I Offer Seminar Advice

Dear Chris Dillon [Director of Promotions & Community Relations Hickory Crawdads]:

I was recently perusing the Minor League Baseball Summit’s list of speakers and came across your name, which seemed familiar. Upon reflection, I remembered that I contacted you earlier this season about your Christian Sunday Bulletin promotions but you never responded, probably because life travels at such a fast pace in Hickory, North Carolina. Honestly, I forgot about my request also as I was busy traveling throughout North America this summer, visiting minor league parks and hanging out with minor league executives like Wade Howell [Vice Presidents Down East Wood Ducks and Hickory Crawdads]. Looking at your Sunday attendance number, I am guessing the Sunday Bulletin things never gained traction.

Being a grizzled veteran of the minor league circuit and the somewhat official Thirsty Thirsty Thursday Ambassador of the Inland Empire 66ers, I must say I have a grave concern about you upcoming seminar in El Paso, which is being touted as “FUN (Eff Up Nights) Sharing: Learning From and Laughing at Failures and Mistakes.” While learning from one’s mistakes in the minor leagues in crucial to personal and professional development, you are flirting with moonwalking on a slippery slope when you begin talking about laughing at mistakes. You know where mistakes get a minor league executive, especially someone in promotions? A quick career change to retail where pitching warrantees for cheap electronics is a job requirement.

While it is fine to laugh at the washouts and those who left organizations in shame, be careful of fostering an environment where mistakes can be laughed off because SHIT HAPPENS. Shit just does not happen; it is a residue of bad design and poor execution. A failed promotion is a scarlet letter, forever tattooed to the minor league executive’s soul. Ask Joe Hudson [General Manager; Inland Empire 66ers and 2019 California League Executive of the Year] how funny Duck Dynasty Night was when a now former employee paid a cast member an obscene appearance fee, and the cast member was Mountain Man instead of Willie or Jase. Ask GM Joe what type of work the guy who came up with promotion is in now. Hint: Not minor league baseball.

Hey, before I get to my my main point of fear being a wonderful motivator, let me digress to compliment your magnificent hair. If the Minor League Baseball Innovator’s Summit were to have a Best Hair Contest, you would be sure to finish in the top three, probably behind Tom Baxter [Fundraising and Community Engagement Manager; Hartford Yard Goats]. The dude’s hair is something else, straight out of Greek Mythology. Dionysus would weep upon looking at those locks.

But let’s return to the point. Sure, it is tempting to turn promotional failures into a shits and giggles quest, but failure lasts longer in the minors than the piano exit in Eric Clapton’s “Layla”. Failure means lack of a promotion at best, and sent waling the dark and dusty highway all alone at worst. Minor league players are forgotten by Halloween, but not failed promotions. Failure means the young hot shots pass you by, securing that assistant general manager position before the age of thirty while you have to continue to launch hotdogs out of giant rubber band while wearing a mustard bottle costume. No one wants to grow old in a mustard bottle costume, Chis. Sweat no longer oozes from the pores, just desperation. 

As a minor league ambassador, I understand the importance of using humor to hold an audience captive. Grabbing your audience’s attention through self-deprecating humor is a great hook, but you you should follow it with THE SLEDGE HAMMER OF REALITY. Fear of failing is what keeps the upwardly mobile minor league executive fully motivated through the dog days of summer, preventing a twisted failure bobbled promotion like Captain America dirty dancing with Simba. Just this year Jason Estes [Director of Promotions; Wilmington Blue Rocks] unleashed one of the greater bobbleheads of all time, the Whit Merrifield Dodgeball classic, but followed that promotion with the Peeps Plush Toy on Easter Sunday, meaning he probably will never have his own office unless he switches to the insurance industry. Remember, the road to hell is paved with failed promotions, especially ones that tarnish a good Thirsty Thursday.

Do not be afraid to pound the dais and let your audience know that a reckoning always follows failure. Once you finish with your presentation, march to hospitality bar and grab their Jack Daniels bottle by the neck and take a long pull to cement  your reputation of an executive who refuses to fail. I will probably be standing right by you — just look for the long line of people waiting to speak to me for a very short time. 

One last question, who was the original Crustacean Nation, the Hickory Crawdads or the Jacksonville Jumbo shrimp, who claim to have trademarked that moniker?

Your friend in baseball,


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