Friday, May 17, 2019

Does Fort Worth Need Trash Pandas Or Sod Poodles Playing Baseball?

It does grow old, even for me, making mock of something I read in Fort Worth's pitiful little newspaper, the Star-Telegram.

This time the subject was Fort Worth's storied baseball ballpark, LaGrave Field, and Fort Worth's equally storied baseball team, the Fort Worth Cats.

Need I mention I am being sarcastic with the use of that "storied" word, which I saw used at least once when reading today's  What will it take to make the Fort Worth Cats a home run? Not baseball article?

Let's read through this article together, copying out some choice bits for your reading amusement...

Baseball won’t save the Fort Worth Cats or LaGrave Field. Experts in minor league sports branding say a team can stack the roster with former Major League Baseball names or young talent looking to make their mark with home runs, but that likely won’t sell tickets. Instead, a resurrected Cats team should focus on entertainment and definitely not be something they’re not: The Rangers.


So, apparently there are minor league sports branding experts. And those experts do not think baseball will save Fort Worth's baseball ballpark. So, if the Fort Worth Cats are brought back to life they need to focus on being entertaining, and not focus on something like baseball, which the Texas Rangers are already focusing on, a few miles to the east, in Arlington, in the same county as Fort Worth, with the Rangers playing in a beautiful ballpark, soon to be replaced by an even better ballpark.

You are probably wondering what is this entertainment these minor league sports branding experts are recommending. Well, one of those experts used another town's ballpark entertainment as an example for Fort Worth...

The focus isn’t baseball. It’s family fun, he said. People pay for the sideline antics. Among the circus-like performances: A character called “Coach,” the epitome of the high school P.E. teacher cliché, clad in short shorts and constantly doing calisthenics. Rather than a ketchup, mustard and relish race, fans have donned ears, nose and throat costumes to race around the park. The gags are kid-friendly with jokes that parents enjoy too, he said. “The biggest complaint in baseball these days is how long it lasts,” he said. “You’re not going to complain about a three hour movie if you’re entertained. That’s what we do in the ballpark.”

Oh yes, I see the value in consulting these minor league sports branding experts. What fun that will be, being entertained at the revived LaGrave Field whilst being bored by baseball. I would love to spend three hours watching a "Coach" character goofing around in short shorts whilst doing push ups. What a fun time that will be in Fort Worth, with fans donning ears, nose and throat costumes to race around the park. People will be coming from all over the world to see this.

And then there is this...

Scott Berry, a former Cats executive, hopes his Save LaGrave Foundation can pump new life into the decaying LaGrave Field with the Cats as the cornerstone. This week the foundation reached a 10-year agreement with Tarrant Regional Water District that secures the field for baseball and not redevelopment for the time being.

My eldest cousin is Scott Barry. He used to report regarding baseball for the Seattle Times. But, I think this Scott in the Star-Telegram article is not my cousin, due to the last name being spelled slightly different.

Anyway, isn't it interesting how an article in the Star-Telegram just casually mentions that to play baseball in LaGrave Field one needs to reach an agreement with the TRWD.

But, the Star-Telegram does not tell its readers in this article that the TRWD did not control that piece of land back in the previous era of LaGrave Field being in operation mode. The land was then owned by a friend of TRWD Board Member, Jim Lane, named Carl Bell.

Carl Bell filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Jim Lane then finagled financial shenanigans which resulted in the TRWD buying Bell's land for millions of dollars. I think the sum was $22 million, if I remember right. And this then somehow resulted in the nearby opening of the world's first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century, the Coyote Drive-in.  How this drive-in escaped the fate of getting the infamous Panther Island label is not known.

Why it is considered okay for an agency responsible for flood control and providing water owns a baseball ballpark is a mystery. Perhaps this is yet one more example of what is known locally as The Fort Worth Way. Which has come to mean, to many, a corrupt crony controlled way of operating a town.

Back to the article...

Brandiose recommends clubs, even those with a history, start with a naming competition. It sounds quaint, but getting the community involved at the onset is crucial, he said. And he recommends clubs abandon traditional names like Lions, Eagles or anything vaguely associated with the Majors. This process birthed teams like the Rocket City Trash Pandas, a Double A minor team in Alabama or Amarillo’s Sod Poodles. These names are something that can’t be ignored, appeal to kids and foster a storyline, Klein said.

Oh yes, I can see why this is why this ballpark has failed repeatedly. It's all about the name. Cats. What a terrible name. Who would want to watch Cats play baseball? Yes, Trash Pandas or Sod Poodles. Now that would be get me in a ballpark, no matter how boring the baseball playing might be.

Well,  read the entire What will it take to make the Fort Worth Cats a home run? Not baseball article to get the full dose of this latest Star-Telegram goofiness, while we end this by starting that community baseball team naming competition.

How about the Fort Worth Goofballs? Or the Fort Worth Crony Crackpots? Or the Fort Worth Outhouse Keepers? Geez, the best name just came to me, instantly obviously the perfect name...

The Fort Worth Boondogglers...

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