by Matthew Taylor
Two recent items of interest:
-First, the MASN dispute continues in North Carolina, a designated “home territory” for the Birds and Nats. Lots of interesting angles here for anyone interested in the business side of baseball and the economic realities facing the Orioles as they compete in a division with two teams that have the most successful regional sports networks (RSNs).
“In part because Major League Baseball has designated the Orioles and Nationals as the home teams, for the purposes of TV, in the Triangle and Eastern North Carolina, Desai rejected Time Warner’s argument. The O’s and Nationals also are considered two of four home teams — along with the Atlanta Braves and the Cincinnati Reds — in the central region, which includes Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
‘We also find unconvincing TWC’s evidence purporting to show a low demand for MASN’s programming among North Carolina residents,’Desai wrote. ‘Although disputed by the parties, the Orioles appear to have a longstanding fan base in North Carolina. …’
As a recent transplant to North Carolina, I’d like to think that “longstanding fan base” in the Tar Heel state will grow. If the Democrats can turn North Carolina blue during election season, why can’t the Birds turn North Carolina Orange and Black during baseball season?
One factor that isn’t discussed in the article is the possibility that the Triangle area of North Carolina could become home turf for the Rays. The team’s Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls, is located in the Triangle and is pushing hard to produce new Rays fans. As an example, the Bulls offered discounts at a local bar during playoff games for fans wearing either Durham or Tampa Bay gear.
Minus – or maybe even with – a strong MASN presence in North Carolina, Triangle-area baseball fans will have an easier time connecting to the Rays than the Birds. Consider that the great majority of players on the Rays’ World Series roster cycled through Durham on their way to the Big Leagues. Oh, and then there’s that whole winning thing as well.
-Next, Sammy Sosa has been named the Dominican Republic’s ambassador of foreign investment. There’s a joke in there somewhere, probably even more than one.
“The president of the Dominican Republic has appointed Sammy Sosa the country’s ambassador of foreign investment. Sosa, 39, who has said he plans to announce his retirement from baseball soon, will be responsible for attracting U. S. investors to the Caribbean country for project development. ‘I am very proud of this designation,’ Sosa said. ‘I hope to contribute greatly.’ Sosa has 609 home runs and 1, 667 RBI in his career with the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers. He last played in the major leagues in 2007 with the Rangers, when he hit. 252, with 21 home runs and 92 RBI.”