Brevard County Manatees fans won't be surprised to hear their favorite team was named as the winner of the 2005 Larry MacPhail Trophy.
The award, which symbolizes the top promotion effort in Minor League Baseball, was announced by Minor League Baseball on Tuesday and will be presented during the Baseball Winter Meetings next month in Dallas.
According to the league office, the MacPhail Trophy "goes to a team that has special problems to contend with as a member of the Florida State League, where the beaches and Disney World are just minutes away" and weather is often disruptive with torrid heat, incessant rain and the occasional hurricane.
There are many kinds of ballpark promotions, including giveaways, pre-game and post-game entertainment and special projects involving fans, for example Brevard County's World Record First Pitch Day last August (4,218 fans took part).
For General Manager Buck Rogers and his staff, promotions must be fun, feasible, affordable and -- most important -- add to the fan experience.
"Focusing on the five senses will get your fans a great experience," said Rogers, who was a presentor at the Minor League Promotional Seminar in September in Memphis.
"Take a minute to remember your first baseball game. You'll remember the sight of the freshly cut grass, you'll remember the smell of the guy sitting behind you smoking a cigar, you'll remember being with your Mom and Dad. But you sure won't remember the score."
In announcing the award, the office of Minor League Baseball stressed that baseball is a unique business in which teams have a limited time to sell their product, which is basically entertainment. After all, the "store" is only open for business about four hours a day and only for 70 days a year. The Manatees have done an excellent job of maximizing that time.
"Be creative," Rogers said. "If you under promise and over deliver, you'll never have a problem."