Wooden's World of Baseball

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tickets Are In Hand!

Yesterday, my season tickets arrived. This is the fifth spring for which I have been a season-ticket holder, and the day the tickets come is second only to opening day itself.


The schedule serves as a wishlist; the book of tickets is a to-do list.

And for the first time since 2004, I'm seeing a front office that "gets it" when it comes to marketing and promotion. My last post was impressed by the month-by-month rundown of the giveaways. Since then, the P-Nats have taken it a step further and...

...reaffirmed that Washington Post Dollar night has returned. This is not a shock. Dollar night is usually quite popular, especially once schools let out.

...created a Tuesday night "Kids Night." While I think two-for-Tuesday's a better promotion, I get it that bringing a kid necessitates at least one parent coming along. What remains to be seen is if the P-Nats will be as diligent as other parks for managing the safety and preventing "dumpoffs" — parents dropping off the kids, then going back to their seats alone.

...partnered with a local chain for "Belly Buster Night!" Just as I was hoping, but what makes this better than other parks is that they've made it possible for season-ticket holders to participate, and, enabled you to sit where you want as well.

...made Friday night "Ladies Night." While it's not clear what their definition of "lady" is (that's an age reference, *ahem*), it's a great idea nonetheless. Of course, I'd have made a stronger connection to the "half price" dynamic that's implied, not to mention holding a speed dating event to connote that it's great way for singles to meet.

...and of course, reminded folks that every Saturday night has fireworks. Perhaps I did miss in past posts that the earlier start time on Saturdays was a good idea. While the P-Nats neighbors are mostly upscale condo-dwellers and are about 1/2 mile away, versus say smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood, it's nice gesture because it also allows parents to take the younger fans to the game, knowing there's a good chance they'll be home by 10pm.

Seventeen days to the home opener...

Friday, March 14, 2008

All about the giveaways

Erik Estrada and Wilmer ValderramaIt's been said that what makes minor-league baseball so much fun is the giveaways. Certainly, as a fan, I'm of two minds about them. When I'm making a road trip, I try to avoid them so I can avoid the crowds, but I love them for the hometown team – except maybe the bobbleheads.

What disgusts me are the folks that show strictly for the giveaway, then leave. Not to pound on the bobblehead aficionados, but these are usually the culprits. They remind me of the adults that push the kids out of their way for a foul ball or an autograph. For the record, the only foul ball I'm interested in keeping is the one I catch. Cleanly.

For the first time in three seasons, The P-Nats have made a point of promoting the upcoming giveaways—ahead of single-season ticket sales, of course—devoting stories this week for every month of the season.

April features the no-brainer standby: The magnetic schedule. Perfect for for every refrigerator or office cubicle.

May celebrates the annual "Internet safety night," featuring D-List celebrity Erik Estrada, who will be played by Wilmer Valderrama, a.k.a. "Fez" from "That 70s Show" in the movie version of that, um, '70s series. Hence, the photo above.

June brings back a much better giveaway: replica batting helmet. Too often these have been replaced with the mini, ice-cream sundae version, but I fondly remember the blue-and-yellow "H" plastic helmet from the nearby Holyoke Millers of my youth.

July gives me my excuse to explain my stand on fireworks. I appreciate that they draw crowds, but I never stay for them. Why? Because there is no fireworks show that's worth getting stuck in a parking lot waiting to get out. I also hate it when it's a close, but high-scoring game because the pesudofans get restless.

August brings the other staple giveaway: The cheap baseball cap. I have a bunch, but I usually end up giving them to my sons because they're so flimsy. That said, the PNats are giving out visors for the first time since I've been going, which is amazing given that it has been known to break 90 degrees here from time to time.

Of course, the promotions that I've always loved the best are food promotions. Specifically, dollar hot dogs. Now my friend Shawn up in Hagerstown does present an alternate argument, which is that when they bundle the food with the ticket, it's a recipe for disaster (pun most definitely intended). But as my other reader Phil says, going to the ballgame has always been about the food. Or as Humphrey Bogart once said:

A hot dog at the ballpark tastes
better than a steak at The Ritz.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Three Stinkin' Games?!

Well, the schedule for Nationals Spring Traning games has been released. Needless to say, I am underwhelmed.

Buried beneath the hype of how evenly balanced the coverage of the Nationals and Orioles -- 96 games on MASN, 65 on MASN2, 40 games in HD -- is that they will televise just four spring training games with the Nationals or the Orioles, two of which will be against each other and one will be the exhibition in DC the weekend before Opening Day.

That's three games for each team out of some 30 spring training games, kids.

Last year, there were eight Nats games and seven O's games, four against each other.

Now I realize broadcasting these games is not cheap, and that sponsorship is required, blah blah blah, but.. three games?!

Call me greedy, but I had it in my head that there'd be at least two games a week, one of which being on the weekend, to help generate interest for the regular season. That's eight games. You'd think that if you were going to televise 300+ games from April to October, you might want to get folks interested in seeing more live games than games on tape from 1983.

Maybe that's just me, but what do I know? I only do marketing for a multimillion-dollar company that has far more competition.