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The beauty of the MLB Network (STILL MORE UPDATES)
2009-01-02 10:30
by Bob Timmermann

Despite advertising its spot on my cable system (Channel 276 or 470), here is what the MLB Network looked like to me on those two channels.



So I decided to take up Time Warner on their offer of 24/7 tech support. Eventually, a guy got on the phone and told me, "Well, most people got it today. Some get it next week. As for you, you'll get it on February 10."


"Or the 11th."

According to's chief propaganda writer, Barry Bloom, the MLB Network is a big hit. Apparently some people can see it. They likely aren't Time Warner customers.

I know it was tough for Time Warner to make room on its cable systems for a channel it owns a stake in. And had well over a year to plan for.

It really makes me want to go back and get all my news via telegraph.

(UPDATE) Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball reports on the various problems that people (like me!) have had getting the MLB Network on their cable system.

MLB Network hit the ground running yesterday, with Commissioner Bud Selig addressing fans two-minutes before 6pm ET (watch Selig's address), and then airing MLB Hot Stove, a show dedicated to the action in baseball’s off-season. But some of the approximately 50 million subscribers expecting to see the new channel were met with blank screens, a product of service level requirements, possible hardware issues, and in at least one instance, a local cable company not having digital service up and running by launch time.

The largest factor, for those that may be expecting to have access to MLB Network, revolves around what is deemed to be the “basic” package.  A key point for distribution of MLB Network stemmed from negotiations in April of 2007 for MLB’s out of market package, Extra Innings. While Extra Innings was initially going to be granted to DirecTV as a monopoly, eventually the cable consortium of iNDemand was able to broker a deal to continue to gain access to Extra Innings, but it was stipulated by MLB that MLB Network would also have to be carried, and on the basic tier, the most widely available. According to MLB Network, the distribution deal brokered with all carriers is that all must broadcast on the digital basic, or the carrier’s equivalent, a key difference from early reports. Those that have analog service, no matter the carrier, will need to upgrade.

I'm referenced later in Maury's post and I think the problem that my system has hardware problems. This could be why channels like FSN Prime and AMC show up on my system as if I'm looking at them on a set borrowed from Philo T. Farnsworth.

UPDATE 2 - The MLB Network disappeared from the onscreen guide on my cable system. I'm glad I got photographic evidence. The obelisk awaits....

2009-01-01 22:13:48
1.   Zak
Could be worse. You could have DISH Network like me.

Happy New Year!

2009-01-01 22:21:10
2.   Bob Timmermann
Every new channel is always set up so that SOME, but not all cable or satellite viewer gets it. And each provider likes to tell you how great it is, but none ever has exactly what you want or is possible for you to use.

I would think that this will ultimately be the downfall of all cable and satellite providers. Nobody wants to watch everything on their cable or satellite system, but you have to buy it all because ... well... I don't know why.

