Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sense For the Centsless

Thank you Dave (Ficklin) and Dave (WizardsCharter) for making the most sense out of this yet. I am a firm believer in communication. I believe this to be true of most people that if you explain the reason(s) behind decisions most people will accept the decision easier than handing it down as law.

This being said I want to say I was originally quite frustrated by the new costs to sit in the Cauldron. I do not have a lot of disposable money and my entertainment dollars go almost entirely to the Wizards. It was pretty hard to understand how the FO was doing us a favor by charging such a price for metal bleacher seats that the T-bones are getting to keep.

I could begin to justify this more in my mind if I believed that part of the 2008 STH Cauldron price was to begin to pay for a new stadium. I wish it were more about building on our future and less about covering construction costs for upgrades to a minor league ballpark.

I am grateful that Kansas City still has a soccer team and we didn’t have to see them leave only to have to bid on an expansion team once we finally had a SSS built, assuming that Kansas City would have continued to prove that it loved the beautiful game enough to make this happen. Perhaps its easier to be short sighted and complain about costs than to look into the reason for the price hike.

I accept this price hike like swallowing a double-edged sword. On one hand I see the need to cover the construction costs at CAB and to begin to build the Cauldron foundation outside the “hallowed” walls of Arrowhead. (Alas this foundation will cost quite a bit to move yet again.) On the other hand I also see the FO for the crafty foxes they are. Similar to the oil companies it’s easier to stomach today’s fuel prices after having paid in the low 3s earlier this year. Raise the price, knock it down, raise it again. By the time we move into the Three Trails SSS we won’t choke quite so quickly on the price they will want the 12th man to pay.

Oh but the price would be greater without a home team. The price of silence, beauty lost, aspirations fading. I will pay to keep the cacophony of the Cauldron, the beauty of the game and the dreams of the youth who play to one day be a Wizard.

"As long as Qi flows freely through the meridians and the Organs work in harmony, the body can avoid disease."

This has been,
Baines Qi

Friday, December 7, 2007

Rose Colored Glasses

Inhale. Ok, are you feeling the burn? You do. Good, now go ahead and exhale.

Are you seeing more clearly? If not you might need another drag before you read this.

date Dec 7, 2007 8:43 PM
subject2008 Cauldron Season Tickets

Wizards fans,

After a great deal of consultation and deliberation, we can now announce the details for the 2008 Cauldron.

The section is going to be the area that is currently the left field berm--we are installing bleachers in that whole area. On the map below, those are the two areas in yellow immediately adjacent to the west end line. The other three bleacher sections are higher.

The full season ticket price in The Cauldron will be $299, $35 less than standard bleacher pricing. The half season and walk up pricing will be the same as standard bleacher pricing, $190 (for 10 games) and $20 respectively.

Full season ticket holders get a parking pass in the close paved lot, unused ticket exchange privileges, and more.

If you have been waiting on this to renew, and wish to do so, please do so via Account Manager, or drop me a line.

The installation of these bleachers is a (remarkably) expensive undertaking, and this is, more than any other decision made with regard to the seating at CAB, a decision of policy rather than the bottom line. The organization wants The Cauldron to provide home field advantage, and being a few yards from the goal and near the corner flag can help in that regard, more than any other spot. The safety concerns played some role in choosing to not leave that as berm; the comfort concerns did as well. Plus, you can make a lot more noise on metal.

There are approximately 700 spots in that section. The success of this experiment will determine the size of The Cauldron in the new stadium. We made huge strides last year, but we need to build on it. We need to fill these seats.

To order season tickets for next year, please email ( me, PM me, or call me (785-218-3636).

If you want to come out and see where The Cauldron will be for yourself (and, perhaps, place an order), come by Community America Ballpark next Monday through Saturday, 9am-4pm.


Stated by ownership last year, "we appreciate everything you the Cauldron have done for us this season. We are going to take care of you next year."

Hold on, after reading that I think I need a few more hits.

You've experienced
Baines Lungs

Thursday, October 11, 2007

TIF Commission reschedules Bannister Mall

The TIF Commission of Kansas City has decided to hold a special meeting on Wednesday Nov. 7 to review the $943 million redevelopment proposal for Bannister Mall and surrounding area. My understanding is this does include what remains of Benjamin Stables. Aaron March, a lawyer with White Goss Bowers March Schulte & Weisenfels PC who is representing Three Trails Redevelopment LLC asked the commission to hear its request a week before the next regular TIF meeting. Aaron March said the earlier date would let the Kansas City Council consider the commission's recommendation this year. Waiting another week probably would have pushed the council's consideration into January.

Out of the $943M Bannister Mall plan, $55.5 million in TIF has been requested covering roughly six percent of the anticipated budget. Reportedly, this is the largest plan to come before the commission since the Kansas City Council passed the new incentives and economic development policy in August that Mayor Funkhouser pressed for. This policy was changed as a result of the former city auditor’s publicly stated view that the commission was too lax in administering incentives.

