Sadly, the rumours have been confirmed. After over a decade of bringing us insightful and entertaining coverage of MLB, Five have decided to drop the ‘Baseball on Five’ show for the 2009 season. The news is made worse for British baseball fans as no other free-to-air channel has picked up the rights (as yet).
The chances of being able to watch the Braves-Phillies game next Sunday if you don’t have an ESPN America or MLB.tv subscription appear slim.
While many of us were basically resigned to the news, that didn’t make it any easier to read Jonny Gould’s message to the FantasyBaseballUK players:
Welcome Fellow-Baseball Nuts……. God I’m going to miss saying that.
I’m sure most of you have heard the rumours. Five TV have ended their association with our beloved sport, or at least they have not committed to another season of Baseball on 5 every Wednesday and Sunday night. The rumours have been many and mixed, and I’m sorry that I’m not in a position to fully clarify the situation for you. What I can tell you is that if this is the end, it has been one hell of a ride. Understandably many of our hardcore viewers are pretty pissed off with Five, but rememeber they have made a 12-year committent and for that alone we should all be very grateful.
So what’s next? Well first and foremost the movers and the shakers in UK Baseball are still committed to finding a home for Baseball on UK television. There is no guarantee as to when or even if that will happen, but we are committed to keeping the Baseball family intact. To that end we are continuing the Fantasy League this season regardless of whether my Baseball TV career has legs. So get your Fantasy Caps on tilt because it’s time to play ball!
For all the details go www.fantasybaseballuk.com and sign up now.
Baseball – it’s a Hardcore thing!!
The second main paragraph provides a glimmer of hope. Of course, we expect nothing less than for Jonny, Josh, Erik and the rest of the team to be doing all they can to get the show back on the road. Unfortunately, their passion and skill can only go so far. They need a willing TV partner to give them an opportunity to continue their fantastic coverage of MLB.
The first paragraph also suggests things may not be quite so black-and-white in regards to Five. It is possible that they will broadcast some games without the studio element, most likely the Wednesday night games (‘Sunday Night Baseball’ being available on ESPN America). As mentioned previously, that would be better than absolutely nothing, but it would be a poor substitute to the coverage that we have enjoyed for many years.
The news is a massive blow on many levels.
The ‘Baseball on Five’ team certainly do not deserve to have their show cancelled when judged on the high quality of their coverage, but we all know that it is other factors (primarily financial) that have influenced the decision.
‘Baseball on Five’ was committed to fostering a baseball community and their support and promotion of British baseball events and teams was invaluable.
As a loyal viewer for over ten years, I will greatly miss watching the programme and I know many others will as well.
But perhaps most importantly, it was Five’s coverage that got me hooked on the sport back in 1998. They’ve made me a baseball fan for life and for that I will always be grateful. Now, potential newcomers keen to discover if baseball is for them will not have a free-to-air option to watch games, accompanied by Jonny and Josh explaining and entertaining along the way.
Everyone in Britain with an interest in baseball can only remain hopeful that the team will return at some point. If they don’t, it will be a very sad loss.