MLB streaming 2021: Watch baseball’s pennant races live without cable

From DirecTV Stream to Bally Sports to MLB.TV to YouTube, there are plenty of ways to watch the last weeks of the Major League baseball season.

With about 15 games left in the season, MLB has again dropped the price of its MLB.TV season subscription, and there are also a few free ways to watch live baseball in September. You don’t need cable to watch your favorite team’s games, but your options depend on which team you follow and where you live.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has led the Toronto Blue Jays back into playoff contention, where they are fighting with the Yankees and Red Sox for a Wild Card spot.

There are two major ways to stream MLB games day in, day out without a cable or satellite TV subscription:

Depending on where you live, one of the major live TV streaming services could carry the channel that has your favorite team. Those channels, called regional sports networks, deliver almost all of the regular-season games live.

Most such services, however, carry only a handful of the 30 RSNs that show MLB games — and they’re typically the most expensive. DirecTV Stream carries the most RSNs, but you’ll need to spring for its $85-a-month plan; its basic $70-a-month plan doesn’t include RSNs. Sling TV, a service that costs $35 per month, doesn’t have any RSNs for baseball. If you’re a baseball fan who needs your team’s RSN, a cable subscription might actually be cheaper than streaming.

The other option is MLB.TV, a separate service that carries every game played by every team live. It’s great for hard-core fans in general. MLB.TV costs $27 for the remainder of the season.

The big catch with MLB.TV is the local blackout restriction: You can’t watch your local team’s games live. Instead, they become available about 90 minutes after the game ends. If you’re a Yankees fan in the New York area, for example, you can’t start to watch the Yankees game until an hour and a half after the final out. Other teams’ games aren’t blacked out live, which makes MLB.TV ideal for fans who want to follow one or more of the 28 or 29 teams based in other cities, aka out-of-market teams.

Due to MLB.TV’s blackout restriction, a live TV streaming service is the best bet for following your local team. Many services carry the RSN that has exclusive rights to every regular season game, but availability varies by location and service.

In addition to the RSNs listed below, live TV services carry most if not all of the major national networks — ESPN, Fox, FS1, MLB Network and TBS — that regularly televise matchups from different teams around the league. Details are at the top of this article.

Here’s how the RSNs stack up on each service.

Some key takeaways:

One other note: Fox Sports RSNs have been rebranded as Bally Sports, because the channels are no longer owned by Fox but Sinclair, which has since partnered with casino group Bally’s to rename them. So, Fox Sports Ohio is now called Bally Sports Ohio and so on.

If you are looking to watch your local team night in and night out, DirecTV Stream is your best bet. It offers by far the most RSNs of the live TV streaming services. Philadelphia and Toronto are the only MLB cities whose RSN is not offered on DirecTV Stream. FuboTV is second with 10 RSNs, giving you only a one-in-three chance of getting your local RSN to watch baseball.

DirecTV Stream is the priciest of the five major live TV streaming services, but it’s also the one with the most RSNs. Its cheapest, $70-a-month Plus package includes ESPN, Fox, FS1 and TBS. You’ll need to move up to the $85-a-month Choice plan to get MLB Network and any available RSN. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels and RSNs are available in your area.

Major League Baseball’s official streaming service is great for following your favorite team if you live outside its TV market. Because of the 90-minute blackout described above, however, it’s much less useful for following your local home team.

MLB.TV subscribers also miss games that are broadcast nationally on ESPN, Fox, FS1, MLB Network and TBS. Those games are blacked out on MLB.TV, which can be particularly irksome for fans of the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and other big-market teams that are frequently selected for national broadcasts.

The price of MLB.TV at the start of the season was $130. With only two weeks left, that has dropped to $27. As a subscriber, you can watch out-of-market games live or on demand, and the in-market (home) team with a 90-minute delay from the end of the game.

With MLB.TV, you can also listen to home and away radio broadcasts. The radio broadcasts aren’t subject to the blackout rule, so you can listen to home team games live. MLB.TV also includes a ton of video content, including classic games, baseball documentaries and old This Week in Baseball episodes.

Even if you don’t subscribe, you can still watch baseball with the MLB app. It offers one Free Game of the Day that anyone can stream live for free.

Read our MLB.TV review.

