Detroit Tigers: Disappointing Spring Training Game Coverage
This has to be one of the most disappointing spring trainings ever, not because of the performances of the players, but because of the lack of televised game coverage. The Detroit Tigers is a team loaded with All-Stars; yet, they have had very few spring training games covered live on the radio and on television.
The Detriot Tigers have had some coverage on MLB.TV, but this is not the same as broadcasting an actual game on an actual TV network. In order to watch my favorite team, I had to buy a subscription to MLB.TV – and I can’t rewind to watch the big hits, highlight plays, or mindblowing pitches like I can with my DVR.
One of the biggest disappointments of the preseason schedule was on March 28 – the Monday night game against the New York Yankees which happened to be the only Tigers night game of spring training. Both teams brought their A-team to the game, but no one outside of the stadium had any idea what was going on. What did Fox Sports Detroit and the MLB Network have on the night of March 28 instead?
At 7:00, the MLB Network played MLB Tonight – and most likely the show was either a rerun at that time or was rerun later that same day. Then, they showed the New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals which was a rerun of the game that aired live at 1:05 PM earlier that same day. Tigers fans (and I’m sure the Yankees fans) would have loved to watch their teams play in a rare evening game. According to the reports about the game, Buck Farmer had an outstanding outing – which would have been great to see.
Throughout spring training, fans who are unable to visit Joker Marchant Stadium or any other Florida stadium have to rely on the media to get their baseball fixes. The stadium in Lakeland has a capacity of 8,500 – which is a small percentage of Tigers fans – there are hundreds of thousands more that do not get to watch the games live. Those of us who are stuck in the Mitten would love to watch multiple games per week – or even hear the team on the Tigers Radio Network.
This begs the question: Is spring training for the fans?
With the lack of coverage of Detroit Tigers games on TV, the answer has to be no. The Tigers may not have Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, or Noah Syndergaard, but they do have Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, and J.D. Martinez. The Tigers seem to have hit at least one homerun in nearly every game. With over 40 home runs and several players with double-digit RBIs, the Tigers have had an impressive spring training that would have been wonderful to watch.
It also begs the question: How does the MLB Network choose the games?
After looking at the last week of televised games, it does not appear that the MLB Network wants to cross markets. Of course, the schedule is subject to change, but as of now, there are two televised San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland Athletics games on in the last week. It is my understanding and Google Map’s understanding that the two teams’ home stadiums in the Bay Area are less than 20 miles away from each other. Showcasing two of these games in one week shows how little the MLB Network cares about mixing markets.
The other two teams that are showcased twice live on the MLB Network are the Red Sox and Blue Jays. These two teams are not too far from each other geographically, too. They may not be across the bay from each other, but they are just a 90-minute flight away from each other in the same time zone. Pretty close…in terms of baseball.
The MLB Network is also broadcasting two split squad teams in the last week. This just seems strange since split squads usually do not carry all of the starters on one team. The other teams that are getting significant live TV coverage include the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and Giants – each with three live games in one week. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Los Angeles Angels both have two live games.
Yes, I know, I sound like a whiny parent whose kid doesn’t get enough playing time, but I want to see my Tigers. I’m pretty darn sure that I’m not alone. The live television coverage has been very disappointing. I know that other teams do not get much coverage – but I don’t care about those other teams.
Next: Noticing Nick Castellanos
By the way, the Tigers will be on Fox Sports Detroit on Thursday. Enjoy it while you can, because it will be the last aired game before the regular season starts.
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