The A's seem to be making a continuous marketing mistake, which reflects in a lackadaisical local fan reaction to the team. Probably that reflects in lower attendance, lower All-Star support, lower community recognition, etc. I am talking about their alienation from the Latino community in the East Bay, never mind the outlaying communities in the Sacramento River Valley, North Bay, Napa Valley, or The South Bay. Do not understand the reason for it, but the effect is notable. As a basis for judgment I looked up some local statistics, the June A's Promotion Calendar, and the A's Roster. The only apparently reasonable relationship is that the 40-man Roster has a 16% of players of Latino (Hispanic) origin, while the East Bay - according to the 2010 census, has around 20% Hispanic population. However, the first clue was that the June Promotion Calendar included several Ethnic Days - but no Hispanic, Latino, "South of the Border", Hispanic-American, Californio, or even as little as Mexican-American Day. Exactly nothing! And the May Mexican Independence Day is too little and too much past. Maybe the A's should celebrate every Latin-American Independence Day in history? (More after the jump) Oakland Athletics
Risking to be called politically incorrect, but giving its due to reality, the only "star" players of Latino origin are the Afro-Cuban Cespedes (still barely trying to find a place for himself in the American melting pot), the probably one-year signee Bartolo Colon, and the P/T Jonny Gomes - the only one with deep Bay-Area Hispanic roots, whom blog-writing fans keep mentioning as a trade object. That reflects, in my view, a rather scornful team attitude - possibly indicating a lack of ethnic sensitivity on part of A's top management. It would seem that a solid Latino core of key players would be called for; maybe that was the A's attraction when Cuban-origin Canseco (and never mind steroids - true fans ignore chemical correctness) was bashing home runs for the team. In other words, the A's have not made a continuous and conscious effort at developing/acquiring star Latino players of either caliber and/or durability.
To me, a big marketing mistake has been the loss of Manny Ramirez - a distinct Afro-Hispanic superstar. If I were the marketing manager, I would have made an effort at keeping Manny and converting him into an A's spokesperson, a link with the California Hispanic-American population! This loss represents, probably, an almost tangible loss in revenues/attendance/ advertising impact for the East Bay team. Blunders like that are the ones converting the A's into a "small market team" - when the actual small market is across the Bay - just that the Giants' management is distinctly more marketing-capable than the A's.
Of course, one confusing factor is that Hispanics traditionally do not like the limelight - they do not write in blogs, do not (usually) carry banners, do not often go to tailgate parties. Traditionally, they "vote with their pocketbook" - they attend games, if their families feel safe and comfortable at the stadium. But, any good marketer knows that.
Now the A's have several promising Latino players at their lower levels, including several 2012 draftees. Just looking at the AZL/DSL top names – 1B Raga and Rosario, 2B Contreras, 3B Baez and Soto, OF Vicmal de la Cruz and Pimentel; and a plethora of pitchers - Duran, Bahramzadeh, Valdez, Perez, Veliz, Torres, etc. (See the link, <http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t405>). Regardless of the future location of the Team - Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, or wherever in Northern California - the A's need developing such players at an accelerated pace, to make them a cornerstone of their new building effort. And, of course, the A's management needs to shed their self-effacing "local" mentality and do what the California State University at Heyward did not so long ago - transform itself from a local (in our case, Oakland) team into at least an East Bay - or, ambitiously, into The Northern California Team!