Randy Whitaker's 2017 Winter Meetings Journal, Day Three

It's Fun to be a Fan! And more celebrity sightings

By Harrisburg Senators | December 13, 2017 8:10 AM

Note: Randy Whitaker is blogging each day for us from the Baseball Winter Meetings. We will posting articles each day this week. Follow along as Randy talks about the nuts and bolts of the meetings, nightly dinner and all of his baseball celebrity sightings.

Winter Meeting blog - day 3

Monday at the Baseball Winter Meetings is busy. Tuesday is pretty close.

It was a four-seminar day in Orlando as we worked on maximizing the season before it happens.

This was a digital day. The first seminar was all about compiling data that would lead us to creating the best potential environment and experience for our fans. How to collect the data? How to use it? What will the results be? How much do we need to know?

The overall theme of Minor League Baseball over the past couple of years has been - It's Fun to be a Fan. I remember that being used back in the 00s as well. It is even a bigger emphasis now. How do we use that to create fan loyalty and reward them for that loyalty? Is it stuff or is it experience. You tell me.

In the afternoon FELD Entertainment (the folks I've worked with for years on Ringling Brother Barnum and Bailey Circus until the animal right activists destroyed them) told us about their strategies to connect to their customers as they promote their other events - Monster Jam, Disney on Ice, et al. I think our product parallels theirs much closer than they even recognize. They have coined "Generation C" as their primary target. It is beyond demographics. The center of Generation C's definition is the "C." C = Connection. They are based in social media. Emotionally connect with them and you connect with the whole family.

Finally, I got to here words of advice from the Rick Vaughn (not Wild Thing!) who works with Cubs manager Joe Madden, about establishing, maintaining and protecting our brand. Once we understand our brand, we can project it to our players and staff so that they can keep it consistent. I'm not sure he understands how little control we have over the players at our level. But the principles are solid.

Between seminars I was able to get up into the Dolphin Resort to see what was "buzzing." I went out to the media end of the complex and had a few "sightings." Waiting or completing interviews, new Red Sox manager Alex Cora was chatting it up. LA Dodger's manager, Dave Roberts was there also. I remember Dave when he was an outfield prospect on City Island playing for the Akron Indians. I'm currently reading former ESPN analysist Jayson Stark's latest book - "Wild Pitches, " and saw him in the common area. I went back later to see if I could get him to sign my book, but couldn't find him.

Immediately following the seminars was our annual Washington National's affiliates reception. The Nats are nice enough to gather all their affiliates each season to thank them for their support and participation in the development of their players. I was able to touch base with the Nats staffers who we work with throughout the season, as well as talk with some of the top front office staff. My favorite time was spending a few minutes with former Phillies and Angels All-Star catcher Bob Boone. Bob's son is the new manager of the New York Yankees. It doesn't get any bigger than that in baseball. Bob shared with us some of his managerial experiences, particularly his very first game as a manager when he had to pull his pitcher out of the game while he still had a no-hitter going. Really entertaining from one of the true stars of the game. 

So it was a wall-to-wall day. More to come tomorrow for the last full day. Stay tuned.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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