Hell I wish I knew how much the stadium they have planned will cost. $943M WOW. Do you think the Stadium will cost $55M? Do you really think that OnGoal and the developer want the city to pay for the stadium? Get real. More than likely the $55M will be used to tear down the buildings, rearrange the infrastructure, redeveloped the utilities and possibly pay for environmental impact studies. What I am saying is that the $55M TIF will be used to clean the place up, and make it consumer friendly. I doubt they would move the new Fire station.

That leaves approximately $886.5M coming out of the pockets of the redeveloper and the Kansas City Wizards for a kick butt Stadium hosting men’s and women’s soccer and some youth fields. Keep dreaming. Maybe $50M of the $886.5M would go to stadium and youth field development, but I doubt it. That leaves a lot of cash to develop a currently large expanse of wasted land. With what you ask? With office space, retail shops, and of course great restaurants. Sorry Mr. Woody Woodruff that does mean jobs for the local community. I know you hated hearing that, but a job is a job.

You out there. Yes you. If you live in Kansas City proper start writing your councilmen and women. Let them know you support redeveloping Bannister Mall. Show up at the TIF meeting and be seen and heard. You can make a difference. If you are like me and live outside Kansas City ask your co-workers and friends to write their council member as well as the TIF Commission appointees like Claudia OƱate Greim, and Margaret May. Here is your chance to be heard and make a difference.

Please be a part of the solution.
This has been,
Baines Breath

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wizards Employee May Not Support First Amendment Right.

Sam has posted comments for all to enjoy. So if I may I shall reply to his comments.

As all can see, Sam your first amendment right exists on this Blog. I have not and will not alter your comment in any way. If you would like to have a page to state your observations feel free to e-mail Baines Breath. It will get published. After all this is a collective.

As for Anonymous blogging, I as well as others, have posted on BS for years feeling we have to hold back at times. Granted Sam you have no ability in BS to moderate us, yet it has been stated in conversation that some have received calls, email and AIMs from you requesting we delete posts. Why? Did those posts get your goat, jeopardize your future position with the Wizards, or was/is the front office not able to handle criticism. I think it is not the latter of choices.

I know this is not rubbish. You Sam have done that. Tuesday you called Baines Finicky Liver and told him he was wrong and needed to correct his statement. This is a fundamental problem driving those pressured by you to join the collective. Do not think of it as a Blog but as an open forum for all to read. You do not need to be a member. You do not need to worry about personal attack. You cannot be called an idiot here. (I delete name-calling) Just e-mail something to Baines Breath and voila it is published. Yes it’s open to all. The best thing about this Blog, come closer…no… closer, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO READ IT.
Now, I bid you, good day Sir.

Why did I start this Blog?
It’s a not a secret that OnGoal has some unhappy fans. I started it to say out loud what your fans say behind your back. You see some may say they speak their mind but they really don’t because they might get a phone call, AIM or e-mail from the great and powerful Sam asking for them to play nicey nice. When someone says something to the front office directly they receive the pat answer, “be patient, we plan to announce something in two or three weeks. ” Rather than submitting their thoughts to the Wizards only to hear the same mantra, some choose to keep it to themselves or share it with me. This gives me fodder for blogging. Thank you for your mafia style censorship.

Does my, Joe Baines, opinion matter?
Every person’s opinion matters. That is why the collective is here. Please in the future do not pressure someone to make an addendum to their Blog, just write something yourself and state your opinion.

Is there an Emotion Quotient test I can take to measure my commitment to the Cauldron and the Wizards?
Sure. Just e-mail Sam Pierron with the Wizards and he can provide you with the test.

In closing. As for your statement, “Just trying to help, because nobody has more emotionally invested in the success of the section as I do.” I personally know of at least 25 Cauldronites and Big Soccer posters who also step up every time the Wizards and Heart of America Soccer Foundation ask them. They spend their own money and ask relatives for favors to get things done so our section looks good on camera. Have you stepped up this season and offered to pay for the 50 new flags? All the new Banners? These are the same volunteers that are/were at every game under our new ownership and while ownerless, putting the club before themselves. They have just as much emotionally invested in this section as you do.

Again, thank you Sam for all you have done.
I would also like to thank those that have bought celebration materials, beer, and food and donated their precious time to the section.

This has been,
Baines Breath

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lost In Translation

When you write 3,000 words on a topic that you have a 1,000-word limiton, sometimes the original meaning isn't going to come through clearlyin the wash. Especially when discussing a topic that generates such passion.

After re-reading yesterday's missive, there seems to be a disconnect between the meaning of "nothing" in my head and the meaning of"nothing" as it may be interpreted from the final product on the page.

