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Mariners afternoon game against Rangers on May 16 to be shown exclusively on Facebook

Seattle Mariners' Kyle Seager reacts after flying out to left in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, May 10, 2018, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill / AP)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

DETROIT – It might not be a good deal for people who call it “The Facebook” or perhaps for certain politicians who don’t realize there isn’t a subscription for the largest social media platform in the world. But for others, it’s a free baseball broadcast on their phone, iPad or computer that they might not be able to watch otherwise.

In an effort to broaden its reach to different fans, and more importantly consumers, Major League Baseball and Facebook reached an agreement this spring to expand their partnership for 2018, which included the agreement to produce and broadcast one game every week to Facebook’s global audience. It’s a 25-game package featuring every team.

“This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our Clubs to connect with people around the world,” said Tony Petitti, Deputy Commissioner of Business and Media for Major League Baseball in a statement back in March. “It is a major creative step forward in serving our diverse, passionate community of fans, who will enjoy a uniquely interactive experience watching our games on Facebook each week.”

Why is this important? There are two reasons.

The first is that those 25 games will be exclusive to Facebook, meaning they won’t be available to be watched on typical television networks that hold the broadcast rights, like Root Sports for the Mariners games. That also includes people with MLB.TV subscriptions or the MLB Extra Innings cable package. The games will not be available on those platforms either. The only way to watch is via Facebook’s “Watch” page under “MLB Live.”

The second reason is that the Mariners’ turn for a Facebook game is coming up next week for the Wednesday afternoon series finale against the Rangers at Safeco Field on May 16. So for Mariners fans wanting to watch that game, the only way to do so is on Facebook. The radio broadcast will still be available on the Mariners radio broadcast network, but the game will not be carried by Root Sports.

The game will feature a different broadcast crew with longtime announcer and Seattle resident Rich Waltz providing play-by-play with former Mariners second baseman and MLB analyst Harold Reynolds and former Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis providing color commentary. Elise Woodward, who works on a multiple broadcasts for the University of Washington, will be the sideline reporter.