The Minnesota Twins have had an up and down start to the season on the field this year and it now seems that their struggles have seeped into the team's business decisions as well. On Tuesday morning, the Twins put out a press release that they were going to begin charging fans to watch batting practice. Yep, that's right. Don't believe me? I don't blame you. Here is the policy straight from the Twins:
Early entry tickets will be sold on a walk-up basis at the main Target Field Box Office beginning 30 minutes before the early entry time for that game. Tickets will cost $15 dollars, and sales will be limited to the first 60 fans. Fans will also be required to have a normal entry ticket to the game, and will not be allowed to exit and reenter the ballpark after batting practice.
For a team that many think could lose 100 or more games this season, it seems awfully ballsy to try and charge fans for a privilege that is enjoyed for free by every other fan base in the league. And this isn't like the Astros charging $45 to watch BP on the field. This is just $15 to do what you used to be able to do for free. It is a business strategy born out of pure greed or pure stupidity. I mean, who really wants to pay money to see Pedro Florimon Jr. hit more than they have to?
As you might expect, this announcement was not warmly received. In fact that backlash was so bad that Minnesota waited literally hours before backtracking on the whole thing. Here is the Twins team president trying to cover his ass on the topic while speaking to the Star Tribune:
Said Twins President Dave St. Peter: "We’re looking at ways to add more access to batting practice, but I’m not sure charging incrementally is the way to go about that. … It was released before it ever should have been. It’s hard to believe, but it was not pulled down because of fan reaction."
Saying the plan was released before it was ready is the business version of claiming your Twitter account was hacked after you made an ill-advised offensive joke. The even funnier notion is that he specifically refutes the idea that the negative fan reaction was the reason they pulled the plug because I'm sure he would've still canceled the plan had the reaction been overwhelmingly positive, right?
Bravo, Twins. Bravo.