Chone Figgins and Don Wakamatsu had an altercation in the dugout Friday and Mariners play-by-play announcer Dave Sims mentioned the incident on the air moments later, but the local FSN broadcast never showed the video despite the other team’s broadcast (and a short time after that MLB Network) replaying the footage several times.
Or as Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times put it: “MLB Network viewers around the country could see the Mariners throwing each other around in the dugout, while viewers in the Pacific Northwest had only the words of Sims to paint them a picture.”
Baker asked FSN Northwest executive producer Jon Bradford for an explanation and he called it “a communication faux pas” while adding that “nobody said anything about not airing it.”
Here’s more from Baker:
What it boils down to is, the people in the control truck, running the broadcast, wanted to check with the folks upstairs at FSN Northwest to make sure they could run the footage. Bradford was in a movie with his family at the time and did not get in touch with the people running the broadcast until a few innings later. By then, it was already late in a close ballgame and everyone decided, Bradford said, to go with the footage right after the contest was over.
They would cut in live to Wakamatsu’s postgame press conference and use the footage to supplement the coverage. Bradford also said that the FSN employees viewing the footage “wanted to get their facts straight” initially about what they were seeing on the video–which contributed to the initial delay. … Chalk it all up to some FSN Northwest people being a little cautious. Maybe more cautious than a non-rights holder might have been.
I’d say there’s no “maybe” about it. And as more and more baseball coverage comes from local FSN affiliates that are partnered with teams and team-run MLB.com sites it’s important to keep tabs on stuff like this.
The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.
Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.
Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”
Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.
The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.