Hi, how's it going? I see that you'll be taking over soon and I just wanted to make a suggestion. No, I'm not going to tell you to go get some pitching as I'm sure you're already familiar with our problems there. And I'm not going to tell you to find new leadership, because I have a feeling you'll be doing that at some point in the next year anyway.
No, my suggestion is something else entirely. Something that would have the power to make you beloved by Reds fans, despite the losing, despite all the broken promises of the past ten or eleven seasons. Something that would immediately mark you as one of the most forward thinking owners in the sport, in all of sports actually.
What is this panacea you ask? Blogging.
Now I know what you might be thinking (besides what the hell is a blog, in which case we're in some trouble I suppose). You might be thinking that there's no point in an owner of a professional sports team giving such access to the secret society that is sports ownership. You might also be thinking that your moves will be debated endlessly anyway, and that anything you have to offer will simply be more fuel for the fire.
You're wrong. Here's what blogging has to offer you:
- Increased communication with the fans. This has been a terribly sore spot with Reds fans under Dan O'Brien. He offers little to nothing when it comes to the rationale for the moves he makes. There is nothing that will piss off fans more quickly than making them feel like outsiders. Blogging would be tossing the fans a huge bone, giving them some reassurance that there is a plan, and that the plan has some merit behind it. And if you can't defend your organization's actions then perhaps it's time for a change of course?
- Less reliance on the press. The Cincinnati papers have fairly good Reds beat writers as far as these things go, but you're still limited by the space formats of a daily newspaper. Why give an hour long interview to John Fay or Marc Lancaster when it's simply going to be condensed to 1000 words or less? Why not simply write it yourself, hit publish, and then have a record of exactly where you stand on various issues concerning the Reds.
- Positive free press. A blog written by yourself would immediately make the Reds a hot item in Cincinnati, and it would generate a ton of discussion, both in the mainstream media and in the blogosphere. I have a harsh reality for you Bobby: you're now doing business in a football town. But at it's heart it's a baseball town. Cincinnati simply needs a reason to really care about the Reds again.
Some have given interviews to bloggers (John Schuerholz over at Talking Chop, and Billy Beane stops by Athletics Nation so often that it's basically a non-event to non-A's fans), which is a great start, but an enterprising GM could go a step further. There is plenty that a general manager of a MLB team could write about that fans would find fascinating. I'm not talking about state secrets here. Simple nuts and bolts updates with some analysis would bring forth a tremendous amount of fan appreciation.
The opportunity is there. I've read that you're likely to change the Reds TV and radio contracts, much like the Cardinals have done in St. Louis, and this leads me to believe that you're not averse to change, and that you're not against trying new things. Give this a shot, either yourself or your general manager (okay I said I wouldn't do this, but how about Paul DePodesta? He'd definitely see the value in blogging). All the fan goodwill in the world, for the low, low price of free. You can't beat that.
All the best,