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Thread: Robby Incmikoski & FSN Coverage

  1. #1

    Robby Incmikoski & FSN Coverage

    As many of you probably saw from AaronGleeman.com, Aaron got into a Twitter feud with Robby Incmikoski about Aaron's criticism of Roy Smalley's comments about Jason Marquis on the broadcast. I don't really have a strong opinion about Robby - I recognize that his particular job requires him to be a cheerleader because he's the guy that has to stand on the field and get them to talk to the camera. He also has to bear the brunt of sophomoric stuff like Valencia on Monday insinuating that Robby would "jump on Joe Mauer if he got the chance". For the most part, Robby does his job, and I don't have a problem with him.

    Today, Robby is continuing his semi-meltdown by tweeting only positive statistics about Twins players, saying that he'll leave it to other media outlets to be negative about this team.

    But if that's the case, I think he needs to stay away from engaging bloggers, fans, or legitimate media outlets if they want to be critical of this team. What does he expect? The team is terrible. They're the worst in baseball, and very well may end up the worst team in baseball, after some people already bestowed that honor upon the 2011 Twins. Yet, if you watch the FSN broadcast, Dick Bremer and company are doing their best to put on a good face. Pitchers like Pavano and Marquis are celebrated for "giving their team a chance" to win, even though they're giving up 4-7 runs a start. And the general tone is such that you'd have no idea you were watching a team struggling this bad unless you muted the television (or checked the standings).

    How do you guys feel about FSN's coverage of this debacle? Would you rather the broadcasters sounded more like "Gleeman and the Geek"? Is that even realistic? What responsibility does the TV crew have to convey the reality of the situation, as opposed to simply putting on a television show that they'd like people to watch?

  2. #2
    This is a great question. I think the broadcasters (both TV and radio) have competing, sometimes conflicting, interests. On the one hand, their job is to call games, provide analysis and hopefully speak the truth about what is going on. On the other hand, they are in the television and radio entertainment business, they work in conjunction with the Twins organization, and they are trying to keep fans watching FSN and listening to Twins Radio Network.

    When the Twins have been playing as lousy as they have this season, how do you reconcile trying to to provide accurate and truthful analysis and commentary, with the other important goal of keeping an audience entertained and trying to make sure that ratings as good as they could be (given the circumstances)?
    Andrew Walter
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  3. #3
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    My understanding is that, contractually, radio and TV broadcasting staff are practically employees of the MLB club they cover. So DicknBert, Dazzle and Robbie are Twins' employees. I suspect that they would not say anything bad about the team. On the other hand, beat writers and other TV and radio personalites are not.
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  4. #4
    To be fair, yesterday Bert did say that what we were seeing was bad baseball. Regarding, to Robby, you know his job is to be a homer. It is just that he isn't too smart at it.

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    It's tough for me to answer this question for the reason that I wasn't born here and I've experienced how things are in other markets. Even in Detroit, which is more like the rest of the Midwest than it is like Boston or New York, there is a much more critical spin by all media. It isn't just sports. People here expect to be fed positivity. Turn the 10 o' clock news and the atmosphere is bright and cheery. You might even see a human interest story in the first 5-10 minutes. The evening news in Detroit is "gotchya" journalism - straight-faced telling you the events, but with a flavor of "good guys vs. bad guys", or "look at how awful those people are". It's really hard to explain unless you've experienced both markets for any period of time, but it's a palpable difference.

    Minnesotans love to complain about things, but only if they're the ones doing the complaining. With the Twins, I don't think that most fans would respond well to a telecast that talks about how badly this team is underperforming. They'd just assume turn it off.

    And I don't have the right to say if that's "right" or "wrong", that's just how I view it. I think that the type of fans who would bother posting their thoughts on message boards (or listening to other critical media outlets) watch sports for reasons other than "enjoying when the team wins". People who do that are true "fans", but only to a certain extent. I like to look at a bad team and figure out why they're the way they are. Having grown up a fan of the Detroit Lions and Tigers, I think there's also a cynical pleasure I get out of seeing "professionals" who are routinely inept. But I do still watch them, and I don't watch any less when they're bad.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    Overall, I'm fine with the FSN coverage. You can't really reconcile the conflict between the interest in accuracy and the interest in maintaining ratings, interest and access. They do a decent enough job walking that line.

    Yeah, the team stinks, but who would want to listen to them piss all over the Twins for 3 hours?

