Meet the MacPhail Nominees: West Michigan Whitecaps

Westmichiganwhitecaps 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 Brian Oropallo, the Promotions Coordinator of the Midwest League Champion West Michigan Whitecaps (Class A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers).

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

We have won the Midwest League’s Larry MacPhail Award twice before, in 2002 and 1997, but we have never won the national award.

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

We try to provide an exciting atmosphere each night for our fans. We want to entertain those that come to one game or 70 games.

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

Success: Thrifty Thursdays provided cheap food and drink for the fans, each night had a theme and after the game we had a party with a band on our deck.

Star Wars Night was awesome. We had special jerseys that we auctioned off for charity and there were about 40 different Star Wars characters roaming the stands thanks to the local Star Wars fan club.

We also did a Fan Vote Bobblehead, which included campaign videos, commercials, and a debate on the first base dugout. Our on-field announcer beat out a former player, a former manager, our mascot, and the team’s owner.

One promotion that worked well outside of a game was our mascot running a 5K to help promote the run and raise money for the YMCA.

The Ty Cobb bobblefoot was a unique bobble giveaway that showed Ty Cobb sliding into the baseBobblefoot
with his cleats up and foot bobbling.

Things that didn’t work: I don’t want to mention any names, but let’s just say that sometimes you can pick the wrong person to be a bobblehead. Also, Neil Diamond Night didn’t go as planned because everyone thought our Neil Diamond was Elvis.

What is your favorite sports promotion of all time?

Our favorite promotion has to be Eddie Gaedel getting called up and wearing number 1/8. That is only something Bill Veeck could have pulled off and it really started all of the craziness we are allowed to do today.

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

Of course, but we don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. But don’t worry, our sales people will make sure we have our promotional schedule done soon.


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

West Michigan Whitecaps Home Page


1 Comment

people thinking Neil Diamond is Elvis? where are these guys from Michig… oh. I see.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: