15 December 2010

Dbacks' Contracting Family

For all the frothing Diamondhacks is famous for, it's never taken a shot at anyone in Derrick Hall's family. Or Jim McLennan's. In fact, when a guest here posted such ill-targeted remarks, they were immediately deleted. It's a thick, obvious line that any remotely respectable blog dare not cross.

What I'm about to say stems from longstanding, resigned bewilderment toward this front office, and absent anger:

Derrick Hall just crossed that line.

No, he didnt say anything about my family. But in the most impressive (and unintentionally funny) Dbacks' production in years, he has again cast doubt on his ability to lift a big city franchise above the most intimate, choreographed platitudes

[watch video]

There is so much to absorb, admire and wince at in this landmark song and dance that I cant possibly fit it into one post. So for now, let's focus on the intro, where a little girl tells Santa all she wants for Christmas is Dback tickets. Nothing else, apparently, will do.

On its face, it's an awkward, eye-rolling bit. What actual kid would insist on Dback tickets in December?  Even less so considering single game tickets arent on sale 'til March. But since Derrick's commercial passion play must go on (and on), even Santa merrily acquiesces to these dramatic conceits.

What's funnier still about this first in a parade of charades is that the little spokesgirl on Santa's lap is Derrick Hall's daughter. At least she looks like Hall (and his wife) and is cradled in his arms at the video's merciful end.

The indefatigable salesman, who has just orchestrated the lowest ticket sales in franchise history, dresses up his own daughter in a rather expensive looking video, as somehow representative of "little kid fans" pleading for  Dback tix. I couldnt publish a spoof like that if I tried. My allegedly wobbly ethics wouldnt allow it.

They'll probably laugh it off and say "we were just having fun", but there's an insular quality to her starring (and uncredited) selection that, frankly, permeates the entire piece.  Do these overly cheerful sales reps dancing around to that godawful tune realize sales are at an all time low?  It makes one wonder what this crowd of smiling faces actually does for a living, besides grin and walk backwards.  Maybe they're celebrating any form of employment or, from the looks of it, just being alive.   

The ideal proxy to talk up Santa might be a youngster whose only club affiliation is heartfelt fandom, but I can tolerate an employee's kid. Real fans must've been hard to find in the weeks it took to put this shoot together.  In fact, the only big scale casting calls Hall conducts are for the cynically inclusive privilege of purchasing Yankee tickets at premium rates.

But the President's daughter? The President, who insisted he was building a "championship-style" team and recently rebuffed any suggestions of "rebuilding"? The President whose enormous, misguided efforts have helped result in the smallest fan base ever? His little girl is supposed to infect us with innocent enthusiasm for her father's self-inflicted mess?

It's consistent with what I've been saying for years. Hall strategically fawns over individual fans he can exploit on air, for maximum and sometimes misleading effect, while generally failing to deliver to the extended family of ordinary and potential customers. The numbers, both at the park and on TV, speak for themselves. Times are so tough, apparently, he's ratcheted up the sappy boondoggle - now producing starstruck prototypes from within his biological family.

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