Sunday, January 31, 2021

MLB, Streaming Services for Television, Blackouts, Fox Sports Midwest, RSN, and Contract Disputes -- Time for a Change by MLB for Live Game Viewing

Screen Shot of YoutTube TV and MLB Apps

Background on Blackouts, Streaming Services, and MLB

As of today, it will not be possible to watch Kansas City Royals baseball when it starts later this year on a variety of streaming services which currently includes YouTubeTV, Sling, Hulu+, and Dish to name a few. It is important to note that Sling is owned by Dish, but all of this has to do with the contracts, or lack thereof; these television viewing services have not been able to agree to contracts with Sinclair Broadcast Group for Fox Sports Midwest to play Royals games but many other events too. The companies in contract disputes means that not only do their viewers (i.e. ME) are not able to watch Royals games but we do not get the channels at all. They were completely removed from YouTubeTV, Sling, Hulu+, and Dish.

A recent article (Sports Networks Are Losing Their Grip on Your Television) from The Motely Fool  provides a detailed background on how the contracts are done with viewing services, why this happened, and possibly the future of how this will work.

It is important to note that this is not only affecting the fans of Kansas City Royals, but other markets too that want to watch their favorites teams whether that is baseball or hockey. Recently, I have been reading a lot of customers complaining regarding not being able to watch their local hockey team because their Fox Sports Network is gone. All of which is because the provider and Sinclair have not been able to come to agreement on a contract.

Typical cable providers such as AT&T or ComCast (note Xfinity bought ComCast) keep the contracts because they are large and that’s how it has been for years, but it is the streaming services that have lost out. I recall when we were a Dish customer that it seemed that almost every year it would be threatened that we would lose our ability to view games. Sometimes the channel would go out for a few days while they were making negotiations and suddenly the channel would be back. Then they started to lose the channel out of season of the sport such as baseball. Now it is gone completely from all these services with no end game for when or if it will return.

Meanwhile, there is a Major League Baseball app (MLB) that is available to listen or watch games that are out of market. Sounds great, right? Well, with the MLB local games are blacked out so you can only watch them after they finish. The radio option is available to listen to the game live, but sometimes it is nice to be able to relax on a weekend, drink a beer, and watch my local sports team.

The process of blackouts has never made sense going back to when I was a Cox customer years ago and there would be two channels with one broadcast out of Topeka and the other from Kansas City. One channel would blackout during different times of the day as they wanted us to watch it on the other local channel. What? That made no sense then... Today, I understand why MLB blacked out local games years ago, but why does it still happen? 

Request for Change by MLB

Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels
Let us be fans. Let us watch the games. My request is directed to MLB and their agreements with various providers to ask if we are fans to be able to watch and not have blackouts for live games. Especially if we are paying MLB to be able to watch the games we should be able to watch them no matter in market or not. The whole process seems to be antiquated and out of touch from what is happening in the streaming service industry. We are paying you for the access to your app and we should be able to watch live games through the app whether in market or not.

The whole idea of having blackouts reminds me of having an old TV sitting in a field and not being able to watch the TV because there is no power. Here we are with the power but the games are blacked out because of agreements between MLB, major television providers, and local affiliates. 

The reasons for the blackouts is simple and twofold: the first reason is cable providers' desire for exclusive broadcasting rights in their local networks. The second, is MLB's desire to get fans into the stadium for attendance purposes. -- from SportingNews

This is an old practice dating back to agreements with cable providers and the desire to get people into games. Having a blackout in my view does not make me attend the games. Instead, I will either listen to the game or not pay attention at all. When we pay for a service we should be able to watch the live games and not have to watch the game after the live event has ended.

MLB , please change the process and lift the antiquated process of blackouts!

What Happens Next?

Even though YouTubeTV has increased their prices, we are happy with their service. DVR options are awesome! I am hopeful that Sinclair Broadcast Group and YouTubeTV can come to an agreement so that when baseball starts later this year, I can watch the games. However, I am not holding my breath as it has been an ongoing battle for a few years as mentioned earlier. What if nothing happens and no live television baseball for me in the spring or through the summer? Well, I will try to bum access from friends who have DirectTV so I can use their service to watch the games. Or, simply, I will listen to my $2.99 a month MLB Audio so I can listen to the games will be how I will follow my team. I have no plans to change television service because of a contract dispute. I will be frustrated and blame MLB and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Spring training is right around the corner. How are you doing to follow your team?

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Two Months of Riding on Peloton Along with Workouts and How I am Doing #Peloton #workout #Rides #biking


Photo by Roman Pohorecki from Pexels

I just had an anniversary of our Peloton bike making two months since we got our bike (see New Peloton Bike+ Delivered on Friday, November 13, 2020 and Cannot Be Happier... Let the Exercising Being! Let's GO!) and I am still loving the workouts and the process. I have found that I still enjoy the recorded classes with instructors, but I have a new found enjoyment of scenic bike rides. I have done rides in Washington, Europe, and even Costa Rica. Costa Rica was probably my favorite so far as I felt like I was riding through areas where Carrie and I had been years ago with Javier. The Peloton Costa Rica ride went around the Arenal Volcano and brought back memories.

