Yesterday morning the Padres sent out their annual survey. It appears to be almost exactly the same questions as last year, when I live tweeted my results on the tweetbox. I don’t feel like digging my old answers up, but if you want to read the questions without taking the survey jbox of Gaslamp Ball did a live blog of his results.
These surveys are supposedly used to gauge fan interest in a variety of things. From uniforms to logos to….what type of car would the Padres be if they were a car? Some questions are usually worded in a specific way to steer the survey takers one direction or another thus resulting in favorable results from the team’s point of view. Others give the fans open range to input what they choose. Of course the survey really doesn’t mean too much to us outsiders, as we’ll never know the true results. Some skeptics even claim it’s possible that there technically are no results and the survey is just a front to make the fans think that the organization cares about our opinions. I’m not one of those skeptics, but that idea has been brought up in the past regarding surveys like this.
You can focus group and survey all you want but there are a few key things, from a marketing aspect (not on-field), that the Padres need to do to win over a good portion of the people in San Diego. And I’m not talking about the die hard bloggers or blog readers who go to games regardless of the product on the field. I’m talking about the majority of the San Diego population who goes to 1 or 2 games a year. Petco Park has now been around for 10 seasons (I’ll let that sink in) and the shine has worn off. The Padres are at a stage where they must now make some serious changes to the way they are running things.
Here are 4 key points the Padres should begin with:
1. Trade for a current star and then market the sh*t out of him
They need 1 player that will excite the average fan and it can’t be a homegrown player under these guidelines. You and I know that there is a lot of young exciting talent in the Minors but the average Joe (or Josie) Schmo fan could care less – they just notice who is on the Major League roster. There are some swoon worthy players on the Major League roster but for some reason Joe (Josie) Schmo is hard to swoon. They need someone who’s been a star elsewhere before they can fully swoon on the player. From the Ray Kroc days of actually being a contender for any free agent to John Moores bringing in Kevin Brown to help with the ballpark vote push of ’98 to bringing in the underrated Brian Giles before the Opening of Petco Park in ’04, seeing those types of players brought in actually gets the fans excited and it is the first building block.
2. Switch to brown uniforms
You’ve heard me talk about this many times in the past. Teams like the Astros, Orioles, Brewers, Blue Jays and other teams have gone retro but modernized it and all have done a fantastic job doing so. The fans love it and even people who aren’t fans (IE: me) love it. When the Padres say do you want “bring back the brown” often times people think they mean bring back an exact replica of the 1984 uniforms or another of the many crazy uniforms they have used in the past. No, that is just not the case. Bring back the brown color scheme, but modernize it to look sharp. It can be done. When you are the Padres you need to do something unique to stand out a bit. You need to be different and draw some extra (wanted) attention to your team any way you can. Get the superstar player first, change the uniforms, have a huge press conference and get the fans excited about the “NEW” Padres. The new owners have Dodger blue in their blood, which is fine, but it is time for them to make their mark on the city of San Diego and change things back to their rightful place. Maybe the team might even find themselves moving out of the bottom spot of EVERY UNIFORM RANKING LIST EVAR!!! A little bird told me that a “BROWN OUT WEEKEND” is in the works for next year. Could this be a small step in the right direction???
3. Better marketing please
You have to market your team better. From stadium giveaways to commercials to billboards around the city, things need to change. This also ties in with the other 2 keys above. You get the new superstar. You overhaul the look of the team. And then you let the entire world (or just San Diego) know about it. I’ve been to a lot of ballparks in a lot of different cities and I am always blown away at how different things are here. It’s as if the Padres aren’t trying at all in this aspect of marketing. Last year at the end of the season they created a bunch of new giveaways and new commercials but at that point it was too little and too late. You’ve got to come out with guns blazing on Opening Day when every fan is excited for what’s in store for the season, not at the end of the season when playoffs aren’t a possibility and the team is floundering towards the bottom of the division. When you do that it appears that you were unprepared for a season that you had the whole off-season to plan for. It’s embarrassing. Also hit up all the celebrities from San Diego who can be found wearing other teams gear. WIN THEM BACK DAMMIT!!
Example A) San Diegan Bobby Lee. In his first Vine video ever, roughly 6 months ago, he can be found wearing a late 80’s Padres hat. Yet his current Twitter avatar has him in a…..Dodgers hat? Good GOD! Bobby just performed at the American Comedy Club (14th-16th) last night wearing a USA hat. There are 2 more nights to get him in a Padres hat people. MAKE. IT. HAPPEN.
4. Do something with the damn Showley Brothers Candy Factory already
In 2010 Jeff Moorad purchased the Showley Brothers Candy Factory, that sits in the Park at the Park, for $5.71 million dollars. In the seasons that followed it appeared that private parties could rent it out, but to the best of my knowledge nothing happened there last year. Does Moorad still own that property? It is a separate entity than the team, so unless special considerations occurred during the sale it would have to be a separate transaction. Could that explain the complete emptiness last year (as empty as Moorads soul?)? Or maybe with the Phil’s BBQ stand there, it just blocked it so much that no one would want to rent it out? Perhaps the stand is a test run to see if a Phil’s restaurant would do well in that location? So many questions, but so few answers. One thing that I do know is that the big building with so much potential, has sat vacant for years now. My ultimate wish is that the Padres start properly respecting their history and make a Padres Hall of Fame out there.
So there you have it – 4 things that need to happen stat, to improve the image of the San Diego Padres to Joe (Josie) Schmo.
What do you think?