ESPN’s stand-alone streaming service costs $6 a month or $60 a year and shows one game nearly every day of the six-month MLB season. The catch is that your local team’s games are blacked out when they appear on ESPN Plus, similar to MLB.TV. Also, the games shown on ESPN Plus are not exclusive to ESPN Plus and are also available on MLB.TV.

Aside from DirecTV Stream, the odds are long that a live TV streaming service carries the RSN for your local team’s games, which makes the other four services better bets for watching nationally televised games. YouTube also shows a game a week for free.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and offers 10 RSNs for baseball. It also includes ESPN, Fox and FS1 but not TBS. You can add MLB Network for an extra $11 a month with the Sports Plus with NFL RedZone add-on. Check out which local networks and RSNs it offers here.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and offers five RSNs for baseball, along with all five channels for national broadcasts. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks and RSNs are available in your area.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and carries five RSNs for baseball along with ESPN, Fox, FS1 and TBS, but not MLB Network. Click the “View all channels in your area” link at the bottom of its welcome page to see which local networks and RSNs are available where you live.

Sling Blue currently lacks a single RSN to watch baseball. You can, however, use Sling to watch national baseball broadcasts. Sling TV’s Orange plan includes ESPN, and the Blue plan includes Fox and FS1. Both plans offer TBS. The MLB Network is available as part of the Sports Extra add-on, which costs $11 a month for either the Blue or Orange plan or $15 for the combined Orange-and-Blue plan. The individual plans cost $35 a month each, and the Orange-and-Blue plan costs $50 a month. You can see which local channels you get here.

Each live TV streaming service offers a free trial, allows you to cancel anytime and requires a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live TV streaming services guide.

For the third year, YouTube streams some MLB games for free. For the 2021 season, 21 games will be shown as the MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube. Two games remain on the schedule

For Yankees fans in the team’s market, Amazon will stream 21 Yankees games on Prime Video this season. While you don’t need to live in the Bronx to stream these games, the area where they’re available is limited — New York state, Connecticut, northeast Pennsylvania, and north and central New Jersey. You’ll need to be a Prime member, too.

Three Prime Video games remain:

The MLB At Bat app is great on phones and even better on tablets. If you bought an MLB.TV subscription (as outlined above), you can log in to your account and watch games live in the app. There is a cheaper subscription option for use with the mobile app only, but it’s limited in what it lets you watch.

You can buy an At Bat subscription via the MLB At Bat app. It costs $20 a year (or $3 a month) and lets you listen to the home or away radio broadcasts — baseball is the only sport I can listen to on the radio — and watch one game per day during the season. You can’t choose which game you want to watch; you’re stuck with the MLB.TV Free Game of the Day.

Field of Dreams swings a TV reboot from The Good Place creator

The Kevin Costner classic gets another turn at the plate as Peacock greenlights a TV series written by Michael Schur.

Kevin Costner (left) in Field of Dreams.

Mike Schur seems like a safe pair of hands, although the material may be a little different from his usual speciality: As well as creating The Good Place, Schur co-created sitcoms Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The original Field of Dreams, meanwhile, was an emotional and fantasy-inflected story (with a bunch of funny lines). You can watch it on Peacock now if you need a reminder.

Based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella, the Oscar-nominated Field of Dreams was written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson. Costner played a farmer who hears voices in his head telling him to plow his cornfield into a baseball diamond, attracting the spirits of baseball players involved in World Series match-fixing in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal.

Costner emerged from the cornfield to deliver a spine-tingling intro to the 2021 Field of Dreams game, below.

MLB has promised a return to Iowa in 2022. Reports say the Cincinnati Reds will play the Chicago Cubs.

Jake Paul tweets that he’s a ‘retired boxer,’ but sure doesn’t sound ‘retired’

Do retired boxers spend this much time talking about future fights? Plus: Paul says Tyron Woodley can’t cover up his “I love Jake Paul” tattoo.

Jake Paul fought Tyron Woodley on Aug. 29, but is he hanging up the gloves?

That … seems unlikely. Paul has a multi-fight deal with Showtime. And he has already been hinting around at a next fight, whether that be with Conor McGregor or Tommy Fury. Paul told reporters at the post-fight press conference that he sees McGregor as an easier fight than Woodley. And Tommy Fury, who beat Paul’s sparring partner, Anthony Taylor, on Sunday, talked some serious trash about Paul’s abilities.

