With the pennant race quickly approaching, baseball fans throughout southeastern North Carolina are frustrated by the relationship between a major cable provider and two sports networks. Time Warner Cable reached an agreement with one popular sports network, but continues to struggle with another. As a result, baseball fans in Wilmington are worried that means they won't see their teams as the playoffs approach. Time Warner Cable recently added the Yankees Entertainment and Sports or YES network, but you won't see any Yankee games unless you have the Major League Baseball package. “I believe that the YES network is forming a monopoly around the Yankee baseball system. I think it's a total sell out to sports fans everywhere,” said Yankees fan Michael Keogh. Even if you have that package, you won't see home games involving Orioles or Nationals. Those teams are covered by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, or MASN, which Time Warner Cable doesn't carry at all. “Not only if you're a Baltimore fan or a Washington fan, but if you're a fan of other teams, every time they play those other teams it's blacked out,” said a frustrated Terry Baker. Even though arbitrators have ruled Time Warner has to carry MASN, the cable company is still refusing to do so, and is appealing to the full F.C.C. For restaurants like Surfs Bar and Grille, it means owners need Direct TV and Time Warner to provide the customers with the games they want. “We got Boston fans, we got Yankee fans, we got fans from all over the country in Wilmington. It's just an extra expense that you have to have because you want to make everyone feel at home when they come here,” said Henry Minutillo of Surfs. While sport fans can stop by Surfs to catch all of the games, they're worried that the extra cost for the cable networks could be passed on to them through the cost of their food and beverages. Still, it's a lot cheaper than a trip to the ballpark or having to buy a complete sports satellite or cable package. A Time Warner Cable spokesperson says the Yankee games are blacked out on the YES network due to territorial restrictions. Time Warner will not carry MASN because of a dispute over what subscriber package it should be included in. A spokesperson for MASN says the black out is due to a competing sports station owned by Time Warner. MASN is also the carrier for UNCW basketball games and East Carolina football.
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