I’m shooting a flare. I’m blinking “SOS” in Morse code.

I want to be liberated from cable TV.

In Maryland, Comcast has us in a unique bind. There are only so many options to watch the Baltimore Orioles. So, naturally, it is turning the screws on us, the suckers who have yet to cut the cord.

Friday afternoon’s announcement that Comcast and MASN came to a carriage agreement in one sense is the evasion of absolute disaster. Imagine if Xfinity customers in this state couldn’t watch the reigning AL East champs, brimming over the top with exciting young players and prospects.

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We will get to watch them. We’ll just have to pay more.

MASN broadcasts now move to the Ultimate tier, which costs $20 more per month — though there will be promotional pricing incentives for the first six months. But, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering why you’re going to continue to pay this much for cable, when your home TV is increasingly the place where your streaming platforms live.

This is the trend, however. As pointed out by my Banner colleagues, Comcast has been consolidating regional sports networks (known as RSNs) on more expensive platforms. As more people cut the cord, you’d think Comcast and similar cable providers would try to find ways to broaden their base and reach more people. Instead, they seem more determined to squeeze the customers they have for every last dime.

What’s a great way to pour cold water on the burgeoning excitement around Gunnar Henderson, Adley Rutschman and Jackson Holliday? Make sure fewer people can see them play through increasingly pricier packages.

It doesn’t seem like a winning strategy, especially as baseball in particular is taking heed of calls to evolve and adapt to a younger (and perhaps less attentive) audience. Increasingly expensive cable packages feel stuck in a long-ago era, and probably only stave off the inevitable.

What’s a great way to pour cold water on the burgeoning excitement around Gunnar Henderson, Adley Rutschman and Jackson Holliday? Make sure fewer people can see them play through increasingly pricier packages.

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It’s a huge reason that, anecdotally, I don’t seem to know anyone younger than 30 who is a cable subscriber. For packages that cost more than 100, 120, 150 bucks a month, it makes more economic sense to head down to the local pub to catch the game for the cost of a drink or maybe just not watch at all.

MASN, however, could help us. A direct-to-consumer product is long overdue — it should be one of the first priorities when David Rubenstein’s group takes over the network.

One striking thing about moving back to Maryland last year was how few options there are to get MASN, which exists largely on traditional providers. No, there’s no direct-to-consumer service, but also, you cannot get MASN on YouTube TV, Hulu or Sling, for instance.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on the complications of getting broadcasts on those platforms, but given how much dependence cable has on live sports — the purest source of the biggest ratings — shouldn’t the Orioles have more leverage at this point?

As a league, Major League Baseball is still trying to catch up to the future. MLB.tv packages carry only out-of-market games (local broadcasts are blacked out, with the exceptions of the Rockies, Padres and Diamondbacks. MLB has the rights to those broadcasts, but they still require a separate package to view.) Commissioner Rob Manfred recently said he’d like at least half of MLB teams to offer a direct-to-consumer product next year that would allow fans to watch in-market games.

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It would be a game changer for baseball fans strapped down by their cable cords, yearning to be free. Compared to its streaming competition, Comcast’s prices are already an arm and a leg more, enough to make plenty of people just not watch.

For now, it seems the rest of us will be digging into our wallets, hoping better options are coming to offer us relief. It’s like they say in baseball: There’s always next year.

Kyle joined The Baltimore Banner in 2023 as a sports columnist. He previously covered the L.A. Lakers for The Orange County Register and myriad sports at The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s a Mt. Hebron High and University of Maryland alum.

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