As a new-to-the-game media member and former Twins season ticketholder, I’m no stranger to both sides of this fracas. Let’s first dispatch some indisputable facts:
* Visitor’s BP has always and was still going to be part of the ticketholder experience at no additional cost.
* The only time home BP was *ever* visible is — as I recall — possibly seeing the tail end of it on weekends when they opened up the gates 120 minutes before first pitch rather than 90 minutes.
* The entire ballpark experience is more or less predicated on the pay-to-improve structure. Want to get in? $8 or whatever gets you up top. Pay more to sit lower. Pay more to get into the Legends Club. Pay more to get into the Champions Club. Pay more to take home a Glen Perkins shirsey. You get the idea.
* There was no obligation for anyone to ever do this. And if nobody showed up, or it just wasn’t working, the Twins would have likely discontinued it. But if demand dictated that it would have worked — quite honestly, I think it would have — then the complaints only become worrisome from a ‘future ticket buyer’ standpoint. I do understand this, though.
The problem here, as with many arguments, is a lack of common denominator. People on separate levels are arguing different points for their side. Nobody would necessarily be wrong, so to speak, but to try to make your experience normative for those on the other side simply results in talking past each other.
So suggesting that we’re just talking heads with more than just a vested interest in the Twins — especially at 1500 where we don’t hold the broadcast rights any more — simply just isn’t true. Similarly, it’s not a groupthink situation. I’ve never once been even told what direction to head when it comes to my content, and this isn’t a company line deal of any sort.
The idea that media members get to see home batting practice for free regardless doesn’t really hold water. I’m only a veteran of one homestand as a regular media member, but some things I do understand.
This is one of them.
We congregate in or around the dugout during home BP to talk to Ron Gardenhire. Very little of what we do as media members is gleaned from the BP experience. We are not permitted around the cage — neither the one on-field or by the clubhouse, for good reason — with the exception of a few select folks. And if Gardenhire speaks earlier, or later, or in his office like he did during the Tigers series, you’d almost have no idea — as a media member — that home BP ever occurred. Last homestand the only time I saw home BP was when we were taping a YouTube video, and that was just the beginning.
Ultimately, we are also not there for the same reason as fans. While I still fervently love the game of baseball, I’m there to work. I don’t cheer when Justin Morneau homers, I don’t boo when Aaron Hicks strikes out. I pound away at the keyboard, drink copious amounts of coffee, and try not to annoy Tyler Mason too much.
The fan experience and the media experience just aren’t the same, and any attempt to reconcile the two on common ground proves futile.
And while the idea may come across as a money grab, surely the Twins have to staff that time with ushers, and possible health care attendants as oftentimes BP home runs can turn into nasty bruises and that sort of thing if fans aren’t as adept with the glove as their on-field favorites.
It’s my view that the Twins shouldn’t be forced to incur that risk financially.
And even if that isn’t the point, my feeling was that the blowback was more indicative of the Twins charging for something which was previously free. And that simply wasn’t the case.
My imperfect solution would be to roll this into a deal with a stadium tour included. I think very few people would do this regularly — hence why a tour makes sense — but it would certainly be enough where a fair pricing structure could be figured out.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Feel free to tweet me @Brandon_Warne or email me at brandon.r.warne@gmail-dot-com.