It’s a circle,
We don’t have a huge payroll, because we don’t bring in the money.
We don’t bring in the money because we don’t win.
We don’t win because we don’t have the talent, drive, and well money that other teams do.
Which brings us back around to we don’t have a huge payroll.
So going off of my normal rant for a moment that the money is mismanaged (and it is, but let’s be honest what multimillion dollar company doesn’t mismanage it most of the time)
What can we do about it? Well we can get the fans to the ball park. Gee Cob, really is that all we have to do? We’ve been doing this for a while and we already knew that, our question is how do we get people to the games and then more importantly get them to come back again. How do we eventually turn regular 3 to 5 game fans to season ticket holders?
Glad you asked.
Great American Ball Park is an awesome place, it’s not the stadiums fault. It’s beautiful, it’s got pleanty of seats at all the price ranges to make it open for everyone. The food is not bad, sure we could do a little more here, but really it’s not bad.
So what are we missing?
1. The baseball experience.
A. I go to Chicago and there are obvious places around the stadium to hang out before the game and after to be around baseball fans. Wrigleyville is a mecca of baseball. Cincy doesn’t have even a percentage of it. I’ve been going for years and I drive in and out. I go to Hooters across the river and it’s not bad, but it’s across the river.
I’ve been to inbetween and I’m not in awe.
We need those parking lots that are perfect tailgating spots to be a place of community! We need them to rally! We need to get street vendors not selling just water and peanuts but be able to setup tents and be able to get people to gather. Sure we need family friendly areas too, but we also need areas that pull the 21+ crowd together.
B. Open the freaking ball park or do something in the plaza in front of the ball park to get the fans in gear. I’ve sat in front of the ball park hours before the game hoping that you would start having batting practice outside. Nope… Hoping that you might send some guys out to sign autographs…Nope…Do some sort of pep rally..Nada.
Now don’t get me wrong you do the basics, and really you might be the best in the tri state about the basics. (cheerleaders, Big Screen games, mascots, shopping, HOF) but come on, let’s be honest. I have to travel to another ball park to talk baseball and get ribbed or high fived for wearing my jersey. Why because our fans don’t care, and most of the are just visiting. Why? Because that’s what we’ve cultivated. This is the place you visit and leave, we hope you spend money too while your here. Which from what I can tell we do, but obviously not enough.
These are things that the Reds can fix with the right people doing the right things and some of that million dollar budget going to getting the fans involved. Which goes to my next point.
2. Get us involved!
A. We’re in a new era of fandom, become a leader in it. A high tech leader (We don’t just show all those commercials about Cincy Bell because we think there great right?) Give me a place to bring my laptop/netbook (*cough* Dell sells netbooks with Cincinnati Reds logos all over them for less than $400) or give me a place that has wifi, Free wifi bloggers are long term fans, geeks are long term fans. Think about it, a place that can go a few ways. It supports geekdom, geeks like math, math is stats, stats is baseball. It’s a place for the teens. Teens like twitter and facebook, like their phones and their photos and updates, this takes bandwidth. Business men like getting out of the office, small business men love being able to work from places other than their house, the ball park is perfect. The pace of the game is slow enough that they can write an email and watch the game at the same time all while getting some fresh air and a hot dog. Local schools (both College and Grade schools) can have days at the park showing how sports and education go together. I can go on and on.
B. More chances to get balls from the field, BP more often outside. Make it the standard when the 3rd out happens it gets thrown to a fan. I’ve been going for years hoping to get a game ball, and the only one I’ve got is one I bought off ebay.
C. Twenty minutes after the game is over have players spend time with the fans like they do before the game.
D. Fan days, come to the ball park to watch road games on the big screens with fans during the warmer months. Make it even more special by having seats cheaper than game days and some awesome seats (for a price) on the field. Have special guests to watch the game with them (former Reds, insiders, etc)
E. Use Redsfest as a huge comment card and idea generator. I’m just one guy, can you guess what the fest could bring?
So in summary.
1. More baseball experience
2. Get us involved, start building long term fans like you build a long term team.
Why you ask?
Well let’s see.
1. You raised ticket prices at the park, but didn’t raise your budget for the salary of the team
2. You went on record saying that we weren’t looking into filling that right handed batter we’ve been hearing about all winter. The reason given is that we’re out of money.
3. The fans weren’t asking for a World Series year in 09, but you’re pretty much promising them that it will be a lot of hard work and a little luck to see over .500, and really you’re already selling the “better luck next year” speech before the season even begins!
Have you read the Reds message boards Walt?
Have you read the postings under your announcements of no more purchases this winter?
Your not liked right now Walt, and neither is Castellini. People are asking that we dig up Marge Schott out of the grave and bring her back as owner. At least we’d know what to expect…
Walt are you listening to me?
I think he hung up after I told him my name was Cob…I don’t know why.
Reds fans are losing faith on the 09 season quickly at this point, and it seems like the ticket price raise might be needed to help cover for the other seats we won’t be filling because of our choices this winter. For me it’s strange listening to all the talk and reading the message boards and it’s not about how we think players are going to do this year, or maybe what defensive or offensive moves we could make, or who’s healthy and who’s not. It’s all about who we should petition to quit, How far away is Cleveland really so we could become Indians fans *shudder*, and why the oldest team in baseball is nothing but a cash cow for some corporation.
Somebody from MLB better look into this or there really might be one empty, fairly new stadium on their hands.