Baseball In America - A Baseball Buddha Media Production
By Baseball In America
The Baseball In America Podcast will focus on the stories and people the Baseball Buddha has encountered during his “Baseball in America Tour” from 2014. He will read one of his more interesting blogs and talk about that particular person or experience. As the podcast develops the plan is to reach out and speak with the fans of the game of baseball such as Dancing Bobby from the Burlington Bees or Mr. Obvious from the Washington Nationals. Baseball Buddha overall is about the fans and the fan experience of baseball.
First Impressions - Baseball Hospitality 101
I love to write about first impressions, how a place or a person invites me to feel, it is how I write about baseball. I observe and experience things with a critical eye. This first impression is important since, consciously or subconsciously, this is how the majority of people judge; be it another person, a place, or a thing. I am very critical of myself when I write, I take a lot of time editing my work, I want to make sure my words engage and entertain, my message understood. I want to provoke a thought, or for the readers to remember an experience. I am told I write well (by my mom and girlfriend but that’s besides the point). It takes time and effort and if I am going to do it, I will do it to the best of my ability. I need to write/talk about “baseball hospitality”. Yes, hospitality, which I define as a friendly and generous reception, fan engagement and ownership, and an entertaining game. This is what I am looking for when I come to a ball game. To me this is a simple formula to be successful and profitable at all levels of baseball. Many teams miss the mark, I don’t understand why, baseball is still the national pastime, there are more people playing and watching the game than in its history. (If you don’t believe me look at all the kids in tee-ball, Little League, recreation leagues, the select leagues, American Legion, High School, college, college summer ball, the MLB partner leagues, the minor league, the MLB and around the world in Japan, the Caribbean, and Korea.) Hospitality is simple, greet your fans with a smile, be courteous and generous with your time, make it easy to get beer and bratwurst, have a fun mascot and play area for the kids, engage the fans during and between innings. Keep the park clean and organized, it is these details which keep the fans coming back. Fans love identifying with their team, this is the ownership aspect, they want the jerseys, hats, and knick-knacks along with the creative name and goofy mascot. At the lower levels of baseball it is not always about the game being played. The MLB is about the players and wins, they have polished and perfected their fan experience, I enjoy going to MLB games. However, I absolutely love going to a college summer wood bat league where I don’t know any of the players, the stadium is old (but clean), interns are directing it all, hot dogs and burgers are fresh off the grill, and the beer local. Nostalgia comes to mind. Successful teams subscribe to this belief, it is about marketing and having a critical eye on hospitality, if the team is also good that is a bonus, players will come and go. I write about the marketing, hospitality and the fan experience of baseball. I will continue to rate teams by their hospitality as I continue to find the characters around the game and behind the scenes. I broadcast these sights and sounds through my Baseball Buddha Media YouTube Channel, The Baseball Sentinel Website and the three podcasts; Ballpark Confidential, Baseball Is Happiness and Baseball In America.
June 18, 2022
Frustration and Disappointment in Joliet
The frustration and disappointment I felt with the Joliet Slammers was intense, I wanted to find the ownership to let them know; I wasn’t upset with the baseball team, they played well but lost 2-1 to the Washington Wild Things. It was the fan experience that was terrible, there is no other word for it. As I drove the two hours to Joliet, Illinois from Milwaukee on Friday night, I started thinking about what I was going to write about, I hit upon how teams at all levels of baseball need to rebrand themselves every 5-10 years. At the MLB level they are constantly doing themed uniforms; at the lower levels they utilize creative team names, uniforms and promotions. Some stalwarts such as the Yankees and Dodgers have no need to do a brand refresh since their fan bases are expansive and would be pissed, but they have gotten into doing theme uniforms, this is a boon for teams. I was excited as I started thinking about Joliet, they call themselves the Slammers, a play on the city’s history and the Joliet Correctional Center which was located in the city from 1858 until 2002, and the close proximity of Stateville Correctional Center. I admit, I am an intense person by nature and have always needed to take a moment before speaking, I have taken that moment and I am still passionate with my response regarding Joliet. I had a great fan experience on Tuesday night in Kenosha with the Kingfish of the NWL, which is a college summer wood bat league. They played in an old stadium, the field wasn’t perfect, the players unknowns, but the Kingfish embraced what they had, they entertained with games and activities for the kids, maintained fan engagement between innings and had the obligatory dirty and undersized mascot. And for the most part it was run by college interns trying to gain experience. It wasn’t polished or sterile but if you asked the kids and their parents, they will say it was entertaining. Read the rest of the article at www.baseballbuddha.com.
June 06, 2022
Soak It All In - Kingfish Press Box
I opened the door to the press box that sat on top of the stands, the hot and humid room smelled of body order, there were nine mid 20 somethings that looked over. No one asked me who I was or what I was doing. I took possession of the chair by the door, it was the only spot left, I set up my equipment, I wasn’t going to be able to write. I was nervous for some reason, I was here for the guys in the press box, record them as they dictated the show that was happening on the field and in the stands. The Kingfish announcer was at one end and the Kalamazoo radio play by play guy on the other and directly in front of me. The public address guy was in the middle next to the official scorer, the PA guy might be early to mid 30s, he had an ease about him; he has done this before, this was the 2nd game of the season but this wasn’t his 2nd game. There was a camera guy between the PA and Kingfish announcer, he looked at me a few times, I was waiting for him to ask me who I was, for whatever reason he didn’t, the guy between the official scorer and the Kalamazoo announcer was working the scoreboard, he seemed nervous, like it was his 2nd game. There were 3 guys directly to my left, the guy closest was producing the TV or Internet broadcast, he was excitable he kept calling out the cameras and complimenting the operators, he was easy to like, he kept spitting seeds. The guy next to him was assisting, the 3rd, I never figured out what he was doing on his computer. One guy kept coming into the booth to tell the announcer and scoreboard operator what was going to happen between innings, he also shook my hand but never told me who he was, he brought burgers and hot dogs for everyone late in the game, I didn’t take one, these boys needed their free meal. During the 2nd inning I went around the ballpark and recorded all the sights and sounds, it was a perfect night for baseball, mid 80s, slight breeze, excitable crowd of 3500, half being kids. The smell of the press box got me again when I walked back in, I tripped a little from the carpet that was tore up. I took a couple of pictures, I was smiling the entire game. I heard the Kingfish play by play guy tell his audience that like the players, all the guys in booth were trying to get to the next level. I wanted to tell him to soak this in, this is baseball, the grind of the day to day, the excitement of the new season, Kenosha is special, it has moxy, it isn’t sterile. I kept listening to the Growlers announcer in front of me, I liked his voice and how he announced the game, I couldn’t see the batters box, when the pitcher released the ball I waited for the crack of the bat when I didn’t hear anything I tuned in to the announcers. They were young Vin Scully’s I thought, serious unlike Uecker. When the game ended, I packed up my gear, the Growlers announcer shook my hand and asked who I was, I told him I was the Baseball Buddha, he asked if I was on Twitter, he followed me, I followed him, I believe he will go far, this is the baseball I love. I enjoy being in the MLB press box but I forget what it took to get there, the guys in the Kingfish box reminded me, soak it all in, the season goes fast, seasons go fast. Please follow my podcast Ballpark Confidential and subscribe to my YouTube channel to hear more of the press box and see the great show the Kenosha Kingfish put on, these will be available in a couple of weeks, subscribe to the Baseball Buddha Newsletter, it should have popped up. Check out the Baseball Buddha T-Shirts and support SwingJuice!
June 05, 2022