Monday, February 27, 2012

Bill Veeck: Promotional Hatred as a Marketing Tool

In his autobiography Bill Veeck gives some advice on how to use the hatred of another organization to increase the take at the gate.  He says "The best advice I can give an aspiring young baseball operator is that if your going to hate another team in your league,do it right out there in the public where everyone can see you. Private hating stunts the personality, brings on ulcers and does not a blessed thing for the box office."

Veeck called it promotional hatred and it is tied very closely to both greed and geography. Next to a local rivalry the best baseball rivalry is the rematch between David and Goliath. Veeck says, "I would rather be David because the little man is always the public's darling. The little man can dart in and out with jabs and the jibes and the fancy footwork. And, oh yes, history tells us David is a big winner.  Had a good crowd, too.

The Indians should not shy away from their deficiencies but should take the role of David and build the Tigers up as Goliath. From the ownership, to the front office, to the manager and coaches, to the players.Manger Manny Acta said "we have some talent here, our focus is to win. When you are in a rebuilding process, you can see it from year to year. We're talented. It's not a fluke when you spend as long as we did in first place.". Chris Perez has come out and said "winning is the word this year. I don't want to compete. I want to win."

The one component missing from the equation laid out by Bill Veeck is the calling out of the Detroit Tigers. What do the Indians have to lose by fanning the flames of hatred? The Tigers represent both a geographical and greed (payroll) components - so why not go in with a roar?   If the Indians have to walk away in a whimper wasn't that expected by most anyways? Have some fun with it.

**The Indians and Tigers meet for the first time at Progressive Field May 22nd through May 24th.

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