TSM Pressbox, April 20, 2010 Steve McAllister

On this edition of the TSM Pressbox, Steve McAllister from Yahoo Sports joined Marc Tessier. Today we talked about officiating as a result of the goal/non-goal in the Vancouver Canucks/Los Angeles Kings game, attendance at the Blue Jays game, specifically with ways to fix it and the future of the coaches in Toronto in baseball, basketball and hockey.


TSM Pressbox




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April 20, 2010 11:39 pm

Baseball in Toronto does not equal hockey in Phoenix or Florida. Those cities have barely had hockey played in them before the NHL came calling. Water doesn’t even freeze outside there!

On the other hand, Toronto has a pretty long baseball history going back to pretty early in the 20th century. Kids actually play it here. There was talk of MLB in Toronto in the 50s and 60s.

Bad comparison.

People aren’t showing up because the team is bad and they just traded Roy Halladay. Not because people don’t know what baseball is here.

April 21, 2010 12:48 am

Other than that, I do agree with you on the promotion aspect. After the last 17 years of mediocrity, it’s not enough to just open the doors and say ‘come on in’. They could do MUCH, MUCH more with promotions etc.

April 21, 2010 10:13 am

No offense, but I think the Dog and Pony Show would be a terrible idea. When you’re running a sports team, the most important thing you have is the product on the field and you ruin that value in the fans minds when you tell them to come out for the bearded lady or whatever and the game is just seen as an added bonus. If you don’t have enough faith in the product how do you expect the public to? There are also lingering effects to that ruining of the brand that will last even when the team does turn around.

You see that now with the common complaint of ticket prices, because Godfry was so loose with comps and giveaways during the 05-08 a lot people saw the product as not worth paying for. Beeston stopped that when he came in and now whats the reason people cite after poor on field play? Ticket prices are too high! Which is ridiculous because the prices are far lower than anything MLSE offers and even are a tad below the Argos ($79-$20 vs. $75-$11). It’s the most affordable ticket in town yet people still complain about them because of the previous administration practices that reduced the perceived value of them. It’ll take a lot of time before that value is restored. I feel the same thing will happen when you basically say the actual game isn’t worth going to and its why I hate the new bird commercials but loved the one for the home opener.

With that said obviously there is a lot that the Blue Jays can do to increase the game experience.
-Open the damn roof more often. It should have been open last night and it should be open this afternoon. It was 16 degrees last night at game time, which is fine for being outside. Plus, people bring jackets to the game for going home anyways, theres no reason they can’t wear it if they get cold inside.
-Let the staff know that cheering is encouraged. We’ve all heard the stories about how when people get up to cheer because its 2 outs and the batter has 2 strike and an usher came down to tell them to SIT DOWN. WTF!!

And finally (and I can’t believe some franchise hasn’t copied this already) take Andrew Bogut’s idea and create the team’s own version of Squad 6. If you’re unfamiliar with Squad 6, here it is in a nutshell. Andrew Bogut of the Milwaukee Bucks bought 100 season tickets and gave them away to fans who would make the Bradley Center a better place to be. He personally held open tryouts and picked the ones he found to be the most creative and entertaining. They got free tickets for the whole season as long as they follow these criteria:
1. Show up for every game (I understand that an 81 game commitment is harder than a 41 game so maybe the Jays can create half season squads)
2. Stand for the entire game (Again seating in the 100 level of the Rogers Centre might not make this feasible but then just stand for important points in the game)
3. Be loud, energetic and creative in chants throughout the game
You do those things you got free live basketball for the year. You don’t, your tickets get pulled and someone who didn’t make the cut replaces you.

Now 100 fans might not seem like a lot in a 50,000 seat ballpark but this group would make enough noise comparable to 5 or 6 average folks at the game. Plus most people aren’t likely to start cheers on their own, but do join in when others in the group starts. Right now, there’s none of those cheer starters at the game, those 100 fans would get everyone else involved. So you would get the effect of 1,000 or more people there with only 100 and it wouldn’t seem like a funeral in there during the games.

Why wouldn’t that work with the Jays? You could easily get 100 university kids to come down and cheer. Call it the Jays’ Nest or something and split the group in 50 each to stick in sections 115 and 128 by the bases. The tickets cost $44/$52 each so the write-off is $4,400/$5,200 per game and it’s not like they are selling out those sections anyways. Vernon does a lot of charity work and makes $21 million the next 5 years; you don’t think he would chip in like $100k to make this work.

You get a better atmosphere combined with good publicity and maybe more people would want to come out to the game because of it.

April 21, 2010 11:07 am

What? The Strobel piece where he suggests that they should put American Idol up on the screen? I thought that was satire.

Less than 90 minutes to game time, currently 16 degrees and according to the Rogers Centre’s website the roof is closed. ARGGH!

April 21, 2010 11:33 am

Ok, I take that back. According to Bastian on twitter the roof is open.

April 21, 2010 12:29 pm

Yes – the roof should be open more often. I went last night and i couldn’t believe it was closed.

April 21, 2010 1:18 pm

Gotta agree with Mike on the Strobel piece as well. Seemed like it was meant as sort of a joke..

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