I suppose that it's more important to look at the context. When Mr.Maday asked that question, I interpreted it as "What large scale, proactive and tangible things has OnGoal done to help the Cauldron grow?" (Yeah, I managed to parse all of that out in the half-second Ihad before answering...)

So many of the things that the Cauldron has done throughout the years have been of our own accord and in spite of the previous ownership group. Aside from the openness and willingness of OnGoal to accommodate us, the initiation has remained largely unchanged this year. From the scarves that we've done, the Man Of The Match scarves that are presented to the Wizards players, the t-shirts that you see on our members, the flags that hang from the railing in front of our section and flying in our section during the game, and the intricate tailgate (which is open to the public, by the way... Don't be scared, we don't bite.) put on before each game, all of that has come to fruition through the sweat and hard work - and in some cases considerable financial outlays - of the denizens of the Cauldron.

I certainly didn't mean to slight the many things that OnGoal has doneto help grow the Cauldron throughout the 2007 season. From the increased and improved marketing of the Wizards and the Cauldron experience to a college-age audience to the efforts to broker a deal for an appropriate level of self-policing in the Cauldron to their assistance with the flags that have recently made an appearance,OnGoal has indeed done considerably more than "nothing."Has the Cauldron received help from OnGoal? Yes, definitely... We couldn't have done some of the things that we have done without their help. We asked and were certainly pleased with the help that the newownership group has provided. And there are some things that theyhave done that we haven't taken full advantage of.

Do we appreciate it? Cautiously, I'll say that we appreciate it more than the people who are providing the help know. (Yes, we're a bitgun shy. After the missteps this year and several years of conditioning to expect the worst, it's only understandable.)The interest is there. The efforts have started. But if I were asked the question again, I still don't think I'd change my answer, and I hope you understand why.

This has been (again)
Baines Finicky Liver

Kudos to Mr. Maday of OnGoal, LLC.

Lest the complaints be thrown around that the Baines Thought Collective is just a bunch of negativists, here are some kudos for OnGoal, LLC.

On Friday, Greg Cotton stopped by the tailgate with an odd gift for the Cauldron – 80 bottles of Kansas City’s finest barley pop (Boulevard) – inspiring comparisons to Steve Pastorino (Real Salt Lake) and Stan Kroenke (Colorado Rapids), both of whom have made a regular effort to contribute to the respective supporters groups, as well as Peter Wilt, a man whose dedication to the fans is legendary within MLS circles. As anyone who has been around the Cauldron in any fashion can tell you, we always enjoy a good beer (or several) before a game. Marcelo Balboa can even attest to the fine beer tastes of the Cauldron, as he enjoyed an Irish Car Bomb with us at the US-Mexico World Cup Qualifier over Labor Day weekend 2005. Not surprisingly, Mr. Cotton’s gift was well received.
But what was more intriguing was a discussion that Greg Maday had with some of the gentlemen who are behind the tailgate itself. After sampling the fine array of smoked goods offered up and proclaiming it better than anything he’d tasted at the American Royal (you know, the big assembly of the “best” competitive BBQ teams in the country held in Kansas City every year), Mr. Maday asked what the front office had done to help the Cauldron.
The reply – nothing – surprised him. True, the reply wasn’t entirely accurate by the letter; the Front Office stepped in to make arrangements for a traveling group of fans to stay at the team’s rate in the team hotel in the Wizards’ visit to the Dick (Dick’s Sporting Goods Park) to play Colorado, and coordinated a bus to transport fans to the game and back in Chicago in more recent memory.
He questioned why. The answer is that we have never asked. After several requests and years of abysmal treatment by the previous ownership group, the Cauldron had learned its lesson. We have had to grow on our own, often fighting Hunt Sports Group and Curt Johnson tooth and nail for every little concession.
What impressed me most about the conversation with Mr. Maday was his sincerity as he said that there has to be something the Front Office can do to help. While there have certainly been some stumbles this season on both sides, the increase in atmosphere and sheer numbers of folks exhibiting real passion for the Wizards has been evident.
Sure, the many season ticket holders who purchased season tickets under the promise (later broken) that the Wizards would be a) playing games in a smaller, temporary venue; and b) wouldn’t be offering any random ticket discounts ala the oft-abused “Zard Card” of years past have a legitimate complaint, one still needing to be made whole and not necessarily by the opportunity to spend more money with the team.
No, the sincerity of Mr. Maday’s conviction that OnGoal can do something to help those who have supported and inspired this team with passion and vigor, traveling hundreds of miles to away games and standing throughout the entire 90 minutes of each home game to lend voice and desire to the men on the pitch, was impressive. Not just because he was out there – Curt Johnson used to come out to one tailgate a year and allow the fans to ask him any question – but because he was earnest and sincere about wanting to support those fans who have given so much in support of this team.
And it’s not just Mr. Maday that has shown that belief either. Neal Patterson and his wife have visited many a Cauldron tailgate, even going so far as to pump the keg for one of the traveling fans in Denver, and Robb Heinemann sported a Wizards away kit with “Cauldron” and the number 1 on the back at Friday’s match.
Whether these sincere promises become fulfilled or leaves us longing for the days of the Hunt Sports Group – where we knew that we were going to be shat upon, but it didn’t cost as much – remains to be seen. On the whole, however, it is encouraging. It is a sign that we finally have an ownership group who “gets it” about soccer.

