Watching baseball is the most fun you can have with your clothes on, even if you watch ballgames naked, as I am wont to do. MLB.tv, NPB games on Justin.tv, college games on ESPN3 — you’d think that would be enough baseball to satisfy even the most rabid fan. But there’s one more little-heralded outlet for quality baseball broadcasts: milb.tv.
For the low price of $29.99 a season, you can watch an average of 15 minor league ballgames on your computer every day. If you just want to dip your toe in the milb water, you can buy a single month for $6.99. The majority of the games broadcast are AAA, so you’re guaranteed a pretty high level of competition. You’ll see the stars of the future getting ready to break out, the occasional star of the present on a rehab stint, and the odd star of the past trying to recapture whatever it is that allowed him to be a regular big-leaguer.
While the level of competition is pretty high, this is still the minor leagues. The announcers are generally a step below what you’ll find on a major-league broadcast, and the camera work and direction can be flat-out bad. (The feed from my beloved Fresno Grizzlies home park looks like it’s captured of a goddamn Pixelvision camera.) But it’s baseball, and between the live games and the archived broadcasts, there’s pro baseball available more or less on tap.
For example, it’s 9 a.m. PDT, and I’m watching the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs at the Toledo Mud Hens, live. Due up for the Iron Pigs are Kevin Frandsen (fringey major-leaguer who’s played for both the Giants and the Angels), Domonic Brown (future Phillies superstar OF), and Ronnie Belliard (AKA Ronnie Belly Lard, journeyman baseball player and professional fat guy).
So if you can’t get enough baseball into your day, or want see your team’s top prospects in action, or just do research for your keeper league, I highly recommend that you throw down the 30 bucks for milb.tv. If you’re looking for insight into which teams to watch, John Sickels’ excellent Minor League Ball http://www.minorleagueball.com/ usually has an milb gameday thread that can tip you off about which prospects are playing where, and when. Or just flip around and watch whatever. It’s baseball, and watching baseball just makes you a better person.