Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Watching Baseball

Now that the MLB regular season is underway, I'm spending a lot of time watching (or listening to) baseball games. Ideally the Cubs or Tigers, but I'll put most any game on in the background when I have the opportunity.
In the past few years, I've done a lot more listening to baseball games than watching them. Through the MLB At-Bat app (or their website), $20/season gets you all the radio broadcasts for every team. Baseball is a sport that lends itself well to radio, being slow enough to describe in detail and with so many stories and stats to fill the time between pitches. If I'm doing something else with a game on in the background, I'd much rather have the radio than the TV broadcast.

This year, T-Mobile was kind enough to give all of its customers the opportunity to watch all the MLB TV Premium broadcasts for free. I wouldn't spend the $109 that MLB wants for a season of out-of-market TV broadcast streams, but since it was free...sure, why not? That "out-of-market" bit is the main reason I wouldn't want to pay. I could see Cubs broadcasts, but since I live in the Tigers market area, all the Detroit games are blocked. (Yeah, I could mess around with VPN or proxies to get around the block, but it's just not worth the hassle when I can just listen to the radio instead.)

I mostly watch on my Fire TV. There's an app for MLB.TV Premium, which works fairly well. There's also a Kodi MLB.TV add-on, which works pretty well. This year, I mostly use the app, but in the past I've used Kodi more. If you don't have MLB.TV Premium, you can still use the Kodi add-on to listen to the radio broadcasts, but the Fire TV app has trouble with that. When I'm not at home, the MLB At-Bat app works well on my phone.

While I watch/listen to the ball games, I'll usually have something else going on. Cooking, cleaning, or other household chores when I have to; reading, Internet browsing, or playing games otherwise. Star Realms and Ascension in particular are great for inning breaks, or maybe Hearthstone while I listen to a radio broadcast. I know some people complain that baseball is too slow to be interesting, but for me that just means it fits nicely with doing some other things at the same time.

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