You know the old saw: When the going gets tough, the weak flee screaming like frightened little schoolchildren. Seems one former Padres “fan” has had enough and jumped on the Red Sox bandwagon (I’m flattered that someone actually took my advice). That must have been a difficult decision, but I’m sure now he feels like a real winner. Hooray for that.
From the bandwagoner:
However, after the recent events with Padres ownership and management, I have come to the conclusion that they are doing a huge disservice not only to their fans but to the community as well.
I couldn’t agree more. Wait, we’re talking about 1993 and Tom Werner’s fire sale, right? Hey, that reminds me, be sure to say hi to Mr. Werner for us and thank him for all the good times he showed you in San Diego. His service to the fans and the community remains unparalleled.
Also, remember not to refer to 2004 as “the good old days.” You don’t want to expose your true nature… not right away, at least.
Meanwhile, for those of us still following the Padres, Tom Krasovic at the U-T speculates that attendance could dip below 2 million for the first time over a full season since — drum roll, please — 1993. I love this quote from Sandy Alderson:
We tend to have two groups of season ticket holders: the ones who decided they’re not coming back for one of those reasons, and ones who are coming back and are tickled to death because they are going to get to improve their seat location. So someone will benefit from this.
First, the optimism is great. Second, count me in the “tickled to death” camp; I’m thrilled with my seats for 2009. But then, I go for the baseball.
Which leads me to my next point. Dex at Gaslamp Ball offers some suggestions on how to help boost attendance. His basic idea is to bring in a few familiar names to throw out the first pitch before games. He’s right that some folks will come out to see, e.g., Darren Sproles (glomming onto this town’s darling franchise makes a lot of sense, and the Padres should do it at every opportunity; people love the Chargers).
This doesn’t affect me because, as I say, I’m here for the games. I don’t go to the movies for the popcorn and soda. My favorite feature in a cell phone isn’t the color purple. But I think Dex is onto something. The Padres need to find a way to grab folks that don’t really care about baseball.
(Incidentally, I’m not the right person to help. My last idea for a marketing slogan went nowhere: “Padres baseball: Sit down, quit your whining, and watch the damn game.”)
This is a blind spot for me. I have a hard time imagining what it’s like not to like baseball. I wouldn’t even know where to start in trying to convince someone who isn’t a fan that it might be worth their while to attend a game. (Worse, I’d ask them what they like and suggest that they do that instead.)
A big-league team, however, can’t afford to be unconcerned with such matters. Selling tickets and jerseys is great, but without some sort of justification — rational or otherwise — folks may not be so eager to buy these things.
Like political and religious leaders, marketers are in the business of selling hope. For whatever reason, the Padres haven’t been able to do that.
Then again, hope isn’t a magical cure. It’s a nice start, but I sense that some folks are desperately seeking something that just doesn’t exist. And when life fails to meet their expectations, they seek something else, be it a shiny purple cell phone or a comfy seat on the Red Sox bandwagon.