TBS Begins Broadcast 20 Minutes After 1st Pitch

By Leonard Shapiro
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 19, 2008

The first 20 minutes of the nationally televised Game 6 of the American League Championship Series were not aired last night by TBS, the Atlanta-based cable network, because of a problem with two circuit breakers, according to a TBS spokesman.

"Two circuit breakers in our Atlanta transmission operations tripped, causing a master router and its backup to go down," TBS spokesman Jeff Pomeroy said. "Basically, everything was fine with the signal coming out of Tampa. We just couldn't get it to land in Atlanta. We couldn't get it to TBS or CNN or any of our networks. Everybody in Atlanta was trying to resolve it as quickly as possible. We apologize to baseball fans around the country for this mishap."

The game between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays began at 8:08 p.m., but viewers around the country tuning in to TBS instead saw a repeat of "The Steve Harvey Show," with a crawl at the bottom of the screen that read "we are experiencing technical difficulties." When the problem was corrected, the Rays had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Moments before TBS came back on with baseball, the Rays' B.J. Upton, the fifth batter in the game, hit a solo home run. TBS immediately replayed it when the network returned to the air after the game's sixth hitter, Carlos Peña, drew a walk. Play-by-play man Chip Caray said, "we apologize profusely" for the temporary blackout.

Emily Wright, a sports reporter at the Boston Globe, said the newspaper's sports department received about 70 calls from fans on "five telephones that were just ringing off the hook. People were definitely outraged, and they wanted to know where they could find it on the radio."

At the Tampa Tribune, sports night editor Mike Garbett said there were about 20 calls to his department, "most of them when the crawl wasn't running. People thought it was being blacked out and some of them wondered what we were going to do about it. Of course, it's always our fault."

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