A new season with a new league and a new manager and new everything. About the only thing that remains the same are the sportswriters who think it's funny to be ignorant about the Astros. The TV deal still isn't resolved, the radio station has changed, and the Chronicle is making you pay $10/month for online content. How are you supposed to follow the Astros this season (aside from your neighborhood Astros blog & grill)?
I live in Houston, but I'm one of those poor bastards who can't get CSN Houston. Can I watch the Astros on MLB.tv?
Ha ha ha. Nope! MLB.tv follows blackout restrictions, so you better hope that G-Post and Crane make a deal with every available provider so you can watch it.
Wait. I don't live in Houston, but in (some other city in Texas, Louisiana, or eastern New Mexico). Am I going to be able to watch Astros games on MLB.tv?
Ha ha ha. Nope! Because thanks to MLB's blackout map, they seem to think that you should be able to make it down to Minute Maid Park for a 7:05pm start. Even if you live in Amarillo. Now, if you live outside of Texas, Louisiana, or eastern New Mexico, you can totally get MLB.tv and watch the Astros.
That's stupid. Is MLB actively preventing me from being able to watch the Astros, even if I want to pay them $130?
You're right, yep, and yes.
What is my only hope?
That your television provider pick up CSN Houston.
Can I do something where I hack the location of my computer so that MLB.tv thinks I'm somewhere else?
Probably. But that's also likely illegal, so there's no way I'm giving you tips on how to do that.
What if I give my dear auntie Rachel who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan $130 to buy MLB.tv, and I use her login information?
You know, that might actually work. UPDATE: From some of the comments below, MLBAM checks your IP address from the device you're logging in under - so that won't work if you're in Texas. Just another way MLBAM is trying to keep you from watching Astros games.
Can't I just go to a bar?
This is America. You can do whatever you set your heart to. But you also have to deal with everyone at Buffalo Wild Wings who yells, "Why are we watching the Astros? I want to play trivia with Dan Patrick!"
What is this 790 AM thing?
740 KTRH is no longer the flagship home of the Houston Astros, and this is weird. I haven't regularly visited Houston since 2006, and 740 AM is still the #1 pre-set on my car's radio. (The Astros Radio Network station in Temple is the second pre-set, because in driving between Abilene and Houston, I could pick up Astros games in Temple.) But never mind that. How are you supposed to listen to Astros games now? You can see the 790 AM coverage map here.
Thing is, 790 AM is a Clear Channel station. So it stands to reason that Clear Channel stations in other markets will have first pass at broadcasting Astros games.
Who is a part of the new Astros Radio Network?
Well, here is the list of stations that are a part of the Astros Radio Network (of course this is outdated - it was last updated on March 1, 2012). So I contacted all of the radio stations listed to see if they would be broadcasting Astros games in 2013.
Austin - 1300 AM (KVET): They will broadcast Astros games when there isn't a conflict with UT athletics. The station manager said that between 90-100 games were broadcast in 2012.
Bryan/College Station - 1150 AM (KZNE)
Columbus - 98.3 FM (KULM)
Corpus Christi - 1230 AM (KSIX)
Waco - 1010 AM (KBBW)
San Antonio - 760 AM (KTKR)
Minden, LA - 1240 AM (KASO)
Don't Know/They Don't Bother Returning Emails/Phone Calls:
Livingston - 1440 AM (KETX)
Lufkin - 1260 AM (KSML)
McAllen - 1240 AM (KSOX) - From what I understand, they didn't even broadcast games last season, either.
New Orleans - 1560 AM (WSLA)
Shreveport - 1300 AM (KSYB)
Victoria - 1340 AM (KVNN)
What about that IHeartRadio or TuneIn Radio thing?
Nope. MLB Advanced Media has made sure that you cannot access internet streams of live baseball games, in order to get you to buy one of their apps - either Gameday Audio or MLB.tv.
So I live in Houston, but I can't get 790 on my radio (or, I don't even own a freaking radio), will Gameday Audio be blacked out for me?
According to Gameday Audio ($19.95/season), there are no blackout restrictions. So you SHOULD be able to listen to all Astros games on Gameday Audio. The MLB At-Bat app is a little cheaper, and doesn't have the blackout restrictions, as well.
Hey, Chief. I have Sirius/XM. Won't that work?