There are missteps and problems that will need to be worked out as we both grow, but this ownership group finally seems to realize that taking care of your best customers – the ones who are addicted to your product – will have marked benefits in the long run in attracting additional customers. To put it simply, it’s easier (and cheaper) to take care of your existing customer base than it is to generate new customers, and much easier than to win back old customers.
To co-opt a line from a movie, if you build an atmosphere at a soccer game that rivals the atmosphere at a Chiefs game, people will come. You can’t build that atmosphere with corporate suits and soccer moms. That is not to say that the soccer moms, corporate suits and plastic eurosnob scenesters of the Kansas City metro – that made an abundant showing at the LA Galaxy game (you know, the one allegedly set to feature a certain England midfielder) don’t have a place in the success of the Wizards, as they’ve all ponied up and purchased tickets, but they’re not as profitable to the bottom line as the long term season ticket holders and the Cauldron.

So in closing, allow this collective to express a sincere, generous but cautious thank you to OnGoal, LLC. If your actions speak as loud as your words, there is a great deal of potential as we move forward.

This has been,
Baines’ finicky liver.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tax Increment Financing Commission

It has been brought to my attention by a friend that works for one of the redevelopment firms here in Kansas City that some interesting things might be happening at the October 10 Tax Increment Financing Commission meeting at 9:00 am.


Tax Increment Financing Commission
Board Meeting Package
City of Kansas City, Missouri

DATE: October 10, 2007
TIME: 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: Economic Development Corporation Board Room, 4th Floor
1100 Walnut, Suite 1700
Kansas City, Missouri

1. Roll Call.

2. Consideration of approval of Minutes. (Jessica Middleton)

3. Finance: Consideration of Financial Report, and other matters related thereto. (Stefany Williams) Exhibit 3

Public Hearing – 9:30 a.m.

4. 1200 Main/South Loop TIF Plan – Seventh Amendment: Consideration of approval of the Seventh Amendment of the 1200 Main/South Loop TIF Plan, and other matters related thereto. (Missy Wilson) Exhibit 4

Public Hearing – 10:00 a.m.

5. 43rd & Main TIF Plan – Fifth Amendment: Consideration of approval of the Fifth Amendment of the 43rd & Main TIF Plan, and other matters related thereto. (Jenna Wilkinson) Exhibit 5

Public Hearing – 10:30 a.m.

6. Three Trails TIF Plan – Second Amendment: Consideration of approval of the Second Amendment of the Three Trails TIF Plan, and other matters related thereto. (Steve Rinne) Exhibit 6

Public Hearing – 11:00 a.m.

7. West Edge TIF Plan – Second Amendment: Consideration of approval of the Second Amendment of the West Edge TIF Plan, and other matters related thereto. (Drew Kloeppel) Exhibit 7

Nothing out of the ordinary so far.

A friend involved with the EDC was gathering some information on the meeting and learned that Mayor Funkhouser has asked for time to speak at the meeting. Should this be that shocking? I hope not, after all he's for "special" TIF projects today and against other TIF projects tomorrow. I hope the developers and On Goal LLC/Wizards have made sure they padded their proposal for the Three Trails TIF Plan. It would be nice to see one sport franchise assist the community instead of raping them like the old guard sports franchises do.

Also some members of the Commission wanted to postpone the meeting to be its own. Is this a ploy for they believe that the Three Trails TIF Plan as it's been proposed will not succeed. We won't know until the 10th. After all how many times have they tabled the Three Trails TIF Plan so far?

Pray for a positive conclusion.

This has been,
Baines Breath.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Season Tickets

I’ve been hearing rumors lately that you can call the Wizards offices to put down your deposit for 2008 Wizards season tickets. Call me crazy, but don’t you need to have a venue to play in before you should start doing that? Last year I had trusted in blind fate that the team would have somewhere for the team to play this year, so I had no problem throwing down my $50 deposit. Maybe it was the newness of having new ownership, or the fact that they were doing it while the season was still going on, instead of in January, like the previous ownership.

