Pirates 2010 Spring Training Coverage Cutback on FSN?


Pirate fans, we could be seeing a lot less of the Pirates if what Bob Smizik is hearing regarding Pirates coverage during spring training proves true.  Smizik is always on the inside as it relates to local sports coverage.  He posted today the following in his PG Blog

"In fact, coverage at the station might be reduced even more.I hear the station’s extensive coverage of Pirates spring training will be cutback considerably. That decision will affect not just FSN viewers but viewers of all stations in Pittsburgh.In the past, FSN reporters did interviews that were fed to the other stations in Pittsburgh, with the Pirates picking up at least some of that cost. Our reports are that practice will be discontinued, which means KDKA, WPXI and WTAE will be on their own for spring training reports.Some of the stations send reporters to Florida but only for a comparatively brief time. FSN was providing coverage when those stations were not at spring training.Additionally, a temporary revival of “SportsBeat’’ that had been planned for PirateFest has been cancelled."

It’s baffling to me the Pirates would want to become even less relevant in Pittsburgh.  Shocking actually.  First the Caravan was reduced and now this news about reduced coverage of Pirates Spring Training?

Here is the 2009 Pirates press release on the partnership with FSN.  Two spring training games were televised along with six weeks of daily reports from Bradenton.    From the release last year:

"“Our partnership with the Pirates is very important to FSN and we look with excitement to the 2009 season,” said Ted Black, Senior Vice President/General Manager, FSN Pittsburgh. “Fans throughout the region continue to show great passion for Pirates baseball and our telecast schedule of 125 games plus spring training and Pirates programming will serve those fans well.”Throughout the season, FSN will feature LIVE pre and post-game shows for all 125 games, plus Inside Pirates Baseball and Pirates-related In My Own Words, Spotlight and Under the Lights programming.Leading into the Pirates radio broadcasts on FM NewsTalk 104.7 will be Ellis Cannon Live and Pirates Extra Innings with Rocco DeMaro will follow the Pirates post-game show after every game. FM NewsTalk 104.7 will also continue to broadcast the Neal Huntington Show one hour prior to every Sunday game throughout the season"

Pirate fans, we had hoped for an increased focus on local sports when DirectTV purchased FSN.  So much for the excitement.  Hockey fans will presumably also feel the crunch when the NHL playoffs begin.  This is the INFO line on the Versus channel on my DirectTV channel 603:

"Versus is no longer available on this channel.  Comcast, which owns Versus, has forced us to take down the channel because we will not submit to their unfair and outrageous demands."