For a content repository that is so overprotective of its material, MLB.tv’s announcement that it’ll allow recaps and highlights to be available on YouTube shows signs that MLB’s new media goons are starting to warm up to social media.

Except, of course, for those of us within the continental U.S. The new YouTube / MLB partnership has spawned a Japanese site (mlb.jp) and MLB’s Global portal on YouTube (not available in the U.S.).

From GigaOm’s NewTeeVee.com:

In addition to all full-length games from 2009 and the current season, the MLB.JP channel will feature condensed games, game replays, and FastCast, a quick recap of every game played on a given day. It will also have historic game footage and player highlight reels from Japanese MLB players.

Japanese baseball fans won’t be the only ones with access to MLB games for free; as part of the deal, YouTube will also make game clips and highlights available to fans in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and Russia.

I’m not sure why MLB.tv wouldn’t also distribute some of those highlight clips and condensed games via YouTube here in the U.S. They could splash ads on videos that would get reposted on blogs and sites everywhere (MLB.com’s video players don’t allow sharing).

Other content creators (or right-holders) do so in order to promote viewership of the material. Think of the way Hulu hosts some clips on YouTube but then reminds viewers they can get full shows on the Hulu.com site. But in general, this move is pretty harmless and somewhat positive.

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