I sat down in my living room to watch the Atlanta Braves take on the Washington Nationals last night…
Wait, no I didn’t. In fact I haven’t been able to watch the Braves play hardly at all this season outside of one Sunday night trip to Truist Park. You see, my television provider Hulu Live does not carry the Bally Sports regional networks formerly known as Fox Sports South/Southeast. Those channels got dropped soon after the 2020 MLB season ended. At the time, I thought it would be no problem because surely the two sides would get their acts together prior to 2021 Opening Day. Wrong.
Almost no streaming services that offer live television like Hulu have agreements with Bally Sports, thus leaving a lot of baseball fans out in the cold. I don’t want to come off as complain-y, but I’ve had to turn to radio as my main source for Braves baseball. It’s like I’m living in the 1940s. Here we are in the early 2020s with access to more television channels than ever and I cannot get Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman and company on a screen without switching to another provider.
I’ve been spoiled in that regard my entire life. I grew up watching the Braves on TBS with Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren teaching me the game of baseball. Skip also did this really cool thing when someone in the stands caught a foul ball. He’d say, “A fan from Greensboro got that one.” I’ll admit now that it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out he did not actually have a seating chart that listed every fans’ hometown up in the booth. Hopefully I didn’t just break that news to you.
Games later moved over to the Fox Sports networks, which was no problem. The years went on and some of the announcers changed, but I still had the Braves on my TV. The provider and the network would get into their scuffles when their contracts together were winding down. You’d see the message scroll across saying that so-and-so provider will drop this network on such-and-such date, and to give them a call to let them know you don’t want to see that happen. Hands were inevitably shaken as deals were made sometimes on the final day before the broadcast was cut.
I and thousands of other baseball fans across the country would love to see Bally Sports shake hands (maybe virtually for now) with live TV streaming services some day soon. The radio announcers do a great job, but watching a Ronald Acuña home run land 20 rows up in the bleachers is a lot more fun than hearing about it.