Pick Out Somebody You Wanna Punch

Are you familiar with MLB’s blackout rules? You probably aren’t, unless you specialize in sports law or are a masochist. They’re quite arcane, outdated, and draconian.

Case in point: Fox has exclusive national rights for baseball on Saturdays from 4pm to 7pm. That means if your team schedules a game during this window, but isn’t being broadcast by Fox, it can’t be shown on TV. As you might imagine, most teams don’t schedule games during this time unless they’re being shown on Fox.

That’s why there’s more and more Saturday start times of 7:10 (or later). When I first got a Mets ticket plan several years ago, I opted for a Saturday plan because I liked the idea of spending a lazy Saturday afternoon at the ballpark. But in a short amount of time, these lazy afternoons turned into torpid evenings and getting home at 1 in the morning.

Technically, a team can schedule a game whenever they want. They could play at 3am if they felt like it. The Marlins decided to test this freedom in the first series of the season. They scheduled a 6:10pm start for this Saturday’s game against the Mets. As a result, the beginning of this game can not be shown on TV anywhere in this country. Not in New York, not in Miami, not in Nome or Omaha or Cucamonga. It doesn’t matter where you live. You will not see the start of this game.

So I’m trying to decide who I hate more right now. Is it MLB, for not restructuring their antiquated blackout rules for the new digital age? These blackout rules date back to baseball’s radio days, where certain teams were assigned arbitrary “territories” (and there were only 16 teams, and none west of the Mississippi).

And for some ridiculous reason, they blackout your local team(s) on MLB.tv (based on your billing address), even though anyone watching a game online is doing so because they’re someplace where the local feed (or TV in general) is unavailable. Thus, they cut themselves off from the lucrative traveling businessman/cubicle slave goofing off market.

But these rules, dumb as they are, aren’t to blame for Saturday’s blackout. So maybe I hate Fox, for insisting on this ridiculous exclusivity. As if your local team is “competition” for whatever game they decide to send Joe Buck to. Everything Rupert Murdoch touches, he poisons and destroys.

Then again, The Fox Rule has been effect for several years now. It’s not like Bud Selig was carrying it around in his back pocket, waiting to unleash it at the most inconvenient time. So I think I’ll reserve most of my hatred for the idiot Marlins, an organization that clearly hates baseball.

Apparently the Marlins also hate music. Do you know why they pushed the start time of Saturday’s game up by one hour? To accommodate a postgame concert by rapper Flo Rida.

Not familiar with Flo Rida? If not, then clearly it’s been a while since you were harrassed by some douche driving a car with a purple neon license plate. Surely you’ve bought the soundtrack to the cinematic masterpiece Step Up 2, or grooved to his monster hit “Right Round” at your local club that’s totally a front for the Russian mob.

Do you know how many baseball teams sponsor pre- or postgame concerts? I’m gonna say all of them, from the smallest market teams all the way up to the Yankees, BoSox, etc. I know the Mets have a well-attended Merengue Night every year.

And I don’t think a single team has moved a game start time in deference to these events. Except for the bush league Marlins, a team with so few fans that they don’t care whether their games are on TV or not.

Keep in mind, they’re not doing this to appease a musical legend, or even an old band/artist playing classics. They’re doing it for a fourth-rate crunk “artist” who is 18 months away from the State Fair Circuit. I would call him a flash in the pan, but a flash in the pan will seem like a small eternity compared to Flo Rida’s career trajectory. This guy will be forgotten in a heartbeat the second he has a flop single.

Don’t believe me? Anyone hear from the Ying Yang Twins lately? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

This is something a minor league team would do, sandwiched in between Dunk the Mayor Night and Ladies Named Sheila Pay Half Price Day.

If this was 1983, I could see the Marlins bending over backwards for a postgame concert by Michael Sembello.

“Listen: We’re not starting this game at 7. We’re starting it at 6 and that’s final! If Michael Sembello wants to go on no later than 10, he’s going on no later 10. Do you realize who we’re dealing with here? This is the man who wrote ‘Maniac’! You don’t fuck with that kind of star power! And you make sure his dressing room has 16 gross of marshmallow Peeps, just like he asked for. I go in that room and there’s one less Peep than that, so help me God, heads will roll!”

Hey, Marlins, wanna know why your organization is a sports punchline? Start with crap like this.