Major League Baseball: Do the media have more power than the fans?


by Jean Gabler | March 15, 2009 • I am watching the Twins-Yankees game on Channel 29 as I write this. I think it is nice that the Twins broadcast their Sunday games on local (non-cable) TV. The Twins are currently losing to the Yankees 5-1 in the ninth. It is harder to come back in a spring training game, as many of the starters are rotated out of the game. Gomez played center field today and has spent much of the game chasing balls to right center and left center and not making catches. The right and left fielders aren’t getting to the balls either. It will be interesting to see how the team as a whole adjusts to playing in Target Field in 2010. They certainly have had the luxury in the Dome all these years of not having to deal with the effect of winds and weather.

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I can remember when only away games would be broadcast on TV; the team wanted the fans to come to the home games. It has obviously become more financially advantageous to sell the TV rights than to sell those extra game tickets. I did hear some local sportscasters the other day talking about how attendance at baseball games has increased over the years. They were saying that the Twins used to consider a crowd of 20,000 at a game to be good and few games sold out. I will see what the Twins averaged last year and let you know—but I would guess it was over 20,000 per game. It might also be that being able to watch more games on TV actually gets fans more involved and brings more of them to the ballpark.

The other thing that certainly demonstrates the power the media hold over Major League Baseball is the fact that they get to dictate the starting time of games. If ESPN or Fox decides to broadcast a game, the time is changed with no consideration given to fans holding tickets to that game.

Did anyone watch the game yesterday on FSN? It was the first spring training game that has been televised. It is fun to see the game being played at Hammond Stadium and to see palm trees instead of evergreens. The Twins had a 5-0 lead going into the seventh inning—four scoreless innings from Slowey and one each from Nathan and Guerrier. Joes Mijares came in and in the seventh inning gave up four runs on three hits, two walks, and one hit batter. The Twins never recovered and ended up losing 9-5. There is concern about the condition Mijares is in this spring. I loved the quote from Gardenhire: “We asked him to come back this spring in shape, and he came back a shape.” He no longer has a lock on one of the bullpen positions which he seemed to have after his performance last September.

The game is over, and the Twins lost 5-1. I threw out a trivia question about Bobby Korecky in my last entry. Someone wrote in and asked for a clue. (Thanks, reader!) Here is the clue—he did something that no other Twins pitcher has done in the Metrodome. If no one gets the answer, I will let you know in my next entry.