May 21, 2009

Dodgers to Educate Female Fans Tonight

LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers plan to win over a huge percentage of the female market tonight when they air a broadcast that explains simple baseball terms in a way even a woman can understand.

The “DodgersWIN broadcast” came from a team initiative to draw in more women fans. Jeanne Zelasko, who broke into the business on the Fox pregame show, will do play-by-play with Dodger assistant coach Mark Sweeny providing color.

“I like to look at our broadcast as we’re not afraid to explain something most people might take for granted,” Zelasko said.

One specific example occurred during a recent run through when Sweeney made references to the “six hole,” Zelasko said.

“I knew what it meant, but I wanted to make sure he knew, ‘Mark, tell people what you mean.’ It’s the sixth spot in the lineup,” Zelasko told City News Service.

Using more transparent language in every broadcast, not just the special women’s broadcast, would raise the quality of the reporting and make the sport more accessible to all new fans, not just women. But the idea was shot down in embarrassment.

“What if science journalists had to use layman’s terms when talking about CERN? What if White House correspondents had to explain who Mona Sutphen or Rahm Emanuel are?” said Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt with a derisive laugh.

The broadcast will be available only from the Dodgers’ website and only for Wednesday games at night at home.

“We think that women with no existing interest in baseball will definitely mark their calendars to remind themselves to stop what they’re doing, log on to our website every other Wednesday, and sit with rapt attention while we exhaustively explain to them what the “six-hole” is,” said Zelasko.

“This is how we make baseball accessible and fun.”

“This will make all the difference to me,” said Heirmie Roar, a soccer mom in the LA area. “The fact that players are talked about like machines rather than humans isn’t a problem, and the shortage of women on the field and in the booth is actually a plus. I’ve been more than willing to let my responsibilities at work and home pile up while I sit in front of a three-hour game, but no matter what I do, I just can’t seem to remember what a ‘six-hole’ is.”

McCourt says this affects, “Even women who have been watching baseball for years. Women just don’t have the capacity to pick up the vernacular, and that’s the only reason we can think of for why they’re not fans.”

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