If you're a real baseball fan, watching games online instead of on TV is one of the more frustrating uses of the Internet. But for some fans who subscribed to Major League Baseball's online package, watching the first games of the 2007 season was a study in aggravation.
In the wake of MLB's exclusive deal with DirecTV--in which the season-long Extra Innings package is available only on that one satellite network, rather than on any number of cable networks--many hard-core fans have had little choice but to turn to the Internet to get access to the wide selection of teams and games available through Extra Innings.
MLB should have expected that larger than usual numbers of fans would be choosing to watch the games via its Internet service, and yet, according to some fans, that service was bogged down for at least the first couple days of the season, which started Sunday night.
According to one CNET News.com reader, Grant Gallicho, MLB.tv's system was overloaded with users wanting to see the games and as a result, the streaming video was slow and hard to watch.
"Did MLB.com adequately prepare for the totally predictable increase in server loads they would have this season," Gallicho asked rhetorically.
MLB.tv had not returned an e-mail by midafternoon Wednesday, and Gallicho reported that the streaming video was working properly. But he was clearly unhappy with MLB's inability to deal with what was certain to be a rush of new customers come Opening Day.
And he wasn't alone. A quick perusal of comments on the blog that MLB.tv had set up revealed that many others were having similar problems.
It's good that MLB was able to get things running properly by Wednesday, but the beginning of this story bespeaks an ongoing problem in the technology world of companies not being able to get ready for large influxes of would-be customers, even when a child could predict that they were coming. And that's a shame.