As the Baltimore Orioles embark on their rebuild, there is concern that fans will not come out to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to watch the team. Here is a suggestion to boost attendance throughout the entire organization.
The Baltimore Orioles are in the midst of a major rebuild; a 47-115 season will do that for an organization. Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter are gone and Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde have taken their places. Sig Mejdal has been added to lead the team’s analytics department.
There has even been a change in the owner’s suite as brothers Louis and John Angelos have taken the day-to-day responsibilities off of their father’s hands. Peter Angelos remains the Orioles’ majority owner although he seems to have faded into the background.
All this change means that the Baltimore organization is not your father’s Orioles organization. There will be new players aplenty for the fans to get to know and support as the rebuild continues. This fact has drawn concern among many that the fans will not attend games and watch players that they do not know. I personally have heard many times the refrain that the Orioles of 2019 and beyond may just be a minor league team so there is no reason to watch.
One of my colleagues here at Birds Watcher, Steve Rudden, penned a piece about ways the team can maintain attendance during the rebuild. His thoughts got me thinking about the matter and I think I have a way that may benefit all levels of the Baltimore organization.
When Mike Elias was introduced he said that one of his goals was to “build an elite talent pipeline” within the organization. Obviously, that pipeline will run from the lower minors all the way up to Baltimore. The fans will see this pipeline produce the future players they will watch on a day-to-day basis in the future. Fans should get to know and begin to follow those players before they reach Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
My idea would not only help the fans get to know the players, but will also help to boost attendance not only in Baltimore, but in Norfolk, Bowie, Frederick, Salisbury and Aberdeen as well. I would encourage the Orioles to deepen their partnership with the minor league affiliates and offer a reciprocal ticket discount program.
The team already had a program in place called the “Orioles Passport” where fans received a gift if they attended an Orioles’ game and a set number of games at the minor league venues. All they had to do was get their passport stamped at the individual locations to participate.
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My proposal goes a step further. Fans who attend a game at any of the Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliates can take their ticket stub to the Oriole Park box-office on game day and will receive a discount on tickets to that night’s Orioles game. Likewise, they can take their ticket stub from an Oriole game to any of the minor league stadiums and receive a discount on tickets to that night’s game. The team could maybe make a commemorative tee shirt as a gift for fans who visit so many games through this program.
The goal of this idea is to not only boost attendance throughout the system but solidify the bond between the minor leagues and the major leagues in the fans’ minds especially. I am certain that fans will get to know the players as the minor league stadiums are more intimate and access to the players is easier. The minor league players will talk with and interact with the fans both prior and after the games.
I am certain that a partnership such as this will expose fans to previously unknown or unfamiliar venues and will improve the baseball experience for all. Keep in mind that a high tide lifts all boats.
What are your thoughts fans? Would you participate in a program like this? Share your thoughts on the matter.