San Francisco Giants

'Total joke': Why MLB's partnership with Facebook has Giants fans and beat writers mad

Giants catcher Buster Posey bats against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday at Citizens Bank Park. The teams will play Thursday on Facebook, meaning the game will not air anywhere else.
Giants catcher Buster Posey bats against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday at Citizens Bank Park. The teams will play Thursday on Facebook, meaning the game will not air anywhere else. AP

Major League Baseball and Facebook have teamed up for an agreement to show 25 regular-season afternoon games live on the social media platform this year, which works out to one a week.

The Giants' last of a four-game series against the Phillies in Philadelphia on Thursday morning was recently announced as this week's Facebook game, according to a press release.

There's one big problem: the game will only be shown on Facebook — meaning anyone without an account is out of luck, as the game won't be aired on TV or through MLB apps.

It's a deal that was set this March in the offseason and received criticism at the time. Now, it's infuriating Giants fans and even beat writers (most of whom don't watch the games on TV because, well, they're in the press box), who for years have been able to see all 162 games via televised broadcast.

Some also weighed in on the odd timing of the deal. Facebook has been at the center of controversy on topics including advertising, data misuse and privacy, so some fans are unhappy with MLB's decision to team up with the social media giant. The partnership deal was unanimously approved by all 30 team owners.

MLB joined forces with Facebook to stream 20 games in 2017, but those broadcasts weren't Facebook-only exclusives.

Here's what baseball enthusiasts had to say:

As pointed out by Henry Schulman, Giants beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, it's a partnership intended to give baseball a more global reach and gain an audience among fans who may not have cable, but do have a Facebook account (which is free). Most baseball enthusiasts still don't think that's reason enough to yank a game off TV, leaving fans who don't have a social media presence — many of them elderly — in the dark, perhaps dusting off their radio dials to hear the play-by-play.

As upset as Giants fans are, it might be enraging Facebook-less Philadelphia fans even more: Six weeks into the season, the Phillies have been featured as the network's game of the week three times.

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