Technical foul: Snafu keeps ALCS start off air

Updated: October 19, 2008, 12:31 AM EST 136 comments

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - TBS had technical difficulties that prevented it from showing live coverage of the first 20 minutes — and the first home run — of Game 6 of the American League championship series between Boston and Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

The game started at 8:08 p.m., but the broadcast didn't begin until 8:28 p.m., when Carlos Pena, the seventh batter of the game, walked in the bottom of the first. TBS then showed a replay of a home run by B.J. Upton, the previous batter, that put the Rays ahead 1-0.

"Two circuit breakers in our Atlanta transmission operations tripped, causing the master router and its backup — which are necessary to transmit any incoming feed outbound — to shut down," TBS spokesman Sal Petruzzi said in a statement.

"This impacted our live feed from being distributed to any of the other networks in the Turner portfolio and caused the delay in our coverage," Petruzzi said. "Both our primary and backup routers were impacted by this problem. We apologize to baseball fans for this mishap that caused a delay in our coverage."

Boston went on to win 4-2, forcing a Game 7 for Sunday night.

Major League Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said MLB was unaware there was a problem until the broadcast failed to come on the air. No consideration was given to delaying the start of the game because the starting pitchers already had warmed up, Levin said.

When the top of the second inning began, broadcaster Chip Caray said: "We again apologize profusely for the technical difficulties we had back in Atlanta. You haven't missed much."

In place of the game, TBS had televised an episode of "The Steve Harvey Show." A crawl on the screen ran several times, saying: "We are experiencing technical difficulties."

"We couldn't put anything out because the live transmission had gone down," TBS spokesman Jeff Pomeroy said. "You're not able to put up the audio of the game because you couldn't get the feed out."

At the Cask N Flagon outside Fenway Park, manager Mike Fusco said the hour — from the pregame show until the game was restored — "wasn't real fun."

"People were in a little uproar because they thought we didn't put the game on. They were just screaming at us to put it on and try all the other stations — Fox, TNT," Fusco said.

Finally, Fusco said the staff had to use a PA system to explain the technical problems to the capacity crowd of 700.

Some customers yelled for them to at least put the game on the radio, but the bar didn't have one.

"People watched 'Steve Harvey' until it came on," Fusco said.

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