Thursday, June 10, 2010

Breaking a Baseball Contract

Dudley Worthington Henderson was the owner of a minor league baseball franchise, the San Pedro Seahawks, and he had a problem. It seems that his team was contractually bound to play in the city of San Pedro, CA through the season of 2018, as long as attendance remained a specified amount: a seasonal average of 2000 fans per game. Unfortunately despite drawing about 2760 fans per game, operating costs accelerated and, even with ticket price increases, could not be effective in dealing with the increase.

There was a bright spot on the horizon: Salt Lake City was wooing him with a superabundant offering, if he could somehow get his beloved Seahawks to move there. It had everything: a large, wholesome, baseball-loving population, a stadium to die for, and tax breaks that would turn a New York developer green with envy!  He approached the San Pedro council, asking relief from the contract, but to no avail.

So, he tried the Florida Marlins strategy: sell off good players and staff the team with duds. Well, the team dropped in standings from being a pennant contender to in last place, but the fans persisted. The problem, you see, was that the Seahawks games was a mecca for the local retirees, who needed something to do.  Even support a bad team.  As a matter of fact, they stubbornly clinged to the Seahawks even more, much like the Brooklyn Dodger fans of yore and the Chicago Cubs fans today do with their hapless teams.

He then tried reducing the quality of food at the concession stand.  Lot good that does, for baseball fans are used to bad food!

So Dudley Worthington Henderson tried a new approach: change the team's name to one that was unappealing.  But this required subtlety.  After all, if he chose a team name that was offensive, that would drive the fans away.  But this posed a challenge: if he gave the team an ethnically offensive name, it would result in substantial fines and legal defense fees.  A funny name?  Yes -- but what? After all, minor league baseball teams are known as the Lugnuts, Biscuits, and Sounds already, and they have fans.  Those loser names did not seem to annoy the fan base.

And, after all: once the contract is severed, the team could move to Salt Lake City and adopt a new name.  Let's see now: the Salt Lake City Seagulls, the Salt Lake City Honeybees, the Salt Lake City Polygamists . . . . .

But for now, the San Pedro team needed a new name.

So Dudley Worthington Henderson announced: because of the Seahawks' recent deficiencies in play, henceforth they are to be known as the

San Pedro Sissies!

No comments: