Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Is There Really Such a Thing As a Bad Free Seat?

Here's another glimpse into the minds of our baseball media. I think it speaks for itself, so I shan't add any comments...

The job just got more difficult for those who cover the White Sox. The team opened its new press box Monday at U.S. Cellular Field, moving the location from the second level behind home plate to Level 4 down the right-field line.

“It has gone from one of the best press boxes to one of the worst,” said the Tribune’s Dave van Dyck, a member of the board of directors of the Baseball Writers Association of America. (Full disclosure: I’m also a BBWAA member.)

Van Dyck has discussed the issue with Commissioner Bud Selig and will write a formal letter of protest to the league office. He noted that Sox broadcasters and the official scorers retained their prized spots.

“I would hope Selig, a strong baseball writers’ guy, would put an end to this,” van Dyck said.

But the trend is likely to continue. The Sox replaced the old press box with 200 club seats at $250 a pop. That could generate more than $4 million a year for the club, which has baseball’s fourth-highest payroll at $109.7 million.

“It’s difficult to say no to that type of revenue,” Sox spokesman Scott Reifert said.

Considering the Sox are the first team to move their press box from behind home plate, baseball is actually behind the curve in casting media members to the side to add revenue.

The Bears’ 200-seat press box at Soldier Field is in the southeast corner of the stadium, giving writers an angled view, if any at all. Views from the second and third row are obstructed.

“You have to remember,” sports talk-radio pioneer Chet Coppock said, “in the pecking order we’re somewhere between cotton-candy salesmen and parking attendants.

“The White Sox made a big statement that says, ‘We can make enough money to pay a backup shortstop at the expense of the guys who cover our ballclub every day.’ It’s patently wrong, and I think it shows contempt that owners have for the press.

“And there’s no question in my mind that in 10 years, we’ll be in the outfield.”

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  • Considering that so little of the Trib's (or any other paper's) reporting actually consists of game coverage these days (as opposed to gossip column tidbits about what goes on in the clubhouse), I'm not all that sure what difference it makes where Dave van Dyke sits. Or if he's even in the grandstand at all.

    By Blogger Jim, at 9:41 AM  

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