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  #16  
Old 10-23-2012, 07:41 PM
kobo kobo is offline
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The one comment that is a head-scratcher is the shuttle buses from the park to the Green Line station. I'm assuming anyone taking public transportation needs to walk at least three blocks to get home AFTER they get off the train, so I'm not sure why the three blocks to get there BEFORE they get on the train is a struggle. It's not that far.
It goes back to the perception that the area and neighborhood are 'bad'. We all know the area is safe but there are still plenty of casual fans and non-fans who think that if you walk outside of a 1 block radius of the park you'll be mugged or beat up or shot. The Sox really do need to try and do something to change the perception of the area surrounding the park.
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  #17  
Old 10-23-2012, 08:04 PM
ChicagoG19 ChicagoG19 is offline
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3. Believe it or not, ticket prices and parking fees weren't the most talked about thing in the 400 pages worth of comments. Rather, fans discussed the commitment of time it takes to attend a Sox game. It is not real easy to get to the ballpark, especially for fans in the suburbs with traffic and all. Add on top of that, you might need to leave work early to a get to a weeknight game, and because baseball doesn't have a clock, there's no predictability about when the game will end. Because of the economy and other factors, people have changed their habits over the last four or five years. Brooks said coming to a Sox game has become like going to Great America for some people -- it's a once-in-a-summer kind of thing. Obviously, that's not what the organization wants. They need to change people's habits back, and they know pricing isn't the silver bullet to fix the problem. It's a combination of things to form a better connection with fans: Pricing, improving the ballpark experience, better broadcasts, more interaction between fans and players, etc.
I realize this is wishful thinking and a reversal of a 60-year trend, but I hope during my lifetime we see a renaissance on the Southside, and middle/lower upper-class residents populate not only Bridgeport, but the neighborhoods around Bridgeport as well. I am not talking about just about the yuppie types, but families with some disposable income to more games without the time commitment being a factor because they live in the area.
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  #18  
Old 10-23-2012, 08:04 PM
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JB98 JB98 is offline
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Originally Posted by Brian26 View Post
The one comment that is a head-scratcher is the shuttle buses from the park to the Green Line station. I'm assuming anyone taking public transportation needs to walk at least three blocks to get home AFTER they get off the train, so I'm not sure why the three blocks to get there BEFORE they get on the train is a struggle. It's not that far.
That gave me pause, too. Like I said in my initial post, I make that walk after every game I attend. The only time I'm dissuaded from walking down to the Green Line is if it is raining, in which case I'll join the masses cramming into the Red Line station.

I guess what it comes down to is the Sox need to increase the reasons for people to come to the ballpark, while at the same time taking away some of the excuses people make. "I don't want to walk to the Green Line" seems like a lame excuse to me -- unless you're handicapped -- but you can bet there will be people out there saying that out of pure laziness, irrational fear of the neighborhood or some other silly reason.
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  #19  
Old 10-23-2012, 08:07 PM
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Then they need to hire new Play by Play guys. Neither Farmer or Hawk do any of the 3 things mentioned. Farmer maybe a bit moreso than Hawk, but that's only in regards to teaching the game. Hawk, for all his passion for the Sox, just does not come across as a teacher and definitely does not paint a picture. He's the complete opposite. I'm not trying to upset anyone here, but if the organization seriously wants the broadcasting teams do these things then changes need to be made.
Even though Brooks hasn't specifically said it, I feel like he's implied the Sox broadcasters need to do a better job of those three things. It's not clear if or how the issue is being addressed.
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  #20  
Old 10-23-2012, 08:24 PM
Harry Potter Harry Potter is offline
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Jason - thanks for providing a very detailed recap - much appreciated.

8. Concession prices. That's a very interesting topic because some stadiums offer a STH discount on food at select concession stands. I was at a Braves game this past summer and noticed this. While it's not a priority on my list (there are many Sox games I attend in which I don't eat anything), it's an interesting perk I wonder if the Sox have considered.
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  #21  
Old 10-23-2012, 09:28 PM
SoxThunder SoxThunder is offline
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Here are my suggestions to improve the ballpark experience:

1. Hire friendly, personable guest services staff. I know these are low-paying jobs, but why do these people have to just stand there like statues and never smile? The lowest moment that I witnessed was last year when an older gentleman tripped and fell down several stairs at the Gate 5 exit. All the guest services people just stood there and watched, silently holding their "thank you, fans" signs. For goodnes sakes, help the man up and help gather his belongings! Does this really require training?


2. Offer free wifi at the Cell. Some of the diehards might hate this and say, "watch the game and put away the smartphones!" But face it...younger fans love posting pictures on Facebook during the game, tweeting, or watching in-game stats/replays on MLB At Bat app. My Internet browser (Verizon iPhone) almost never works when I'm at the Cell. Maybe US Cellular does this on purpose to make you think about changing cell phone carriers! The Sox should give incentives/prizes to people who "check in" on Facebook, Yelp or other social media. You can create that "buzz" if you're constantly seeing your friends "checked in" at the ballpark. Seeing this on your newsfeed makes you wish you were where the action is.


3. Have the in-game entertainment be more fan interactive. For example, ask trivia questions about Sox history or trivia about what the correct umpire ruling would be in an odd situation. Fans could text their response and the first 10 people to get it right would get a text response: "Correct! Please proceed to guest relations to get 2 ticket vouchers." Or whatever...be creative. Just please, no more horrible fan dancing on the dugouts.