    But in this instance, yes, Robby should refrain from engaging with the critics. I can accept that the FSN crew has to cheerlead because it's their jobs. But it's ridiculous to think that cheerleading should be taken seriously. What Robby did here was the equivalent of dropping his pom-poms, putting his hands on his hips and saying with a straight face, "No, come on guys, we really ARE number one!" in support of a team that is dead last in the standings and getting their arses handed to them again.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
    My understanding is that, contractually, radio and TV broadcasting staff are practically employees of the MLB club they cover. So DicknBert, Dazzle and Robbie are Twins' employees. I suspect that they would not say anything bad about the team. On the other hand, beat writers and other TV and radio personalites are not.
    Paul Allen has argued this point on the air a number of times. People accuse him of being a "homer", which he is, but his defense is that he's a Clear Channel/KFAN employee, not an "employee of the Vikings". That may be technically true, but the Vikings contract with the various media outlets to provide local coverage, so it's pretty easy to envision that if P.A. got on the air and pooped all over the Vikings during broadcasts and his daily show, the Vikings could effect some type of change there.

    I think Robby is a different case than Dick and Bert. Dick and Bert don't actually interact with players too much during the games, guys like Robby do. So if he wants Denard Span to come talk to him instead of just ducking into the clubhouse after a game, it helps if Denard actually like Robby. But the players can't ignore the whole television production - that's their gateway the fans.

  8. #8
    Meh - Truthfully - ANYBODY but Anthony LaPanta is good with me.

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    Robbie looks even more stupid by publicly defending this debacle. I understand he is paid to be a homer but why attack yor critics with illogical banter?

    Professional athletes dont need a cheerleader to stand up for them.

  10. #10
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    I like Robby. He's a good guy, and I think he does his job well.

    Listen, the percentage of Twins fans that watch games on TV and especially those who are casual fans, don't want to hear the constant negative, even if it is negative. There's probably 20-25% of the population that are die-hards and frequent blogs and listen to all the podcasts. They should be speaking more to the casual fans. I thought that Blyleven last night was pretty honest. I also thought he was pretty quiet at times, in a "if you can't say something nice" kind of way.

    I'm completely good with Robby being positive. There's far too much negativism. Even if bad baseball and with a bad team, there are positives. It's part of why I follow the minor leagues, and even on the Twins, there are some positives. I get excited to see the young players get a chance and see how they do. Dozier's been solid. Perkins. Capps has been good. Even in negative, there are positives, and good for Robby to focus on those instead of all the negative!

  11. #11
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    Gladden leaves a lot to be desired as a radio play-by-play guy - he doesn't usually paint a vivid picture of what just happened. But I love how blunt he is when he sees unprofessional conduct on the field. Last night he immediately called out Plouffe's baserunning for not avoiding the tag on that DP. I can't imagine him ever pretending bad play is good. The closest he could come would be not to say anything at all.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    I like Robby. He's a good guy, and I think he does his job well.

    Listen, the percentage of Twins fans that watch games on TV and especially those who are casual fans, don't want to hear the constant negative, even if it is negative. There's probably 20-25% of the population that are die-hards and frequent blogs and listen to all the podcasts. They should be speaking more to the casual fans. I thought that Blyleven last night was pretty honest. I also thought he was pretty quiet at times, in a "if you can't say something nice" kind of way.

    I'm completely good with Robby being positive. There's far too much negativism. Even if bad baseball and with a bad team, there are positives. It's part of why I follow the minor leagues, and even on the Twins, there are some positives. I get excited to see the young players get a chance and see how they do. Dozier's been solid. Perkins. Capps has been good. Even in negative, there are positives, and good for Robby to focus on those instead of all the negative!
    Seth, that's a good first point. My guess is that the percentage of die-hard Twins fans (like those of us on this blog, those that read everything that LEN writes, those that listen to podcasts), is much smaller than 20 percent. We, the ones reading this post, are in a very small minority. I'm guessing it's more like 5 to 10 percent of Twins fans that take it to this level. For most, Twins games are background noise while they go about their Thursday night routine. They don't want to hear negativity all the time, even if the team stinks.
    Andrew Walter
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  13. #13
    I have no idea who this Gleeman and the geek" thing is, but I don't like most of the FSN broadcasters at all. I think they need to be realistic about the game and compare the twins as a whole with the rest of baseball. Its tough though, cause what they get paid to do is be positive and only talk about the Twins.

