One Way Teams Can Connect with Fans

In the middle of April, something pretty cool happened about 100 miles north of San Diego: The Dodgers invited several people who blog about the team to hang out in a luxury suite with staffers during a game. Reaching out to folks who talk about them constantly — almost obsessively — in a public forum was a shrewd move on the part of the Dodgers.

Geoff @ StatSpeak

The good folks at Statistically Speaking have invited me to participate in their latest roundtable discussion. In it, we talk about Trevor Hoffman, stats on TV broadcasts, and small-sample wonders.


I mentioned that the bloggers hung out with team staffers, but that doesn’t do it justice. The names of those staffers? Ned Coletti, Frank McCourt, and Tommy Lasorda. You may have heard of them.

Even if you’re a cynic who believes such a maneuver could be motivated only by the desire to buy influence, you have to admit, the Dodgers went all out in their efforts. It’s not every day that a team’s most ardent and vocal supporters get an audience with the general manager, owner, and iconic figure.

One of our regular readers (Coronado Mike) noticed what the Dodgers had done and suggested that maybe the Padres could put something similar together for their bloggers. I offered no comment at the time, but in fact, I was trying to organize such a meetup with the club.

Although the Padres and I had some good dialogue, ultimately it bore no fruit. Why? Well, that’s not for me to guess, but it’s my hope that the intial groundwork laid in these discussions eventually will lead to something greater.

Meanwhile, I’m glad to see teams starting to think of folks who are passionate about their product as good customers rather than enemies of the state. As a blogger, I’m thrilled at what the Dodgers did and I hope that other teams will follow their lead. As a business owner, I’m impressed by the team’s emphasis on fostering goodwill in the community. As a Padres fan, of course, I’m disappointed that the Dodgers beat our guys to the punch. But in the end, I like to think that we’re all better off — even if only in some small way — for what our neighbors to the north did a few weeks ago.

The Dodgers have a loyal following. Even though they didn’t need to reach out, they did it anyway. I don’t buy into the sense of entitlement that some bloggers seem to adorn, but I do think that most people appreciate being appreciated. I also think that teams whose following may not be as loyal as the Dodgers’ might want to take note of that organization’s actions. The Dodgers saw an opportunity to connect with their customers and advocates, and they pounced on it.

Smart business decision, that.

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57 Responses »

  1. #47@FriarFanDan: Yeah, I agree with Coronado Mike in 48. Gold Gloves are often won on the basis on your reputation, your hitting stats, and a couple of highlight plays.

    I don’t know if Edmonds is just missing balls that other CF would miss by a lot because he gets good jumps, but as slow as he looks, that’s hard to believe. It’s like he’s expecting there to be another gear that simply isn’t around anymore.


    Top 5 2008 NL Relievers, by WXRL

    Player, Team, WXRL

    Carlos Marmol, CHN, 1.6
    Brad Lidge, PHI, 1.2
    Renyel Pinto, FLO, 1.1
    Matt Capps, PIT, 1.0
    Brian Wilson, SFN, 1.0

  3. #48@Coronado Mike: That was my point, people’s eyes deceive them, particularly when they are emotionally invested in the game. Rewarding Jeter for a few plays and the Yankees winning is similar to penalizing Edmonds for a few key plays and the Padres losing. Defensive statistics, while not as useful as offensive statistics, are helpful for providing a frame of reference. Jeter wasn’t as great as he appeared to Yankee fans, and Edmonds isn’t as terrible as he appears to Padres fans, subpar, but not terrible

  4. #51@Tom Waits: I still think he’s been subpar. It’s just that highlight plays in the outfield are often the combination of poor jumps/routes and good speed. While disappointing fans is often a result of good jumps/routes and poor speed. So as a result, Edmonds appears worse than he actually is, while fast guys often appear better than they are.

  5. GY … thanks for the link to the Q&A you did at StatSpeak … 3 good questions … 9 good answers!

    I was reading a “blog” at the SDUT and noticed that BAs were used in a way to further the point of the writer … whereas going to more/better stats would have been counter-productive to the tone and/or point of his post … hmmm … so I left a comment pointing back to the Question #2 … fyi …

    Seemed like a good opportuntity to provide some feedback … let’s make some (healthy / productive) noise!

  6. #54@FriarFanDan: I dont really agree with this either. There are many spectacular plays made by good jumps and Edmonds has let me down plenty of times this year with bad routes and bad speed. Edmonds made spectacular plays in his prime with good routes and really no speed. Also, Edmonds has been terrible this year and I dont think he will be anywhere near capable considering the size of the NL West OFs. I never though Jeter was good defensively, I dont know why that is relevant. I believe fielding stats can be useful, but I depend more on what I see if I have seen the player play.

    BTW, did one see that catch Reed Johnson made?