Maybe. Thanks to Major League Baseball’s always convoluted and confusing blackout rules, it is not entirely clear.
WHAT WE DO KNOW:
The game will not be broadcast by either Sun Sports or the Indians local television affiliate. This is typically because the Saturday games are blacked out locally anyway because it will be aired on Fox. But this weekend’s game is not being broadcast by Fox either.
There is an internet feed that is available (labeled simply as MLB.com). And that game is NOT subject to the Fox national blackout (we did verify this with MLB). While the game is available on MLB.tv, it is NOT listed on the Extra Innings package available to fans via either their cable or satellite service.
We also know that several local bars are planning to show the game on television.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:
When we spoke with Major League Baseball, they sounded as clueless as the rest of us. When asked if the MLB.tv would be blacked out locally, they simply gave me the company line “this game is subject to local blackout rules.” But the blackout rules are designed to protect a local television broadcast, and the typical national blackout was lifted this week because Fox is not airing the game.
Do the local blackout rules allow for the MLB.tv feed to broadcast locally when there is no local broadcast? Some think so. But I have not been able to confirm this.
Would Major League Baseball actually blackout a game locally, but not nationally, even if there is no local broadcast? That would be dumb. Then again, it is Major League Baseball, so that would not be unusual.
And what are the local bars using to show the game? If the internet feed is not blacked out locally, they could simply route the game through an XBox, an AppleTV or similar. There are also other nefarious ways to get the game, so we don’t want to say which bars are showing the game because I don’t want to get them in trouble if that’s the case.
Anyway, that’s what we know. If you have any other info, feel free at add it to the comments. Either way, we will all find out soon enough. And there is always the excellent Rays radio broadcast. If you haven’t done that in a while, as one fan suggested to us, gather some friends and have an old-fashioned listen-party tonight. Dave and Andy won’t disappoint you.