Saturday, January 14, 2006

Omaha Royals: Solving their problems

The most positive news about the Omaha Royals this week came out on Friday, and it doesn't involve a new stadium. It's that the Minkers are considering selling their interest in the Royals. I don't know whether these new prospective owners would be able to do a better job or not; they still are from out of town. But, they probably can look at the failures by the current owners and make the necessary changes.

New ownership may still move forward on a new stadium, which may make sense for them. These prospective owners recognize the value of Rosenblatt, and if they decide to proceed on a new stadium, they will probably do a better job of selling it to the people of Omaha. Which, if they want much in the way of contributions from the city, they'll need to do.


Anonymous said...

We'll see what new ownership may or may not do with a stadium, but by all accounts, they are a lot farther along in plans to build a new facility than some realize.

Hosh said...

Just got done reading both of your posts from last week (love the site, by the way) about the Royals. You talked in your other post a lot about the product the ORoyals put on the field. Granted, they were 15 games under .500 early in the season, but they did finish only 1 game out of the playoffs. That's even better considering that the best players the Royals had got called up two weeks before September. The KC team does not help the perceived image of the Omaha team.
I do agree that the biggest problem is mismanagement, not the stadium. I love going to Rosenblatt, and the NCAA has made the city put in a lot of money for the CWS (including a new video board sometime this summer!). Omaha is, like you said, used as a place to rehab and house older players while they pull up the exciting talent from Wichita (this will be highly tested with Alex Gordon this coming summer). It is too bad because the nights when there are people there, it can be great. However, I've laughed more often than not when Bill Jensen announces the Omaha Royals and the clapping is more sporadic than a Major League rerun. From all accounts (aka, the Omaha paper) the new owners are dedicated to the marketing side, which would help.
I will also say that, while the team doesn't do a good job of promoting itself, the Omaha media didn't do a good enough job of promoting the Royals, especially the last few weeks as they were fighting for the division. While the media doesn't deserve all of the "credit" for hiding the ORoyals, they don't help the situation.
The one way that the "NoDo" stadium would help is because it's new and Omaha is a "did you see me at the new hotspot?" town. The stadium wouldn't be that much of a draw after a year or two if the team isn't run better (i.e., promotion).
Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the minor league system is less about wins and losses for a draw vs. entertainment. If you have a new church, but the pastor still stinks, you're still going to skip church. Or think of it this way, new paint job, old car, you're not going to get better performance.

O Royals are notorious for bypassing the AAA system with new talent. I believe that most people are aware that Wichita is where the talent is groomed, especially the pitching.

I will admit, that after attending many different parks around the country, I will only go to the Blatt during the CWS, or when the Zephyrs (fornerly the Trappers) are in town.

Husker Mike said...

With the announcement by Mayor Fahey last week, my guess is that they are well along the way towards having a plan ready. The only question might be in figuring out how to pay for it at this point.

Those delays and the time that it will take to build a new stadium will give the new owners a chance to address the franchise's other problems.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully I can get my thought process across without loosing it's meaning.

If you're from Omaha and "new" ownership wants to build a new stadium with tax dollars, wouldn't you just be a little upset with the Blatt right there. If this plan was proposed in my town where I knew the city/owner were both to account for poor attendance, I'd be letting everyone of voting age know about it.

The point I'm trying to make is that the citizens of Omaha (if city money is used to build a new stadium) are asked to bear the sins of an inept city government and poor management of the team. Omaha has a jewel of a baseball park, it's time the city and management of the team gave it the respect it deserves, in that the city needs to gets off it's backside and realize that just any old kid is not right to be an usher at the stadium, and management has to pull it's weight in order to create fan support.

(We were in Las Vegas last summer and attended a day game with temps well over 100 degrees. Too hot to have patrons come out onto the field to do anything sort of events. That didn't stop the ushers, who would do crazy dances between innings to keep us entertained. The ushers would bring us water, the concessions gave everyone ice who asked for it. The ushers would grab foul balls in the cheap seats so little kids wouldn't have to touch the hot seats to get a ball. In the middle innings, the stadium came around and handed out coupons for a free ice cream cone at Baskins Robbins. I dare say that nothing like that would have happened at an O Royals game.)

In my opinion, it boils down to do you want a new stadium, or a new product, because as I see it the old product didn't sell in a stadium a multitude of teams would gladly move into.

Husker Mike said...

I don't know who hires the staff at Rosenblatt; I always thought it was the Royals, but perhaps they are city employees. I don't know who is to blame, but I've heard this type of story over and over again.

Building a new stadium without addressing these issues first is going to be a financial disaster for this community. I'm not saying a new stadium is a bad thing; it might be a good idea depending on how the economics work out. But no stadium should be built until the Royals improve their management.

Anonymous said...

I was told by the front office of the O Royals that the service staff is hired by the city, and "we have no control over that process".

I've gotten to the point, where I will the Blatt only when my minor league affiliate comes to town, or the CWS. A sales rep I had a chance to visit with once told me, "you can have a nice facility, you can be open 24 hours a day, you can offer all the services you want, but if you're selling sh**, no one is walking through that door". ( I apologize for the language, but that quote has stuck with me.)

What he was telling me, it's better to have a great product, (a good experience at the ballpark), than try to dress up a pig, and then pass it off as a beauty queen. Ultimately, the product has to be able to compete with the movies, the old market, etc. and right now the O Royals put out such a poor product, it can't compete. Instead of the management accepting the failure as it's own, they are trying to blame a structure for the poor attendance. If the structure were really the problem, how do they manage to get 20,000+ fans to practically every CWS game? If the structure was faulty, I guarantee the NCAA would be gone in a heartbeat, they have numerous other towns that would love to throw cash at the NCAA to get them to move the CWS. So guess what? It's not the structure!!!

Hosh said...

The main promotions people are ORoyals employees, but many of the peons are city employees.
I agree with your "poop" comment. I realize that its not always about wins and losses for families to come to the ballpark, but to build a large following, you have to appeal to regular baseball fans. That means you have to consistently win games. And tell people you are winning games. The stadium will be a band-aid on a ruptured aorta.

Anonymous said...

In major league baseball I would more apt to agree with the previous statement. My previous comments have been based off my experiences.

We attended a game in Casper, WY where the stadium was the same place the legion ball kids played (they have their own park now). The dugout was so small some of the players had to sit on folding chairs outside the dugout. The seats were the same ones you'd find at a high school field. The place was packed. The entertainment between innings was fun.

We attended a game in Salt Lake City, very nice new park. The place was close to filled. We asked if this was unusual, the people said it was an average crowd. They mentioned the owners (maybe he and she meant management) worked hard to make it a place for families to come.

We attended a game in San Bernadino, CA and people waited in line to get into the park. (A single A club, and we had to wait 30 minutes in line to get in.)

Ray Winder field where the Arkansas Travelers play is over 70+ years, and I would say it would rank in the top three of our minor league ball park experiences.

Fans will always come to the ballpark, they love baseball. The challenge is to get their families to want to come with them.