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Let Your Highlights Go, MLB!

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My all time favorite baseball play occurred during a July 2004 matchup between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox. David Newhan hit a long fly ball into the gap between Boston left fielder Manny Ramirez and center fielder Johnny Damon. Damon fielded the ball and hurried a throw into the infield to stop the speedy Newhan, when for some reason Manny Ramirez came out of nowhere and made a diving cutoff of Damon’s throw, which allowed Newhan to scamper home with perhaps the oddest inside-the-park home run in Major League history.

You always have to wonder exactly what is going on in Manny Ramirez’s head, but this incident has to take the cake. Ramirez is normally a disinterested left fielder at best, and even Red Sox fans had to admit that this was perhaps the most hustle they’d ever seen in the field from their goofy power hitter.  What makes the laziest defensive player on the field charge forth with reckless abandon in pursuit of the dumbest play in Major League Baseball history? Albert Einstein would have gone insane trying to figure out what was going on in Ramirez’ head during that play.

A few months ago, I wanted to relive that wonderful moment, when to my dismay I realized that it was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t on YouTube. It wasn’t anywhere.

A few days ago, Howard Stern’s producer Gary Dell'Abate, affectionately known as Baba Booey to fans, defined "epic fail" when his ceremonial first pitch at a recent New York Mets game sailed far, far right and bounced into the home plate umpire, who had been standing about ten feet closer to third base than the Mets catcher. Anyone who has listened to the Stern show knows that there is nothing the radio host loves to do more than make fun of Dell'Abate’s shortcomings. The net was full of Stern fans posting the play that was being described almost universally as perhaps the worst first pitch ever thrown. I saw it …. once.

For almost as quickly as geeks across the country could post this thing, Major League baseball was furiously making sure that it got taken down and replaced by a message that read, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by MLB Advanced Media.”

Who knew that the financial future of Major League Baseball depended on making sure that only subscribers to their web site could see Baba Booey’s most embarrassing moment? They had these clips deleted from web sites quicker than Rickey Henderson used to get to first base.

If I want to see almost any play from Michael Jordan’s career, it is likely to be on YouTube, but Reggie Jackson hitting three homers in one World Series game? Nope. The Pine Tar incident? Nope. Pedro Martinez fighting Don Zimmer? Nada!

Getting to see highlights is what builds fans for the future and the NBA realizes this. Is Major League Baseball getting paid so much for their old highlights by Best Damn Sports Show Period that hoarding its history is absolutely crucial?

I won’t belabor this. Major League Baseball, we know that you love to be shortsighted and joyless. If you want to perhaps delay new highlights for a week, I can sort of understand, but please get a clue – FREE THE HIGHLIGHTS!

Everyone deserves to see Manny diving to cut that ball off any time they wish.

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About Brad Laidman

  • Actually, Matt, I think that the viral spreading of “highlights” — not complete games — is a great way to promote interest in the game. TV shows on Hulu, for example, let fans embed clips (hosted by Hulu, not YouTube) of all the popular shows.
    The Napster method may not apply, but I think the iTunes model is great. You can sell on a per-game basis while promoting with the highlights. You could allow a lag for ESPN and FSN to get their “Top 10” moments for the week or month, but I don’t see the danger in posting the Manny play.

  • Ah, the Napster argument. Sharing promotes growth!

    The best way a kid can get excited for a sport is to attend a game. Watching 30-second clips on YouTube, right before Planet Unicorn and after Kittens Inspired By Kittens, I think, doesn’t do the sport justice.

    Maybe it teaches young people that not everything is free in life. Maybe it teaches young people that even growing up in the ’90s, baseball fans didn’t have access to such a library of video highlights. (I’m not that old, but I remember a time where all I had sometimes was radio broadcasts of a game. Nowadays just about every game has TWO telecasts and I can pick between them.)

    Sorry, I don’t see the reasoning behind on how fans are entitled to free clips of copyrighted content, other than “it’d be cool.”

  • brad laidman

    They wouldn’t make any money on it immediately, but I honestly think it would help grow young fans, who would pass around highlight clips and get excited about the game for the first time.

  • Oh, and re: highlights limited to sports shows…

    DVR. Now you own it!

  • The only highlights that should be freed from MLB are the ones on Roger Clemens’ scalp.

    I guess it’d be nice if they’d unload EVERY baseball highlight free on YouTube, but … they wouldn’t make any money off it. They own their footage, so they can do what they want with it.