“I’ve done my part tonight, he’s done his part tonight, why not make it next?” Fury said. “It’s the fight that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue. No one wants to see him fight another MMA kid. Why not fight against a pro boxer?”

Representatives for Showtime and Jake Paul didn’t immediately respond to a request for clarification on the “retired boxer” statement.

But it’s worth noting that McGregor himself tweeted in 2016 that he was retiring, then fought again four months later. Boxers — and other athletes — love to hint at leaving their sport, but sometimes it’s just talk. What’s the old joke? How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Paul followed up the “retired” tweet with details on the “I love Jake Paul” tattoo Woodley agreed to get after his loss.

“Tyron’s tattoo guidelines,” Paul tweeted. “1. 3×2 inches at least. 2. Can’t get it covered. 3. Permanent. 4. Must post on social media. 5. Has to be visible with shorts and shirt on.”

Woodley said after the fight that he’d get the tattoo, but he wants a rematch, and the fighters shook on it. (So … more evidence Paul isn’t retiring?)

Social-media users had fun with both tweets.

In response to the “retired boxer” tweet, one Twitter user wrote that Paul was the “first retired boxer in the world who never actually fought a real boxer.”

And as an answer to Paul’s list of tattoo guidelines, the MMA Humour account came up with a list of “Jake Paul Opponent guidelines,” stating that Paul’s opponents must be retired, have had zero boxing matches, and be smaller and older than Paul himself.

But others defended Paul. One Twitter user wrote, “Jake Paul had the world against him yet he prevailed 4-0. Now people will still hate on him after he’s shown what true dedication is.”

Tokyo Olympics to be held under state of emergency, won’t allow spectators

Rising COVID-19 cases in Japan’s capital have led to a third state of emergency for the city, one that will last throughout the Olympic Games.

The Olympics were postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“New cases in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area have been rising since June,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was reported as saying in the Japan Times. “Stronger measures have become necessary in those areas, but could be lifted early if we see evidence of the positive impact of the vaccine rollout.”

Tokyo’s COVID-19 cases peaked with the new year, with over 2,392 new cases on Jan. 8. Numbers have fallen since, but they’ve been rising since the middle of June. Tokyo recorded 337 new COVID-19 cases on June 15, but July has seen new cases fluctuate between 500 and 920. It’s the third state of emergency the city has endured since the pandemic’s onset, following similar precautions in April and January.

Around 15% of Japan’s 126 million citizens have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A worldwide death toll from the virus had risen to more than 4 million as of Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. In Japan, nearly 15,000 people have died of the virus.

After being postponed more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Olympics are scheduled to begin July 23 in Tokyo. They’ll run through to Aug. 8. Though many experts cautioned against holding the games, Japan’s government has pressed on — albeit with increasing restrictions as the games approached.

Officials last month said local fans would be allowed to physically attend the games, but with venues limited to 50% capacity or up to 10,000 spectators max. In March, officials banned overseas spectators from the Olympics.

Celebrate the return of college ball with $5 off each of your first 5 Postmates orders

Get your game on while having restaurant meals delivered, no human contact required.

You can enter the code at checkout or visit your account page and add it there. Either way, you should see a confirmation that you’ll save $5 on each of your next five orders. It’s that easy. Fine print: This code works only for new customers. Be on the lookout for Postmates’ trending restaurants to score free delivery.

If you’ve already used Postmates and can’t take advantage of this deal, you might still be able to save a few bucks. Be sure to visit CNET’s Postmates Coupons page and see if there are any other active deals you can take advantage of. There are often deals listed here that even existing customers can get in on.

Read more: NCAA March Madness 2021: Schedule, channel and how to watch Elite Eight on TV today

Since we’re all trying to minimize contact with other people right now, you’ll be pleased to know that Postmates has noncontact deliveries. Drivers can leave your food on your porch or some other location so you won’t need any face-to-face interaction.

First published last year. Updated with new promotion. 

Read more: All the latest Postmates coupons

CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

Fans take a swing at Cleveland Indians changing name to Cleveland Guardians

“Yup, we named our team after bridge statues,” said one Twitter user.

One of the Guardians of Traffic sculptures on the Hope Memorial Bridge near Progressive Field, where Cleveland’s baseball team plays.

There was some positive social media reaction to the new name, though some people had fun with it, and others didn’t like the choice.

“Yup, we named our team after bridge statues,” said one Twitter user.

The winged baseball logo earned some attention.