Not any more. My season tickets will not be renewed until I have seen a confirmed release on where the team will be playing next year. From listening to the radio and reading blogs, it had sounded like an announcement was suppose to come around the time of the Beckham game, so that the team could capitalize on that. Well, here we are going on two weeks since that game and still no announcement on where the team will be playing.

I’d also heard from Greg Cotton in a radio interview that he had stated that they hoped to have the permanent site announced as well. This is a little more excusable, as the whole process is currently out of their hands, waiting for the KC TIF council to decide on whether the Wizards and Lane4’s plan for the former Bannister Mall location is worth the TIF that they are asking for.

My point still remains, though; I will not be sending the Wizards any money towards the 2008 season until I have seen where the team is playing next year. I’d like to close by thanking Baine for the opportunity to post here in his collective.

This has been,
Baines right leg

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Larry Baines

No my name is not Larry Baines. I am not a graduate of Shawnee Mission West. No I am not a guidance counselor there either.

I am a Wizards fan though. Tonight at the Wizards season ticket holder galla at the Zoo they are going to say thank you to all of us and then we will relive all of those great moments of 2007.

In no way tonight are they going to ask you for your deposit for the 2008 season tickets. We all know that they would let us know where we are playing next season before they will ask us for our money. But, they have already started asking for money. Hmmm.

Here's to one more season at Arrowhead. So the Legend goes in Kansas.

Legends has it,
This has been
Baines Breath

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

John Hancock Lives

Thanks to freedom of speech, congratulations should go out to Wizards Fans everywhere. Also kudos to the voice of sanity in the front office.

What am I talking about? Here's the low down. An attempt to appease the fan base has been made by the Wizards organization.
Dateline 09/25/2007 6:49PM
Wizards announce benefits for Thursday ticket-holders

Great stuff here.
They are giving us Free Parking! For those of you that have been to a match this season so far nothing has changed. If you’re a season ticket holder, remember when they informed you that parking was included in your ticket package for the Beckham game? You get nothing and will like it.

"Buy one playoff ticket; get one free playoff ticket for the first home playoff game." It gets no better than this, especially if we make it to the playoffs. Woe is the season ticket holder who should use Ticket A, and B. Now, if you the season ticket holder wish to purchase extra tickets you may take advantage of this offer.

"A drawing for three kids to have a Wizards starting player...visit their school." Yes, your child has a 1 in..... lets see.. 25 to 30 thousand tickets sold for this match, and say 24% of those are children under 14 years of age. A 1 in 7,500 chance of being that lucky child. Just face it the odds are completely against your child winning this drawing.

NASCAR driver David Ragan signing autographs before the game. Not sure what car he drives but this is cool. Of course where in the Metro can you not meet a NASCAR driver this weekend?

A performance by the band Liverpool. Love their version of the White album. Excuse me. Do we not have a band at every game?

"[A] special pre-game tribute to Galaxy midfielder Cobi Jones." Please make sure you keep beer away from all kitchen utensils, spoons in particular. We do not want beer to be flung at Cobi again.

"The first 10,000 fans into the stadium will receive blue and white thundersticks courtesy of game-sponsor M&I Bank, and the game ball will be delivered to mid-field by jet pack. After the game there will be a fireworks show and then Wizards players signing autographs." I like Fireworks. I liiiike Fireworks! I LIKE FIREWORKS!

Lets not forget the
Blue Flags in the KC Cauldron. Start at post#28

And last but not least do not forget tea bagging 2007. Just a little reminder. Thursday night, when the the game clock reads 12 minutes 16 sec, we throw
2 tea bags high into the air as a symbolic gesture of protest, such as our fore fathers did on Thursday December 16, 1773 to protest the Tariffs the British imposed on them. The 2007 Kansas City version of the Boston Tea Party.

One Last thing. What are the Wizards going to do to make the season ticket holders feel better about those extra tickets they purchased? With the exception of NASCAR driver David Ragan, and of course we can't forget the jet pack ball delivery, it sounds just like every other home game.

This has been,
Baines Breath.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Stamp Act of 2007

The British were coming the British were coming.
Just a little reminder, in case you did not get the memo,
Beckham's out 4 weeks with a knee injury. What does this mean?
This means the invasion was stopped somewhere in Louisiana along the Mississippi River and those of you in Kansas City will be spared any blood shed. This does not include your wallet. More than likely it has been bleeding so you could pay the extra tariff to see Beckham play. Granted you get to watch a Major League Soccer team every home game. Yes the LA Galaxy is also a Major League Soccer team. And yes you will see Donavon and Klein AGAIN. Yet someone in the Wizards Homeland Security Department (WHSD) decided to impose a tariff based on a single player's appearance. "This tariff was set up to help offset any unexpected costs that the British threat might have incurred," according to the head of WHSD. "This tariff was establish to protect you the fan, not pad our pockets, and it has not helped allow us to travel to Europe and see other

So now it is time to spin the Beckham injury.
In the August 30 article,
Beckham to miss game in Kansas City, Robb Heineman is quoted as saying "Regardless, it’s going to be a great game with the Wizards and Galaxy and going to be a great night at Arrowhead Stadium.” And I hope he is right. We need a win or our road to the playoffs will become frought with potholes. But what I find interesting is Wizards director of communications, Rob Thomson, boasts “We still have a lot of live music and contests … we’re still going to blow up this game into a big event.”

