Saturday, August 19, 2006

MLB.com Mac-UNfriendly

I've subscribed to MLB's Game Day audio since it came out a few years ago. Living in Japan, it was great to get live baseball audio in English to add a bit of sanity to my days. It was great to listen to at work or home in the mornings ( I work evenings). I grew up with baseball on the radio, so I've never missed the visual part.

At first I was annoyed that MLB took control of all local radio broadcasts, as I was always tuning into them on internet feeds from radio station. However, with MLB Game Day I could get any game I wanted live or archived. And for the entire season, it was always reasonably priced (~$15 this year, less after the season is half over).

I could always open the feed in Safari on the Mac, and in fact the FAQ on the site
says still Safari is the recommended Mac browser for GameDay Audio. At the beginning of this season, however, it became clear that Safari was no longer compatible, though the FAQ did not say this. You'll get a warning message, saying Safari isn't recommended. So, I used FireFox for MLB audio, and it worked fine, until a week before the All Star Break.

Essentially, I can no longer get any audio feed after you log into the site and choose your games. Zip - nothing - zilch. This is true for every browser available on the Mac (OK, didn't try OmniWeb) and on both of my Macs. I was able to get one feed in the last month - the AllStar game as covered by MLB radio. But none of the radio feeds work at all. And I've done nothing I can think of which would affect the playing of the audio stream, which apparently uses the WMV Flip for Mac plug-in.

I wrote MLB to alert them of the problem in July. They sent me this reply:

--------------------
"Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

We've been having troubles with Macs and Game Day Audio lately.

The older Macs (PowerPC's, non-Intel) that are running 10.4.7 work fine
with the Windows Media Plugin, the problems tend to be with the newer
Intel Dual Core machines. Basically the WMP plugin is not being
recognized and Microsoft isn't supporting it anymore. Flip4Mac, which
was a workaround, hasn't 'officially' released anything that is
compatible for the new Intel Macs yet, so we're stuck between a rock and
a hard place. There is a BETA version of it which I did see work just
now. This hasn't been released officially, although they state it's
scheduled for release soon. We should have a solution to this problem
very shortly.

Thank you for your patience.

Regards,
DB, MLB.com Support"

--------------

I wrote back explaining that I didn't have an Intel Mac and that the problem had to be on their end, as I hadn't changed anything on my Macs.

This is the reply they sent me:

------
"Dear Fan,

Thank you for sending your email. We really appreciate your feedback and
comments and have forwarded your email to the appropriate person.

Thank you again for taking the time to write!

Regards,

JB, MLB.com Support"

--

I replied that their appreciation was not a factor, and that I wanted the issue fixed right away.

So, they (actually a customer response person) sent me the EXACT SAME first response, about problems with Intel Macs. It's insulting to get canned responses, but even more insulting when they don't deal with the problem at hand.

I'm unsure how many Mac users there are of MLB Game Day Audio, but I think I've had enough. I've missed so many great Tigers games in the last month, and am absolutely seething at this point. Looks like ultimatum time.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep...quite lame on the part of site like these that cater to windoze media format. Flip4Mac does pretty well with most streaming, but occasionally someone will provide content in a weird way. This might be the case with these guys. BTW, Telestream has released the intel version of Flip4Mac more than a month ago, though you don't need to be on an intel Mac to use it. Have you upgraded your mac with the new version? Could be that they've made changes which will allow it to work now.

umijin said...

Yes, I had tried the latest Flip4Mac with MLB. It also didn't work.

I finally got a personal response after inquiring about a refund. I'll post details of it relatively soon.

rod said...

I have a power mac G5 (10.4.11) and am experiencing the same situation including the obtuse responses from MLB.