Pull The Plug
One out and one on in the bottom of the ninth. Angels down 2 to 1. Papelbon on the mound for Boston. Juan Rivera strides to the plate and...
What happens next? Sportsnet Pacific pulls the plug. It's 10 pm PDT you see, and time to go to Sportsnetnews.
Fortunately I'm vacationing in Vancouver, and MLB.TV is at hand. The switchover is accomplished in time to see Rivera strike out swinging, and Papelbon seals the deal by downing Kendrick on four pitches. Sox win.
The annoyance lingers. Sportsnet already devotes 11 1/2 hours a day to a barely changing highlight package that it passes off as news. That might be excusable in the morning hours while the sun burns off the dew, but in prime time it makes no sense. Anyone eager for the day's highlights can endure a short programming delay before joining the news, or wait for the 11 pm package.
What the move really does is encourage the flight to the internet. For the price of two month's cable, fans can enjoy unlimited* access to baseball broadcasts. Miss your favourite team? You can watch them later from the archive.
There are still bugs, including the U.S. blackout zones and below-broadcast quality video (an issue that becomes more pressing as television moves to high definition), but for fans with a deep interest in the sport the internet option looks better everyday. It won't be Sportsnet pulling the plug next time. It will be the fans.