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How To Watch MLB 2022 and Catch Every Game
It once felt like Major League Baseball’s 2022 season would never arrive.
The good news: Players will suit up for Opening Day on April 7 following a three-month lockout over a contract dispute that pushed the start of the regular season back a week—but, more importantly, was resolved before any games were cancelled.
Ready to watch a lot of games? This season, livestreaming services offer a far larger slate for baseball lovers seeking to view out-of-market games. Here’s all you need to know:
Where can I watch MLB games?
Depending on the way you get your programming, you can catch most national games on ESPN, TBS, FS1 and the MLB Network. You can also pick up a far smaller slate of games carried for free on Fox and local independent stations.
For access to more games, you can tap into two streaming services that are providing MLB games this season: Apple TV+ and Peacock. The MLB has been busy building streaming deals to give fans more ways to watch.
Apple TV+ will exclusively air weekly doubleheaders each Friday night as well as other MLB content, including pre- and postgame shows, MLB replays and repeats of classic games.
For a limited time, games carried on Apple TV+ are free, so there’s no immediate need to pay the streaming service’s subscription rate to watch. The service’s first slate of contests begins April 8 when the New York Mets travel to Washington, D.C., to take on the Nationals at 7 pm EST. This season we’re looking at pitcher Max Scherzer as a Met—maybe his first start will be in the opener against his former team.
In the nightcap at 9:30 pm EST, Apple TV+ will air the Houston Astros taking on American League Most Valuable Player Shohei Ohtani and the hometown Los Angeles Angels.
NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, is expected to finalize a deal with MLB for exclusive rights to televise a package of 18 early bird games this season, the New York Times reported. The games will begin airing in May and are all on Sundays. First pitch will be as early as 11:30 am EST, while the rest will begin shortly after 12 noon EST.
Subscribers to the streaming service ESPN+ will continue to get access to MLB contests throughout the season separate from the cable sports titan’s linear networks.
But for ultimate access, nothing tops MLB.TV, which brings you a lot of new features this season.
It offers all out-of-market games, which are streamed live or on demand on your favorite supported devices, such as the MLB app.
Keep in mind that blackout restrictions apply. (Typically, viewers are prohibited from watching teams playing live in their own market through the package.) You can also score similar access through your TV provider via the MLB Extra Innings package.
If a game is on a regional network and you’re a streamer, cord cutters can simply watch on a smartphone or other connected devices by streaming it live using DirecTV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV or FuboTV.
For avid streamers, reliable internet is especially important—and nothing beats speedy fiber optic service, with plenty of bandwidth, so all the streamers in your home can be online at the same time.
Will the pandemic affect MLB games this season?
Let’s hope not.
Unlike the previous two seasons, MLB has dropped routine Covid-19 testing for everyone but symptomatic individuals.
Those put on the Covid-19 injured list will not count against a team’s active roster.
Because Canada’s vaccine rules are tougher than those of the United States, the Toronto Blue Jays are in line to have a competitive advantage because unvaccinated travelers are prohibited from crossing the border under current law. So teams like the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees that play the Blue Jays a lot could be at a big disadvantage every time they head north if their rosters are filled with unvaccinated players.
Are there any rule changes this MLB season?
There are plenty.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement reached between the owners and players, pitchers will no longer hit in the National League, and there will be a universal designated hitter used throughout MLB going forward.
However, MLB also included a so-called “Shohei Ohtani Rule’’ in the new protocols to help promote good-hitting pitchers playing both ways: If a starting pitcher is included in the batting order, they can remain in the order even after they’re pulled from the game as a pitcher.
The American League (AL) has used the designated hitter (DH) since 1973. The National League (NL) only used a DH during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season; its pitchers returned to the batter’s box last season.
Other changes include:
- MLB is dropping seven-inning twin bills used the past two years during the pandemic and returning to traditional nine-inning doubleheaders. The League fielded plenty of complaints from fans who felt cheated by having to pay full price for tickets.
- With a shorter spring training this year due to the lockout, the League will increase rosters from 26 to 28 until May 1 to help teams stock extra pitchers until they’re better stretched out.
- During the postseason, MLB is expanding from 10 to 12 teams in 2022, with three division winners and three wild-card teams qualifying in both the AL and NL. The top division winners in both the AL and NL will secure a first-round bye.
One rule returning that is sure to irk many traditional fans even more than a universal DH is the so-called “ghost runner” on second base at the start of each extra inning.
Used to help speed up the game, it’s been in place since 2020 as part of the League’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols. It will mercifully be dropped during the postseason this year.
Extra innings will permanently return to normal during the 2023 regular season with each inning starting with bases empty.
Program availability may vary and air times are subject to change. Streaming services may require a subscription and sometimes an additional fee.