It’s 5pm on a warm summers evening, I’m in the kitchen organising which of the best meatballs I will be piling onto my plate for this evenings meal. On the windowsill is my iPad, on the screen is an animated MLB logo, below the logo is one line of text “Your game will begin shortly”. The game is Kansas City Royals @ Tampa Bay Rays, Ian Kennedy facing Drew Smyly, it’s not the pitching duel you’re hoping for whilst sorting your food that night (or at any point in time?), but it is a pitching duel. That’s the vital point, it is a pitching duel, something is on our screens at 6pm on a week night.
This is one of the best days of the week for a British baseball fan and possibly one of the worst days of the week for your average American baseball fan, a midweek day game. These games reconnect us in the UK with the game out west, especially for those of us that have employment that requires us to be in bed prior to the West Coast games starting. With this game starting at 12:10pm EST (5:10pm British Summer Time), it means it should be wrapped up by 8pm BST
Tonight I will be attached to my iPad from this point until I retire to bed. This “fat blokes playing rounders” is the distraction my wife always talks about, this is the reason I do not watch Great British Bakeoff, X-Factor, Planet Earth or anything else on TV during the Spring, Summer and Autumn. I am ever grateful for MLB for placing these fixtures, no matter how trivial they seem, into our scope of viewing every single year.
I have been known to boot up my 2009 MacBook for some multi-game action. I say boot up my MacBook, I mean pre-warm, switch on, crank the handle, pour more coal and water into the CD drive (Remember those?), pray to Jebus and hope the machine can run Chrome and MLB.tv at the same time. While on standby at work I have also used my Xbox 360 (Remember those?) to enjoy the games, but I’m primarily an iPad user when it comes to everyday viewing.
BT Sport/ESPN UK do a good job (for those subscribed) of getting some of the day games on at the weekend and on some weeknights, but they will primarily go with the nationally televised games like Sunday Night Baseball. These games generally start at 7pm EST (Midnight BST), this clearly affects their viewing figures, but with the amount of times they recap the games the next day and days beyond there are always plenty of opportunities to catch up if fans haven’t already. They also show Baseball Tonight on a regular basis to help build on fans knowledge and understanding of events. This does help the British baseball fan, as once the nationally televised games are over on UK TV, the coverage stops. No postgame analysis.
So at 8pm BST, once the Royals wrap up their 3-2 loss to the Rays (An exciting 3-run bottom of the 8th – naughty Soria – made this watch worthwhile), this British baseball fan moves onto the start of the next game prior to retiring to bed in a few hours time. All the while hoping a West Coast game goes into extra innings overnight and allows me to have some breakfast baseball at 7am.