2009-01-01 22:54:35
3.   Gagne55
As long as you get it before the season starts, little should be missed.
2009-01-01 23:12:40
4.   Bob Timmermann
Generally, when you publicize something being available, it's actually a good idea to make the product truly available. If you don't, it falls under the aegis of "lying."
2009-01-02 01:19:41
5.   berkowit28
3 That's not true. Once the season starts, all the games are available in the usual places, not there. The talk shows will just be more people expressing their not very original opinions, that you can get in dozens of other places. What MLB Network has to offer that's unique and valuable are the historical programs - all the more to be appreciated now in the off-season when there's nothing much else going on in baseball.
2009-01-02 07:00:32
6.   ToyCannon
276 in the West Valley. TW understands that we have nothing to do in the West Valley and need out channels. You guys live close enough to life that you don't need TV.
2009-01-02 07:46:25
7.   Bob Hendley
I am guessing that this will have no impact in terms of what is available down here in Mexico. As it is, we get the once a week espn feed. Consolation: No Joe Morgan.
2009-01-02 07:46:53
8.   Bob Timmermann
It's 276/470 on ALL Time Warner systems. It's just not available in South Pasadena. And apparently Comcast has had severe problems.
2009-01-02 08:20:13
9.   Bob Hendley
0 - Perhaps it was a retelcast of the first night game, before they concluded that lights might help.
2009-01-02 09:22:19
10.   Andrew Shimmin
Any chance Time Warner is in breach of contract with MLBAM? I'd take back every lousy thing I ever said (publicly) about the latter if they sued TW.
2009-01-02 09:42:09
11.   Bob Timmermann
I think the people who can see the MLB Network are the same people who were able to watch NBC's broadcast of FDR's opening speech at the 1939 World's Fair.
2009-01-02 10:38:04
12.   Zak
I know what you mean Bob. The whole reason I went with DISH in the first place was because they carried soccer channels that I could not get on DIRECTV. Obviously now, due to negotiation problems over the summer, DISH does not carry one of those channels, DIRECTV does. And now MLBTV. Of course, if I switch, then the Gods will strike me dead anyway.
2009-01-02 10:53:15
13.   Bluebleeder87
I have to admit, I'm a little PO'd Dish doesn't carry MLB Network.
2009-01-02 11:08:57
14.   a red sox fan from pinstripe territory
I am able to see the network. But like you said, if companies had a year to prepare for this, how come Verizon, on it's Guide, is still saying "Coming Soon," instead of having the schedule up? Not a huge deal (though what's the point of being able to look at future listings when there's nothing listed?), but just another thing to make me wonder what the hell these companies are doing... I mean, I've known for quite some time that Larsen's perfect game would be on at 7 PM last night. Not one person at Verizon knew that and at the very least could've just typed it in to their listings real quick? Or maybe MLB hasn't provided a full schedule to the cable companies, in which case, what the hell are THEY doing?
2009-01-02 11:40:15
15.   Gen3Blue
I'm not happy. I just looked around DTV to see if I had this MLB network, found it , turned it on, and what do I get-- the Damn shot heard round the world!
2009-01-02 11:46:22
16.   Andrew Shimmin
I called TW yesterday to grouse about it, and the woman didn't know when MLB Network would "launch in my area." I asked if there was somebody in the office who might know (which I would contend is not that snotty a question; when did people decide that "I don't know," was an acceptable final answer for a CS agent to give?), and was informed that because it was a holiday, none of the VPs had shown up.

So, either my CSer was funny, or it's a bleeding trade secret, when they plan to flip the switch.

2009-01-02 12:03:41
17.   Bob Timmermann
My CS rep (whom I called on New Year's Day at 10 pm) had a whole list of cities with rollout dates listed on them.

So it can't be that hard to find. The guy read off the names of all cities in California starting with an S until he got to South Pasadena.

2009-01-02 12:35:40
18.   Bluebleeder87
if you go to a branch office & talk to them in person you seem to get a more straigt forward answer sometimes... but it seems like Bob T. got a good enought answer.
2009-01-02 14:10:20
19.   Daniel Zappala
At least when you're angry you blog about it, instead of expressing your anger in a more violent manner.
2009-01-02 14:21:36
20.   Bob Timmermann
My email response:

Thank you for your email. We will be more than happy to assist you in
regards to the MLB network. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Time Warner Cable is committed to providing you with the highest quality
of service, so your feedback is very important to us. The information
you have provided will be taken in to consideration so that we can
continue to offer the best possible level of service and support.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us
at the number listed below. Our telephone representatives are available
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Have a nice day!

Hmmm.... I'm guessing that this was a form letter and "MLB Network" was added automatically.

2009-01-02 14:35:13
21.   Woden325
(UPATE)? For shame, Bob.

16 Actually, having been on both ends of support center phone calls, an honest "I don't know" is a lot better than a wild ass guess or BS from the CSR.

2009-01-02 14:45:11
22.   Bob Timmermann
Woden325 puts the D in UPDATE!
2009-01-02 15:02:57
23.   Andrew Shimmin
It's better than issuing a death threat or a singing a sea shanty, too, but not as good as finding the right answer.
2009-01-02 16:02:52
24.   Andrew Shimmin
I wrote to the MLBN's CS agent, too. She wrote back with the same information Bob has. She did not reply to the part of my email asking that MLBAM sue Time Warner.
2009-01-02 16:16:04
25.   DougS
4 Or even worse, it makes you look like you don't know what you're doing.

