Ratto: A's display rare marketing savvy with twin bill

July 15, 2011, 11:02 pm
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July 15, 2011


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First, youre not on the 405, so whatever stinks about your weekend is nothing.Second, you get lots of extra baseball tomorrow as part of the first forward-thinking idea the As have had since Jose Canseco.Of course, they did this by looking backwards, but this is good backwards. The good-old-fashioned two-games-for-the-price-of-one doubleheader, as opposed to the sit-down-now-get-out-now-come-back-in-with-your-wallets-open doubleheader, or the we-got-rained-out-but-you-still-have-to-get-in-get-out-and-get-in-again doubleheader.

We dont often credit the As with marketing savvy, since much of their marketing seems to hinge on the unstated proposition, We dont really want to be here but since we are . . . variety. And frankly, the only way this actually works is if the As beat the Angels twice -- Trevor Cahill over Jered Weaver, and Rich Harden over Ervin Santana.You see the problem here, right? The Angels look pretty good, twice.RELATED: MLB standings
But lets view this from the viewpoint of the meek inheriting the earth because, well, what the hell? Why not one time for the soft underbelly of the American League? Why not one big day for the folks who really need one?The majority of doubleheaders end up in a mildly satisfying split -- which is to say a mildly unsatisfying split. Everybody gets something, and the As are only 12, or 13 games behind Texas, and 15 or 16 games behind New York. Theyre still safe in 12th place, and the rest of the season is still an extraordinary slog just to seek relevance, especially when pitchers like Brett Anderson get a 12-month surgical hall pass.RELATED: A's Anderson has elbow surgery, season over
Doesnt seem like a lot when you think about it, really.But a sweep -- a sweep sends the audience home with songs in their hearts, twinkles in their eyes, and unconfined joy in every car, be it BART or Prius. A sweep brings hope. A sweep causes illusions to construct themselves in the imaginations of those who are sick to death of reality in all its ugly forms.It is, in short, an all-or-nothing strategy built specifically for those who are short-stacked -- an all-in for the audience. Cheap adrenalin on a Saturday afternoon. You just hope the concessions stands dont run short of frothy cold Mothers Little Helper.Doubleheaders fell out of fashion because baseball stopped wanting to give dates away to its customers. Every date was considered gold, and a new chance to optimize and monetize.But the As are trying somehow to shrink the product, whether it be by tarping the upper deck, keeping payroll and expenses under the kind of controls one typically finds in a central Asian village, and now, letting dates get away from them.This is another of those ideas, but it may still be fun for the customers, and that is more important than wondering if the management is maximizing a buck. Frankly, what the As do to make money is of less interest to us than knowing the crowd got what it thought was its moneys worth.So heres to Saturday, to the good old-timey doubleheader. Maybe Bob Melvin can get tossed from one of the games. Maybe Cahill can buzz someone and get something started. How about a walkoff in the second game? Hey, if its for the audience, give the audience full value.Lord knows they could use it.