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Minnesota Twins Fans vs The Pohlad Family

Posted by MidwestTwinsFan15 , 28 December 2017 · 1,040 views

pohlandfamily economics minnesotatwins derekjeter
This post is inspired by the comment sections of both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St Paul Pioneer Press. I enjoy spending my time scrolling through these sections to see how the small amount of internet trolls are getting people worked up. After reading through these newspaper sections, it is a relief to come over to Twins Daily and read from well-informed and realistic fan base.

With that being said - no matter who is making the baseball personnel decisions; Thad Levine or Derek Falvey, they work for one individual...Jim Pohlad. Must we all forget this? Levine and Falvey work within the constraints that Pohlad gives to these decision makers. Because we don't see and hear the owner, like a Jerry Jones or George Steinbrenner (Thank the lord), I believe some people forget he doesn't have influence within the organization. But his influence is strictly financial. Side note, wonder what influence he has on the new story about Mr Sano that was released yesterday.

This transitions into my next thought. My favorite comment via the newspaper sports section comes to the sound of "If us fans don't show up to the stadium, that will show the Pohland family we aren't happy with the product on the field and then they will have to change/listen to us." (This was definitely prevalent between 2011 and 2014 when we were averaging less that 70 wins a season)

It is a good theory but as other organizations show us, this theory has no legs to it. Look at Tampa Bay, Oakland and Miami. Beyond the now departed Stanton, what specific players drive fans to the ballpark? These teams are basically playing with Quad A players. This is funny since I literally wrote about the Twins and their "Moneyball" strategy not just a few days ago. One single player, for the majority, doesn't bring fans to the game - unless there is a record being chased/broken (Sosa, McGwire, Bonds).

The true purpose of this post - is to ask that question: How could the fans truly affect change with an ownership group? Some seasons/decades can be pretty tough to endure and watch (Sorry Seattle, the franchise who hasn't been to the playoffs since their AL record 116 win season in 2001). Pretty tough question to toss out there but the answer is, we can't. The average fan cannot affect change with an ownership group that owns a major league baseball team. I believe Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins showed their cards into why the average fan has no real voice. Do some research and see who Derek Jeter invited to his Town Hall Style Meeting. They were handpicked, high level season ticket holders. They are the movers and shakers, the money people, the top 1%. These are the sponsorship owners that contribute more capital to an organization than the average fan could ever imagine.

The best customer is a repeat customer - continue to get sponsorship's and season tickets holders to renew annually and the franchise will continue to move forward, season after season. Once renewals stop being renewed, then change can begin. Ownership and FO will have to begin looking at the reasoning behind these non-renewals.

I believe this is an interesting post - I hope it inspires discussion and conversations, especially for points that I have missed and or may been way off on.

To the average fan - continue to go to the ballpark and enjoy this great game - win or lose.

  • jorgenswest likes this



 

With that being said - no matter who is making the baseball personnel decisions; Thad Levine or Derek Falvey, they work for one individual...Carl Pohlad. Must we all forget this?

Carl is dead, they work for his son Bill.

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MidwestTwinsFan15
Dec 29 2017 11:25 AM

 

Carl is dead, they work for his son Bill.

Thanks for catching that gross error - I must be ready for the weekend. 

    • USAFChief likes this

As recently as 2001 the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos were subject to contraction from the MLB. Fans (and Governments/the pubic who fund the building of their ballparks) do impact ownership in a real way. 

 

In a more general way, why would an organization advertise in an empty ballpark or on a TV station no one watches? Why do you suppose Midwest Sports Channel no longer exists? Why do you suppose the Twins are back on WCCO?

 

MLB is a consumer industry. If eventually all water ends up in the ocean by some means - so does all MLB money making fundamentally end up deriving from consumers. Be it food, tickets, scalpers, being subjected to advertising consumer goods... it all boils down to Us. Without Us, none of this, including Twins Daily, exist.  

