Big League Stew - MLB

After watching the San Francisco Giants secure their first World Series title in over 50 years, you'd think all would be right within Giants universe.

Of course, thanks to MLB's infamous blackout rules, that's hardly the case.

Down in Hawaii, at least a few islands' worth of Giants fans are upset over not being able to enjoy the championship afterglow.

What's more, they've had time to build up a rightful anger. A dispute between Hawaii's cable outlets and Comcast Sports Net Bay Area also squeezed Hawaiian-based Giants fans out of seeing most of the team's regular-season run to the NL West title in 2010.

From the Honululu Star Advertiser:  

It works like this: MLB teams declare a "home television territory" which need not have any relevance to actual geographic proximity. Which is why six teams — the Giants, A's, Dodgers, Angels, Mariners and Padres — have all "declared" Hawaii their territory. Why Arizona didn't also pile on isn't known ...

Being in their "territory" allows all six teams to say Hawaii cable outlets must either work a deal with the clubs' regional sports networks (RSNs) or face a blackout of non-ESPN national telecasts. That means no viewing them on MLB.com, MLB Extra Innings or other outlets unless you have DirecTV, which most of Hawaii doesn't.

Wow, what a great arrangement. The MLB allows six teams to lick Hawaii's donut, even if there's no chance that its providers can pay all their regional networks for the privilege of airing their games. The Angels and Dodgers were able to strike a deal with Oceanic Time Warner, so no problems there. And the Padres and Mariners — perhaps cognizant of the fact that no one is going to pony up for their games — have blessed Hawaii with "temporary waivers" so they can check out their games on their iPhones and iPads.

That leaves the Giants and A's, who are content to hold their Hawaiian fans hostage because MLB granted them the privilege of "claiming" a territory that's separated by over 2,000 miles of ocean by all six teams who want to call it their own. The league is to blame for giving the regional networks the opportunity to attempt that money grab in the first place, which is why U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye has asked the league to "explain itself."  Meanwhile, one Hawaiian baseball fan maintains a great site — commaaina.blogspot.com — dedicated to ending the illogical blackout rules. (Perhaps they can get President Obama's ear the next time he swings back for a visit?)

At the very least, though, the Giants should be acutely aware of how hard it is to win a championship and how enjoyable running through the next season as champs can be. If they wouldn't deprive their old Giants fans back in New York of that experience, why would they do the same for the ones in Hawaii?

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