25

Dear Bobby Manfred

Dear Bobby Manfred,

On behalf of all Blue Jays fans in Canada, I want to thank you for yesterday’s interactive and fun streaming experience. It was an indelible, Facebook-only moment, and I can’t wait to log in and watch the next Facebook-only Jays game on May 24th against the Angels. I sure hope Shohei Ohtani is pitching in this afternoon gem, so that I can watch it from my dumb smartphone, and read all the terrific comments – fun effin’ times, Bobby.

I remember last year, when you announced MLB’s partnership with Facebook to stream 20 games live on good ol’ Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking service, it was no big deal because both regional television broadcasters and Facebook showed the same Friday night games – not too bad at all. But this year’s Bloomberg-estimated $35 million dollar cash-rules-everything-around MLB deal only allows Facebook to stream the games. Now, if you used this money to properly pay MiLB players, I most definitely wouldn’t be typing up this letter to you. Big effin’ thumbs up, Bobby.

Now, I remember being a cool 20-something back in the mid Y2Ks when MySpace was the hip thing happening in the land of the Internet. But that all changed when Facebook came onto the scene and everyone abandoned their MySpace accounts and went all in on Facebook. It was many Broken-Social-Scene-was-still-a-band moons ago.

I get the whole ‘evolve with the times’ beer can that you and MLB Deputy Commissioner of Business and Media, Tony Petitti, are kicking along the side of the ol’ creative think road, but I’m not sure that Facebook is really the best social media space for you to try and get all interactive and shit. It’s kind of yesterday’s news. None of the young, cool kids are using Facebook anymore. C’mon, Bobby.

Now, I’m no expert on this stuff, nor have I done any market research to support anything that I’m about to type up, but maybe Twitter might have been a better avenue for you to explore as an alternative broadcast method and live interactive stream.

All of your MLB writers have massive Twitter followings. Every MLB team has a Twitter account that has about 2 million followers that tweet and interact with fans during the game. A ton of baseball writers and fans also tweet and interact during the game. And sure the same could be said about some Facebook baseball fan pages and stuff, but if you really looked at the numbers, Twitter would have been a better option for MLB to explore.

I noticed that on yesterday’s Facebook-only game that there were roughly 70 thousand viewers during the live stream – not very good at all, especially when you think of the 1-million that would have tuned into the game on Sportsnet.

And to be honest with you Bobby, it’s pretty shitty that so many baseball fans who paid for MLB.tv – or whatever cable package, weren’t able to watch the game yesterday the way they would prefer (and paid) to watch it, don’t you think? And believe it or not, some people don’t have Facebook. Imagine that?

I really could not give a shit about this whole live and interactive nonsense, but I get that things evolve with the times as things always do. I think the main problem with the Facebook-only thing is the word ‘only’.

I’m not sure how you and the rest of the talking MLB heads sat around the boardroom sipping your Starbucks and thought that it would be a good idea to deny access to your MLB.tv customers and force them to watch the game through Facebook.

I honestly don’t give a shit if you use Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or whatever to continue to adapt with the times, but don’t force us to watch the games through Facebook, especially if we’ve paid good money to watch it through a subscription service. We work hard and spend our cash on a service and we want that service. Plain and effin’ simple, crystally effin’ clear.

Listen, I had to accept the death of Blockbuster and believe me I didn’t want to. It was hard for me when it happened because half of my Friday night was spent walking around trying to decide what movie to rent – which was kind of fun, but today I’m totally cool with Netflix.

And I’m fine with spending a half hour looking for something to watch in the comfort of my home. But, Netflix isn’t telling me that only certain movies can be watched at certain times on certain tablets on some specific social media platforms, are they?

I get that all the games that are Facebook-only this year are in the afternoon. But, I think you need to re-consider the idea of ‘only’ because it’s a shitty thing to do to your MLB.tv paying customers. And I know that this whole thing is a work in progress, but it took my dumb ass a few innings into the game to realize I have to swipe the stupid comments to the right to get rid of all that noise.

I’ve had to accept the death of VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs, and iPods, so I’m cool with change. And I know that what you’re doing isn’t going to go away, so just re-think your plan and don’t force your customer to have only one option to watch the game that we all love.

I know you’re not going to read this.

Sincerely,

Ryan

  • BeardedArkitect

    Once I realized that you could swipe right and get rid of all the comments and stupid emoticons, it wasn’t too bad. You know aside from the terrible “play by play”

    • Barry

      Even when doing that, they still had those annoying social media comments at the top next to the score. They weren’t as bad as the floating emoticons and the inane comments that were at the bottom, but still, I found them intrusive, and unnecessary. (If I want to know what people are saying about the game on social media, I don’t need to be watching the game on Facebook.)

    • sons

      Not too bad? Except you have to have a Facebook account! And have to change your usual routine and watch via it. And listen to shitty play by play. And soon enough…. have even more ads overlaid onto the field. No fuck it. Total bullshit. I already pay 2 separate ways to watch. Making me pay a 3rd way (giving my time and privacy away) is bullshit.

      • DAKINS

        Just create a facebook-use-only email account, create a dumb facebook profile with not one shred of personal info on it, and watch the game.

        I mean, I listened to the radio, and later found “another way” to watch this game without using facebook, because I don’t want to encourage this to become a thing either, but don’t act like it was giving away your first born child.

  • J. Paquin

    Yup, I was totally pissed off. I’ve had MLB.tv since it came out over a decade ago and I was beyond pissed I could not access the game. I had to watch some shitty bootleg stream that was absolute garbage. Alienating your current fanbase (1 million viewers) to try and win over some millennials (70K viewers), seriously? Whoever thought this was a good idea should be outright fired.

  • Spanish Announce Table

    To add to the Netflix analogy. 1. Sign up to Netflix for $10.99 a month to watch let’s say… Narcos. 2. Netflix says thanks, takes your money, and the says to see episode #3 of season #2 you have to sign up for facebook. It is the principal of the ‘fuck you’.

  • DeeSells

    On a positive note not having to listen to the same commercials over and over again, like on sportsnet, was amazing. They actually had some decent content lined up between innings.

    • Barry

      A million is high. But it would definitely be in the hundreds of thousands, even for a day game — the Jays do very well on TV. And the “hundreds of thousands” is average ratings, not peak — peak is always much higher. The quoted number for the peak ratings of the Facebook game (70,000+) is much higher than the average. It is likely that a televised game would have had anywhere from five to ten times as many viewers as the Facebook-only game.

    • Barry

      Maybe his friends call him Bobby, so he might read it after all. I mean, everyone has a friend named Ryan whose last name they can never remember, so surely Manfred could be fooled by this.

  • ErnieWhitt

    “Watch almost 300 Spring Training games and all 2,430 regular season MLB games online or on your favorite supported smartphones, tablets and connected devices.”
    Thats from my MLB.tv Subscription confirmation email sent to me in February of this year when my subscription auto-renewed. I guess that was a lie.

  • Hentgen

    Twitter is a paper tiger compared to Facebook. Twitter is used by the media and a certain segment of online trolls, and so the media thinks its Very Important, but the Facebook/Instagram monster is where more engage.