The scenic rides are fun because they play music and you can go your own pace whether that is slow or fast, but I find I push myself harder in scenic rides than I do for instructor led rides. The Costa Rica ride when I finished, I could barely stand and perspiration was pouring off of me so it made it seem like I had been working hard... I had and it showed!

I do still enjoy the recorded and live sessions. I tend to do the live sessions on Sunday where I enjoy 30 Minute Sundays with Love which is every Sunday at 11 am CST. She does a good job with the class where I enjoy her pre-speach talk and she keeps me motivated during the 30 minutes. I have a few favorites including Ally Love, Jess King, Leanne Hainsby, Hannah Corbin, and Christine D'ercole to name a few.

I enjoy the feeling of pushing myself to what feels like the limits and then being able to finish the workout.

The past two or three weeks I have started working out daily doing weights, meditation, or aerobics on some of the off days. I am working on a streak and plan to have a streak go at least 365 days if not longer. It is nice because I can keep the streak going by using my phone, Roku, or even iPad to do a session which keeps my streak alive. My plan is to do more days of weights or aerobics as currently I ride the bike Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday leaving only Tuesday and Thursday for weights or aerobics. I feel good and actually a lot better than the first month when I was doing the bike every day as I think that was not good on my legs doing the bike every day.

Free Photo from Pexcels
Two months into having our bike, exercising regularly, I have not noticed a huge different with weight. Obviously, it does not help that my eating habits have not changed much where I enjoy a few beers on the weekends, eat whatever I want throughout the week, etc., but I do feel a lot better. I enjoy the feeling of pushing myself to what feels like the limits and then being able to finish the workout. Now, if I can work on my eating habits or at least change what I eat, maybe some of the weight will start to come off too.

If you are interested in connecting on Peloton, please search for Havertyj which is my handle or leave me a message so I can connect with you and be sure to provide your handle.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Semester Starting with What to Watch and Discussion of Sports, Teams, and Excitement as we Head into the End of January 2021

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Semester Starting

I find it hard to believe another semester is starting. A year ago at this time, I was preparing to start my last semester before graduation. Wow! Time has flown but it does feel good to not have to worry about reading textbooks, posting discussions, or writing papers. I know some students have already started their semester and others are preparing to start. It is going to be another unusual semester for many doing their coursework remote for at least part of the semester if not all of the semester for others. Have a great semester and be sure to reach out for assistance from your instructors if you need help.

What to Watch

During the break and throughout the fall, it feels as though Carrie and I have watched just about everything that is available to watch. A few highlights from our watch history on recommendations if you have not watched them yet. I do plan to do a future post with a full listing, but these are some highlights that were finished recently and worth noting. The following is in no particular order, I will leave a future post to show top rankings for shows to watch.

  • The Mandalorian was a show Carrie and I started back in the spring. I enjoyed it, but Carrie was not much of a fan of the show. I finished it out recently finishing season 1 and 2. If you like Star Wars, I would highly recommend The Mandalorian.
  • Letterkenny is a show Carrie had heard about and we started watching. There are a number of seasons. Set in Canada focusing on a rural town, the interactions between the characters are funny and worth watching. Fast paced and packed with wit it is worth watching.
  • Queen’s Gambit was truly amazing. I have no idea how to play Chess, but the show was easy to follow and fun to cheer on the main character. 
  • Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is another new show we just started watching. The show recently started the second season and we just finished season one. This show does have singing and dancing, but they do a fantastic job with the show and the music is excellent where I found myself signing along to popular songs in the show.
  • Perry Mason on HBOMax was fantastic. The show finished their second season and we have been watching from the beginning. One of the best shows depicting Perry Mason I have seen.

Those are just a few of the sampling of shows Carrie and I have been watching. Worth checking out if you have not done so yet. 

Sports, Teams, and Excitement

Following the Washburn Ichabods basketball team has been fun this season. Last year, Greg and I had season tickets to Washburn games and with that not being an option this year, I decided to buy a season pass so I could watch Washburn basketball. The Ichabods are 10 - 1 on the season only recently losing their first game of the season where we were ranked #5 in the country. I look forward to listening, or watching, to every game we play this season and I look forward to watching the remaining games.

The Kansas Jayhawks basketball team continues to be games I will not miss. This team has been different from past teams where we struggle at times, we have lost at home, and at times there does not seem to be a leader on the team. Still, I enjoy watching the games and cheering them on whether in my family room cheering on the television or tweeting about them. We did recently have our game on Saturday, January 16 postponed due to COVID which I believe was from the opposing team. Three out of five games in the Big 12 scheduled for Saturday, January 16 were postponed all of which were from COVID related issues. We can only hope that this trend does not continue with COVID and games being postponed or canceled. Having nationally televised games helps to make these unusual times seem normal, so we can only hope the games can continue and do so safely.