    • Tom Froemming likes this
Baseball, as noted is a business. A franchise business, like Burger King.It has always been my contention that simple fact is often ignored. We, the fan, think that Jim Pohlad will spend his own money for the sake of winning a WS or two. Several owners have, for some, Yankees, it's worked. For some, Detroit, not as well. I seriously doubt JP falls into that category. He is most likely a spreadsheet guy. Ryan often expressed how willing JP would be to spend the money to land a big fish. And while Mauer could be considered one example, I think the new stadium and the home town boy made the numbers work versus the backlash. Remember less payroll, less deferred money, less high paid managerial talent = less operating costs. And with a lot of income from tv and radio fixed, and season ticket sales, I would not be surprised that the bottom line is almost or likely more attractive in Pohlads current business model than if he went chasing the ring full bore every year. And if one doesn't think JP is a bottom line guy, one hasn't paid attention to how that family operates.
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birdwatcher
Dec 30 2017 11:58 AM

Minnesota Twins Baseball is one of about 20 different businesses owned and operated by The Pohlad Companies. This is not a small, mom and pop operation. While the major shareholders are "the boys", Bobby, Jim, and Bill, there are other shareholders as well. A look at the company web site should quite frankly be a requirement for anyone wanting to get a better idea of how the Twins organization operates.

 

Even when Carl was alive, and despite his almost cantankerous fixation on control of matters, the organization solemnly practiced a very disciplined form of governance. The Board of Directors, to this day, is constituted in such a way as to provide fairly objective oversight. Lots of unrelated, outside directors.

 

I think it's always been fair to criticize the organization for its neglect of oversight of the "baseball operations" piece. When the Pohlad Companies BOD provides strategic guidance to its other businesses, they pretty much gain a great deal of insight from the people who manage the businesses before putting any of its own imprint on its strategic direction. It's been my belief that the baseball side of the Twins organization has lacked a strategic focus in the past, and even if Ryan and crew WERE more strategically-minded than I think, it's quite likely that the board members of both the Twins and its parent would have viewed it as less important than it is.

 

I'm of the opinion that Jim Pohlad and others who provide counsel finally realized the need to bolster the strategic skill set within the Twins organization, and specifically the baseball side of things. Hence the changes.

 

That said, I believe they'll continue on a course of being fiscally disciplined. Maybe to a fault, I don't know.

 

I believe Jim needs to listen carefully to any qualified advice he can get about improving the organization's "public face". In particular, Dave St. Peter and Jim himself should be encouraged to avoid making individual comments about "baseball" issues and let Falvine be the spokesperson. They've done that to a large extent, but they need to be even more guarded about that. They're both very smart and decent men, but man alive, can they say some goofy things.

 

I think it's entirely unfair when people describe any member of the Pohlad family as "cheap". Before I retired, I had exposure personally to each of the boys, witnessed personal acts of charity, and also the actions of The Pohlad Foundation. If all of us were as charitable, we'd live in a better place.

    • Broker likes this

Does anyone go into a sport anymore by investing a billion and expect to lose money?There is but one scenario that that another ownership group could come in and make like the Yankees or Dodgers. That would be there is awealthier family than the Pohlads not caring about how much money they lose are baseball fans and ego maniacal about "their" team being a champion. They would also have to be oblivious to the lack of success the Tigers have had under 25 years of Illich and 11 years of non cost containment.

I may be rare... but i hvae nothing against Jim Pohlad... 1.) it's his company, and he can run it as he sees fit, 2.) the Pohlad family didn't get rich by making foolish decisions, 3.) He has generally kept the Twins between the recommended/typical 48-52% of revenues. They went over that in the second year of Target Field and likely went a little under it in a couple of bad, rebuilding years. 

 

Contraction was Carl's thing... I'm obviously glad it didn't happen, but I'm not against contraction, in general. For instance, if the Rays and A's or Marlins were contracted, it wouldn't be a bad thing for baseball. I mean, except for the handful of fans in those markets.

    • Platoon likes this
While I commented about Pohlad and his ownership, I don't have an "issue" with him. He does all the things you mention. Which is why I find it so interesting that so many Twins fans believe there is a modicum of truth in the annual FO pronouncements that JP will allow the Fao to spend whatever necessary to improve the club. That's just the FO falling on their sword. I would imagine that JP enjoys the status that owning a MLB franchise provides. I would doubt he revels in it. A true Twins fan and JP both have large investments in the team. But they are likely of a far different nature, with a far different accounting at the end of the season.

