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#pounditFriday, May 7, 2021

Nationals’ Josh Bell could not watch team’s games for awkward reason

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If you’ve ever wanted to watch a baseball game on one of MLB’s streaming or broadcast services only to find yourself blacked out, Josh Bell feels your pain.

The Washington Nationals first baseman has been sidelined since the start of the season after landing on the COVID-IL list. That means Bell hasn’t been able to come to the ballpark or be around his teammates, leaving him to watch the games at home.

Just one problem: Bell was relying on streaming to be able to catch his team’s games, and since he was in the Washington market, he wasn’t exempt.

MLB’s blackout restrictions are meant to protect TV partners so in-market fans have to watch the actual broadcast instead of an MLB.TV stream. However, the league’s designated blackout regions haven’t always made a lot of sense. Plus, with the digital landscape shifting more and more toward streaming, these restrictions are looking more outdated as time goes on. Bell is a testament to that.

Believe it or not, Bell isn’t the only big leaguer that had this kind of problem this week.

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