Thomson said there would be some sort of concessions or enhancements made by the club to ticket holders but that it was premature to say what those might be. “That’s something we’re going to have to sit down and discuss as a staff,” Thomson said. “We’ll try to add to or enhance the whole day, and I’m sure there’s something we’ll do for our fans as well."

This all appeared in the Kansas City Star on August 30. We, those that payed the tariff, still have heard nothing about these "enhancements". And as of this posting there is nothing listed on the
Wizards website, no press release or season ticket holder news flash e-mail.

The spinning continues.
According to an article on Sep 6 titled
Beckham injury has Wizards spinning no-refund policy, the Wizards have "bumped ticket prices to $35 and $50 for the Beckham game. Most single-game Wizards tickets range from $16 to $20. And where parking is free to Wizards games at Arrowhead this year, the team instituted a $10 parking fee for the Beckham game."

And here is my favorite "Wizards spokesman Rob Thomson earlier this week likened a possible Beckham no-show to attending a San Francisco Giants game where Barry Bonds did not play." But unlike the Royals you are charging us a Tariff. I have never heard of a Major League team in the USA changing it's ticket prices or parking fee based on one regular season game. Much less implementing that change to watch us take on the last place team.

So to the fans I have a suggestion on how to show the WHSD that you do not appreciate this tariff. Thursday night, when the the game clock reads 12 minutes 16 sec, we throw
2 tea bags high into the air as a symbolic gesture of protest, such as our fore fathers did on Thursday December 16, 1773 to protest the Tariffs the British imposed on them. The 2007 Kansas City version of the Boston Tea Party.

In memory of John Hancock

This has been
Baines Breath.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is This Thing On?

It is time to be visible again.

First I want to say I am sorry for the long silence. I was told that I was being too aggressive and only pointing out the negatives. And now it is time to be heard again.

Today I returned to my in-box hoping to be be humored by the tons of useless emails I receive everyday from those that deem me worthy of their sick humor. When, low and behold, the Wizards have graced me with a letter titled, Kansas City Wizards to Serve as Feature Sponsor of Fiesta Hispana This Saturday, Sunday. Screeechhhhhh. Crash. What was that pick up doing there.

WOW. Kansas City Wizards to Serve as Feature Sponsor of Fiesta Hispana This Saturday, Sunday. This is great. I wish I knew who in marketing came up with this one. This person is a genius. Or are they?

So here it comes. The thought collective is on the loose.

Why in the world with all the activities that are going on in Kansas City this weekend: Oktoberfest, The Plaza Art Fair and numerous (insert city Name here)Days, would you put all your eggs in one ethnic group's basket? Please someone think about this. Yes I know it is a Latino thing. And yes I understand that at least one 72-year-old rose gardener will not be attending the Fiesta Hispana. Have you not figured out the Latino thing yet? Allow me to enlighten you.

Yes they are are fanatics when it comes to the sport. Yet you have been trying to entice them to attend the matches all season. And with the exception of when Chivas USA, DC United, Mexico national teams, or Blanco and are in town they do not come to Wizards games.

Have you not noticed that when they do show up they are wearing the other team's jersey? They have no intention of returning to support our beloved Wizards. Let me explain. The day they breathe their first breath they support the club their father supported. And their fathers support the club his father supported and so on, and so on. You just can't crack that nut. After all look at your so-called Argentinean supports, they were not there for you Saturday night because they walked out en masse shortly after the second half started. They missed a great finish. Why did they get up and leave? Because a nice young man blowing a whistle during the second half is ejected. So all the Argentinians get up and walk out on our team. That walk out sure looked good on camera. And to think I thought they were there because they support the cause. That cause is supposed to be the Wizards.

One more thing about the Latinos and why you can't seem to crack that nut. You won't let them be fans. You have a cultural difference. For some reason the whole sit on your seat and clap thing does not work for them. Bless their attempt to follow your rules, but for them to truly show their support and have a good time they need noisemakers like whistles, drums, a variety of clanking and grating instruments. And when you have the noise element you can not leave out the visual elements, smoke and fire. As long as you suppress their culture you will have problems making them supporters. Try earning their support. Have you ever watched a River Plate game on Goal TV? What our supporters do is mild. They do what they know. Let them do it while keeping things safe. Relax.

Ahh Culture. Lets look at the cultures you have not marketed to.

