When my daughter was born, the doctor neglected to hand me the medical shears and just snipped the umbilicus herself. I didn’t really care in the moment because I had a beautiful baby girl and that was more important that our OB callously stealing that once-in-a-lifetime moment from me (just kidding, Dr. Linda, we’re cool). I wonder, though, whether the event somehow caused a measure of subconscious trauma that led to my steadfast devotion to cable/satellite television. When it comes to my viewing habits, I’m just unable to cut the cord.
Even though I complain frequently about the quality and reliability of the service, I just keep sticking by [insert provider] because I want to make sure I get all my sports. That’s become even more important as streaming services continue to punish those who have the misfortune of living in a local blackout region or who have migrated away from traditional forms of TV delivery. And if you happen to find yourself in the overlapping section of the Venn diagram formed by those two groups, well, you’re screwed.
Sure, you can subscribe to MLB.TV and use an IP-masking service to get the games. But you’ve still got to jump through hoops and generally suffer through more inconvenience than should be necessary. Thing is, it’s not going to get any easier for Cubs fans now that the postseason has started. In fact, your access to games is actually going to be even further limited. That’s because MLB.TV will only be showing the NLDS games being broadcast on MLB Network, which includes only Games 2 and 3. Hooray!
Okay, that’s perhaps too grim and myopic a view of the whole deal. The full MLB.TV slate actually includes AL Wild Card game and both ALDS series, along with all ALCS games and the FOX broadcasts of the NLCS. The streaming service will also have every World Series game.
Ah, but here’s the thing, cord-cutters: Eligible subscribers in the U.S. must authenticate through their supported Pay TV provider. A one time authentication is required. In other words, you’ve got to be paying for one of a number of different providers (AT&T/DirecTV, Brighthouse, Buckeye, Cox, Dish, Optimum, Suddenlink, TimeWarner, Verizon, WOW!) in order to stream those games. *sad trombone*
Or maybe your neighbor has cable and is cool with letting you authenticate using his/her info. That has the added bonus of being somewhat illicit, so you can enjoy your baseballing while also sticking it to the man by way of a victimless crime.
Below is a list of the playoff games in which the Cubs will/might participate in, along with broadcast and streaming info. There’s a full list of all the playoff serieseses over at Bleacher Report, but it appears to have been published prior to the release of DS start times on Monday and may be in need of some updates.
I’ll provide the requisite caveat that this information is subject to change and that the reliability on the chart above is only as good as my understanding of what I read on the MLB.TV site and the broadcast schedule on MLB.com. In general, the playoffs will make it even harder for those who have chosen a more non-traditional consumption of baseball broadcasts. Or maybe this makes it easier to get over to a friend’s house or to a bar to watch the game with scores of strangers.
If you’ll be around the Indy area and want to hang out with yours truly, I’ll be hosting a watch party for Game 1 of the NLDS and will be meeting up with some folks on Saturday as well. If you want to get to Wrigley, I’ve got your back there too. And if you’re going to wear a rut in your carpet as you pace in front of your TV and cause your family and/or dog to seek shelter, well, good luck. For those of you worried that your current deal doesn’t include it, MLB Network is offering a free preview to customers of AT&T U-verse, Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, and more this weekend.
Feel free to use the comments to let me know how you plan to watch the games or why I’m dumb for paying all that money for U-Verse when you have a much better/cheaper/less intrusive method of consuming sports broadcasts.