In a way to either hype up the pandemic-shortened season or to cater to people who want to watch a few random guys talk about only two teams for one hour, Major League Baseball announced the 2020 regular-season schedule this past week through some sort of schedule release show on MLB Network. They also released the 2021 schedule yesterday in hopes of getting the world back to normal, but it was through the normal way, like press releases and the Twitter. However, MLB recently announced that they will have a new way of releasing future schedules, starting with the 2022 season.
Robert Manfred, MLB commissioner, announced this week that each ballclub will select some “big fans” of their team up until the All-Star Break. These fans could be chosen by any means, such as part of an in-game promotion, plucking commenters designated as “Top Fans” of teams from Facebook, or trolls that comment on the team’s tweets on Twitter. Manfred commented that the number of fans could range from 20 to as high as 100.
From there, teams will provide each fan with a clue to start a scavenger hunt to find tiles that will make up a mural of calendars that show the team’s schedule. The clues will tie in to local, state, and regional landmarks or points of interest written by the team. Mural locations will change from year to year, and the fans who put together the mural first will win season tickets for the next year in the far upper reaches of their home team’s stadium. The fan from each club that finds the most tiles will win a promotional t-shirt leftover from the year before. “I think those are nice prizes for doing some decent work, and the owners agreed. Not too spendy, not too thrifty,” said Manfred. He added, “There’s no compensation for travel, either. They’re definitely on their own.”
Dave St Peter, president of the Minnesota Twins, said that they have interns working on writing up hundreds of thousands of clues for upcoming seasons. “Hopefully they did well in their Minnesota History courses in school, because it’ll sure come in handy,” he said. He wouldn’t specify what places or trademarks could hold the tiles for the murals, but he has “always favored the Paul Bunyan statue. That’s a cool one.”
A group of Twins interns interviewed declined to provide their names, but many were unhappy about how they were spending their time working with the club. “I thought I’d be getting some experience in sports management, but this whole history/landmark/clue thing seems a bit out of my league,” said one intern who was Googling facts about Wisconsin, mostly about cheese. Another commented, “My boss just tossed a map of the Dakotas at me and told me to start writing up some clues about landmarks. I didn’t know the Dakotas had landmarks, much less that there was a North and South Dakota.” “Virginia, Minnesota? That’s a typo, right? Virginia is a state,” one said from across the table. “Why is the corn capital of the world in Olivia? Why is it not in Iowa??” asked another.
When asked if there was any timeframe in which the calendar murals had to be completed by the scavenger hunters or if the schedules would eventually be released online, Manfred replied, “How the hell would I know? I just thought of the idea when I was drunk off my ass or something.”