4. Lastly, (going along with the idea of making the broadcast more "educational"), make the pregame experience educational as well...especially for kids. Have Bulls/Sox training academy coaches host mini training sessions to teach kids how to run bases, how to bunt, how to field, how to throw, hitting off a tee, etc. Do this with wiffle or tennis balls to reduce injuries if necessary. Make use of the fields and grass at beautiful Armour Square Park. People love baseball more (and go to more games) if they appreciate the fine details and fundamentals of the game. I know they have the Fundamentals deck in the park, but there's not much space there.
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  #22  
Old 10-23-2012, 09:42 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Thunder:

They do have This Day In Sox History feature (sometimes with video) and ask questions about the franchise on the scoreboard, I've seen it.

Lip
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  #23  
Old 10-23-2012, 09:58 PM
SoxThunder SoxThunder is offline
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Originally Posted by Lip Man 1 View Post
Thunder:

They do have This Day In Sox History feature (sometimes with video) and ask questions about the franchise on the scoreboard, I've seen it.

Lip
Yeah, I know. I just think it'd be better and more interactive if you could text and submit your answers and win prizes while at the park.

My main point is...a large percentage of fans now have smartphones that they're holding all game. Make them "active participants" with the in game experience as much as possible.
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  #24  
Old 10-23-2012, 10:37 PM
fisk4ever fisk4ever is offline
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Originally Posted by JB98 View Post
Even though Brooks hasn't specifically said it, I feel like he's implied the Sox broadcasters need to do a better job of those three things. It's not clear if or how the issue is being addressed.
Many have commented on the radio guys not giving the score often enough. Seems easy enough to solve that one.
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  #25  
Old 10-24-2012, 12:18 AM
ws05champs ws05champs is offline
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Interesting about how high time commitment ranked. I live in Elmhurst and that was a major factor for me giving up my season ticket. It just sucks when you are coming home from a night game and are stuck in a traffic jam on the Eisenhower at 11 P.M. While there is nothing the Sox can do about that, how about more PACE buses to the ballpark or making getting out of the parking lots more efficient. Also it is aggravating after spending more than an hour to get to the game, having some parking lot attendant give ambiguous directions and then getting verbally abused by some other moron parking lot attendant at the other end.

As far as concessions and customer service go, it sure would be nice if the concessions people were a bit faster. It seems like getting anything requires the sacrifice of at least a half inning. I doubt if McDonald's would put up with how slow and inefficient the concessions staff is at the park.
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  #26  
Old 10-24-2012, 03:17 AM
dickallen15 dickallen15 is offline
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I don't know how they are going to deal with the time factor, most of that is out of their control. As someone wh lives on the near north side, I can tell you it takes significantly more time to get to the games and get home on the Red Line these days than it did 5 years ago, and I only go to Clark/Division. I went from Jackson to Howard this past afternoon on the Red Line and that project they finished a couple of years ago is already one big slow zone. the trip took 70 minutes. It makes me wonder how long the Red Line on the south side will be running at decent speed once it is "fixed". Probably less than 2 years.
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  #27  
Old 10-24-2012, 04:58 AM
Martinigirl Martinigirl is offline
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This is a stupid little thing but I would think of it every winter before Opening Day. Why not have a countdown on the board that faces the Ryan? Give people a little hope for summer while driving in slush and freezing. Build excitement before the season.

My mother said they did that decades ago and I have always questioned why they stopped.
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  #28  
Old 10-24-2012, 07:31 AM
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Thanks JB for the recap. Nicely done!
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  #29  
Old 10-24-2012, 09:00 AM
DeadMoney DeadMoney is offline
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Originally Posted by SoxThunder View Post
1. Hire friendly, personable guest services staff. I know these are low-paying jobs, but why do these people have to just stand there like statues and never smile? The lowest moment that I witnessed was last year when an older gentleman tripped and fell down several stairs at the Gate 5 exit. All the guest services people just stood there and watched, silently holding their "thank you, fans" signs. For goodnes sakes, help the man up and help gather his belongings! Does this really require training?
This is a big thing in my mind. Go to other parks around the country and normally you'll find older (possible retired, or semi-retired) people ushering people in the seats. This year alone, I was to St. Louis, Seattle, and Los Angeles (NL) and the ushers were so friendly and so accommodating even though we were there cheering for the visiting team. Interestingly enough, when it comes to friendly/accommodating ushers, the same thing can be said for most of the ~25 parks I've been to.

Let's face it, a lot of people nationally think the worst of our ballpark - and the 'Southside of Chicago'. When people who support other teams come in to our park, having a friendly staff (from ticket takers to ushers to concession people) would probably go a long way towards changing that perception. Unfortunately, I know the concession people are the same people we get at every other venue in this city so that probably won't change, but the rest of the service staff at the park could use a major upgrade.
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  #30  
Old 10-24-2012, 09:37 AM
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doublem23 doublem23 is offline
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Sox are limited to who they can hire for in-stadium staff, IIRC, due to a deal made when the new park was built, they have to be from local neighborhoods. Trade off, I suppose, to allow the Sox to further destroy their neighborhood.
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