The Kansas City Chiefs start the postseason today playing in the playoffs. With Patrick Mahomes guiding the team, I am looking forward to a fun postseason. Overall, the regular season was fun; we had a tendency to get a lead and let the other team back into the game. In the postseason games, I want to see us stick with what is working in the game (i.e. passing) and keep doing what we do best to get us points. Go Chiefs!

Great End to January

Have a great end to the first month of 2021! Those starting their new semester have a great semester. If you need some relief from studying, be sure to check out some of the recommended shows. I would love to hear from you on your recommended shows. Go Washburn IchabodsKansas Jayhawks, and Kansas City Chiefs! Have a wonderful finish to week and I will talk to you again next week.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Repairs Needed on Our Home for Concrete Sidewalk and Rotting Window Repair... Always Something Fun with Homer Ownership. Looking for Recommendations...

Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

As I sat down to try and think of something to write about this week, I drew a blank. As I try to make Sunday’s my day to write for my blog on any topic, I found that it took me most of the day to sit down and start writing. Finding this post on of construction, I decided I would post about upcoming repairs we have for our home.

If you have recommendations for contractors that you have used that do concrete work or window repair in Topeka, please comment to provide your recommendation so I can follow up.

We moved into our home in 2006 and really have not had to do major repairs since we moved in, but it is slowly becoming obvious that repairs are needed. Our sidewalk in the front of our house leading up to the front door has deteriorated to the point where it does not exist. Our kitchen window facing the back yard is rotten and needs to be replaced. A few other repairs come to mind, but those are the main items I will be focusing over the next few days as I find contractors that can offer quotes to repair our front walk and fix our kitchen window.

I have started the process of getting recommendations for contractors to do the work from family and friends. This week, I will begin the process of calling to schedule contracts to offer quotes on doing the work. I would guess that with both projects, they would not be able to be completed until the weather changes to a warmer average on a daily basis, but at least I can get the process started and get them replaced.

If you have recommendations for contractors that you have used that do concrete work or window repair in Topeka, please comment to provide your recommendation so I can follow up. I plan to post again once we have contractors selected along with before and after pictures of both projects. Hoping to have them both done before summer arrives, but again, I believe it will depend on weather and of course contractor availability to do the work.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Fantasy Football Leagues Finish Up and Here are the Current Totals for Leagues I Belong #FantasyFootball #NFL #Results #blog

Fantasy Football League Winners with Beer Gut on the Top and Chiefs Kingdom on the Bottom

Fantasy football season comes to an end as the NFL regular season wraps up this week. Many fantasy games completed with the games last week. For everything that happened during the NFL regular season related to COVID-19, it was a fun season. Remembering back to drafts that took place back in early September to changes made to rosters or trades made with other owners, the season was fun. While some games were postponed to be played later, the majority of games went off without a problem or maybe a player or two not able to play because of COVID-19 restrictions.

I play in two different fantasy football leagues. Both are groups of friends of mine that have been playing for a number of years. One is free to play and the other is money league. The money league which is the Chiefs Kingdom Fantasy League, has been playing since 2016 and Beer Gut Fantasy Football League has been playing since 2011. The Beer Gut League has been playing long before 2011, but I was not part of the early leagues and then probably in 2006 - 2009, prior to my starting in that league, they played on another provider. I played a year or two on that other service and we have been on ESPN since 2010.

In the Beer Gut Fantasy Football League, I have won the league twice. I have also had a number of seasons where I have come in last, or almost last, in the league. For a while in Beer Gut Fantasy Football League we would have whomever lost be the commish the next year. A few years ago, we changed this process in this league though as we found that it was better to have one or two people that run the league each year which helps to keep things consistent. The new process has worked much better in the Beer Gut Fantasy Football League

No matter the league, fantasy football takes a bit of luck. I am by no means a fantasy beast. I recognize players names, know those that I like and want to draft, but stats or history is not something I follow like others in both leagues that I am a member. Luck plays into the process a great deal where one week I will play someone that gets 20 or 30 points and the next they only get 10 - 15 points the next week where they were expected to get 20 - 25. This is what makes the fantasy football process so much fun to try and put together a roster that gets the maximum points each week. It certainly also has me watching more games because I want to see what the players on my roster are doing each week.

The Chiefs Kingdom Fantasy League we have had five different winners in the five years of existence. Not too shabby! In this league, we do a random draft compared to Beer Gut where we reverse the draft each year where whomever finished last the season before gets the first pick the following year.

If you have not tried fantasy games with your friends, or random people, I encourage you to give it a try. It is a lot of fun and offers an increased interest in that particular sport.