Friday, June 8, 2007

Bridging the Gap: Disconnection, and a Few Ways the Orioles Can Make Things Better...

Well, I am bored at work today; however, I know I have to be at the game tonight to do some stuff for Oriole Magic and also shoot some photos.

In light of it, as of late, Orioles games have become a chore – in fact, rather boring.

Being that summer is on its way (ok, based on the temperature) it is here. With an average attendance of about 20 thousand and some change, perhaps it is time for the Orioles to perhaps think about ways to get more fans in the park.

Watching games at home sometimes when they are at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, there’s well, an overabundance of green seats.

The fans are staying away, and people don’t care.

I, being the enterprising mind I am, here are some ideas I have to get fans back into the ballpark and excited about the Orioles, in spite of their record and standing in the American League East.

First: No matter how much tickets cost, and the vast majority of members of team are multimillionaires, it is still a kid’s game.

I go to Washington D.C. a lot and catch the Nationals. Although their record on the field is not great, they do a lot keep fans interested and entertained.

The gateway to the fans heart is through the players – plain and simple. Before every game, perhaps for about 15 to 20 minutes, a designated player or two should take a moment of their day to sign autographs for the fans.

It’s a simple thing to do and considering how handsomely the players are paid, it’s not that hard to do. In addition, they’ll connect with fans and vice versa.

Some like Brian Roberts are nothing short of wonderful with fan interaction. Others, who will remain nameless are not and just either don’t care or care about their paycheck.

Second: Ushers, you all need to still lighten up some more. It’s a lot better now than it has been in the past in terms of letting fans move up during the game. If during the latter stages of the game, like the seventh inning, there are fans who want to move up – let them. Unless they drunk or rowdy, it’s not a big deal.

The worst ushers are those behind home plate. Give it a break.

Third: With this team’s rich history, I have no idea for the life of me (except for a few obvious reasons) that player’s from the past do not get involved with the Orioles. In lean times like this, perhaps have a day where fans can honor the old timers, such as Jim Palmer, Brooks, Tippy, Bill and Cal Ripken can interact with fans before the game, etc.

Fourth: Jim Palmer, stop being anti-social. I know you have a long a day in terms of calling the game, but after the game, stop and sign for a few fans. As much as you hate to do it, you mean a lot to the fans (still), and acknowledgement of them will go a long way.

Have contests during the game, and make it interactive (ala, trivia). Give away stuff during the game, like gift certificates, free food, etc.

I had an incident with an usher a few weeks ago, concerning access before the game. For those of you who don’t know, Oriole Park at Camden Yards opens up their gates at 5pm to allow fans in the park. Before 5:30pm, only fans with season tickets are allowed into the general seating area, everyone else has to wait.

Well, I have had season tickets for a number of years, and in the past, the Orioles have had an Orange Carpet Program where season ticket holders of any package were afforded the privilege to enter the general seating area early.

This year, they did away with it. However, those with season tickets can enter the park early.

I have mini-Sunday package, and share tickets with a good friend behind home plate.

One day, I had gotten complimentary tickets for a game (without a season ticket designation) and the usher and I got into it even though I had plenty of proof I was a season ticket holder; moreover, he’d seen my face for years.

I rectified the problem by going to fan assistance and speaking to a supervisor; however, the team does not draw fans anymore and simply in times like these, you’ve got to acquiesce and give people leeway.

Like an old boss said, “people don’t remember when you do well; they only remember when you f**k up…”

I don’t know why this has not been done, although it is the will of many fans – just return “Baltimore” to the road jerseys and be done with it. It’s a gesture of good will, it would be good for revenue and more importantly, it would show fans that their input matters.


nosferatu said...

Great ideas. An usher named Rick, behind homeplate, in section 339 or 340 is the epitome of what an usher should be. He's friendly, full of info and actually let me spend the game up there, just to get a different perspective. My season tickets are in section 29.

10 or 15 minutes from two players to sign autographs is not an unreasonable request. The fans are the ones paying the 4 to 5 million a year in salaries. An autograph isn't much to ask in return.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

N - Thanks for the input. I certainly love the O's, but I think they could improve in terms of fan relations.

I think the autograph issue should honestly be looked into -- I think it would be wonderful PR for the team, and plus it would be a boon for fans.

If the O's could incorporate that, the kids and families who attend games would appreciate it...

The ushers - yeah, they are doing their job, but there's no reason to be overly strict when there are only 15k in the park.

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