Saturday, June 9, 2012

MLB Hawaii Blackout Continues; Giants Fans Move to Sacramento, Can Now Watch Every Game

Angel Pagan stretches to snag liner into left-center at AT&T Park today.

It's Saturday afternoon, the Giants are beating Texas 5 to 1 in the 8th and the game is on TV -- just like last night's game was and tomorrow's will be. We're watching it, which means we aren't in Honolulu anymore. We're in Sacramento, which is in the Giants' home television territory. So is Honolulu, but Honolulu is virtually blacked out from viewing West Coast baseball. 

The suits who control the rights and the local cable system(s) in NorCal have made deals that allow Giants fans here the enjoyment of watching their favorite team. That hasn't happened among the executives at Time-Warner Cable in Hawaii and those who own the broadcast rights for four of the six West Coast MLB teams -- Giants, A's, Mariners and Padres. Fans of those teams are out of luck, and so are fans of their opponents. Only a handful of those games are available in Hawaii on the dominate cable systems in the state.

The suits -- including those in MLB headquarters -- have allowed this blackout to continue into a fourth straight season, and there's no sign of a deal to let Hawaii pass GO.  THIS is in the best interests of the game?  

Here's a New Rule we can live with: 
"Major League Baseball teams are prohibited from claiming a community as 'Home Television Territory' if it's outside a 154.5-mile radius from the team's ballpark."

That's the straight-line distance from the middle of AT&T Park to the nearest point on the California-Nevada border -- which happens to be in the middle of Lake Tahoe (the lake itself) where the border turns north after its long diagonal sweep.  Everything beyond the green circle below is a reasonably long slog-of-a-drive to the park, so all communities outside the circle should be considered beyond the Giants' home TV territory. That would mean fans in those communities -- including Hawaii, obviously -- could watch games streamed on even if there's no deal among cable and TV executives.

So how 'bout it, MLB? Get out your map and start drawing your own circles. End the Blackout!

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