And now a message from the Ghost of Christmas Present…
So, with so much of our discussion centering on the potential developments in the future, I thought it might be fun to take up another topic. That topic is: The Here and Now!
Or better stated… If I was the A’s VP of Marketing (neither I, nor the frog in my pocket work for the A’s… unfortunately), what would I do to make today better? Carpe Diem! How do I get people out to the stadium when the stadium is the one thing everyone agrees holds the team back?
So with apologies to Jim Leahey, here is my attempt at doing his job!
First, we have to think about what the mission of the marketing team is. What objectives are we attempting to accomplish with our plan?
- Create repeat visitors/Season Ticket Holders
- Bring back fans from the glory years
- Increase sales of team related apparel
- Increase viewership/ radio listeners
So how do we do this? Or, what would be a good effort in this regard while the stadium question hangs in the balance?
There are three main pillars to our short term strategic approach. Appeal to nostalgia, create an event mentality at the yard and spruce up the broadcasts. These are not independent of one another, they interrelate. So here are the specific initiatives I would drive across the organization.
A slight detour: Many of these ideas have come from conversations with fellow fans, posts on AN, posts here and from other team’s marketing activities. Thanks to everyone who has shared one of these ideas or something similar.
We have 6 initiatives, here are the first 3
Initiative 1: Bill King Hall of Fame Drive. It was depressing to go to Cooperstown and see the Ford C. Frick Award Winners. Bill, oh Bill where are you? They have sullied your memory by excluding you… For so many people, the broadcasters of a team are the face, er voice, of the franchise. I have spent many a long summertime afternoon conversing with Bill King. Many more hours than any other member of the A’s Organization. I understand it may be a faux pas amongst MLB teams to campaign for the Ford C. Frick. But as Dante said… “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, retain their neuitrality.” Hyperbole? Maybe, but still.
There should be “Vote Bill for Ford C. Frick” signs everywhere in the coliseum. A kiosk or 5 at the Coliseum to listen to his most outstanding calls. His picture on the outfield wall. Pull out all the stops… give us something to rally around while we wait for Crush Carter and Titanic Taylor to join Bubonic Brett Anderson in the big leagues .
Initiative 2: Immortal Athletics. My visit to Yankee Stadium this past summer got me to thinking. If they can play videos of the back up left fielder from 1952 on the Diamondvision before the game for 3 hours, shouldn’t the A’s at least do something similar for their former stars? And then, across the Bay they have plaques on the outside of the stadium… Forever Giants. They have one for Johnny Lee LeMaster for crying out loud?!?!?!?!? Heck, Walt Weiss was good at least!
And then… there was Rickey night. Nobody else will ever draw a crowd like that dude. I mean, I was a tall, scrawny white kid with slightly above average speed, no power and an inability to track fly balls. But, in High School, I played Left Field, took pitches until I got a strike and tried to steal bases because I wanted to be Rickey. Not too many players affect us like that, you know? But if Rickey draws gobs and gobs of people… our other heroes of the bygone days, could draw gobs. We don’t need to retire numbers, well except for Dave Stewart. But we could use a Bob Welch plaque out near the home plate entrance. Any player with 5 years in an A’s uniform or who played a significant role in a playoff season or won a major award in an A’s uniform should be eligible. And a Carney, Walt, Dave Parker, Dave Henderson, Sal Bando, Dwayne Murphy, etc. Imagine 6 midweek nights next season, with a cool pennant giveaway and a highlight reel in the 5th inning feature the latest Immortal Athletic. Walt Weiss… come on down!
Initiative 3: Yellow Jersey. I miss yellow. I used to like those yellow numbers the boys wore back in 1986. It’d be cool to pay homage to the past similar to what the Padres are planning for Thursday day games. I mean, instead of wearing Taco Bell themed uni’s, the A’s could find a way to pay homage to their entire Bay Area uniform history by going sleeveless, yellow and with the elephant on a ball logo on front every Sunday home game. Here is sort of a mockup of what I was thinking:
Heck, I’d be okay if it was the same as 1986′s pull over with “Oaktown” written on it in today’s font. Either way the jersey serves multiple purposes. First, increase sales of team apparel, make Sunday afternoons feel like an event unto themselves, appeal to our sense of nostalgia…
We have 3 more things to put out there for all to criticize, they are more stadium/broadcast related. Until then, Happy Holidays!