Malfunction at the Photo Day Junction
I am not one of those people who take thing lightly in life. If I see a problem, I speak my mind and if the problem is fixed in the future, then no one ever hears about it again. With that inmind, I need to address a situation that happen both outside and inside the Trop. during the Season Ticketholder Photo Day.
Now I am willing to take into account that the day was postponed from yesterday (Saturday) because of the committment to Fox Television for the MLB Game of the Week featuring our Rays against the Twins. And for Fox, the game turned into rating gold as the Rays battled the Twins and finally got to celebrate their first Postseason Berth in franchise history.
Because of that event, I can see the reason to postpone the annual Photo Day until Sunday. I can honestly see the reasoning and the logic behind the change and want this to become the event I remember from last year, and the years before. It was turned into a fiasco outside by the Security team letting everyone take the main corridor into the stadium for the Season Ticketholders. Instead of snaking two lines, one north, one south, everyone was corralled into one central line with a line all the way out to the security enterance beyond the tiled walkway.
We finally got it together and the line was split not more than 10 minutes before we got into the building. So, for this I will give half credit to the Security guys to take the bull by the horns and make the situation better before it got worse. With that in mind, what happened inside after we got to the blue ropes was a tremedous disappintment to me and a huge number of Season Ticketholders who remember the last 8 Photo Days, even back when Fuji Film used to sponsor the event.
As we sat there waiting for the first group to arrive out at the roped off area, it was after 11:10 A.M. before the first guy, Mitch Talbot got to the line and began talking, shaking hands and getting his photo taken with a few people. During this time a small group of guys finally got out there and did their time walking the line talking to friends, and meeting new ones. I have to admit, the first group got through the lines, which stretched the entire length of the outfield in good amount of time.
But the next group, which included rookie David Price was whisked by so fast you almost had to set your camera for a action shot to even get him in focus. The other guys meandered by taking photos with the people until it was about 11:35 A.M. Then I overheard someone talking to one of the interns that we had to speed this up. Considering that about 18 players actually got out there today, it went pretty fast.
But what set me off and a few of the other people was when Eric Hinske was ushered around with not even a stop every 10-15 feet so you could get a picture of him, much less with him. He was rushed by so fast we only got to see the side of his head, and did not get a chance to even say Congrats to him. Now I am an ex-professional player, and I know that sometimes these events can be draining, but this turned into a public relations disaster for the team.
It would have been better to postpone it for after the game instead of try and rush just these 18 guys around like cattle and then get the field ready for the game. After the win last night, you would think that these guys would enjoy a little down time to just chat and BS with the fans. The pressure put on them by the sales staff was unprofessional in my mind. By the way Jeff Tanzer, before you rush to even try and condemn me for this, I do have adegree in communications and marketing and I know how to sell a brand. Just ask to see my national Pepsi rings.
I heard and saw Jeff give the rush orders not once, but twice concerning the amount of time they had on the field and what time they had to get the players back into the locker room. It was a disgraceful event, and I know I am not the only one that will complain about it. But I will be the only one to put it on my website and on MLBlogs for the rest of baseball to see how you treated a sacred event to us, your Season Ticketholders.
We are not the Corporate sponsors, or the deep pocket people, but we are the ones who are friend with each other and can make a voice heard. We are also the group of people who have seen Photo day before where almost every player came out and participated, even for a few minutes. Missing from the event was player favorites like, Carlos Pena, B J Upton, Jonny Gomes, Rocco Baldelli, Scott Kazmir, Dioner Navarro, and Rays Manager Joe Maddon. Not even one Coach came out for the event.
I am only saying that if you think the event can not be run with great results, why did you not postpone it or run it after the game. You would of already had the players out there for the “Shirts Off Their Backs” promo, and with our wristbands, it could have been a controlled situation. But instead it became a frazzled and mis-aligned mess that will have repercussions beyond that day.
It is a day I look forward to every year. I get to chat and take a picture with the guys I respect and admire for what they can do on the turf. It is a day we can put confidience and a feeling of unity with the guys who sweat and bleed between the line for us during the season. But instead, we saw guys sprint by us like they were missing their flights.
I have heard rumors that you guys are thinking of having a send-off party at the airport, or a welcoming party at the airport upon return from a out-of-town set of games. If it is run correctly, I know we all would love to come and be a great part of this year. If it is run like today, why bother when it is clear that some in the management of the Rays do not have the fans best interest. We love this team and what it stands for more than anything in this world, but we also do not want to be treated like a outsider in our own town.
Do the right thing and think twice from now on. Oh by the way, since I have this platform to voice my displeasure, let me give you Jeff Tanzer, the Director of Season Tickets amd Sales, the option to hear other fans voice their comments to you. You can reach Jeff at (727) 825-3193, or (727) 825-3204. I hope you call and at least just let him know what you thought of the event. I am not trying to blow the phonelines off the wall, just want the Rays Republic to be able to voice their concerns and suggestions.
In closing, I want to thank these players for coming out today for the Photo Day, Akinora Iwamura, Mitch Talbot, Justin Ruggiano,Gabe Gross, Ben Zorbrist, Edwin Jackson, Juan Salas, Dan Johnson, David Price, Eric Hinske, Jason Bartlett,Trever Miller, Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour,Jason Hammel,Michel Hernandez, Jeff Niemann,John Jaso,Chad Bradford,Matt Garza and James Shields. Andy Sonnanstine had a great reason to miss today since he was the starting pitcher for the Rays today
And Jeff, you can reach me at Raysrenegade@yahoo.com, or ask anyone in the building who knows me for my number. Have a better Day.