Nats fans upset about Game 3 TV coverage

Mike Stobe - Getty Images

The Nationals/Cardinals game Wednesday will be exclusively on MLB Network. That's making some Nats fans really angry.

Game 3 of the National League Division series between the Cardinals and Nationals will be televised exclusively on MLB Network, Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.

Those facts are making some Nats fans angry:

"It’s the worst-case scenario," said John Quinn, who had already purchased tickets for Wednesday’s game and immediately e-mailed his supervisor about taking a half-day. "Some of us actually have to work. It’s really upsetting. This is the first time we’ve had playoff baseball since 1933, and to get the 1 o’clock start time and the MLB Network just seems really unfair."

Wednesday’s game will be just the second playoff game shown exclusively on MLB Network; Sunday’s game between the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers was the highest-rated game in the network’s four-year history. The channel has 70 million subscribers, and is available on the cable or satellite systems of close to 100 million households.

Complaining about the start time of a playoff game? You'd think he'd be happy just to have his team there. The complaint about the game being televised on MLB Network? Perhaps a bit more justified. We are far past the point where fans could expect all postseason games on free, over-the-air TV; the division-series round is all-cable, as will be one of the championship series.

But MLB Network, as noted, isn't as widely distributed as TBS or other, larger cable networks. One angry fans group has an idea:

MLB should allow DC 50 or one of the local stations to retransmit the MLB Network feed of tomorrow’s game immediately.

"Immediately"? Not likely. But the group does have a point. The NFL sends all its cable games to a local broadcast channel in each of the participating cities in exchange for a fee paid by that station. Why wouldn't MLB do this? They'd make money from the rights sale and get more eyeballs for the game, from fans who can't afford cable, or the higher tier necessary to get MLB Network.

It would seem to be a no-brainer, although we're talking about a sport that goes out of its way to black out regular-season games.

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