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Change the team name? Fuggedaboutit. Instead, work on fan development.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Roanoke Times sports columnist Aaron McFarling threw a curve Sunday when he wrote the Salem Red Sox ought to change their name. His timing seems off. Wouldn’t last year — when even their mothers were embarrassed by the Boston Red Sox antics — have been the time to have this conversation? Why now, when they are back on top?
But maybe McFarling isn’t just tossing wild pitches, because senior assistant general manager Allen Lawrence took a swing: “I’ve had Yankees fans that have told me that they’re not coming to another game until we change our name.” Lawrence must be an awfully nice fellow, because he went on to say, “I tell ’em to come root against us. We just want ’em here; we don’t care who they’re rooting for.”
Sox management, though, can’t forget about an attendance slump. The weather hasn’t helped. The rain finally left town at the same point the Sox hit an away stretch. Even so, the Salem Sox don’t need just fair-weather fans; they need a die-hard allegiance filling the stands nightly.
The games are affordable: At most, $6 for general admission, four bucks more for the best seat in one of the finest Single-A minor league parks in the country.
But getting people out once a season and courting them as regulars depends on whether fans feel connected to a team and the players. Though the seats, concessions and even, at times, the baseball, is mighty fine in Salem, that special spark has yet to step up.
Adding a fan development coach to the roster might help.
Weather Journal70 Thursday to ice Sunday?