Join The JimCrikket Anti-MLB Blackout Movement

Several people have found one way or another to express support for my rant on the subject of the bizarre MLB blackout rules, which prevent those of us in Iowa from watching Twins games (and Royals games… and Brewers games… and Cardinal games… and Cubs games… and even WhiteSox games, for that matter) on mlb.tv.

I want to express my appreciation for all the moral support.

A common theme, however, has been to question what we can do. I’ve given that question some thought. Obviously, a few isolated blog posts and even traditional media articles about the topic haven’t influenced the Twins or MLB to make changes.

I’m pretty discouraged, but your support brought to mind my favorite 18 minute and 34 second song… Arlo Guthrie’s classic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”.

Now, I realize many of you have no idea about Alice’s Restaurant (or even Arlo Guthrie, for that matter… and shame on you for that). It is, after all, a song from the 1960s, years or even decades before a lot of you were born. But it was an important song to a lot of us who grew up in the Vietnam era. If you want to read the lyrics, click here and if you’re really ambitious, you can watch/listen to a 2005 Guthrie performance of the song on YouTube here. But do it when you have some spare time because I wasn’t kidding about it being an 18 minute, 34 second song. They made a movie based on the song. You know how movies based on books often have to cut good stuff out to make it down to a two hour movie? Alice’s Restaurant very nearly had to do the same thing… with a song.

But I digress… the point is, your kind expressions of support brought Arlo’s classic to mind.

While my fight with MLB and the Twins over blackouts doesn’t quite rise to the level of seriousness of conscription during the Vietnam conflict (which was the topic of Alice’s Restaurant), I feel much like Arlo.

If just one person (like me for instance) continues to scream at the powers about this issue, they’ll probably think I’m really sick.  If two of us do it… in harmony… well, I’m not sure what they’ll think. And if three of us rant on and on about blackouts, they may think it’s an organization. And can you imagine 50 people a day blogging, tweeting and otherwise hassling @TwinsPrez and @MLB about the blackout madness!? Friends, they may think it’s a movement.

And that’s what this is… the JimCrikket Anti-MLBBlackout Movement and to join, all you have to do is sing along.

All you bloggers, tweeters, facebookers, and old fashioned letter writers (you know who you are)… contact @MLB and @TwinsPrez and anyone else you know inside the Twins organization or MLB baseball… or write about this issue in your blogs occasionally… and include this refrain from the song…

You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant

Of course, if you’re tweeting or otherwise limited in terms of character length, just go with…

~You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant~

…and, in any event, link back to my little rants here at Knuckleballs. If you follow @Knuckleballs and/or @JimCrikket on Twitter, you’ll be seeing a tweet you can simply re-tweet to show your support.

If you REALLY want to get in to this and if you who have a voice that doesn’t send dogs and cats in to the river to drown themselves, you might even consider making a phone call to the Twins/MLB offices and singing the Alice’s Restaurant refrain.

… with feeling, of course. Arlo would demand it be done that way.

- JC

18 thoughts on “Join The JimCrikket Anti-MLB Blackout Movement

  1. you need the Arts Department to make a thumbnail photo of your movement, so your supporters can make their twitter pics that icon

  2. hahah
    also, have you contacted the Strib or the PriPress? maybe something like this can get their attention….or maybe one of the Twin Cities tv stations (a story like this is right up Fox 9 and Channel 5′s alley..they seem to be a bit of muckrakers in the tv market…and Mike Pomeranz of channel 11 is a huge Twins fan)

  3. The only person I really “know” at the Strib is Howard Sinker and he’s not around much at the moment. I did meet LaVelle E Neal III down in Ft. Myers last month, but just briefly to introduce myself. I’m not real sure the Twin Cities media folks would take on the Twins on behalf of fans in Iowa… but I could be wrong, I suppose.

  4. Asking Jason DeRusha of WCCO to have this issue part of his Good Question segment might work. He did do a GQ on measuring home runs at Target Field last year after Thome’s supposed record long that hit the flag pole (including a comment on my blog the day before the GQ was shown on TV because I had mentioned that Hit Tracker Online disagreed with the distances) so he’s not opposed to having his GQ be sports-related.

  5. I never knew Iowa had so many blackout restrictions, and that is pretty ridiculous.

    At the same time, I can see how that might have come about, and why it would be hard for MLB to change overnight. I bet all of these teams are carried at least somewhere in Iowa, no matter how small the area. So I’m guessing they just wrote in the broadcasting contract that the broadcaster got exclusive rights to broadcast in “Iowa” as a whole, because it was easier to determine and write. A ‘bright-line rule’ if you will.

    It’s unfortunate. Broadcasting contracts still seem to be one of the, if not the, biggest source of revenue for teams. So it’s hard to change. However, I think with time, the way media is changing and becoming more internet based, these blackouts will go away (along with the huge revenue disparities caused by the amount teams can make off broadcasting contracts in bigger markets versus smaller ones; MLB.tv is considered national broadcasting, so it is split evenly between teams).

  6. Now is not the time for Iowa jokes I imagine, so instead I will stand in solidarity with my brothers (and sisters) to the south. They should want you to see the games, then you’ll all get favorite players, buy merch, and people’s kids will start begging for trips to Target Field.

    Internet doesn’t seem to help the problem. When I had NHL Center Ice online, I still had blackouts for games I wanted to see due to market lines and stuff, but that could just be the NHL.

    PS: I know EVERY SINGLE WORD to that song. That should get me a few points back in your book.

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  8. JC,
    Being a Packer Fan from western Wisconsin, I feel your pain. Most of my early years was spent watching Ghostly figures, fading in and out, on stolen reception in the bars of Northwestern Wisconsin. Not all bad I guess, but fundamentally wrong. Over the years, more games have been made available to the fans in my area, but we still had six blackouts this past season. Are you able to at least go to a bar and view the Twins? It sure is crazy the lengths a fan has to go through to be a fan. Don’t give up. I am hoping to meet up with you at a Target Field gathering of KnuckleHeads this season.
    Devoted KnuckleHead
    Bob Z

  9. Kirsten, I’m impressed that you know all of Alice’s Restaurant… How about “The Motercylcle Song”? :)

    Bob, yeah I can always do a sports bar and I suspect I’ll be spending a lot of time at various establishments this summer. It just gets a little pricey over the course of 150 games or so!

    I’m already looking over the schedule to see when I can make it up there. My daughter is flying to Seattle in June for a week out of MSP and I’m planning on catching a couple of those Dodger games at the end of the month when I drive up to pick her up.

    I think it would be great to put together some kind of gathering. I’ll bring it up with our Social Director (we have a Social Director, don’t we?… I mean, supposedly we have an Art Director somewhere I didn’t know about, so we must have a Social Director, right?)

  10. I just realized that there aren’t any tickets for that Dodgers series in my package. I know I won’t have tickets for every series, but…*sigh*. I also don’t have any tickets for the ’91 anniversary weekend.

    I’m pretty sure I’m the Director of Cluelessness. I almost figured out how to post the box score yesterday, but it wasn’t the right color and I’m not quite sure what the deal is with putting the link in. I really need step-by-step detailed instructions if I can’t learn by watching and doing.

  11. Pretty sure I met that cop this summer. Good to know my family isn’t the only one that references that song in real life.

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  13. Ironically, I started listening to “Alice’s Restaurant” right before I read this post. Okay, when I clicked play, Barb told me to read the post. Also, even after reading the post and all the comments, the song still isn’t over. My only advice is to do what my family did and move North. ;) I’m sure we’ll meet at one of those KnuckleBalls events at the stadium. Barb won’t let me miss it.

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