How Bud And Company Are Justifying Keeping Games From You

OK, so here's where everything stands with the Major League Baseball / DirectTV / Extra Innings deal from yesterday. Richard Sandomir has the scoop in The New York Times.

First: InDemand — which is the cable conglomerate of Comcast, Time Warner and Cox — announced yesterday afternoon that it had matched DirectTV's offer to MLB, which was all that was required of it. Yay! Baseball fans don't have to put a stupid dish on their roofs, if they're even allowed to. Justice! Then it took a little more than a hour for MLB to say, "No dice," claiming that the number of subscribers InDemand had to match was not a "number," per se, but a "percentage." And now ... well, now they're gonna fight it out a while.

We have to say, a little part of us, when word came from InDemand that they had matched the offer, thought, "MLB's gonna find something wrong with this deal." It has seemed clear from the beginning that MLB never had any intention of doing anything other than its exclusive deal with DirectTV and only tossed out the "matching" offer to combat public outrage. Thus, the shooting down of the deal yesterday; we would not be surprised if the MLB-DirectTV contract defined "matching" as "InDemand changing its name to DirectTV."

So, we're at an impasse. Next Tuesday, MLB and DirectTV are appearing before the Senate Commerce Committee to justify their deal, and we still have until March 31 for the clock to run out and MLB finally be able to claim that InDemand couldn't meet its terms on a deal the league never intended on them matching the first place.

Who loses? All of us, of course. We always do.

Baseball Lays Off Cable Operators' Deal [New York Times]