to broadcast games on their radio apps at no cost to the listener. It is an acknowledgement by the sport, that most people no longer listen to the radio via a radio receiver. Instead, most people listen to games via their smart phones or smart speakers, i.e. Amazon Echo, Google, Apple Home or some other Bluetooth-connected device.
You may ask, hasn’t this been the case for years? Well, yes, but you had to pay for it. In order to listen to games via Bluetooth or smartphone, you had to pay a subscription fee for the MLB app. In other words, the Yankees’ flagship radio station WFAN could not carry the Yankees’ radio broadcast on its WFAN app. You had to fork over the subscription price to MLB.
Well, MLB is relaxing its policy, somewhat. The ballclubs’ flagship stations will now be permitted to carry games at no charge to the consumer. However, if you want to hear out-of-market games, you will need a paid subscription. In other words, if you are a Dodgers’ fan living on the east coast, you will have to pay up. Did you hear me, Brooklyn?
By the way, this got me to thinking, when was the last time you listened to an actual radio in your home? I can’t remember. In our house, it is all via the smartphone, “Alexa” or some other Bluetooth connection. The times, they are a changing.
Announcer walks away from dream job
Imagine walking away from what many would consider a dream job. That is what Andrew Belleson did, giving up his position as public address announcer for the Chicago Cubs at historic Wrigley Field. For 10 seasons, Belleson, 34, was the “Voice of Wrigley,” as much a part of that venerable ballpark’s soundtrack as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Belleson has other dreams, like someday broadcasting play-by-play for an MLB club. The clock, however, is ticking and so to reach the next chapter in his life, he needed to turn the page on a job that some would say is a 40-year gig.
In his newsletter about Chicago sports, Kevin Kaduk interviewed Belleson on his career gamble.
Rivalries are formed not contrived
As much as the media may try to contrive a rivalry, i.e. “Biggest matchup of the season,” etc., a rivalry between two teams is formed from the ground or in this case the floor up. Two teams battling tooth-and-nail over a series of games, fighting to advance in the playoffs or to win a championship, etc. And so it is, the biggest rivalry in women’s college basketball these days is not UConn-Tennessee or UConn-Notre Dame, but UConn-Baylor.
Two seasons ago, Baylor bounced UConn from the NCAA tournament and this year UConn returned the favor with a thrilling, 69-67 win Monday night, that placed the Huskies in their 13th straight Final Four. The game made national headlines and sizzled on television and in social media, because of the supposed “non-call” made at the end, which ostensibly cost Baylor a chance at victory.
The UConn comeback, the hard fought game by both sides, and the controversial finish are what makes a rivalry. Its roots are organic and not contrived.
Incidentally, the Elite 8 matchup drew 1.70 million viewers on ESPN Monday night, the largest audience for a women’s tournament game not in the Final Four in 10 years.
Dan’s Friday links…
Dodger fan thanks Red Sox
And when fans attend the Red Sox season opener against the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon at Fenway Park, many of them will be greeted by a billboard outside the ballpark paid for by a Dodgers’ fan, who just wanted to say thank you for Mookie Betts.
Ah, yes! Baseball is back. And there are even some fans in the stands. Enjoy!
And, also enjoy your Easter weekend. I’ll be back again on April 7!