I would like to start by pointing out that you have completely overlooked your primary market. The US fans who are born here and will die here. Growing up Wizards or US National Team supporters isn't good enough to get your attention? You seem to be losing this market as quickly as the Argentineans walked out. You might try throwing them a bone every now and then, and I don't mean a "discount" on this year's jersey.

Any of the Asian communities. Little Vietnam, Little China or the Koreans. Extra, Extra: Soccer is the quickest growing sport in Asia. These are communities in the Kansas City market you have not tried to crack. Why? Their families are not deeply rooted in a team as the Latinos or Europeans are. Seems to me like a great tradition could be started for them.

Or maybe any one of our many first or second generation African communities. Same thing goes. They are not tied to many large clubs either. Try marketing to them. Hell, the African Cup is this year's big soccer event in the region. And I seem to recall something like the WORLD CUP 2010 will be played in South Africa. HELLO Bueller.

And last but not least the former Soviet Republics. Most of these individuals have immigrated to this community searching for political freedom after leaving their homeland. During that time, due to the level of corruption in football back home, they have no individual team loyalty outside of the national team. Yet another untapped market. Hmmmm. I smell a pattern.

If a schmo like me can figure this out I would think that your brilliant marketing department could do the same. Try researching. It works.

One last thought. I might be able to understand why you have chosen to not be represented at the Plaza Art Fair. Cost, location, or maybe you have issues with more liberal minded people, like me for example. But why do you choose to support the Irish Festival, but not participate in Oktoberfest? Both cultures have 3 things on their minds:

1. Futbol
2. Beer
3. Fun (and more beer).

This has been,
Baines Breath

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wizard Thoughts

I was born in Kansas City. I was raised in Kansas City. I am happy to say I choose to raise my family in Kansas City. I enjoy supporting this community as it has supported me through the years. From the the Brookside Art Fair to Hidden Glen Art Festival, Santa-Cali-Gon Days to Johnson County Old Settlers, I am there. I remember when the Royals were winners and Arrowhead was empty. I remember the faces that made KC what it is today.
So today I have decided to stand up and defend the faces of tomorrow; the players, the fans and the sponsers of the Kansas City Wizards. Why you may ask? The soccer community is being overlooked. You are the ones dedicating your time and resources to the Kansas City Wizards, working to build the impression that this is a successful franchise. Why do you do this game after game, event after event? Because you all believe. You believe in the game, and the values it teaches the youth that the other sports leagues have forgotten about.

To the Players
In Kansas City as you drive the I-435 loop you may have seen David Beckham looking down at you. Why? I thought he played for the LA Gallaxy. When did the Wizards pick him up, or did I drive through a transporter and end up on I-110. Ahhh, the smell of the ocean, the waves lapping at the shore line, damn, damn, damn, no that's the Kansas river and the smell of the west bottoms. This cannot be. That was David Beckham on that Billboard. It was not Jimmy "The Jaw" Conrad. I did not see Eddie "Top Scorer" Johnson there either. How about Michael "soon to be Rookie of the year" Harrington. No, I am sure I did not see them. Wow I wonder how it feels to be on your way to practice, and see David "I do not play for the Wizards" Beckham be the marketing face of your team. Eddie, I know you have a year left on your contract but the ownership/marketing department at Derby County would be showing you a hell of a lot more respect then you obviously get now.
To those Players that are involved in the non-commercial part of the community, those press releases coming out only a day or two before an event must make you feel good. If you want some free press a few weeks before an event just send me an E-mail and I will post it and forward the information on to other bloggers. After all, you are willing to spend your free time helping this community and many of us in this community want to help you.

To the Fans
To the Crusaders I would like to say thank you. Your hearts are in the right place. I know that the Wizards are not treating you like the Crusaders of old, but at least you have been resurrected. Hopefully the Wizards will let you be the franchise support group you were.

To the season ticket holders, enjoy your seats. Go out of the way to get to know those around you. Develop relationship, dare I say bonds, with those around you for you are about to spend a lot of time with them over the next few seasons.

To the Cauldron, Ahhh the Cauldron. Those that sit in the so called cheap seats,constantly complaining about the Wizards organization on BS, fan base. Yes the ones that make the atmosphere so great. No matter what the
venue, you make the atmosphere electric. You have been told it is up to you to grow the section, yet they pay/comp the Argentineans to come to the game. And what do they give you? A table to promote yourself? They use photo of you on their website and in their press announcements and give you nothing but negatives. No Smoke, No Flares, No profanity. Yet they pay/comp the Argentineans to curse in spanish. WOW. Perhaps they would like to start translating for the rest of the fans just what "punta" is.

