Jack Zduriencik gets it. The front office gets it. Dare I say, Howard Lincoln finally gets it now?
Facebook, the world wide phenomenon that’s been as revolutionary to the everyday lives of citizens around the world as much as Microsoft windows, or even the automobile, is even revolutionizing the way that professional sports organizations operate.
Take this facebook campaign. We want a Larry Bernandez bobblehead.
This, based of course, on another hilarious character created by the Mariners always creative marketing department.
On August 27th the fans will get what they want, the team just announced today.
I’m not one to comment on the ever growing influence of social networking or the importance of communications in every facet of a human beings’ life.
But what I can comment on is how nearly a decade of terrible personnel decisions and a couple of 100 loss seasons have alienated a large part of the fan base. Just perhaps, it’s softened up Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong to give the fans a little bit of a voice. Seattle is no different than many other cities where the bandwagon or fair weather will come out if a team wins. But we are also a city that has a fair amount of die hards that appreciate the little things about certain athletes or our clubs. We appreciate our history, and cherish our memories. We’re stuck up here in our own little corner of the World, nobody else cares about us. So we need to.
The Seattle Sounders FC have already created the blueprint. They have a membership council in which fans, including the supporters groups, are given a voice in everything from marketing to whether or not to fire the coach, a tradition taken from Europe.
The Mariners did good by making an aggressive push to bring back Ken Griffey Jr. Plain and simple, it was the right thing to do. 1995 was why we even still have a baseball team, and fans came back because of the memories that that incurred. The Mariners are doing more to commemorate our past by bringing back the famous green jerseys for home games. I love it, I really do.
Especially now with the passing of Dave Niehuas, the broadcasting icon who was probably the last line of defense for kids such as myself, who grew up with Dave in the 90′s and have been losing touch with the team as of late. I questioned whether or not I could have had the same connection to this team without him, but the Mariners are giving me more of a reason to believe.
Obviously, the moves made on the field should be reason enough for me to believe. The Justin Smoak/Cliff Lee swap is coming to frution right infront of our eyes, and we are witnessing a baseball team that might not be great, but is scrappy and will be competitive. Michael Pineda, Jason Vargas and Brendan Ryan are other players that we can get behind.
But in Seattle we also appreciate our pop culture, and Larry Bernandez, based of probably the biggest rock star in Seattle sports in Felix Hernandez, is something that we can all get behind. It may just be a bobblehead, but it represents a lot more than that. It means that this baseball team is listening to the fans, and listening to the people that care about this baseball team. It reflects a fundamental culture change from the Gillick/Bavasi days of ‘We’re just going to do this and hopefully the fans like it, because we don’t really care’. It reflects a change from the Howard Lincoln philosophy of ‘We’ll just field a competitive team and the fans will come’. Well, the money isn’t quite flowing like it used to, is it Howard?
If you give us a voice, then maybe things will change. And they have.
Thank you Jack. In Z we trust.