Dear Taylor McCarthy [General Manager; Stockton Ports]:
Hello! I have been remiss in my missives, but congratulations are in order for finishing second in attendance in the California League. It took a massive final weekend at the gate by the 66ers to surpass your organization, including Amazon buying out the park the last Friday. It was also the weekend that Joe Hudson [General Manager; Inland Empire 66ers] presented me with my own business cards, announcing that I am the Thirsty Thursday Ambassador. Petty heady happenings, I am sure you will agree.
You can take pride in the fact that your stadium had closer to capacity numbers than the 66ers. Not too shabby considering April was a flood month. More importantly, the 2020 California All Star League game will be coming to Banner Island Ballpark. While that is not quite as important as my business cards, it is very exciting stuff. Have you began ordering merchandise to commemorate the big game? The 66ers had very spiffy 2019 California League All Star polos for their employees, but just lousy, sort of drab t-shirts for the paying customers. I am still waiting for my polo since I am the Thirsty Thursday ambassador.
Hey, you know what would be hysterical? If you sent me a 2020 California All Star League polo, and I wore it around San Manuel Stadium just to remind GM Joe that I a kind of a big deal. You do not even have to send me the shirt yet; a verbal commitment would suffice. Since I have not signed an official contract with the 66ers for the 2020 season, this verbal commitment could be vital leverage in negotiations. Plus, I would look really good in it, and you know I am a slave to fashion.
Did you make it down to San Manuel Stadium for the All Star game this past summer? I was in Munich, Germany, spreading the minor league word at Caribes Baseball Stadium in Olympic Park. Did you know beer is cheaper than water in Munich? The baseball is shit, but they have that going for them. If you did make it down, I hope the 66ers’ front office treated you like royalty. I hope you were not forced to sit too close to the Quakes’ executives though as they dress funny.
So I made to twenty minor league parks this past season, from Lake Elsinore to Manchester, New Hampshire to Columbia, South Caroline to El Paso, Texas. We tore up the Carolina League, making lifelong friends and returning with suitcases of team gear. Tales of the road were shared, as were fan retention and promotional strategies. After 11,000 miles on the road, I can to the conclusion that the California League is not running on all cylinders. Attendance dropped another two percent, and even the top drawing teams are being outperformed by top collegiate wood bat leagues. When your top team is being outdrawn by Okotoks, Canada, well, it is time to delve for some hard answers.
2020 will be a renewal to my commitment to the California League. Oh, I will probably do a Southern Atlantic League road trip, but my focus will be the Cal League this year. I have already came up with a slick slogan for the offseason: 2020 Cal League: Don’t Forget the Nights That Haven’t Happened Yet. I plan to reach out to more Cal League teams to offer my sage advice and build lasting relationships — except for the Quakes because fuck those guys. Ultimately, a two team expansion with privately finances stadiums is the long term go because nothing drives attendance like a new ballpark.
Hey, will you guys have a new scoreboard for the All Star Game? Because that is usually the first thing a stadium is judged by in these modern times. I know financing might be tough with the city, which is why you should look into corporate naming rights for your stadium. O-G Packing Stadium at Banner Island Park has a great ring to it. Ink the deal, and get a modern scoreboard constructed.
I need to go as I must some weekday Cal League attendance numbers because that is where the battle is being lost.
Your friend in baseball,