Take Back Our Yard game with the Baltimore Buzz Brigade (and Jules)!

Jules and I attended the “Take Back Our Yard” event May 18th with members of the Buzz Brigade. Take Back Our Yard, or TBOY as it said on our shirts, is a grassroots movement to increase attendance during “prime” games such as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Since the stadium prices are so high (for Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium respectively) the fans find it cheaper to travel to Baltimore to catch a game (or the series). This has become a popular event for those fans, and often during those series, the attendance for the home team (Orioles) suffer. This group (known on Twitter as Operation Orange) aimed to change that.

Edit: Chad from Operation Orange contacted me today about my post. I was incorrect is my facts- specifically the link (or lack of) between TBOY and Operation Orange. Here is what Chad had to say: 

“I read your post about TBOY and packtheyard.  Although I’d love to take credit for what TBOY has accomplished, I needed to let you know that we are actually two separate initiatives.  TBOY, from what I’ve learned, was created (like you said) as an attempt to put more Orioles fan in the stadium as opposed to Yankee fans (or Red Sox fans).  I love the concept and came down to support (individually with my wife) when the Yankees were here last time.  
The initiative I have created (Operation Orange: Pack the Yard) was simply to pick a random, non-premium game, and sell it out.  Now, a sell-out is very unlikely for our first attempt, but you have to start somewhere…  Take a look at my facebook page and read “the story” to find out what motivated me to start this group. 
My fb:  http://www.facebook.com/operationorange (like our page while you’re there too 🙂
Sorry about the confusion everyone! 

They focused on one thing- increasing attendance. They buy out sections for resale for Orioles fans only (even though some Yankees fans got in) and offer custom orange t-shirts free with the ticket. Combine this with a Facebook page and the @Packtheyard twitter account and you have an effort that begins to get noticed. There was a lot of attention from the media that night in our section (as 98% of us were wearing matching shirts).

#B3’s own Alexa P. gets a pic with the Orioles mascot!

Fellow #B3 members Matt and Laura

This brought up an interesting conundrum for me. Here I am with a bunch of people who were chosen to promote the city supporting a grassroots effort that actually clashes with the Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) training. Isn’t forbidding Yankees fans to sit with us actually harming the cause to visit Baltimore? Is this the image that Baltimore wants to project? (Don’t get me wrong- I am NOT a Yankees fan by any stretch of the imagination)

Amy (also a #B3 member) zooms in to action on the field.

The answer hit me in the bottom of the 9th inning after the Orioles tie up the game and send us into extra innings. It wasn’t about not allowing Yankees fans in, it was about promoting Orioles pride (and thus Baltimore). Baltimore is a proud city with a long and diverse history, much like Boston and New York City. However, Baltimore has made it so attractive to attend (by offering significantly lower ticket prices in an awesome stadium and cheaper lodging) that many fans choose to visit because of the better value proposition Baltimore offers.

Joan and her husband.

So Yankees and Red Sox fans, we are happy you are here. Thank for visiting us- there is nothing we enjoy more as a city then beating you in our own house.

Fellow #B3 members Matt and Jessica

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5 thoughts on “Take Back Our Yard game with the Baltimore Buzz Brigade (and Jules)!

  1. Pingback: Oh Baltimore! « blog.joesterne

  2. Ryan & all,

    There are many different types of fans. Some are Orioles fans, some are just baseball fans, and some are fairweather fans. There are plenty of folks that will watch the Orioles every night on TV and never bother to step foot into the stadium. There are some that will only come if the team is doing good. And, there are some that will be there at every game, no matter if the Orioles win or lose.

    In my promoting of Operation Orange: Pack the Yard, I have ran into many people that give a response informing me they haven’t been to an Orioles game in years. Some people 5 or more years. I’ve even talked to teenagers that have never been to a baseball game. It makes me wonder if we are losing touch with baseball and have this generation’s parents become disconnected with the sport altogether?

    Imagine being a 10 year old, going to the stadium for you very first time, and all you see are empty seats. Imagine it happens again and again. It takes the thrill out of going to see a game in person. If a youngster in this generation goes to a packed stadium and has a great time, this will leave a lasting impression on them forever. Whether the team wins or loses. As a child, I remember those fully packed games. The excitement, the chants, the WAVE, the smells, etc. But you know what, I don’t remember if we won or lost!

    My goal is to rekindle some of that lost spirit. My goal is to get some people back to the stadium that haven’t been there in a while. It won’t happen over night, and it’s not going to happen every night… but we have to start somewhere.

    I hope you’ll be joining us on Friday June 3rd for Operation Orange: Pack the Yard.

    Thanks,
    Chad
    http://www.packtheyard.com
    http://www.facebook.com/operationorange

  3. Ryan,
    You present excellent points. As a long time O’s fan- I agree the team has been mismanaged for years. It sounds like a grassroots effort may be the only thing that is heard (and for most fans the only course of action).

    I am also curious to see how these two separate initiatives shape up in the future as well as the rest of the season.

  4. Good Post. TBOY is an interesting concept, but to me it seems like its missing a key aspect to driving fan attendance.

    The O’s havent been good in the last 10 years
    and more importantly, they haven’t done anything to improve upon the team. Fans generally wont come if there is no excitement for the team.

    Now…I think that this year was the first in a long time that the O’s actually worked on making the team better
    Vlad and D-Lee were good pickups (albeit on the downside of of their careers), but never the less, known players that can energize a team and city. Showalter is a good manager,
    and you have several great young prospects that are going to make a splash in time. The O’s are missing that one dynamic player that can change a team,
    and thats because they cost $$, and lots of it
    (i.e., Adrian Gonzalez, Jayson Werth, etc)…all $100 Million+ Players
    so that begs the question that your post (and TBOY) presents…

    Why try to drum up interest in a team when the team has no interest in doing whats right for the fans? In my humble opinion (which inst much heh), the point of TBOY, should be to strive for sustainable attendance for all games, not just the ones against the good teams. That way there can be some excitement around going to O’s games.

    Baltimore already has a step up in that Camden Yards is on of the top ballparks in the league, and is in a convenient part of town.

    It’ll be very interesting to see how this movement evolves throughout the season.

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