Other people also noted that “Guardians” and “Indians” end in the same five letters, and joked that the team’s owners, the Dolan family, could save some money as a result.

Stay tuned for more social media name-change commentary someday soon. The Washington Football Team, formerly the Redskins, has yet to announce its new name.

Tokyo Olympics memes: Snoop’s hilarious horse commentary, diver’s relatable flop

Rapper Snoop Dogg and comedian Kevin Hart are offering uncensored Olympics commentary on NBC’s Peacock network, and it’s a win.

Rapper Snoop Dogg and comedian Kevin Hart are offering uncensored Olympics commentary on NBC’s Peacock network, and they were especially entertained by a horse doing some fancy sideways walking in an equestrian event. (Note: Plenty of swearing ahead.)

“Horses. I like this,” declared Snoop. “This is equestrian… Oh, the horse crip-walking, cuh! You see that? On the set! That’s gangsta as a motherf—–!”

(Crip-walking is a dance move popularized in Compton, California, and associated with the Crips street gang.)

“Snoop Dogg and Kevin Hart commenting on the Olympics is the best content NBC Peacock has put out yet,” wrote one Twitter user.

Canadian diver Pamela Ware messed up her dive at the last minute, ending up jumping feet-first and receiving a score of 0. Viewers understood that she had to bail out of the dive to avoid injury, but there was still a sense that here, finally, was a relatable athletic move.

“One of the few times in the Olympics where I have thought ‘Well I could do THAAT,'” wrote one Twitter user.

Ware posted an emotional video on Instagram thanking those who supported and encouraged her after her failed dive.

“My dream is still very much alive!” she wrote in the post’s caption. “This competition will NOT defeat me. This will only make me 10x stronger!”

British gold-medal Tom Daley knits and crochets, even making a little knitted case for his gold medal.

And fans loved it when Daley was spotted knitting away while sitting in the stands watching other athletes compete.

“Nothing to see here – just @TomDaley1994 having a knit at the diving,” tweeted Team GB, the British Olympic team, from its official Twitter account.

“When you gotta win a gold medal at 7, but finish your niece’s hat by 8,” wrote another Twitter user.

Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus won gold, beating legendary American Katie Ledecky in the 400-meter freestyle. But it was Titmus’ coach, Dean Boxall, who made the meme list. When Titmus won, Boxall tore off his face mark, screamed and, uh, mimed intimacy with a guardrail. You do you, coach.

Even NBC Sports’ official Twitter account got in on the joke, tweeting, “THAT’S MY SONG, TURN IT UP” with a video of Boxall’s reaction.

And some people felt sorry for the poor Olympics staffer seen in the background, writing, “Thoughts & prayers to the woman trying to keep Ariarne Titmus’s coach from falling over the barrier during his celebration.”

Skateboarding made its Olympics debut, and Peruvian skateboarder Angelo Caro Narvaez took an early fall, landing groin-first into a rail. No medal, but lots of sympathy.

“And he made it to the finals after doing this in the prelims,” one Twitter user wrote. “I would not have made it to the finals after doing that in the prelims, I’ll tell you that. I would have made it to the hospital.”

The US basketball team is packed with pros but still lost to France, 83-76, snapping a 25-game win streak that it had kept rolling since 2004. And while it might not seem fair to make fun of amateur athletes, all bets are off when it comes to poking fun at the professionals.

Wrote one Twitter user, “American teams win an NBA championship and call themselves World Champions until they actually have to play against the world.”

But as one Twitter user pointed out, it wasn’t as if only the US used pro players, tweeting, “You realize these dudes on the other teams are NBA players too, right?”

The memes will keep on medaling; the Olympics run through Aug. 8.

NASCAR Cup Series Championship: How to watch the race today without cable

You don’t need cable TV to watch the racin’ and rubbin’ at the Phoenix Raceway on Sunday.

Kyle Larson will race against Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship on Sunday on NBC.

If you live in an area with good reception, you can watch races broadcast on NBC for free on over-the-air broadcast channels just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV.

Sling’s $35-a-month Blue package offers NBC but only in a handful of areas.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV’s Family plan costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

Formerly AT&T TV, DirecTV Stream’s basic, $70-a-month Entertainment package includes NBC. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

Read more: How to watch, stream the NFL in 2021 without cable

NFL 2021: How to watch Packers vs. Ravens, Saints vs. Buccaneers, RedZone and Week 15 on Sunday

The NFL action continues on Sunday.