You run a business to make money, or perhaps to take a loss for that business of offset outrageous profits from another that you own, or to grow a business so that it can be resold for a hefty profit.

 

But ultimately, you do it to make money, pay employees, create cashflow. When cashflow goes down, you cut expenses as mucha s you can. When cash flow is high, you maybe pay dividends instead of reinvestment...why reinvest when you can get a public bailout when you need new facilities, or when the price of your limited edition franchise keeps going up, no matter how well they perform on the field (or at the box office). Baseball is unique. There are only so many toys for people to buy and play and they seem to generate funds and keep value. Explain that to me.

 

50% of revenue interested each season? Explain what happens when you make $200 million and spend $100 million on players on the field and $100 million on the organization. When you make $250 million, does the organization really spend another $25 million in front office/behind-the-scenes that they didn't spend before?

 

The team needs advance money to play with. Then they have to market, and hope the people DO show up.....even when the sold seats sit empty, they do convicec advertisers that their message IS being scene. And the illusion of putting a team on the field that CAN appear competitive is just as good for amrekting as family entertainment as going all out and trying to BUY a winner. You have no idea if your team will be great or not. Because someone has to lose when two teams take the field. It depends on the mix in the lineup, the quality of that five-day rotation, if your bullpen is up to snuff...and are the other teams truly better. The Twins were in a division in which three teams were significantly worse than them in 2017. They also managed to squeak into the Wild Card. We all should be glad that the Twin Cities experienced meaningful baseball throughout the season. And the powers-that-be were pretty darn happy that they were getting full price for those tickets in the final games.

 

Mauer was a p.r. boost to the team, and a decent marketing image. But he always absorbed a tremendous part of the payroll. He should've been outside the confines of payroll budget, as his contract was more marketing than player needs. What you call the franchise contract. 

 

How much you spend is a crapshoot. The butts you put into the seats give you ticket, concession AND advertising revenue. That is IF the butts are in the seats. 

 

The Twins front office DO know what they are doing, from the mess of different seat and game prices, to figuring out the profit margin for every hot dog or beer sold, to sponsorship tradeouts. Can't wait to see how the marketing ramps up AFTER the Super Bowl.

We love the Twins.  We want them to do well.  Those consecutive years of bad ball, caused the Twins to lose the casual fan.  Those unfortunate years undid much of the accumulated good will that the Twins had earned during the first decade of the 21st Century. It will probably take at least 2 or more good years, before the Twins fans will support the Twins, regardless of their record. 

 

This being said, I believe the Twins fans will come out stronger in the summer, regardless of their record (unless they really, really stink) because of the good will they earned in 2017.  This will bring the Twins extra revenue and the money can be invested in their players.  With good decisions and a little luck, the Twins could be contenders for the foreseeable future.  :D

 

“Carl is dead, they work for his son Bill.“ jeepers! I got the wrong brother in my comment.... getting older sucks...

I went back over the OP and the comments, and I think the idea of an adversarial relationship should be addressed. Working in a consumer business arm of a very large organization, we always viewed it as codependent. We need our consumers and our job was to make products that enhanced the consumers’ lives.

I can’t imagine Jim Pohlad feels it’s adversarial. I’m sure every review is, what is the baseball operation doing to make the product more appealing?

I for one believe that Carl was the problem in spending money, and the contraction vote.I am wholeheartedly confident that the sons will certainly spend money to bring a title to this area.Why?Number one, they cleaned house of the "Twins guys"The end of the Terry Ryan era by termination showed to me that he was committed to winning.Secondly, he has let the young guns do what they need to do.I for one am excited for the future and very tired of the Pohlad bashing.

One more thought before I move on with my life. I am sure JP does make an attempt to make the Twins more appealing, on or off field. He is a businessman and knows the need to market. But all businesses also decide whether money's spent on improving the product get a desired return. Some fans think Pohlad should spend some of his "own" money to bring in high end FA simply because as an owner he should also be a fan. There are a few owners like that. JP is not one of them. Therefore while I would liker to see a legitimate big name signing, I won't be disappointed when it doesn't happen. Nor would I bash Pohlad. It simply is what it is.

The perception will be that ownership does not spend the money until the actually spend the money.