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Clearance Clarence: More Twins spring training games on TV, please

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • February 22, 2011 - 3:21 PM

To entertain you with his whimsy, here is commenter Clarence Swamptown with his weekly feature, Clearance Clarence. As always, the opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the Star Tribune or RandBall:

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I hope everyone survived our latest stretch of bad Minnesota weather. It’s a beautiful Tuesday, and it is on days like today when my yearning for baseball grows and I find myself losing whole afternoons to Twins’ web sites looking for spring training updates.

Last week the Minnesota Twins announced an exclusive deal with Fox Sports North.  The deal will end their relationship with Channel 29 and the broadcast of weekend games on free television, except for 8 nationally televised games on Fox. I understand the complaints about having so many Twins games on pay-only television.  Many people will choose not to pay for cable or satellite, and the Twins might lose that portion of their fan base.  It stinks. But that is a discussion for a different time. 
 
Today I humbly ask one simple question: Why does Fox Sports North choose to only broadcast a small handful of Minnesota Twins’ spring training games every year? In 2011, only 5 of the Twins’ 32 spring training games will be televised locally. In contrast, the Yankees and Red Sox broadcast nearly every one of their spring training games in some form or another.  I admit that those are much larger baseball markets, so I offer this: in 2011 THE PITTSBURGH {REDACTED} PIRATES will televise just as many spring training games as the Minnesota Twins. The Pittsburgh {redacted} Pirates. 
 
I admit that I am a sports rube. I think about Denard Span’s stolen base percentage on my way to work.  I spend way too much time analyzing Luke Hughes’ AA OPS+ when I probably should be reading a book. That said, I know I am not alone.  The incomparable Seth Stohs just spent over 1,200 words breaking down long shots for the Twins’ last bullpen spot. Every local newspaper, television station and radio outlet sends reporters to Fort Myers for a reason: there is a market for that information.
 
I understand that most spring training games are played in the afternoon when most people are at work.  So just rebroadcast the games at night. Or broadcast during the day and I’ll DVR it.  Or better yet, just compress the game into 30-minutes of only the hits, walks and outs and broadcast it during prime time.  Somehow we’ll survive if you bump the World Poker Tour and Vertical BMX Championships back an hour. 
 
I understand that it might cost a lot to send Dick ‘n Bert to Florida to do the broadcasts.  So just hire some local toothless Florida goober to do the play-by-play.   Or pass the microphone through the grandstands and let the fans take turns.  Or better yet, I bet Kris Atteberry would do it for free passes to Busch Gardens and a case of Moose Drool. He’s from Montana.
 
I am not a businessman.  I am sure there are logical reasons why THE KANSAS CITY {REDACTED} ROYALS have just as many spring training games on television as the Twins. But for the life of me I can’t think of any.  Your thoughts are welcome in the comments below.

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