As soon as the ink is dry on the affiliation agreement today, the Clippers instantly gain more relevance in the community. When next season begins, the team's players are immediately placed within a context most local baseball fans can see and understand. The players we follow here will be going to a team we follow there. Indians games are on the local cable systems every night during the season. The team's doings are reported in the newspaper. They are discussed on local radio talk shows. They are the topic of debate on bar stools all over town. There is no more abyss. When the players leave here, we'll know where they went and how soon they might be back.I wish Hunter wasn't right about local folks not being willing or able to follow local players once they were called up to Washington -- we have access to the Internet and Extra Innings, don't we? -- but he is. There's only so much you can ask of fans in a AAA market, and we're simply not going to go out of our way to follow the exploits of Clippers once they get called up if it means paying more money or making two or three extra clicks. In light of that, putting the AAA team in roughly the same market as the big club makes a ton of sense.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Bringing it All Back Home
In a long anticipated move, my local Columbus Clippers are now the AAA affiliate of the Indians after two seasons in Nats' wilderness and the previous couple of decades with the Yankees. We've seen a lot of AAA clubs move closer to the mothership in recent years, and the assumption is that it will help stoke more regional interest in the big club. Columbus Dispatch columnist Bob Hunter explains why this move also stokes local interest in the AAA team: