Major League Baseball is about to begin live streaming America's pastime to fans on YouTube for free, but there is a catch: The arrangement will pass over fans in the U.S. and a handful of other countries where the sport is already dug in.
YouTube announced on Monday that fans in countries other than the U.S., Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan will be able to view two live games per day during the regular season on the video-sharing site. Fans in all countries will be able to view game highlights "about a day or two" after they are played, the Google-owned site announced in a Google+ post.
It's unlikely that there is anything nefarious going on with this arrangement; MLB presumably already has stringent licensing deals with TV broadcasters in those excluded countries that would prohibit an MLB-backed competitor on the Internet.
While fans in those excluded countries won't be able to watch live games on MLB's YouTube page, they will finally have access to thousands of hours of classic game moments going back more than 60 years. This is a big win for baseball fans, who formerly had to settle for bootlegged recordings off TV screens to relive Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run, Bo Jackson's "Spider-Man" wall climb after an outfield catch in 1990, or Don Mattingly's popcorn snag from a young fan after tracking a foul ball into the stands in 1992 (see below).
Major League Baseball apparently began publishing the archive content a couple of weeks ago but waited until Monday to make an announcement of its availability.