Major League Baseball exhibition season games begin and baseball fanatics like me lose their mind. In Las Vegas, it only takes a couple of days for that excitement to start wearing off.
Most exhibition games in Las Vegas are shown on the MLB Network. There are Grapefruit League games in Florida beginning at 10 am nearly every day and that makes for a pretty awesome morning.
The excitement begins to fade as the 1 pm games begin. This time slot is typically reserved for Cactus League games in Arizona. Unfortunately, it’s rare to actually see a 1 pm baseball game during Spring Training in Las Vegas. There are 15 teams in the Cactus League and games featuring six of those teams are blacked out on TV in Las Vegas. It’s not just that six teams are blacked out, it’s that as many as 12 teams can’t that be shown if they're playing against the six blacked out teams.
Frankly, this isn’t a big deal during Spring Training. This becomes a big deal during the regular season when you visit Las Vegas and want to watch a Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, or Oakland A’s game in the sportsbook. These three teams won't be shown unless they're playing in a nationally televised game.
The Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, and Arizona Diamondbacks are also blacked out in Las Vegas but many of their games are available in sportsbooks. The Angels and Padres air most of their games on local cable. The D-Backs are on often but not as frequently.
For some reason, Las Vegas is considered a home market for these six teams. This issue takes place in many markets but that’s with fewer teams and no less gambling. The blackouts are brutal if you’re a Las Vegas baseball fan who cut the cord and use MLB.TV. Games involving all six of the teams are blacked out every day.
If anything, the MLB blackouts should be lifted for casinos but that’s probably a much larger issue. These MLB blackouts won’t be much of a big deal for most of you until the dog days of summer. Once the NBA and NHL playoffs are over, there’s almost nothing else to watch in the sportsbook and the missing games are much more noticeable.
You have a few options if you want to keep track of these teams in a sportsbook. Download the MLB app and sign up for premium service ($19.99). This version of the app gives you access to audio for all games. If you’re a Yankees fan you’ll be treated to the great John Sterling calling games.
You can also bring a tablet or second mobile device to watch a gamecast. You can access these for free via numerous apps. Sure you can use your phone, but that will suck the battery life from the device you'll need all day and night.
Lastly, visit a big sportsbook at take a seat at a desk with a personal TV and turn to the DirecTV scoreboard. If one of the blacked out teams is playing, you can see a small split screen of the game here. A few years ago, a friend had a wager on an A’s game and was losing his mind watching them on an 8-way split. It was possibly the most amazing degenerate sports betting action I’ve seen.
The ticket writers at the sportsbook are already tired of you asking why these MLB games aren’t on. Do them a favor and don’t forget this heads up.