Baseball's FutureDolich

Sacramento River Cats
San Jose Giants

Andy Dolich -- 2015

MLB to overhaul

By Andy Dolich

People will come, Rob. They'll come to towns all over America for reasons they can't even fathom.  " It's only a few bucks a ticket." 

They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it. They'll walk to the bleachers and sit in their shorts on perfect afternoons to cheer their young baseball heroes.The memories will be so thick, they'll have to brush them away from their faces.

People will come, Rob. The one constant through all the years, Rob, has been Minor League Baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But Minor League Baseball has marked the time by accessibility. These fields from coast-to-coast, these games are part of our past, our present and our future. Oh, people will continue to come, Rob, millions will most definitely come. ( With apologies to James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams.)

Nothing Minor League about it
The Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) between Major League Baseball (MLB) and minor league teams expires at the end of the 2020 season. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is leading a strategy on restructuring Minor League Baseball (MiLB). If this plan becomes a reality, more than three dozen cities with minor league affiliations will disappear, along with hundreds of minor league players and thousands of fans. The plan, if adopted, would reduce Minor League Baseball from 160 teams to 120 beginning in 2021.

Having spent 14 years in the front office of the Oakland A's (1980-1994), with a son who worked for the Pacific Coast League Sacramento River Cats, along with many colleagues who carved out outstanding careers in Minor League Baseball, this plan of reduction seems to be an illogical brushback pitch from Park Avenue to Main Street.

The proposal from MLB reorganizes the full-season minor leagues. While there would still be Triple A, Double A and A ball, those levels could be reworked to make the leagues geographically closer. Not all current full-season clubs would survive the negotiations.

I understand some of the Pros from MLB's point of view:
*  Costs of upgrades for aging facilities
*  Player compensation
*  Increasing financial stability of certain franchises
*  Player-care and working conditions
*  Streamlined transportation and lodging costs
*  Demographic changes of baseball viewership
*  Reducing costs of MLB teams

The questions that come to mind as a lifelong marketer in the sports world are:
*  Next generation of fans, where are they coming from?
*  Next generation of players?
*  Next generation of administrators and executives?
*  Affordability?
*  National reach?
*  Story telling of baseball, dreams do come true; just ask Jose Altuve.

I have been lucky enough to work on the business and marketing side of teams in the Big Five pro sports leagues and consulted with IMG College after graduating from Ohio University's Sports Management Program. My education and career advancement came in large part from observing and borrowing many successful promotions, marketing concepts, advertising ideas, logo treatments and, most importantly, how to sell tickets.  Many of those creative concepts came from Minor League Baseball:
*  Dot Racing
*  Many different wild wacky and wonderful promotional days
*  Kids running the bases
*  The creative logos and names
*  Autograph days
*  New food items
*  Mascots
*  ABA -- Always Be Affordable

Minor League Baseball is the most perfect research and development laboratory in sports. No other pro sport comes close to vetting the future salespeople, marketing, and player personnel experts as the minors. If you were to ask the 30 major leagues teams for their annual Research & Development budgets, they wouldn't know.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media is valued at $3 billion dollars.  The thirty MLB franchises are worth in the neighborhood of $60 billion dollars.

I respect any business that is trying to stay ahead of the market and looks to maintain its financial agility. If you run a national business with over a hundred franchises, you're going to have challenges, as has been communicated by MLB to MiLB.

I don't know what MLB's investment would be to improve, upgrade, innovate and set standards that work for everyone. If I have a $70 billion dollar business that is striving to maintain it's national DNA, they should be able to address any shortcomings with MiLB and not change the baseball way of life for millions of Americans across the country.

The strength, depth and magic of the Minors has sustained the growth of the Majors for decades.

The most important transaction in this baseball off-season is to have MiLB and MLB to figure out how they can continue to Play Ball!
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Andy Dolich has over five decades of leadership in the sports industry, including executive positions in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, pro soccer and lacrosse. Presently Dolich is COO of the Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) and teaches sports business at Stanford's School of Continuing Studies. Dolich is also co-author of the new book:
Message from Andy Dolich

Andy Dolich -- 2015

One Warm Shirt
and Socks,


I have a simple request, whether you live in the Bay Area or anyplace else in our country, I want the shirt off your back and the socks off your puppies. Over the past seven years I have been lucky enough to partner with St. Anthony Foundation and NBC Sports Bay Area in growing our One Warm Shirt Program. This year we are adding the warmth of socks to grow the program.

We are collecting as many sweatshirts, hoodies, long sleeves, t-shirts and now athletic socks as possible to donate to the San Francisco community served by the St. Anthony Foundation. You are receiving this request because you donated in the past or might donate in the future and have always exhibited the spirit of philanthropic community-focused proactivity in helping others. This note is a reminder to either set aside items before the holidays take over for a follow-up communication or send to us now.

The distribution event will be a part of a post-holiday lunch served to the recipients on a February date in 2020, TBD

Please send what you have:
*  New or gently used
*  All sizes
*  From the bottom of your drawer, storeroom, irregular pile, gym bag, attic or basement
*  Misprinted logo bin
*  Events that no longer exist
*  Logos or colors that are too garish for your style

You can send or drop your shirts off:
Andy Dolich
Dolich Consulting
5100 El Camino Real, Ste. 208
Los Altos, CA 94022
St. Anthony Foundation
One Warm Shirt & Socks
c/o Sam Brock
150 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

Thanking you in advance for your participation in Year Eight of One Warm Shirt and Socks.

Andy Dolich
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Andy Dolich has over five decades of leadership in the sports industry, including executive positions in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, pro soccer and lacrosse. Presently Dolich is COO of the Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) and teaches sports business at Stanford's School of Continuing Studies. Dolich is also co-author of the new book: