Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Anatomy of a Failed Promotion

Tonight was 70's night at the Rogers Centre. The match-up for this theme night...Jays vs. Orioles.
For anyone not living in Canada or Boston, it's also game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Decade Days at the ballpark are always a great time for a team to look back at it's history and give the fans a look back at old faces, memories and uniforms. I've written before about how I think the third jersey is a joke, but on a night like this it would have been great to see some more of the old uniforms.

Instead of presenting the 9000+ fans in attendance with a little of the team's history...original uniforms, players, broadcast teams, highlights on the big screen...all they did was put some old font and change the video boards with an effect that I can do on my iPhone with SnapBucket. No video of Doug Ault hitting the first home run in team history, or even an interview with team broadcaster Alan Ashby who wasone of the first catchers in team history. Heck, we didn't even see this iconic photo ANYWHERE!

Back to the uniforms...because this really bothered me. The fans did an amazing job of coming out in the spirit of the night withwigs, costumes and old jerseys. The two teams...did not. Both teams have awesome old logos, iconic old uniforms and a night when no one would blame them for opening the vault.

So...moving away from the promo (which I hope to god they'll fix before 80's night), the small but dedicated group of fans saw Ricky Romero and Jake Arrieta pitch the lights out. Romero went 8 innings gathering 12K's and making several of the Orioles look borderline foolish. Arrieta however was in many ways more impressive to me. It's no secret that Baltimore has a young pitching staff that is very highly touted. Unfortunately it's also not a secret that the management in Baltimore has surrounded these pitchers with aging, in-decline former stars and strikeout machines. I digress...

Anyways, Arrieta kept the Jays off balance all night with a mix of fastballs and off-speed pitches that have heavy downwards break and were generally very hard to drive. This fact will seem odd considering the 3 HR that Toronto had. I've had the pleasure of seeing Arrieta, Matusz and Zach Britton pitch live now and I don't think it's a stretch to be most excited about Jake Arrieta. He reminds me of another young pitcher that I enjoy, Jeremy Hellickson. Guys that aren't going to strike out a ton of batters, but will keep their team in the game and keep the batters off balance.

So to sum it season is now over. Vancouverites are crying in their pre-corked champagne bottles. Toronto can now go back to doing what it does best...speculating on the Maple Leafs free agency/coaching staff and bandwagon jumping on a team showing success. I'd like to invite you all to jump on the Blue Jays bandwagon.

Look past the Jayson Nix's and Edwin Encarnacion's in the lineup and get pumped about Ricky Romero's emergence as a top flight starter, Jose Bautista's All-Star campaign and the moment when Brandon Morrow remembers that he's got really, really, REALLY good stuff and begins to dominate the AL again.

There's plenty of room on the wagon...and next month, we can all get on in our 80's clothes and hope to see a little more Lloyd Moseby, Fred McGriff and George Bell. Or at the very least we can hope that the brilliant minds in the Jays Marketing office at least do something like this:

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