I'm a TWC customer living other side of the San Gabriel Valley from Bob, and MLBN isn't even in my digital programming guide yet.

21 When Sir Hudson Lowe (later to be Napolen's jailer on St. Helena), served a brief turn as the Duke of Wellington's Chief of Staff, he found out the hard way that it was better to give the Iron Duke any answer at all than to tell him you didn't know. A wrong answer could be corrected later, but admitting ignorance just made you look like an idiot. :-)

2009-01-02 16:36:17
26.   Bob Timmermann
The MLB Network is not even mentioned on Time Warner Cable's website.
2009-01-02 16:43:43
27.   dianagramr

Its not mentioned anywhere on the Time Warner NYC site either.

Just an FYI, in conversations with numerous service reps at Time Warner,I've been told that the MLB Network is NOT available to those with the "Digital Starter Pak" tier of channels (their most basic tier).

I have the Pak, and indeed was greeted with the "Contact cable operator to subscribe to this channel" when I switched to channel 174 last night.

That circumstance seems consistent with other sports channels on nearby channels (170-173) such as ESPNU, ESPN Cla*sic, ESPN News .... they are only available beginning with the DTValue tier.

This was also mentioned on their website on December 5th, but was no longer noted on their update of December 19th.

2009-01-02 16:48:59
28.   Bob Timmermann
I was told that I would definitely get the channel.

I just have to wait. My cable company just doesn't have the equipment to handle it. Which seems like a really bad excuse.

2009-01-02 17:00:33
29.   Bluebleeder87
My cable company just doesn't have the equipment to handle it.

this kind of falls into the "break job" you mentioned on DT earlier today no Bob?

2009-01-02 17:06:10
30.   Bob Timmermann
Sometimes "equipment" just means "equipment."
2009-01-02 23:02:12
31.   underdog
Among the things Bob has missed on MLB Network: Harold Reynolds calling the Kansas City Royals "one of the storied franchises in all of baseball." ("Baseball needs the Royals to be competitive.")
2009-01-02 23:34:07
32.   Cones88
I live in downtown area and the mlb network is part of the variety tier on Time Warner. I just changed my package from an old Adelphia package and added the variety tier.
2009-01-03 10:21:10
33.   a red sox fan from pinstripe territory
Update on the Verizon listings: It's now showing actual program names--right now it's supposed to be a 2008 playoff game featuring "Shane VictoriAno and the Phillies." But what's actually on is the Larsen game again. They're getting close! (I know, I shouldn't be complaining since I can actually see the network, but seriously, how hard is it to list a simple schedule and follow it, spell the names of popular major leaguers correctly, etc..)
2009-01-03 10:23:48
34.   Bob Timmermann
I've decided to take pleasure in watching the International Bowl.
2009-01-03 10:28:11
35.   popup
I must say the Larsen perfect game has to be far down my list of the baseball games from the past that I would like to see. If someone discovers Ernie Harwell's telecast of the Tompson homerun game, I hope no one tries to show it to me.

Here are the ten baseball games (not all of them were televised, but they all are from the tv era) I would most like to see

1. Dodgers/Phillies in game 162 to conclude the 1966 season. Sandy's last game in the National League and he pitched the Dodgers to the pennant

2. Game 7, 1955 World Series

3. Jackie Robinson debut in 1947 for Brooklyn. TV was an experiment back then, but it did exist.

4. Sandy's perfect game. I would insist though on the radio brodcast of Jerry and Vin being the tv audio.

5. Dodgers/Phillies in the last game of the 1957 season and the last game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The radio broadcast of Vin and Jerry has been preserved, but it has never been publically available. Again, I would want the radio broadcast to accompany the tv pictures.

6. 1948 World Series, game 5. Satchel Paige pitched in that game. Warren Spahn did too.

7. Sandy's no-hitter in 1964 against the Phillies. I listened to that game. If it had not been a school night I probably would have been at Connie Mack Stadium to see it.

8. Sandy's first no-hitter in 1962 against the Mets

9. Sandy's no-hitter in 1963 against the Giants.

10. 1963 World Series, game 4.

Stan from Tacoma

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