Major League Baseball shuts down The Fan Cave

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Four years ago MLB launched “a live interactive experience for baseball fans” which featured a couple of super fans confined to a tricked-out house/party space and whose jobs were to watch every MLB game over the course of the entire baseball season.

“The Fan Cave” lasted four seasons and, eventually, the idea of a couple of people watching all the games together sort of morphed into vehicle for the creation of multimedia content for MLB.com’s video and social media platforms (think: funny videos featuring major league players walking around in New York). The tricked out space remained, and has been used for parties, social events, media things and the like. D.J. watched a couple playoff games there once. I visited it not long after it launched in 2011. It was kind of neat, even if it’s hard to say that Fan Cave dwellers ever really drove the social media and multimedia conversation around baseball the way its founder had hoped.

But for whatever its successes and failures, it is no more. From SBJ:

MLB is shutting down the Fan Cave, its much-acclaimed 4-year-old social media hub in New York City, representing an early sign of the unification of business operations under new Commissioner Rob Manfred . . . The move, led by Bob Bowman, president of business and media, is an attempt to consolidate all of baseball’s social media activities under MLB Advanced Media and the MLB Network.

The space will remain for concerts and events and there will still be those funny videos. But the notion of getting some young creative types to live there and watch all the games is over. Now, if you want to do that, you have to do it on your own time like the rest of us.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.