Rand: Plan to pay to watch batting practice nixed by Twins

  • Updated: April 10, 2013 - 6:46 AM
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The Twins scuttled a plan to have fans pay for the privilege of watching guys like Joe Mauer take batting practice. The plan was roundly derided on social media, but the Twins say that wasn’t the reason they nixed the idea.

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It was perhaps the shortest-lived promotion in Twins history.

On Tuesday morning, the team announced via a news release that it was allowing up to 60 ticketed fans per game a chance to get inside the gates 45 minutes early to watch the home team take batting practice. The extra cost: $15.

A nearly unanimous outcry on Twitter, talk radio and online comments sections followed. One such comment at Startribune.com simply read, “Unbelievable greed.”

By late Tuesday afternoon, the Twins had sent out another news release: disregard everything about the news release involving the $15 batting practice. It was no longer happening.

So what happened? Twins President Dave St. Peter said the release was sent prematurely and hadn’t been approved by higher-ups in the organization.

“It was released before it ever should have been. It’s hard to believe, but it was not pulled down because of fan reaction,” St. Peter said, adding this: “Our organization made a mistake. ... We’re looking at ways to add more access to batting practice, but I’m not sure charging incrementally is the way to go about that.”

St. Peter noted that season-ticket holders have the option of gaining access to the Twins taking batting practice at select games through a rewards program the team offers. The organization, he said, has been looking at ways to extend that perk to other ticket buyers.

“Our focus going forward is to provide greater fan access to BP. Whether there will be charges added to that, I don’t know,” he said. “But I’ve long believed BP is one of those things we undersell as an industry.”

So Dave, you’re really sure this had nothing to do with the roughly 95 to 99 percent of people who thought the plan, as offered, was a bad idea and made their voices heard on Tuesday?

“I heard from a few fans,” St. Peter said. “I know this: I know we provided a tremendous level of entertainment to the world of Twitter [Tuesday] afternoon. I don’t know if that’s good news.”

 

MICHAEL RAND

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