Once I got home mid-evening to catch the last few innings of Phillies-Pirates and saw what was going on, I knew this thread would be a volcano. Absolutely unbelievable. The Phillies website shows that CSN Philly carried tonight's game in the Philadelphia market. The Pirates website shows MLB Network only for its broadcast tonight. Perfectly believable and understandable that Root Sports Pittsburgh produced the broadcast and MLB Network was picking up the feed (at least for the Pittsburgh market) since the Penguins were on Root Sports Pittsburgh, and they're a top seed in hockey these days. ESPN was not involved in any way, to the best of my knowledge. Both channels 214 and 214-1 (MLB Network alternate channels, in SD and HD, respectively) were blacked out here in Michigan, and no other channel carrying the game could be found.
I called DirecTV and spoke with a very nice/polite CSR, who unfortunately could not provide an explanation for the situation. She looked up the game in DirecTV's system, and advised that a very long listing of zip codes was provided (apparently by either MLB, MLB Network, CSN Philly, Root Sports, the Phillies and/or the Pirates) for the blackout. The zip codes generally began with numbers you would expect for the Pittsburgh DMA, as she said they included lots of 15xxx's, 16xxx's (western PA) and 43xxx's (eastern OH), as if the game were being shown simultaneously by Root Sports Pittsburgh and MLB Network, so of course MLB Network would naturally be blacked out in the Pittsburgh DMA. She said the highest zip code numbers in the blackout listing were in the 43xxx's. But Root Sports Pittsburgh wasn't carrying tonight's game, so did somebody simply misassign the blackout for this game or did others just blindly follow an incorrect blackout? These particular Pittsburgh DMA zip codes listed in the blackout do not seem to indicate a situation where Root Sports Pittsburgh or MLB Network were allowing this game to be shown only within the Pittsburgh DMA, as those zip codes were actually part of the blackout.
The CSR also advised that lots of Philly DMA zip codes were also listed for the MLB-Alternate blackout, including 08xxx's, 18xxx's and 19xxx's for eastern PA, NJ and DE, which would be expected for a game carried by both CSN Philly and MLB Network. When I asked how the game could be blacked out by DirecTV in zip codes outside those listed, the CSR repeatedly apologized, but could not come up with any explanation, except to advise that the blackouts are put in place by the teams to protect against non-sellouts, etc., stuff I already knew.
So, of course DirecTV doesn't include tonight's CSN Philly feed yet again in the MLBEI package, and the MLB-Alternate feed gets blacked out in areas outside the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh DMAs, so a lot of Phillies and Pirates fans weren't able to see this game tonight. Looks like it might continue tomorrow night too. So who's to blame for the continued non-carriage of CSN Philly feeds in the MLBEI package? We're a week beyond the supposedly opened bandwidth from removal of the Masters and NBA channels, and CSN Philly feeds were shown last year. And who's to blame for the extended blackout of the MLB Alternate channel tonight beyond its normal limits? Wondering if a phone call higher up the chain at DirecTV during the daytime tomorrow might bring some attention to this situation.
To those who keep repeating that MLBEI doesn't guarantee every feed, and are arguing over whether it even guarantees that every game will at least be shown, why would you take those positions? Seriously. We all know that this is only sports, and not any more than that. But, as DirecTV enthusiasts participating on this board, wouldn't you want both DirecTV's services and the MLBEI package to be the best they could be? And wouldn't you recognize that sports enthusiasts subscribe to DirecTV and its sports packages because they believe that DirecTV provides the best sports coverage and they pay a lot of money to subscribe and buy the extra packages so they can enjoy that? If the situation were reversed, and some of you were missing your games, I'd be annoyed right along with you, and would hope for a resolution as soon as possible. I'd never try to tell any of you that you were "wrong" for what you prefer to watch. Don't mean to be mean here, but I just don't understand some of the comments I've read in this thread.
Sorry for the rant; just very disappointed tonight...