After weathering a public relations storm over a proposal to charge $15 for fans who wanted to watch the home team take batting practice, the Minnesota Twins have settled on a new "All You Can Yell" plan that may prove to be an even more lucrative revenue stream: for the same price, you can now berate select team, front-office and media members prior to that day's game.
"The batting practice thing really seemed to tap a rich vein of inchoate, volcanic rage," said Twins President Dave St. Peter. "We kind of looked at each other afterwards, and said, ‘Wow, if we can monetize this, charging for BP is gonna look like chump change. And that's where 'All You Can Yell' came from.'"
The general idea is as follows: a couple hours before every Twins home game, fans will be able to pay for the privilege of haranguing everyone from Glen Perkins to Dick Bremer.
"The gist of it is we'll have a handful of guys available as batting practice winds down, and the best fans in baseball can pay $15 to air their grievances at whom they so choose," said St. Peter. "Your 19 Twitter followers know that you think Terry Ryan sucks, but does Terry Ryan know that you think he sucks? Probably not. This changes the entire game."
The Twins had a soft opening for this program on Thursday, and club officials termed it "wildly successful."
"We had Aaron Hicks, Justin Morneau, and Phil Mackey from 1500 all seated in the Town Ball Tavern, and my god, the line went all the way out of the bar and well into the concourse," said Twins PR guy Dustin Morse. "The line at the Surly stand was never this long."
Adam Dean, 31, a contractor from Plymouth, was one of the attendees.
"Oh, yeah, I got in line to let Mackey know he's a little (redacted) who can (redacted) my (redacted). He's going to tell me how to root for my team, well I'm going to tell him how to do this." Dean went on to describe a series of horrifying and physically extreme sex acts that Mackey would be performing upon himself.
Gloria Henke, 67, a retired grandmother from Albertville, also took part.
"I got to tell Aaron Hicks that, while he seems like such a nice and respectful young man, he is very bad at baseball and should be traded for Torii Hunter."
Arden Hills businessman Rick Klassen, 42, took advantage of the pilot $25 family rate, and said he was "thrilled" with the result.
"I got to bawl Morneau out for being so soft and not wanting to compete in front of my kids while they had a popcorn and pop. They saw their dad stand up for personal responsibility and got to have a snack, too. When you think of how much it takes to go see some Hollywood liberal trash at the theater, this is a family-friendly bargain."
The customers do have to follow some guidelines: no physical contact, and no ethnic or sexual-orientation slurs. Beyond that, the Twins personnel will just have to sit there and take it.
Twins fans seem excited to give various people associated with the franchise a piece of their mind. Minneapolis resident Charlie Mattson, 50, has had season tickets for 22 years and is thrilled at this opportunity. "I used to play Legion ball, so I know a thing or two about how to manage a bullpen, and I can tell you that Ron Gardenhire doesn't know shit about shit, much less when to get your guys warmed up. I plan to tell him exactly how to do this, and ask him why he has sucked at it for so long. I expect answers from that numb nuts."
Unemployed Ramsey mechanic Gregg McPherson, 34, says he's already got an entire speech planned for when Joe Mauer is available.
"I'm going to tell Mr. $23 Million that for the amount of money he's making, I expect home runs, not a bunch of slap hits and double plays," said McPherson. "Then I'm going to really let him have it about taking days off and playing DH when he's getting paid $23 million a year to play catcher. That's gonna burn so hard. Shoot, I'd pay $150 just to do this."
St. Peter said that, while there are no plans to expand the program, they are open to ideas if the initial success continues.
"Oh, sure, we've kicked around some ideas, like having an Off-Day Experience, where for an extra charge, a fan could sit next to a player who isn't in that day's lineup and just tell him everything he's doing wrong and remind him of how much he sucks, maybe just give him the finger all game. And I know if we brought back some ex-Twins, that would get some people interested. Giving longtime Twins fans the chance to bitch at Ron Davis until he starts crying: can you even put a price tag on that?"