Dear MLB Advanced Media: “Come at me, bro”

EDIT: Since posting this, our podcast was removed from iTunes. Bro came at us.

Major League Baseball is constantly behind the eight-ball with the way it approaches and uses technology. For the entirety of the YouTube era, the NBA has reaped the benefits of streaming video, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Blake Griffin eviscerating an overmatched European white guy would hit the web, drawing people in to a sport that was long-considered the third banana to MLB and the NFL.

All the while, MLB was sending out cease-and-decist letters, clogging the “series of tubes” with a bunch of bull, preventing real fans from getting content that they craved. Eventually, MLB Advanced Media was born and the league found a way to funnel content to its fans with the appropriate level of advertising attached. While and their nascent relationship with YouTube is awesome, it doesn’t make up for the stodginess with which the league continues to approach new media.

Bringing us to today is news that MLB has notified Apple that multiple team-centric podcasts were violating the intellectual property of the league. Podcasts such as “Gleeman and the Geek”, a Twins-oriented show that is hosted by Hardball Talk writer Aaron Gleeman, were removed from iTunes. Other shows have been pulled, including “Pirates Prospects”, “Mets Musings” and “It’s About the Yankees, Stupid”. It is obvious to the non-lawyers out there that the names of teams are included in these podcasts, and that may offend MLB’s rigid sensibilities.

But what about shows like “Bleacher Nation”, a Chicago Cubs podcast that doesn’t mention the team in its title? MLB has an answer for that, claiming podcasts that used thumbnails with league-owned images were also targeted. Eesh. MLBAM is acting like we have its girlfriend’s picture in our locker. And it’s a nude selfie with a time stamp of yesterday.

My own podcast with Daniel Zarchy, titled “Two Guys, a Glove and a Coke Bottle”, has managed to avoid being wiped from iTunes for a number of reasons that aren’t “nobody listens”. The show does not include the name of the team we cover — the San Francisco Giants — nor do we have any images taken from league sources. Our iTunes thumbnail is a photo that Danny himself took, and our logo and theme song were created by listeners and friends.

BUT! The web site we use to spread our content does include the name of our favorite team. You know, the franchise I’ve obsessed about for over two decades, so much so that my conversations with my best friend may or may not have spilled over to the Internet. These things happen.

So go ahead MLBAM, tattle on us to Apple. Get us pulled of the web entirely. I don’t care, I’ll be a martyr. Danny and I can come up with a better name. How about “Warriors Cast” or “Two Guys Who Don’t Know Anything About the Sharks But Suddenly Appreciate Hockey”? Use your lawyers and your copyrights to piss off die-hard fans, they aren’t going anywhere. Oh, and by the way, I use my roommates account.

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