02/28/2006 1:00 PM ET
MLB has the season, Classic covered
Tournament , spring games prepare fans for full-season slate
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
This is the week when live and on-demand baseball games finally return to computers all over the world. So in the spirit of Spring Training, it's time to go over the basics that will help every fan enjoy 2006 to the fullest at MLB.com.
Ready? Here is a primer on what you will get with a subscription to MLB.TV, MLB.com All Access or Gameday Audio, now that signups are under way:
If you were one of the hundreds of thousands of fans who watched live games on MLB.TV last season, then you already know this is one of the best things to even happen to the Internet. But there is an added bonus now, because the inaugural World Baseball Classic is included in your MLB.TV or MLB.com All Access subscription. Early subscribers can also watch all of the Grapefruit and Cactus League games broadcast.
The MLB.TV Generation
For only $14.95 a month or $79.95 a season, you can watch virtually every out-of-market game in high quality with your broadband connection. Major League Baseball pioneered this technology for making its full schedule of games available live over the Internet, and it has become a way of life for fans who are watching their favorite team from home, the office, at college or in a hotel room on a business or vacation trip.
Because of MLB's broadcast agreements, there are blackout restrictions for live games involving your local team. The MLB.TV technology determines your IP address, so if you're a Cleveland Indians fan within a radius that offers your local cable affiliate's TV coverage of the Tribe, a blackout would apply for that game. But all other MLB.TV games that day are available to you, and despite the blackout, an MLB.TV subscription would still let you view the full broadcast of any Indians game in 2006 after the conclusion of each game. It's an especially fun way to find yourself in the crowd after going to a game at Jacobs Field, or to see any highlights when you want.
Get ready for something completely different
MLB.TV has broken a lot of new ground already, and there is a special new breakthrough coming this regular season. Subscribe now, get the World Baseball Classic and Spring Training exhibitions included, then prepare to view a season like never before. Trust us: You'll be showing it off to your colleagues and friends.
Tradition continues with Gameday Audio
Radio broadcasting is part of the rich heritage of Major League Baseball, evoking memories of nights spent with the voices of Red Barber, Mel Allen, Jack Buck and Harry Caray. An MLB.com Gameday Audio subscription is just $14.95 for the season, and it's an exclusive way to listen to any 2006 MLB game no matter where you are. You can pick whether to listen to the home or away broadcast crew, and you can switch back-and-forth as you like.
MLB.com All Access: For the total fan
A subscription to All Access is $19.95 a month or $99.95 for the season, and it includes both MLB.TV and Gameday Audio for the many fans who want the freedom to choose. An All Access subscription will include many other benefits as well, including condensed games, highlight reels and access to any classic game from the "Baseball's Best" treasure trove of broadcasts.
How did we follow baseball in the old days?
Sometimes you have to wonder. True, nothing beats the ballpark experience itself. More than 73 million fans went to Major League games last season, and early projections are for at least that many this time around. But when your team is playing and you're not there, MLB.com subscriptions more than fill the void. And even when you are there, it makes it even more fun. As a case in point ...
Every day is scoreboard-watching time
MLB.TV lets you conveniently monitor all other clubs in your team's division, too. If recent years are any indication, most of Major League Baseball will be contending for something entering that final month, and if you're watching your team on MLB.TV, you'll want to know what those other clubs are doing that night. MLB.TV is also a great way to monitor players on your fantasy roster, and with All-Star voting not too far away, you'll want to be an educated voter.
The first spring exhibition is Wednesday, and the first pitch of the World Baseball Classic comes Thursday night ET. This is the week that the best players in the business return to competition, and now's the time to order your way to bring it to your computer.