It’s that time of year again for the flowers to bloom, the skirts to start coming out and for the Royals to start showing up on Television or Radio. And just like those short skirts, you have to be smart about how you check them out.
Being a Royals fan is tough enough. And Major League Baseball doesn’t make it any easier to actually watch or listen to the games without purchasing a ticket. The slogan is “Come to Play” remember? And not “Listen from a distance.” And for many of you, who just discovered the Internet, you may be asking yourself, “I’ve got this fancy computer or smartphone, how can I watch or listen to these games?”
So here is a guide to listening and watching your Kansas City Royals.
In Kansas City, the Royals are broadcast on AM radio by 610 Sports (KCSP). You can also find a list of regional radio stations that also carry the Royals here. The radio network covers 8 states and features Baseball Hall of Famer Denny Matthews in his 45th year of groaning about how fast the games take. 610 Sports also streams over the internet through 610Sports.com, however, they do cut the feed for the pregame show, and only put the feed back up after the network postgame show. You cannot hear Royals games over the 610 Website.
For those of you who do not have an AM radio (a growing number of you) or those who work/live inside buildings where you don’t get reception, you can listen to Royals games via MLB.com. But there’s a catch. It costs money. It costs $19.99 a year. And that account will play on your computer and your smartphone.
There are no regional blackouts for audio. And it’s good for all MLB games, so if you like listening to classic radio announcers like Gary Thorne in Baltimore, or Bob Uecker in Milwauke, this is the app for you.
Fox Sports Kansas City here in Kansas City will again be broadcasting nearly all Royals games this season.
The only ones that aren’t broadcast are those random Thursday day games, or Saturdays late in the season when people would rather watch MU or KU lose in Football. The Fox Broadcasting team of Ryan Lefebvre and Rex “The Wonder Dog” Hudler does the TV games. Fox Sports Kansas City runs on all the major cable systems here in Kansas City and they share time with the St. Louis Fox Affiliate, so you might catch a Blues game or a Mizzou Coaches show. The broadcasts have gotten a ton better in the past few years, and even Rex is starting to grow on people.
Now. Here’s where it gets shitty. MLB.com does offer live baseball on their website and their MLB.TV app. But they don’t offer local Royals games – regardless of if they’re playing home or away. You can only see “out of market games” which means if you’re in Kansas City, you can’t watch the Royals, but you can watch the other 14 games on that night. (With the exception of some ESPN and FOX games, but that’s another story.) And when you’re being asked to pay $130 a year (or more if you do it monthly) that’s a really shitty asterisk. it’s done by IP address and location of your device and home billing zip code. So when I traveled to California last year, I was able to watch Royals games while I was there.
There are some known ways around the MLB blackout although I haven’t tried it.
Honestly, if MLB.tv ever started showing local Royals games, that’d be the final reason I had to cut cable just like many millions of people are already doing.
Now, if you do spend the $130, you not only get the non-Royals games. You get some pretty cool features like Picture in Picture, multiple games and total access on your Smartphone. I’ve had it the last several years and use it pretty heavily in April, when there seem to be more day games, but haven’t really gotten what I’d call my money’s worth.
We just got several Roku’s in my house so I’m looking forward to using the MLB.tv app there. I tried it last night and actually did get the White Sox/Royals game from Surprise (I guess spring games are exempt from blackout just to confuse people.)
If you’d like to read more about these fucked up MLB Blackout Rules. Check this out.
It’s a landmine of rules and regulations and at some point, it needs to get simpler to watch your product. But we’re in the dark ages right now – like before the Beatles catalog was available on iTunes. Hang in there. It’s got to get better someday, doesn’t it?
Hopefully, we’ll have meaningful baseball late in the season to even bitch about.