Dear Drayton: Be Like Nolan Ryan And Lower Some Prices
I know that you probably don't pay any attention to anything that I say. If you did, Ed Wade would be on the unemployment line, Carlos Lee would be playing rancher fulltime, and Pedro Feliz would be playing baseball in some independent league where he belongs.
But you should really listen to me on this one because it just might make you some money, and we all know how you are with money.
As you might know, Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg recently became the owners of the Texas Rangers. And even though they paid a lot of money to get the team out of bankruptcy while holding off Mark Cuban, they're doing a few things which, while appearing to cost them some cash, will ultimately make them even more cash.
The Rangers announced last week that they're going to do whatever it takes to sign Cliff Lee, the free agent pitching ace they acquired last month. They're committed to making the team better, and they're going to do anything possible to make the budgetary constraints work.
But that's not the big thing. The big thing is that they reduced prices around the ballpark. Prices for parking. Prices on concessions. Prices for merchandise. It's almost like Ryan and Greenberg have realized there's this recession thing going on and maybe their fans are having trouble buying things.
The price reductions aren't really that big. Parking is now $10 instead of $12. Hot dogs prices were dropped 50 cents, and soft drink prices were dropped by 75 cents. And the price for premium beers is now $6.00 instead of $7.00. But it's the thought that counts.
Drayton, I know you're probably having a heart attack at the thought of any type of price reduction for any of the items you sell inside the park. But seeing as how the attendance is really sucking for your really bad ball team, this might not be a bad idea. Hey, the Rangers are about the only team close to clinching a playoff spot, and if they're willing to do this, then it should be something you might want to consider.
And there's one other thing you need to do. You need to ignore the Richard Justices of the world. You know, those people who are telling you that, based on their play the past several weeks that the Astros can contend next year. They can't contend. Any team that has Brett Myers as an ace is in no contention to contend. Don't waste your money on more guys like Feliz. Don't make a move for the likes of Carl Crawford - I love Crawford, but I doubt he would be willing to come to a place that looks too much like Tampa Bay before it got good.
Let the youngsters keep playing. Kiss Brian Moehler goodbye and give Wesley Wright a real chance. Tell Brad Mills to forget about playing Carlos Lee at first base and give Brett Wallace a season to prove what he can do. Let's see if he's good as he promises to be. Kiss Feliz and Geoff Blum goodbye and let's see if Chris Johnson can handle a season in the majors after the pitchers have adjusted to him. If he can adjust to the adjustments made by the pitchers, then the Astros might be in decent shape for a few years.
But more importantly, lower your prices. Give the fans a break. Try charging the same prices for concessions that they charge in convenience stores. Try charging the same price for an Astros t-shirt as what they charge at Academy. Your profit margin might be a bit smaller, but you'll still make some cash, and the fans will be a lot happier. If Nolan Ryan can do it, after all, then why can't you?
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