As we all know, Minor League Baseball employees have no control over the product on the field (that aspect of the operation is strictly the domain of the parent club). Ironic, then, that one of the most surefire ways for a Minor League club to receive some free publicity is to make a completely ludicrous offer for a high-profile athlete.
You know, like A-Rod to the Mud Hens.
There is nothing to lose, and fleeting media attention to gain! The latest (and therefore greatest) example of this phenomenon came courtesy of veteran buzz-creators the Lake Elsinore Storm. The Storm already have a Tim Tebow promotion on their 2012 calendar, and now they want Tebow himself.
We know that Tim was the cause for late-game comebacks in Denver and we have our own leader of rallies, the Rally Cop. We would like to offer the Broncos the Rally Cop as well as the Grounds Crew Gorilla, winner of an MiLB Golden Bobble head last season, in exchange for Tebow,” said Jones.
The Storm will also be willing to rename the stadium Elway Stadium if the Broncos are willing to accept the offer.
All of this was a theoretical exercise to begin with, of course, and made even more moot (mooter?) by yesterday’s trade that brought Tebow to the New York Jets. But, for unnecessary detail’s sake, let’s take a look at the two individuals deemed expendable by the Storm. You may have come across them before on this blog.
Grounds Crew Gorilla
The above characters — and, by extension, the Storm — received a bevy of nationwide publicity as a result of this latest-round of press release hi-jinx. Most notably, SportsCenter gave it some play. While video has proven elusive, the Storm provided the following recap:
[SportsCenter] called the Rally Cop a “gem of a guy” as well as an “Eric Estrada lookalike who trots around the field and screams,” while classifying the Grounds Crew Gorilla as “the team’s other resident weirdo.” 🙂 And as for SportsCenter’s take on our trade proposal, they think our offer is the best out there for the Broncos. Thanks, guys. And spread the word: #TebowToTheStorm.
These sort of promotions always lead back to the same question, however: Is it worth it? Do frivolous internet-based pop culture stunts generate the sort of attention that leads to increased revenue? Do the fans that matter (ie the ones buying tickets) even care?
I’m spoken to industry folk on both sides of the issue, and, really, there is no wrong answer. It all depends on organizational philosophy as well as the sensibilities of the market in question. My take could be summed up in three words: Go for it. All it took for the Storm to land in the spotlight was a clever press release and a photoshopped image of a buzz-generating quarterback.
Even if not much was gained, there was, quite literally, nothing to lose.