01 June 2008

There You Go Again

When we got home after Saturday night's game, we parked the car, parked ourselves on the sofa and, even more predictably, Derrick Hall parked himself on the FSN postgame show. It cracks me up when he dutifully thanks nervous underlings, like Mark McClune, for "inviting" him onto this hour long Diamondbacks commercial masquerading as an analysis segment - like Derrick's a guest by virtue of anything other than the fact he runs the place. After losing four in a row with more paltry homestand attendance numbers (through Friday, anyway), Hall appeared eager to pounce into the booth at the first wisp of good news in a week - a Dbacks' victory -to inflate flagging public confidence, with his confidence game.

The Dbacks had been freefalling against the weakest overall schedule in all of baseball, and with Webb facing the NL's worst offense and some kid named Bergmann - let's face it - they really needed the win. But to listen to Derrick (and local fans have little choice in the matter), everything's wonderful or soon will be. His team (the one with the sub .500 RPI) is great and incredibly exciting. Every aspect of the Chase Field experience is "great", although customers - the people even Hall would publicly concede matter most - beg to differ. Indeed, several fans near me last night in Sec. 133 complained about various aspects of Hall's dumbed down assault on the game experience.

Derrick even abandoned laments about lagging season ticket sales to suddenly assert they're fantastic, which likely represents a manipulation of terms more than a particularly meaningful increase in sales. He hinted the current base is almost 16000 - "up from 12000 a year ago" - yet a year ago he claimed the base was 14000 - I know, because we discussed this subject in a 2007 online chat. He quoted the 14K figure all over town back then. Well, sometime this spring, after that record breaking 94% ST retention he likes to brag about, it turns out the 2007 base was more like 12000.

Well, la di da.

This is the kind of creative accounting that positions Congressional spending increases as "cuts" and gave us the quarter million "trained" Iraqi police three years ago who ended war as we know it - but Hall gets away with his shenanagans because this isnt life and death after all - it's only baseball (a $6B enterprise with fiercely private books and publicly financed stadiums). The solemn visage of Don Rumsfeld or Ted Kennedy isn't required here - just a boyish looking Team President with years of high level executive experience, grinning like an oblivious greeter at Wal-Mart.

He tried to plant the perception that the season ticket base grew by almost 4000 (30+%) since last year, which is either true or false depending on how one defines "season tickets". If you define them (as 99% of the public does) as full season packages, Hall's claim is laughably false, as evidenced by individual game crowds this year barely eking over historical franchise lows. An Astros game in April failed to draw twenty thousand; the Giants barely drew 21 last Thursday - figures incompatible with an influx of four thousand new season ticket holders.

So, this "four thousand" (or is it two thousand, I forget?), evidently includes the morass of partial packages which is just how Derrick Hall likes it. Why? Because it's confusing as hell and he can fashion unlike numbers into misleading impressions without ever defining his terms. And dont think he doesnt know it. In the same 2007 online chat, my request for a breakdown of full and partial packages was deftly and cheerfully sidestepped. It's powerful information he doesnt want to give up.

Instead, Hall prefers to implicitly (and obtusely) define "season tickets" one way, hoping to spark a buzz amongst a public that defines the term entirely differently (and more accurately). Not long ago, I purchased a ten pack for about $150. For all I know, I'm one of his new 4000 season ticket holders, which would be downright amusing were it not for the fact that I enjoy none of the discounts or privileges associated with that designation.


Russell said...

Ha! I was in section 132 on Saturday! Totally agree about the shrill voiced Vanessa and the ads. But I will give my exclusive thoughts on my own blog (when I get round to it). The highlight of the game for me was watching some rube try to grab a ball down by third base with little success.

Matt said...

Oh. Were you the pale fellow in the "Archuleta was Robbed!" T shirt?

Russell said...

No,I was the very red skinned fellow in the "Archuleta was robbed!" T shirt.

Michael Norton said...

"Figures lie and liars figure." It was nice reading this because it reminded me the Clintons didn't really invent imaginary numbers. The idiot who conceived of negative numbers forgot about square roots.

Michael Norton
Some Clubhouse

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