As I sit here watching the game on Fox Sports Detroit (still enjoy Mario Impemba), it prompted me to ask how those of us who no longer live in Southern California manage to follow the team.
I had been considering starting a blogsite for the displaced Angels fan some time ago, but since the Rev has already built the better mousetrap and because I don't have the free time to do a proper job of running a blog (nothing worse than a site which doesn't get updated more than once every few weeks), I figured I'd pose the question here.
The news and features aspect is ably handled here (WiHaloFan's recaps with links is a tremendous service for the info-starved ex-pat), and Googling the net can yield some extra info (I like to read the opponents' home newspaper accounts).
But there are some options when it comes to TV and radio accounts. For example, I have XM in the home and the wife's car, but not (yet) in my own. Still, I can get Gameday Audio on my cell and that has been a decent substitute on the rare occasion I want to follow the game but am away from home (bonus: it works outside of the car as well).
When it comes to TV, though, I have cast my lot with MLB.TV instead of the cable TV Extra Innings package. Besides the lower cost, the development of good-quality 720p-ish video delivered through the internet has given me the level of quality which makes the investment worthwhile. I confess I haven't viewed Extra Innings in a couple of seasons, but the last time I saw it the video quality was highly variable and often of the VHS-level. There were just a few HD games offered each week, whereas MLB.TV provides the HD feed from any game.
With the Extra Innings package I could record the game and watch it the next evening (those 10:05 pm ET starts of West Coast games are killers), but I found as the season progressed I was less likely to watch the game on a delayed basis. The internet service, on the other hand, does offer archived games if I want to watch one after the fact.
I have only rarely used the two-game or four-game viewing matrixes; I focus on the only game which matters for me, which is the one the Angels are playing.
I set myself up for this season by developing my own viewing system: I bought myself a Mac mini and use the video out with an HDMI cable into a 27" LCD set (we bought a new 32" for downstairs and the old set became part of the Angels-centric system upstairs). In a spare bedroom, decorated with my memorabilia, I can sit and watch the current game with surprisingly good audio and video quality. I can go fullscreen with the video feed and nobody walking into the room suspects that I am taking a compressed feed off the internet.
Finally, we have options on mobile devices which simply didn't exist a couple of years ago. The only app I have ever purchased for my Android-based phone is At Bat '10, which I have found to be solid and worth the price. However, unlike most apps this one will be useless once the season ends. Still, I use it quite often (which includes "watching" those day games we had a couple of weeks ago while at work) and would recommend it to anyone.
So what about the rest of you? Anybody have problems with local blackouts of games? Any tips, tricks, or arguments you'd like to share?