Five ways the Toronto Blue Jays have built buzz this off season

Thursday, April 5, 2012 | |

The Toronto Blue Jays open their 2012 season today in Cleveland and I can’t remember a season in the past 20 years that has held so much excitement. There’s an equal chance that these Jays will challenge for a playoff spot or will be exposed over 162 games as a team still a season or a key player away from contending, maybe two.

But what can’t be argued is that the Jays have done more right than wrong this off season to create a buzz about their team for the foreseeable future. There’s hope they might be good enough this year, there are players to be excited about and there’s reason to believe this is a team with a future.

How have they done it?

1. Communicating the plan: The Jays have made it very clear that their plan was to acquire players with “high ceilings” at every level of their minor league system and allow them time to grow into a championship team. They’ve made sure we hear not only about Brett Lawrie, J.P. Arencibia and Henderson Alvarez, young stars who have made it to the big club, but Anthony Gose, Travis D’Arnaud and Drew Hutchison, future stars still a season or more away from making the big club. It doesn’t matter that we’ve never seen some of these players play, we believe that the plan is solid and that these players are going to be something special. Communicating the plan allows us to be patient and optimistic.
2. Communication from the top: Throughout last year and this off season we heard from President, Paul Beeston, General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos and Manager, John Farrell. All are open, friendly and clear when they talk about the direction of the team. The fans feel informed and trusting toward these three and are more apt to buy in to the promise of better baseball ahead.
3. Effective messaging: Team President, Paul Beeston was asked about the Jays and their chances of making the playoffs and said he expected them to be in the playoffs twice over the next five years. Beeston has said on many occasions that they’re building to be a team that can contend every year. Fans don’t want to hear, “We hope to be good,” or “We’re trying.” They want to hear, “We plan to win and more than once.” These messages go far with a fan base that wants to believe.
4. Using Social Media to connect with the fans: Jays’ players such as Jose Bautista, Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Lawrie have embraced Twitter and communicate often with their fans. They’re seen as likable, hard working players who care to be part of a Toronto championship run. Today’s fan expects better access to their favourite players and the Jays deliver. The players see themselves as ambassadors for the club and genuinely enjoy their role in promoting their team. There’s a lot of good that comes from that.
5. Putting their money where their mouth is: Prior to last season, the Jays rewarded their best player, Jose Bautista with a massive contract after only one outstanding season. The risk of Bautista being a flash in the pan was very real and the financial peril of making a mistake on such a contract must have been troubling to Anthopoulos. However, when he announced the contract he said that he believed in Bautista the person as much as Bautista the player. Again this off season, they spoke those words when announcing a contract extension to Dustin McGowan, a pitcher who has missed three full seasons due to injury. Players around baseball want to play for an organization that acquires and rewards good human beings. Fans want to cheer for such a team. As they say, doing good is good for business.

How do you feel about the Jays and the way they communicate with their fans? Please leave me a comment!


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