If you are a big fan of baseball you were probably tuned into Game 1 of the World Series, which aired live this Tuesday from Kansas City. New York Mets vs. Kansas City Royals. It is a big series, best of 7 games, the winner getting to the be the champion of the 2015 World Series.

For me, I tuned into the game right at 8 pm anxiously waiting to see how my team would do. Being a Mets fan is undoubtedly tough. The last time they were in the World Series was 2000, 15 years ago, I was only 5, and the last time they actually won they world series was 1986, and I was not even born. Therefore, I anxiously watched to see how the Mets were going to compete against Kansas City in the first game of the series.


The Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey during Game 1 via www.ibtimes.com

4 Long Minutes

About an hour into watching (in the bottom of the fourth inning with a score of 1-1 — as the teams constantly battled for a lead) FOX Network, which had paid $500 million for the right to broadcast the series, lost power for 4 minutes.

Right in the action of a very important Game 1, there was a glitch that just sent viewers into distresses. The World Series is one of the biggest sporting events–and just like that, it was gone (off the air) for 4 minutes. This may seem short, but in the world of sports this is like an eternity.

Streaming from Kansas City Missouri had what The New York Times calls a “technical meltdown that might have felt familiar to anyone who has been flustered by a crashed computer” This is a feeling I am sure every person who has ever used a computer knows. Being an iSchool student myself, seeing computers crash, lose a connection, or generally just not perform a task right has become a part of my day to day struggles.

The blackout sent viewers into a moment of anguish looking for other ways to stream the game, whether it be on the Internet or even the radio. @FOXSports sent out the following tweet moments after the blackout: “We apologize for technical difficulties with our #WorldSeries broadcast. We are working on fixing the issue ASAP.”

What was shown on televisions during the 4 minute generator failure via Deadspin.com

This was shown on TV screens during the 4-minute generator failure. Screen grab via Deadspin.com

Instant Replay Also Down

The blackout not only affected viewers, it also stopped the ability for instant replay. Instant video replay is relatively new to baseball being instated last year as a way to review plays that are too close to call the first time around and are therefore reviewed. In order to do so you need a connection to the TV, which was lost for a period of time on Tuesday.

Thankfully Mets manager Terry Collins went on the field to alert umpires of the loss of instant replay and Joe Torre, M.L.B.’s chief baseball officer, learned that both teams were in fact without replay. The teams agreed to play without instant replay.

However, instant replay proved to be a very vital tool when in the bottom of the ninth. Third baseman David Wright hit a one-out single, stole second base and was claimed safe. However, after further review it became evident he was not actually safe and the call was revoked. If the blackout had been more than 4 minutes, calls like this might not have happened.

This blackout may have sparked memories of the blackout during the Super Bowl two years ago in New Orleans. However, the FOX mishap was nowhere near as bad as what happened during the Super Bowl. That incident sent the stadium into complete darkness for 34 minutes. Later Tuesday night, Mike Davies, Fox Sports senior vice president for field and technical operations, issued a statement. He said, “Typically, if one generator goes down, the other one keeps running, but this time, both went down.”

The view from the Super Bowl blackout that lasted 34 minutes via news.discovery.com

The view from the Super Bowl blackout that lasted 34 minutes via news.discovery.com

It Happens

Whether you are working small scale on a home computer, or for the World Series, technical issues are always a threat. It is just much more dramatic when you have hundreds of thousands of passionate baseball fans trying to watch their team succeed.

It takes numerous wires, connections, and cables to get a game from Missouri streamed into your living room. Sometimes, things go wrong. For the FOX blackout it turned out to be a generator issue. A lesson here is that, “it goes to show the infrastructure difficulties involved in broadcasting a sports event.” You would think FOX would make sure all bases were covered (pun intended) with their operations to make sure this did not happen during a game this important–but things happen.

Be sure to tune into the rest of the series on FOX. Who are you rooting for Mets or Royals? For me it’s all about the Mets and their powerful young pitching. What do you think? Have you had your own experience with infrastructure or technical failures to talk about?

If you want to see a highlight video of the 14 inning game check out this video!