Here’s how to watch Sunday’s games, as well as the rest of the NFL season, with or without cable.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on Sunday Night Football tonight.

Major streaming providers such as YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, FuboTV and DirecTV Stream offer nearly all the major channels you will need for football. This includes CBS, NBC and Fox, as well as ESPN, which is needed for Monday Night Football.

Sling TV offers NBC and Fox in some markets with its Blue package, but it lacks CBS. It’s also worth noting that to get ESPN you will either need to switch to its Orange package or go for its Blue and Orange bundle.

Those who are fine with watching on phones or tablets, meanwhile, can also use the Yahoo Sports app to stream the games that are broadcast on your local stations for free.

All of those services above, with the exception of DirecTV Stream, offer the option to get RedZone and the NFL Network. RedZone will usually require you to spend another $10 or $11 per month as an add-on.

If RedZone is all you care about, the cheapest option is getting Sling TV Blue for $35 a month and adding the $11-per-month Sports Extra add-on. This gets you all the football channels with the exception of ESPN and CBS.

If you do have cable or satellite, here is where you can find the NFL Network on a few of the bigger providers. Note: The exact channel numbers may change depending on your area, so for best results check your channel guide.

Most Thursday Night Football games will be broadcast on Fox, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video. Check out the full Thursday Night Football schedule here and our recommendations for the best ways to watch NFL without cable throughout the season.

Paramount Plus offers live CBS feeds with its Premium tier for $10 a month. Depending on where you live, however, your local CBS station (and those NFL games) might not be available. CBS offers livestreaming services in many markets; you can check if your area has live CBS streaming here.

All of NBC’s regular-season NFL games will be available to stream on its Peacock streaming service, so long as you pay for one of its Premium subscriptions.

There are two of these tiers, a $5-a-month Premium option that has ads (when watching nonlive content) and a $10-per-month Premium Plus option that will stream nonlive content ad-free (and let you download some content to watch offline).

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes all the major football channels, with RedZone available for an extra $11 a month. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Note that YouTube TV is offering a $15 discount, bringing the price down to $50 per month, during its contract dispute with Disney.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes all the major football channels, with RedZone available for an extra $10 a month. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and has all the major NFL channels with RedZone available as an $11-per-month add-on. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes NBC, Fox and the NFL Network. Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live.

Note: This version of Sling TV does not include ESPN. For that, you’ll need to switch to the similarly priced Orange plan or go for the combined $50-per-month Orange and Blue bundle. RedZone is also available for an extra $11 a month.

Read our Sling TV review.

Formerly AT&T TV, DirecTV Stream’s basic $70-a-month package includes nearly all the major channels for football with the notable exceptions of RedZone and the NFL Network. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our DirecTV Stream review.

Those looking for CBS games will be able to stream them on Paramount Plus with its $10 per month Premium tier. You can check for yourself if your area has live CBS streaming here.

Peacock will show NBC’s full slate of Sunday Night Football games. You will, however, need one of the service’s Premium plans to watch Sunday Night Football live and full-game replays, though highlights are available on the free tier.

The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium Plus plan costs $10 a month.

Read our Peacock review.

Most Thursday Night games will be available on Amazon Prime Video. For millions of Amazon Prime subscribers, the Prime Video channel is already included at no extra cost. But if you’re not a subscriber, it might be worth it to shell out the $9 a month for the stand-alone TV service fee.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials (except Peacock, which just has a free tier that doesn’t stream live NFL games), allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

Facebook eyes sports for its next push in online events

A pay-per-view-like option for sports leagues wouldn’t be out of the question, apparently.

The next sports event you watch may be on Facebook.

The social network launched its paid online events product last summer, inviting some people running Facebook pages to use tools designed to create, promote, host and monetize virtual live events. Since launch, event hosts have received 100% of revenue from ticket sales through Facebook Pay. However, that is set to expire in August, after which Facebook may take a cut.

Facebook is reportedly targeting smaller leagues and sports events since the top sports leagues — such as the National Football League and National Basketball Association — are restricted by broadcast media rights. The social network sees potential for monetizing things outside of games, such as team practices or behind-the-scenes videos, Shaw told CNBC.

A Facebook spokesperson on Wednesday said the company’s paid online events feature is available to all publishers, and sports is one area where it’s being adopted.