The Genius of Promotions

I was talking to some close friends of mine over a coffee stop we have each month, about the things we’ve seen and done and this one came up – Promotions.

In the Independent Leagues, you’re constantly scratching for ways to make money. It’s really a hand-to-mouth existence every waking minute. To start and run the engines of interest and gate receipts, here were some of things that we did.

  • Every outfield fence was at least 350 ft. If the left field wall was measured at only 200 feet … nope, it was painted with large block numbers 350 FT. Center field only measured 250 feet … nope, paint it 450FT in large block numbers.
  • Everyone in the lineup batted 125 or 180, but the announcer would call … and now up Bill Weeks. Bill’s batting 385 coming into this game.
  • We never really had a gold glove award, per say, but when a guy came up to bat … and now up jimmy Culp. Jimmy leads the club in five gold gloves to his credit and the franchise’s MVP.
  • Then we’d have an announcer say …” folks, some lucky fan is going to find a free grocery gift certificate in their box of popcorn tonight. “ Turns out the gift certificates were for more popcorn.
  • We ran out of ticket stubs for one night game. We ended up purchasing a role of stubs from a printer at the 11th hour. The admission stubs turned out to be for a strip club – pole dancers, the works. Fortunately the game was being played in New Jersey, the strip club was in LA. Nevertheless, it did get attention. Personally, I think the box office did so well was just because the patrons wanted to pictures on the back of the tickets. Come to think of, I got two box seats myself.
  • One stadium that we played at had a flag pole outside the stadium, near the front walkway. So, inside the park you really couldn’t see the flag. When the National Anthem was played, everyone had to turn around and face a row of upper deck seats, along with an electric advertising board. As the Anthem was played – so was a premium paid spot of advertising that scrolled along the display board, just long enough to last until the Anthem stop’d.

Coach B.

Coach B. , having been involved in this business model for so long, I would be interested in your opinion of the comparison between the innovation (the idea) and the entrepreneur (the man or woman). I ask this for both personal reasons and for my son who is preparing to intern as a sports management/business major with a AA affiliate.

Recently, I watched a presentation to the National Governor’s Convention (don’t ask me why) by Jim Clifton, Chairman CEO of Gallup Poll. It doesn’t sound like riveting television does it? Clifton states that while the United States leads the world in innovation, it is not resulting in the creation of enough new jobs because we are not identifying and developing the entrepreneur.

To quote Clifton

Clifton cites three entrepreneurs who created Fortune 500 companies with ideas that really stunk. Meg Whitman - Ebay; Ted Turner - 24/7 news reporting as well as buffalo farms and Wayne Huizenga - trash collection “Waste Management”, Video rental - “Blockbuster” and Used car outlets - "AutoNation, Inc.

Has it been your experience that the people running the show or the ideas were more important to the success of the product?

The answer to that could mean the difference as to whether the United States finds a way to continue to control 27% of the worlds net worth while being only 5% of the worlds population.

By the way, our high school wall reads 325ft at both corners but is nowhere near it in either. Know your customer.

Dino,

You impress me as a man who knows a lot more of life and the players in it, than most. Also, if I’m not mistaken, you are or have been in law enforcement. A sure fire cocktail of life’s reality check – shaken not stirred.

So, my responses to your questions and situations posed, will be based on my experiences in baseball, along with the people that still help me today to do what I do for a living – in this business of baseball. Along the way, I’m sure you’ll be able to pick out the “tongue-n-cheek” remarks to avoid stepping on toes, but still get my point across.
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your opinion of the comparison between the innovation (the idea) and the entrepreneur (the man or woman)
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An idea, its author(s) and the persons or people that make it sellable – not just make it work, may be one in the same – but, I’m not educated enough to make a comparison, if there is one.

As far as your son being an intern, he’d better prepare for being a “goffer” – going for this… going for that. He’ll be used by anyone and everyone for stupid stuff, in addition to being the butt of jokes and everyone and anyone will be very cautious not to pass on too much information about what’s gong on so he doesn’t scoop anyone’s job. I would strongly suggest saying away from private conversations, going for beers after work to mingle with the “guys” and so forth. Just have him put in time, pay his dues, don’t make judgments based on what he sees, and keep his mouth shut. Do, however, take any job that comes along with a grain of salt, do it – move on. Under no circumstances take on responsibilities involving petty cash, making any kind of deposits, or dealing with payroll. It’s the payroll jobs that others like to talk about after work – “what does he make”, is something your boy doesn’t want to get near to.

If your son is getting this because of “who” someone knows, he’ll have to deal with some resentment and even some kind of politics directed his way. Just remind him that he’s only there for a short while – don’t leave mind-fields behind for his “who” helped get him the job in the first place.

The United States leads the world ….??? In a nation where every day Americans walk by a women and her kids sleeping in their station wagon, under a bridge, as an everyday experience – leads nothing. A nation that has health care as an industry for profit only sees a balance sheet and income statement – it never looks into the eyes of those just coming into this world, or those that close their eyes for the last time leaving this world - leads nothing. I honestly don’t know how a nation can lead anything when it doesn’t follow the simplest of human reason and justice. I guess I’m calling on priorities from an old man’s point of view. But there it is. I don’t care for politics or banter it back and forth – it’s not my thing.

As far as the other questions and situations, I’m not a learned man, I’m just a pitching coach. I was raised in the 1950’s with that sense of time-in-a-bottle, but experienced the civil rights, in-country, the stripping of my hometowns industrial base, and so on. So, the speeches and meetings of lecture circuit I can’t comment on with any degree of intelligence.

I am flattered Dino that you asked. My sincere thanks.

I sincerely wish your son all the best with his experiences.

Coach B.

Great discussion, its amazing what can be learned on here.