Meet the MacPhail Nominees: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
MacPhail Promotional Trophy is awarded annually to the Minor League team that
did the most outstanding promotional work during the recently concluded season.
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 each of the 11 nominated teams, in an effort to shine some
light on their promotional strategies and philosophies.
Today we speak with Jon Laaser, Director of Broadcasting and Communications for the Carolina League’s Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Class A Advanced affiliate of the Atlanta Braves). The club is owned and operated by Greensons Baseball, which also runs the Eastern League’s Altoona Curve and the State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League.
Has your team ever been nominated for the MacPhail Award? If so, ever won it?
This is the first nomination for the Pelicans since their inception in 1999, and represents the strong promotional influence and direction of new operator, Greensons Baseball.
Our strategy is to creatively entertain a largely tourist and temporary fan base in an area where entertainment options are virtually limitless. We will go to any length to achieve that goal, believe us.
What were some of your biggest promotional successes from this past season? Anything that just didn’t work?
The Pelicans enjoyed marked success in the transformation of their on-field promotions, highlighted
by the wildly popular Retro Celebrity Series. A personal favorite had to be Sherman Helmsley who of course played George Jefferson on "The Jeffersons."
However, it is our innovative approach to getting fans to the ballpark that we are most proud of. Those included promoting nightly games with airplane banners flown above the beach. Also, we employed a roving crew of "Beach Bums" to patrol popular tourist destinations distributing Pelicans’ promotional information. We also employ a secondary group of "Beach Bums", that we lovingly call the Pelicans’ Front Office.
One that didn’t work the way that we had hoped was "Awful Night." Our problem was that we did things just badly enough that fans thought we just flat out weren’t very good at our jobs. We think that perception is only partially true. We plan on getting much more awful in 2008.
What is your favorite sports promotion of all time?
This will be a retread, but it has to be "Disco Demolition Night". There has never been, and most likely never will be again, a promotion that has gone so horrendously wrong and become a living legend unto itself quite like this Bill Veeck beauty.
Now it’s time to start planning for 2008. Any tricks up your sleeve for next season?
A magician never reveals his secrets, and since we aren’t magicians, we’ll let you in on this one: Our
General Manager, North Johnson, missed the latter stages of 2007 while suffering from mono. In that spirit, we will kick off the season with the GM kissing booth. The first person to come down with mono will win a substantial Pelicans’ prize. It will also be self-serving for North.