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Sunday 17th Dec 2017

So says today's column title: a memorable line from one of my favorite movies of all time, Being There. It was spoken repeatedly by Peter Sellers’ character, Chance the Gardener, reflecting his obsession with watching television. 

It is now that time again – spring training baseball has arrived. Even if we cannot be there in person, more and more games are being brought into our homes each year.

As Billy Joel once wrote and sung, “…you can't get the sound from a story in a magazine…” So it goes with our grand game. You might think that is an odd comment coming from a purveyor of the written word, but it is true.

Baseball is made to be seen and the time has finally come once again. On Friday afternoon, the Giants’ Tim Lincecum threw the first baseball of 2011 to batterymate Buster Posey as the Cactus League officially got underway.

As the contest was only on the radio, not televised, I have no way of knowing for sure if the members of the defending World Champs were wearing “bright orange pairs of pants.” The problem of no visuals will be remedied on Saturday as the first three televised games of the spring will be played.

Even though only a small percentage of baseball fans are able to travel to Florida or Arizona in person, from our homes, we can see up to a whopping 150 spring games televised by MLB. The best part is that those crazy and inexplicable blackouts that bedevil millions of baseball fans throughout the entire regular season are lifted in the spring.

What better way to find out who might be winning those positional battles all over spring training camps than to catch the action live (or on delay)? Sure, we still want you to come here to Mastersball to read all the expert commentary we have to offer, but there’s more.

From where I sit, snow is still on the ground and two weeks remain until my annual Florida trip. I can’t wait that long to see Grapefruit and Cactus League action and will instead pretend that spring is already here. That shouldn’t be surprising given my immediate alternative is watching more snow being driven down at a 45 degree angle straight out of the North.

In recent years, I have subscribed to MLB.TV, which is priced at $119.95 and $99.95 depending on features desired. There are also monthly options at a higher overall rate. This price includes spring training and the regular season plus audio. The latter includes many spring games not televised, such as Friday’s Diamondbacks-Giants Arizona opener.

In terms of devices, games can be viewed wherever you travel using a PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android phone, as well as Sony PlayStation 3, Roku, Boxee and Samsung and LG Blu-ray players and televisions. You may want to test out your preferred approach during the spring to ensure the quality meets your viewing standards.

A reminder that MLB.TV subscriptions auto-renew each March 1, so if that is of concern to you, consider using a one-time-only credit card number available from many card providers at no charge.

For those who stay put, there is also the continued option of the MLB Extra Innings package, which is available on DirecTV and many cable systems for around $209 or in six monthly payments of $34.99. EI lacks the mobility of MLB.TV (at least without a placeshifting box), but most believe picture quality is superior.

I am not an expert on EI, but I have been told those channels are not active for spring training. Some games should be available on regional sports networks if one subscribes to a sports package, however.

Note too, that I am not an employee of MLB and do not get anything from this other than the satisfaction of helping my fellow baseball aficionados see the games you want to watch, so enjoy!

And, an added note: If your television provider offers MLB Network, their spring coverage of 83 games begins Saturday with the Phillies and Yankees squaring off at 1:00 PM, ET.

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 13-year history. He is a 2009 NFBC league winner and finished in the top 25 nationally in both the NFBC and NFFC that season. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com.


0 #9 Lawr Michaels 2011-02-28 18:26
hmm. i actually get all my baseball (and football, for i do sunday ticket, too) games, via direct tv, in HD.
0 #8 michael clapinski 2011-02-28 15:45
Thanks Rob, that's great news.
0 #7 Rob Leibowitz 2011-02-27 19:14
and yep, just saw now spring training on the ps3, but only the yanks appear to be on this afternoon anyway, so go that local
0 #6 Rob Leibowitz 2011-02-27 19:13
It's HD with ps3. I have a 42' lcd, so its pretty nice.
0 #5 michael clapinski 2011-02-27 17:29
The biggest issue I have with Extra Innings, at least in my area, is that they don't show the games in HD. Rob, what's the image like using MLB.TV in conjunction with the PS3?
0 #4 Brian Walton 2011-02-27 17:08
For reasons only MLB knows, they are not streaming spring training games on PS3, Boxee or Roku. After reading complaints on the MLB forums, it seems they changed their misleading advertising at least. Here is what they now say is supported: PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
0 #3 Lawr Michaels 2011-02-26 17:09
i do have extra innings, and i really love it. well worth the price. well, i like it. between that and everything else, i get all the games i can imagine.
0 #2 Brian Walton 2011-02-26 15:29
My son would not turn over his PS3 to me for an entire season's worth of game watching last year, so I bought a Roku. It was an up and down experience.
0 #1 Rob Leibowitz 2011-02-26 15:10
I love using my playstation 3 in combo with mlb.tv.

Works very nicely, plus I get the multiple games at once option.

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