I read on Big Soccer ideas to enhance the fan experience, yet again it appears that you are consistently being told no. "No more money, no we cannot do this for you, no we cannot do that either. NO,NO ,NO." You all truly do "Bleed Blue" as your banner says. And I do not care what other supporter groups post about your numbers, you sound good with or without all the drums.

And to the Sponsors
Thank you all for showing your support for this team. Yet I challenge you to take it to the next level. Go beyond supporting the game day activities, support our players and their charities. Offer to assist the Wizards by sponsoring a developmental team. Go to a local soccer club in either Kansas or Missouri and sponsor a youth team. Go as far as making arrangements to take those teams to a game and ask the Wizards to allow those players to meet our local soccer heroes. Not just for five minutes, but long enough to allow these kids to feel as though they got to know a star. Heck, ask the Wizards to send a couple of players to their practice. Think of the effect of a positive role model on those kid. After all the Wizards players are much better role models for most kids today than our other "ballstars." Would the Wizards do that for those kids you sponsor? I would think so. After all, you sponsor the Wizards.

I apologize. I must try to end on a positive note.
Last week I did see a new billboard. It had an unidentified player, horizontal, kicking a ball. At least its not Beckham.

This has been,
Baines Breath

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thank You Mr. Pierron

Thank you Sam for that insightful bit of information. Posted on Down the Byline

I would like to point out that you do receive a salary from the FO. Now as anyone in corporate world knows, when you're at work you defend the company, yet when you're away you may speak your mind. You have done a fine job with both.

As for the coordination and decision making practices of the company you work for, I can honestly say that I and many others would have been selling the stock, for by now it would be dropping. If a President of a company is going down to the smoker's lounge to ask the water boys if he should build the new factory in Kansas or Missouri or whether we should invest in Columbia or America he would be gone. The stock holders would have voted him and his cronies out and a competent board would be in place by now. Yet On Goal LLC is not a publicly held company so we cannot, but we as season ticket holders can still be heard.

As for your fine explanation about the 10 dollar here 13 dollar there ticket. I know that 810 Zone was selling $8.10 tickets for 2 games. I was fortunate to be sitting at a bar on a Friday night and had Mrs. Heineman hand me a free ticket. Thank God I listen to Sports radio. I got to spend only 16 dollars and 20 cents to bring a friend to 3 games. Too bad I paid 45 dollars for those same 3 games as a season ticket holder.

As for La Porra you need to take that up with their figure head, after all he is the one telling others you all have been comping tickets to them. So please talk to him about the allegations.

Can we now discuss the season ticket holders holiday party at the American Royal Complex? Mr. Rob Hieneman (Owner), Greg Cotton (VP) and Mark Naster (Sales at the time) all explained the anticipated cost of season tickets and stated there would no longer be discount or comp tickets given out. We also had the pleasure of seeing an artistic rendering of the temporary stadium, a breakdown of how the season tickets would be handled by seniority and my favorite...a statement that was made over and over, "we have the cheapest ticket in town." Now granted, due to zoning and licensing issues, we are at Arrowhead, yet I have only found one of these statements that have come true the season ticket holders seniority list.

As for letting us purchase the 2008 jersey at cost for next season because of the poor coordination and decision making practice of your company, thanks for taking more of my money. When I first puchased a half season ticket package in 2001, I received a jersey for free. Now I am privileged to pay for half of a jersey when I am giving you money for a full season. Boy do I feel honored. Spend over twice as much, and get half the jersey for free.

Here is what is helping me decide whether to invest my entertainment dollars (group of season tickets) in your entertainment company or someone elses company.

1. OnGoal LLC has not been forthwith with the Season Ticket holder base.

2. OnGoal LLC has decided to charge full price for children even though we are still at Arrowhead this season. Out of all those wonderful things given to me for my group of season tickets, none of them are oriented towards children. So far we have only recieved 1 T-shirt for every season ticket holder and one media guide for all of us. Did we miss something?

3. These really burn me:
a.) After being told no discount on comp tickets discounted tickets have been sold for $8.10 and up.

b.) For 6 games handing out comp tickets to the same group. I might be able to understand 1-2 games But 6?

c.) Selling tickets to select groups or individuals for an unbelievable price (which I cannot bring myself to disclose in such an open forum), if I knew that this was a possibility I would have only bought 1 season ticket and purchased additional tickets (without a Zard card) in the parking lot before the game.

Thank you for your service to the fans over the years. Your work with HASF helped save our team, to which I am very greatful. It is unfortunate that it appears HASF is dead. You and Greg did a lot to keep the team here and now you both deserve to work for the Wizards organization. I understand you having to walk the corporate lines.

I would like to thank Blogger for this opportunity. After all if it was not for Blogs and the sock puppets on Big Soccer we all would be walking the corporate line all the time. Thank you Constitution for our right to free speech.

And Mr. Hieneman the answer to question 7. Reynolds

This has been,
Baines Breath