On the evening of September 19th, 2006, the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium in a game that has important playoff implications. The Padres lead 9-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning and appear poised to take a 1.5 game lead over their division rivals in Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) National League West.
Four hundred miles to the north in Berkeley, California, Dodger fans Tom and Eddie Berman are watching anxiously in Tom’s apartment. The Dodgers’ Jeff Kent steps to the plate and hits a home run. Then J. D. Drew homers. The Padres bring in future Hall of Fame pitcher Trevor Hoffman, who promptly gives up a home run to Russell Martin. Marlon Anderson follows with an amazing fourth homer in a row, and the Dodgers have tied the game. The Padres score a run in the tenth inning, but Nomar Garciaparra hits a dramatic walkoff two-run home run for Los Angeles, and the Dodgers take over the division lead with an incredible 11-10 victory.
Tom and Eddie are screaming in the apartment, and their cheers are so loud that they receive multiple complaints from neighbors (presumably fans of the Dodgers’ main rival, the San Francisco Giants). How are Tom and Eddie watching this game in Berkeley? After all, the game is not broadcast on any local channel in Northern California, nor is it on ESPN, FOX, or any other station that airs baseball nationally. The Bermans do not have a satellite dish either. Instead, Tom has purchased a package on MLB.tv that allows him to watch every Dodger game directly from his computer. As a grad student at UC Berkeley, he has taken advantage of features offered by MLBAM to demonstrate his passion for the Dodgers all season long. Hundreds of thousands of fans rooting for the other twenty-nine teams have followed suit as well.