The Padres game on Monday night had a pretty interesting gimmick -- Padres broadcasters Mark Grant and Dick Enberg called the game from the new "On-Deck Suite." The eight-person deck is right by the visitors on-deck circle, so our broadcasters were right on top of the action.
However, the sole purpose of broadcasting the game from a unique vantage point was not to give the fans and broadcasters a different experience -- it was to sell seats that most of the Padres fan base simply cannot afford. The whole ploy was cheap, and reeked of desperation. Also, it was quite distracting and completely annoying.
The whole presentation started off, trying to be cute. Old man Enberg and Mark Grant ordered "virgin margarita's" and had their own personal waiter catering to their every whim. You see, Mr. Rich Padre Fan, if you spend five thousand on the sweet, some dork will bring you beers and nachos all night! The broadcast boasted about the buffet for those ticketholders, which probably featured meats and cheeses the rest of slobs are not privy to. Padres president Mike Dee stopped by, to talk about ANOTHER suite, this one in the Western Metal Supply building. Uncle!
The whole broadcast was cheap and condensing. Only the coked-up energy of Billy Mays would have made it a true, tacky infomercial experience. I turn on Fox Sports San Diego after a hard day at work to watch my beloved (but mostly unwatchable) squad, and I certainly don't need to watch a glorified timeshare presentation about tickets that I could never afford, no matter who I blackmailed or what bank that I robbed. Every inning featured either a phone number or a banner plastered on my television. I just wanna watch Yonder Alonso ground out!
I understand that the Padres need to be creative to generate revenue. If more expensive seating leads to more revenue, which in turn leads to a more competitive roster, then so be it. I would gladly pay a little more money for a seat, if it meant the Padres were a legitimate contender every year. However, I do not need their advertising shoved down my throat. I have Padres account representatives calling me bi-weekly to renew my season tickets. (I would, but money is tight.)
The Padres fan base on Twitter seemed to universally pan the broadcast. Here are some thoughts from my followers on Twitter:
Avenging Jack Murphy(@AvengingJM): "I just caught up on the game, My thoughts on young hurler Yordano Ventura..he's doing well to pitch through this infomercial."
Chris Garcia (@sportsbrain): Ok, so I didn't get games last year, have the Padres tried this hard to sell tickets during a broadcast?
Brent Parker (@BParker17): It's not that that the seats and stadium aren't nice, @padres. It's just that no one wants to fall asleep at a stadium 81 times a year.
Gavin (@CT2SD): The Padres are spending their entire broadcast marketing a fan experience that only 1% of their fan base can afford.
I understand the Padres taking time to let the fans know about an awesome new experience. However, most of us die-hards cannot afford it. While watching the game, it reminded me of a timeshare presentation. I sit there for several hours, listening to a presentation about a resort in Vermont that I couldn't possibly afford, in return for a small gift. Sure, I could probably swing the experience if I avoid food and paying rent for a few months.
The Padres must really think that their fan base is stupid. Thank you, Padres and Fox Sports San Diego for ruining tonight's broadcast.