Frankly, I don’t remember who these players are – I’m only a casual baseball fan. I *do* remember this phrase though. It was from the late 90s, a time when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were breaking records (and rules). Players were hitting home runs at an unprecedented rate. Major League Baseball was dominating the headlines, and was experiencing peak popularity.
Of course, it didn’t take long for people to start questioning what spurred this insane increase in homers. Sure, athletes always get bigger with every generation, but Sammy Sosa got suspiciously bigger in just a couple of seasons, not a generation.
These are two pictures of the same person, only a few years apart. Even children aren’t supposed to develop muscle mass this quickly.
I don’t want to take too much time recounting the investigations and inquiries. Suffice to say that Major League Baseball’s reputation took a major league hit in the decade after players got exposed for taking steroids. The league is hardly going out of business, but there’s no question that there was a stark decrease in popularity and attention. I would argue that the over-the-top Derek Jeter farewell tour came about not because of Jeter himself, but because he was the last of a generation of MLB stars calling it quits. Beyond Mike Trout, the league has recently experienced a detrimental dearth of star power.
Sluggers like New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge are bringing back a sense of excitement. And the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series was probably the biggest sports story of 2016.
The point is that baseball is back. Players like Trout, Judge, and Bryce Harper have made it clear that America still loves the longball.
And if you’re one of those fans falling back in love with baseball and a subscriber to a Directv package, you should be aware that Directv is offering a free preview of Extra Innings from Friday, July 14 through Thursday, July 20.
What is Extra Innings?
Extra Innings is the television package for Major League Baseball. It’s the baseball equivalent of NFL Sunday Ticket.
Of course, the NFL regular season is only 256 games overall. The baseball season–not accounting for rain games–is 2,430 games. That’s a lot of peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Given that a season is approximately six months, that’s 405 games a month. Extra Innings couldn’t possibly broadcast all of them, right?
Extra Innings provides all of the home runs, stolen bases, and strikeouts you want. When you order Extra Innings, you get roughly 100 games to choose from. The only games it doesn’t provide are out-of-market games and nationally broadcast games. This is true with most sports packages, and in the case of Extra Innings, there’s a surprisingly scant amount of nationally broadcast games.
Of course even the most devout baseball fans won’t be able to watch every innings. You would want to see the highlights from all the games you couldn’t watch though. You probably also want to see clips of your favorite players off-the-field. For example, you might want to see San Francisco Giants star Madison Bumgarner chug five beers at once.
To be fair, his shirt and the floor probably got more drunk from that than he did.
If you want these highlights and off-field clips, Extra Innings has the bases covered. Not only do you get all of the games, you get the MLB Network. MLB Network has a full schedule of shows that you keep you up-to-date on the latest news, rumors, and analysis from the world of Major League Baseball. There are plenty of interviews with current stars and Hall-of-Famers.
And if you want to take a swing at watching every game, Strike Zone–part of MLB Network–gives you live look-ins and up-to-the-minute highlights of every game, every night. The Game Mix Channel lets you preview up to eight games at once as well.
Games of the Week
So yes, Extra Innings is the quintessential television package for baseball fans. And Directv is offering a free preview for the unconvinced starting this week.
Why this week? If you look at the MLB schedule, it makes sense. The league just finished its all-star break. The season is a little over halfway over; the games are becoming more meaningful as playoff spots are on the line.
Are any of those meaningful games being played during the preview week?
There’s plenty of exciting baseball coming up this week.
First, I’ll focus on the star of the moment, Aaron Judge. Judge crushed home run after home run at the Home Run Derby during the all-star break. Baseball historians have already called it one of the better performances in the contest’s history. And he’s only a rookie.
Judge plays for the Yankees, one of the most storied franchises in not just baseball, but all of professional sports. Another such franchise would be the Boston Red Sox. The two teams have been heated rivals through multiple generations, through highs and lows. Right now, both teams are in high times; if the season ended today, they would both make the playoffs. The two teams play a three game series between July 14 and July 16, so one of those teams might not be in the playoff picture by Sunday night. And you can see it all with the Extra Innings preview.
Like I said before, Aaron Judge is still a rookie. Professional sports history is loaded with rookie sensations who didn’t live up to their first impression (hello, Robert Griffin III). Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, however, are established stars who have been dominating the diamond for years. Their teams, the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, respectively, are slated to match-up for two games on July 18 and 19.
The preview will last for one week. This one week will feature roughly 100 games, some of which should be incredibly exciting. After the preview is over on July 20, Directv will make Extra Innings available for the rest of the season at a reduced price. And as I established earlier, Extra Innings is a definitive home run at any price.