Being a fan of MLB isn’t the easiest when you are based in the UK. With only a few games being played at times where you might expect a finish at a reasonable hour. Fans have to regularly determine if a game is important enough to ruin their sleep schedule over.
There are plenty of others but there is one hardship that most of British fans will tell you is the worst. To make them realise which hardship is the worst, all I would have to say to them is ‘Here’s a popular clip…’.
With those four words I could send shivers down the spines of the most hardened UK fans and maybe send the weaker into a PTSD state. They would all hear it in the same deep, monotone voice, that has become synonymous with watching MLB.tv.
You see MLB.tv, unlike NFL, has made a decision not to show the American broadcast adverts but repeat the same ‘popular’ clips with the same introductory phrase ad infinitum instead. Historically these clips ranged from great plays to the most bizarre incidents that have occurred whilst games are being played.
But 2019 started and this phrase, along with its partnered clips, were nowhere to be seen. Fans rejoiced. They thought they would never hear of the rally bird / cat, Prince Fielder taking a nacho from a fan and Bryce Harper breaking a ball with the cupped end of his bat. They thought it was safe to watch baseball again.
There were a few clips which most watched on with fondness, Big Sexy’s home run and Cespedes’ amazing throw from the outfield, to name but two. But we were all willing not to see them if it meant no more rally bird. We thought we had our wish.
Then last weekend came and the silence between innings and during breaks for pitching changes was broken. This time MLB.tv has taken to calling them ‘MLB Flashback’s’.
We no longer have the intro phrase but we have quick fire clips which can number as much as 8 in one ad break.
Thankfully I have yet to see the ones based on random occurrences, so no rally bird, and we have just been given clips of big plays.
At Bat Flips and Nerds we always endeavor to help UK fans whenever we can, so in that spirit I have watched a lot of MLB Ad breaks, over 4 games, so you don’t have to. I am here to tell you what you can expect for your viewing going forward and introduce my patent pending MLB Ad Stats.
There are two types of ad break in MLB, the half innings break (HIB) and the mid innings pitching change break (PCB). During a half innings break you get on average 6.8 clips and during a pitching change you get 6. So for the average game (17 PCB and 5 PCB) you would end up seeing 146 clips.
MLB.tv has deemed that there are just 33 highlights, from all time, that are worthy of being shown with 5 of these highlights being from the still young 2019 season.
If you are a fan of the following teams your team doesn’t have a clip: Rays, Orioles, Blue Jays, Indians, White Sox, Royals, Angels, Nationals, Pirates, Reds & Giants. Only 19 of the teams have a clip, the Mets have the most at 4.
The Mets are helped by one of the three players who has two different clips. Christian Yelich and Ichiro Suzuki are joined by ‘Big Sexy’ himself, Bartolo Colon. Whose first HR and behind the back flip to first make the cut. Maybe they are just trying to make up for the fact that we cannot watch him pitch this season as he still remains unsigned.
The remaining two were Robinson Cano’s HR of his first AB in 2019 and the ‘Wild’ first pitch by 50 Cent.
You all will have realised that the 146 clips we mentioned earlier, is significantly more than the 33 clips MLB have available. So you might expect to see the same clip more than once.
You will on average see each clip 4.4 times but as you see from the graph above, for the 33 clips, the max was 7 times and the minimum was twice. The mode and median was 4 times.
If you are watching from the start of a game you may also want to know your expected new clip rate (xNCR).
In all games viewed, there was no clip repeats in the first 4 ad breaks. The rate of new clip dropped significantly going into the 5th ad break and by the end of the 9th ad break all of the 33 clips had been viewed in each game.
So, if you are going to watch a whole game be prepared to hear or watch the same clips again and again. Below is this list of clips and there appearance rate.
All joking aside, I wonder how hard would it be to have a few more clips so that this is at least something for each team and also, to double the amount in total so you aren’t seeing clips being repeated every 20 minutes.
Balls in your court MLB.tv, we thank you for removing the sound bite of old but things could much better.