Sage Advice for Austin

Dear Austin [Vice President, Sales & Marketing; Fayetteville Woodpeckers]:

Sorry for the lack of contact over the last few days, but the decadency of the Cactus League is approaching, and the logistics of planning that trip are immense as it is the holiest of baseball pilgrimages, very much like Easter, except nobody was nailed to a tree against their will. You can kind of imagine the process, opening a new stadium and all this spring.

I have photographic evidence that you met my buddy Nick at the Lions Club evening engagement. Luckily, you escaped being kidnapped and taken on a pub crawl with that social beast. The sun would have been rising in the east by time you made it home. I have been to the edge with Nick. Twice.

That is all the past, and when we have time, we can reminisce over beers at Karsen’s in Scottsdale in the offseason, but now we have pressing business at hand. I have noticed that your promotion schedule has not been released yet. Did you know the team you open the season with has already released its promotion schedule (hint: the Potomac Nationals)? With dire stadium like that, they need to. Those guys in promotions there earn their paycheck — they draw 3,700 a game despite having a stadium that posses the allure of a truck stop bathroom in an industrial wasteland in South Jersey.

I see your organization doesn’t even have a Director of Promotions, a rather glaring omission for a minor league franchise. Austin, my man, people do not go to minor league games just to watch baseball. They go for the full package. They want the carnival atmosphere, midgets being shot out of cannons, landing on trapezes while the elephants charge the white rhinos. A little research indicates your organization went with the baseball purist route the last couple years at Jim Perry Stadium. How did that work out for you guys? Oh, that is right, 359 fans a game — about 30 percent of stadium capacity. More people watched naked hobos wrestle in a Georgia rest stop on I-95 at Mile Marker 40 every night last summer. Baseball purists are assholes, Austin. Don’t let your organization emulate them unless you want to die alone like them.

I know you guys are counting on fat cat corporate season ticket sales, but without promotions, you are going to have a great deal of empty seats every night. Good ol’ Ladd Lanier, the loan manager down at Arvest Bank, isn’t going to want to keep bringing his family to the games if A+ ball is the only thing on the plate. Expense accounts might get the big money through the gates a couple of times, but it is the promotions that keep people coming back time and time again. Besides, if you are counting on a guy with the first name of Ladd to propel ticket sales, well, you missed the last boat off the island. You need to get Darryls off their inland fishing lakes and into the stands because they will bring their entire clan and buy sodas and beer by the tray.

You know what gets Darryl off his bass boat? Bobbleheads. Taco Tuesdays. Thirsty Thursdays. Theme nights. Between inning contests that involve people getting humiliated (Knockerball is wonderful for this as are any thing that involves pies getting smashed into people’s faces). Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute bands. Grandma Beauty Contests (avoid Grandma Wet T-shirt contests). Goat Yoga. Duck blinds that serve beer. Bass fishing boat raffles.

You might be thinking, but Bads, we do not want too many Darryls at the park because they get downright angry at the auto flush toilets, but the same theory applies to non-commissioned officers at Fort Bragg. SFC Bell has money burning a hole in his pocket, and the mess hall is closed. He is tired of Applebee’s, but he is going to want more than the fares of Professional Sports Catering (those chucklekfucks still have not responded about the Beer Line Travesty at the AFL last November). Alas, I fear that your organization is woefully unprepared for the fast life of the Carolina League , but we can talk more about that tomorrow.
You know what the world needs right now? A new punctuation mark for the apostrophe we use in certain abbreviations, say like ‘Peckers. It needs to be longer and more curled, sort of like a baby elephant trunk. It needs a name that kind of sounds dirty also, like diphthong, which is a jackup word to begin with. Why use four consonants to create a combined vowel sound? Who the was in charge back then? My buddy Kirby says an ophthalmologist. I think it was the same demented linguist who put the “b” in subtle. You haven’t met Kirby yet, but maybe next year in the Mexican Leagues. I see the Carolina League is pleasantly devoid of diphthongs, probably Darryl and SFC Bell are not fond of them. I bet they would be fond of baby elephant trunks on their hats and jerseys though.

Your friend in baseball,

PS: Neil Young is on overrated lyricist. Agree or disagree? Just what the hell was going on in “After The Gold Rush”? And he never really did tell the story of Johnny Rotten, did he?

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