A’s work out details to make MLB doubleheader a reality

Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted to Kevin’s Examiner page!

Not since Bill Clinton was in the White House and Beavis and Butthead were childishly giggling their ways into our living rooms have the Oakland A’s done what they will do next year.

For the first time in 15 years, the A’s will conduct a single-admission doubleheader. And they will not do it on a chilly April weekend or a possibly meaningless late September day. They will do it on a Saturday in the middle of summer against the popular and usually quite talented Los Angeles Angels.

On July 16, the A’s will play a twin-bill against the Angels. There will be no clearing of the park, no second round of tickets, no second parking fees. It wll be a summer day of baseball, a chance to spend a day at the ballpark. You get 18 innings of baseball for the price of nine – a deal unheard of in these days of multimillion-dollar contracts.

The A’s hope the attention-getting event puts butts (hee-hee-hee-hee, he said ‘butts’) in seats and is a memorable experience for fans.

The organization is also reaching out to fans, surveying them on promotions and what they want to see happening at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum this year.

Jim Leahey, the A’s vice president of marketing and sales, had a question-and-answer session with examiner.com about the doubleheader and other promotions for the coming season:

Examiner.com: Did the Players Union have to give its consent to make this happen? Did the Angels and Major League Baseball also have to give it their blessing?

Leahey: In certain cases, you must have player union approval and in others it is not required (depending on timing of previous day’s game). In this case, yes, we worked with the Players Union.

We also worked with the league and the Angels. The good news is that we gained an extra day off for the players coming out of the All-Star break so that made it attractive to all. We also have days off following the series which will help us maintain a normal five-man rotation.

When was the last A’s regularly scheduled single-admission doubleheader at home?

Leahey: We have not done a doubleheader like this in about 15 years. To the best of my knowledge, the last one was in ’95 or ’96 due to a schedule conflict with the Raiders.

Why is the organization doing it – losing second parking fees and second gate admissions?

Leahey: We are doing this to provide a good value to our fans. It will be part of an ’80s weekend (Sunday will be ’80s Day). We hope that it will attract enough interest such that Saturday’s doubleheader attendance and revenue will be close to what we would have had for Thursday plus a single game Saturday. In any case, it’s consistent with our Green Collar Baseball initiatives that emphasize value and a return to a genuine baseball experience. Win or lose at the gate, it will be different, memorable and fun.

Is there anything planned for between games? Anything different planned for game two? Any concerns that people won’t sit through five or six hours of baseball?

Leahey: Still working on the entertainment between games. It will likely have a retro feel (think Frisbee dog, at least metaphorically). There’s not a lot of time especially with lineup intros and so forth. However, it will be something simple, throwback and fun.

Saturday mid-summer, what better to do than to catch two games? Of course, people can arrive and depart as they like.

Baseball games are another experience in terms of pace … Maybe something close to a round of golf where most people prefer not to look at their watch, but rather to enjoy getting away from those metrics (back to baseball, to count time in innings vs. minutes).

Regarding the feedback the organization is seeking about promotions, are fans being asked for promtion ideas? Have you done this before? If so, what has been the outcome?

Leahey: As for fan feedback on promos, we have asked fans for input in the past (including through Facebook and Twitter this past season as we began planning 2011). This latest survey is intended to get some general feedback as well as help us make some final decisions regarding specific items. The decisions are a moving puzzle this time of year pending sponsor interest; the players on our team; key target dates; and special events, such as Little League Days and Fireworks Nights.

The overwhelming criteria is what will attract fans so any feedback that helps us with that is invaluable. I would say we have five to 10 promo days that are still pending. We constantly seek feedback. However, we are taking advantage of these new tools (e.g. e-mail surveys) like never before. Getting such instant feedback close to real time with order deadlines looming is a fantastic resource.

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  1. Gary Humfleet

    December 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    A throwback to the middle ages. When I was growing up, we had classic doubleheaders, day-night doubleheaders, twi-night doubleheaders, and sometimes a tripleheader. We had them regularly in Detroit. My dad and I would catch the bus downtown, then walk a mile out Michigan Avenue to Briggs Stadium (later renamed Tiger Stadium). After the game we would reverse the trip just a couple of dollars lighter and a lot of lies to tell about what we saw. I can’t remember a time when doubleheaders were stopped; it seems like one day they just weren’t there any more.

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