A sampling of what baseball fans are saying about Major League Baseball's brave new world:

Zachary Gronich, Round Rock, Texas.

"MLB has been marketed and advertised more poorly than not only any other major American sport, but any other major form of entertainment.

" Quick, name the most popular MLB team among young teenagers right now. Without question the Atlanta Braves (Yankees close behind). Why? Because they are on every television, for free (with your basic cable package) almost every night. Kids grow up watching the Braves and become fans.

" So, what does Major League Baseball do to try and promote itself on the Internet, a tool which could be used to broaden MLB's good product with phenomenal ease? They start CHARGING for it.

" I promise MLB, there isn't a single person, fan or not, that was pleased at hearing that they could now pay $10 for the exact same service they've been getting for free for almost a decade. It's bad marketing, it's bad publicity, it's bad for the sport. Baseball needs to be MORE fan-friendly, not less."

 

Holly Sommer, Houston

"While it's a minuscule amount, the principle of the matter stinks. Advertisements are still being run during the games, because it's a rerouted radio broadcast, so it's not like there is no revenue source associated with the audiocasting. … Also, it's another symbolic wall being thrown up between fans and the game... which is a shame, because I think MLB is the only major sport where the fans feel like they can relate to the players as people. "

Nick Beaudrot, student, Brown University

"You'd like to think that broadcasting over the internet would be as simple as "just take the audio/video signal and 'put it into a comptuer' and it'll just work". And it'd be great if that were the case. If it were, there'd be even more streaming video on the web.

"But it's not: televisions and computer monitors don't speak the same language, so you need some way of translating from one signal to the other. On top of that, even an audio signal contains so much data that you can't reliably send it over the internet as fast as you'd want to, so you have to have software than encodes the signal, and on the other end software that decodes the signal.

"All of this costs money. Probably not as much as everything required to broadcast a television signal, but certainly not peanuts.

"Rather than viewing the $10 as money I have to pay because the MLB has a monopoly on baseball, consider it covering the cost of maintaining the system required to deliver the broadcast to my desktop."

R. Tyler Shaw, Tokyo

"When I moved to Tokyo, I was happy that I would be able to follow the Yankees on the Internet, and even listen to their games if I was awake.

" When MLB decided that they wanted to charge me for the broadcasts, I was a little upset. Not too much -- they do own the rights, and frankly, it's been apparent for a while that they're a load of greedy bastards.

"But what kills me is that they leave in the commercials. If MLB would take out the commercials -- just give me blank space -- I would pay twenty, thirty, forty dollars a year for the broadcasts. I would thank them for the privilege. But selling me exactly the same product that they're giving away down the street is too much."

 

David Brooks, Washington, D.C.

"I grew up in Houston and continue to be an Astros fan. I bought the GameDay Audio package to listen to the Astros where I now live in Washington, D.C.

"I don't think $10, just 6 cents per game in a 162-game season, is an unjust price to pay for GameDay.

"Although GameDay worked fine the first month of the season, since the beginning of May I haven't been able to listen to any games. An MLB representative told me some customers used incorrect credit card information to register... Unfortunately, he told me, some paying customers were cut off as well.

"When I've tried to log on, I've been asked to buy another subscription. It's particularly frustrating to pay for an unreliable service that I never had any problems with when it was free.

"A couple of years ago Bud Selig indicated that MLB wanted to use increased Internet revenues to help decrease MLB's financial disparities. He's crazy if he thinks charging for this service is going to put a dent in a system that permits the Yankees to spend 10 times as much as the Expos on payroll."

— Gronich and Brooks also write for Astrosconnection.com, an independent site run by fans of the Houston Astros.