In the spring my thoughts turn to one thing and that’s the start of the baseball season. The winter is over and I thankfully don’t have to put up with NFL schedules, NBA nonsense and the fucking over-hyped pain-in-the-ass NCAA tournament. No, I don’t have a bracket and no, I don’t want to see yours.

So, with longing and anticipation I look forward to the start of the baseball season. Unfortunately every year, with the start of the season, brings the realization that I can’t actually WATCH any of the games I want to. I live vicariously through text-messages to my cell phone with per-inning updates and then read the sports news sites early each morning or listen to Mike & Mike as they catch me up on what happened around the league.

You see, the problem is the MLB. More accurately, the MLB’s bullshit TV licensing program. The MLB and the teams negotiate with TV stations to air the games. The network the games are on are local to the area the teams are in. Those networks then contract together and offer things like the “MLB Season Ticket” or “MLB Extra Innings” to exclusive providers like Comcast. Comcast offers those packages to consumers for outrageous costs.

Even Dish Network, one of the original providers of entire out-of-market baseball season broadcasts, has announced that they were unable to reach a deal with the MLB because of the MLB’s demands, so this year even Dish customers are out of luck. FTA:

“DISH Network will not be carrying MLB Extra Innings, the out of market baseball package, and MLB Network this season. The demands made by MLB were not in the best interest of our customers.”

There is, currently, NO legal way to watch an out-of-market baseball game, other than paying $100 per season, directly to the MLB, to watch games on the MLB website.

There is a sports package offered from AT&T Uverse that includes all the major ESPN and Fox Sports Net stations, across all regions, but after talking with a representative on the phone, it turns out that any baseball game broadcast on those stations would be blacked out (except regular ESPN of course).

So, AT&T doesn’t have the games, the Satellite providers don’t have the games, and the Comcast package… it’s $169 AND it DOES NOT include NESN (the New England Sports Network) which 99.9% of all Red Sox games are on.

There is literally no way to watch baseball on my TV. None. I can technically watch the games streaming over the internet, on my laptop, but I have to pay $100 to do it. I can’t even put in to words how much that is complete and total bullshit.

Absolutely. Fucking. Wrong.

The MLB and their money-grubbing, ass-pirating executives should be ashamed of themselves. I should be able to watch any game, in any region, in any medium I wish. I shouldn’t be forced to pay $100 to watch it on my screen on my laptop, that’s horse shit. That’s not even TV. TV people! I can’t watch a baseball game on FUCKING TV. There is something so seriously wrong with this country and with this sport when after a long day at work I can’t come home, have a beer and watch a fucking Red Sox game.

And I’m lucky. I’m a fan of one of the two biggest teams in the country. So big that every time the Red Sox and the Yankees play they sell the special rights to the broadcast to someone like ESPN, which is awesome for me, I get to watch my team 3 maybe 4 times a season. If you’re a fan of a smaller market team, you will almost NEVER see you teams on regular cable or, heaven forbid, broadcast TV.

That’s pathetic. Truly fucking pathetic. And it gets me all worked up every time I think about it.

I am seriously, SERIOUSLY considering a SlingBox Solo. The only obvious downsides to that is that it’s $179, about the same price as Comcast’s package and that I’d again have to watch TV on my web browser. The upside is that I could mail it to my parents house, have them hook it up, tune it to NESN on a spare TV and just leave it. I would get everything on the network, including Bruins and Celtics games, and I could change it later, have them send it back to me, all sorts of stuff AND the money wouldn’t be going to the MLB.

I would really love to find some sort of work around for all this, but I don’t think it exists. And watching TV on my laptop IS better than nothing, but just barely. The alternative is finding some sort of baseball torrent, which means I’d have to wait until the game was over, encoded, uploaded and seeded before I could download it. That could take hours or more likely days.

Anyone have any other ideas how I can watch a Red Sox game this year? If you do I’ve love to hear them.