Meet the MacPhail Nominees: Jacksonville Suns

The Larry
MacPhail Promotional Trophy is awarded annually to the Minor League team that
did the most outstanding promotional work during the recently concluded season.

This year,
11 teams (representing 11 leagues) have been nominated for the trophy, and the
winner will be announced on Dec. 3 at the Baseball Winter Meetings Awards
Luncheon. Over the next several weeks, this fine blog will run interviews with
representatives from the nominated teams, in an effort to shine some
light on their promotional strategies and philosophies.

Today we speak with Kirk Goodman, the General Manager of the Southern League’s Jacksonville Suns (Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers). In addition to being nominated for the MacPhail Trophy, the Suns are also the Southern League nominee for the John H. Johnson Presidential Trophy (awarded annually to the Minor League team that, basically, is the most excellent of them all).

Prior to this season, had your team ever been nominated for the MacPhail Award? If so, ever won it?

We were nominated a few years ago, but were not selected to win.

In 25 words or less, what is your team’s general promotional strategy?

We want to do things that make sense, entertain our fans, sell more tickets, and help us make a profit. We don’t believe in doing insane promotions simply for the "shock" value. If it doesn’t draw more people, it wasn’t successful.

What were some of your biggest promotional successes from this past season? Anything that just didn’t work?

Our Jimmy Buffett night is always a big one with a jersey auction and post-game concert. We also did two big Family Faith Nights with big-name Christian acts (Avalon and Mark Schultz) that brought in huge crowds. We have trouble finding anything that works on Monday nights, though we keep  on trying! We also tried to make one of our early season day games focused on high school kids, which was not nearly as successful as the younger schoolkids.

What is your favorite sports promotion of all time?

I read about one the Frisco RoughRiders did a few years ago where they had a fan win a LASIK surgery but took it a step further. Before the game the patient did an eye test on the Videoboard to show how bad his eyes were, then he was airlifted to the surgery center and the doctor gave periodic updates on the Videoboard. The patient was then flown back after the game and took the eye test again with great results, showing how quick and successful the surgery was and they had a ceremonial stomping of his glasses. Risky, ingenious, and ultimately memorable!

Then, of course, there’s always Disco Demolition Night to mention. Recently, the Portland Beavers’ Bob L. Head Giveaway was brilliant.

Now it’s time to start planning for 2008. Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for next season?

We are kicking around some ideas, but I can’t divulge the secrets just yet…you’ll have to buy a  ticket!

Links: Meet the MacPhails: Fort Myers Miracle, Tri-City ValleyCats
                                                 Jacksonville Suns Home Page

The next edition of "Meet the MacPhails" will appear on Tuesday, when we speak with Brian Oropallo, Promotions Coordinator for the West Michigan Whitecaps.


a little off topic but i want to spread the word…did you see or hear about the bet that Conan O’Brien and Joe Buck made? He was a guest on Wednesday night’s show and explained how during broadcasts his friends will text him a word that is not used in baseball (example was wasabi) and he will incorporate it into the broadcast. Conan said he’ll give $1,000 to the charity of Joe’s choice if he incorporates “jub jub” into the broadcast. So everyone, listen up!

It will be some time during the world series, so you can keep Fox on mute for the rest of the ALCS.

I’m sorry, but what the **** is with that Jacksonville logo? Is that the mascot? Am I supposed to get fired up every time “The Winking Pederast” comes out in dune buggy? Or does he drive out in a windowless, powder-blue van?

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