  14. #14
    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    I have no problem with Incmikowski's positivity. What I find annoying is his tendency to rip those who take a critical approach. He posted one tweet a couple months ago, during the "access" debate, that really irked me:
    If a blogger rips someone (and I nthe target of many of those, trust me)...are they there to answer the bell? Nope. That's the issue!!
    Well, that's easy to say for a person who, by his own admission, stays away from any kind of negativity. When would he have to answer the bell for anything? His job is to present a positive, viewer-friendly image and lob softballs to players in post-game interviews – I agree with Seth that he does that well. Incmikowski is not, however, an analyst of the team, and it'd be nice if he respected the people who are. When a team is on pace to lose nearly 120 games, even casual fans want to be able to find honest and critical assessments of what's going on.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by StormJH1 View Post
    Paul Allen has argued this point on the air a number of times. People accuse him of being a "homer", which he is, but his defense is that he's a Clear Channel/KFAN employee, not an "employee of the Vikings". That may be technically true, but the Vikings contract with the various media outlets to provide local coverage, so it's pretty easy to envision that if P.A. got on the air and pooped all over the Vikings during broadcasts and his daily show, the Vikings could effect some type of change there.

    I think Robby is a different case than Dick and Bert. Dick and Bert don't actually interact with players too much during the games, guys like Robby do. So if he wants Denard Span to come talk to him instead of just ducking into the clubhouse after a game, it helps if Denard actually like Robby. But the players can't ignore the whole television production - that's their gateway the fans.
    Paul Allen's situation is a little different the Dick & Bert or Gladden & Provus. Paul Allen has a radio show in addition to doing the Vikings broadcasts. So he actually is an employee of KFAN. The Vikings could have him removed as the game broadcaster he they so chose.

    Dick & Bert and Gladden & Provus all they are paid to do is broadcast the games and were actually hired by the Twins.

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    Hire DG

    Quote Originally Posted by James Richter View Post
    Gladden leaves a lot to be desired as a radio play-by-play guy - he doesn't usually paint a vivid picture of what just happened. But I love how blunt he is when he sees unprofessional conduct on the field. Last night he immediately called out Plouffe's baserunning for not avoiding the tag on that DP. I can't imagine him ever pretending bad play is good. The closest he could come would be not to say anything at all.
    Being in L.A. since '87, so I've never actually heard Gladden, but always appreciated his fire and winning ways and from what I've read of his comments the past two years - it's obvious he gives a damn. What's it gonna take to send Gardenhire packing and start afresh with Gladden at the helm?

  17. #17
    Senior Member Double-A
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    Now

    Quote Originally Posted by James Richter View Post
    Gladden leaves a lot to be desired as a radio play-by-play guy - he doesn't usually paint a vivid picture of what just happened. But I love how blunt he is when he sees unprofessional conduct on the field. Last night he immediately called out Plouffe's baserunning for not avoiding the tag on that DP. I can't imagine him ever pretending bad play is good. The closest he could come would be not to say anything at all.
    Get Gladden's fire and winning ways in there, now. What's the holdup?

  18. #18
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Forget about broadcasts sounding like G and G!

    I want Gleeman and the Geek to broadcast a game (pipe dream, but good entertainment at least . . . whole meaningless half innings taken over instead by arguments that soon become unclear as to what the argument is about . . .)

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by StormJH1 View Post
    How do you guys feel about FSN's coverage of this debacle?
    It's about what I expect. They're not going to be super critical of the team but they do point out mistakes when they are made.

    Would you rather the broadcasters sounded more like "Gleeman and the Geek"?
    I've only heard two or three of their podcasts and it was before the regular season began, so I can't comment.

    What responsibility does the TV crew have to convey the reality of the situation, as opposed to simply putting on a television show that they'd like people to watch?
    As employees of the Twins (I think) they don't have much obligation. But when you flash the standings on the screen, statistics on the screen, and give game recaps from the previous days, the Twins' ineptitude speaks for itself. I don't think that FSN needs to continually add comments about the Twins' ERA is the worst in the league, the Twins have the highest run differential in baseball, the Twins BA is one of the worst in the league, the Twins runs scored is second lowest in the league--once per broadcast is about right and they usually cover it.
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand."

  20. #20
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    Well said Seth!

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