Everything's pretty corporate at the new Yankee Stadium. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But, when I was at a game last week, thanks to the generous hospitality of my friend Dean Landsman, I saw something that did my heart good: Freddy. Freddy is an odd sort. He dresses in Yankee pinstripes and a hat and has attended most home games since 1988. Freddy also makes a sign, a quotation under his nom de game, "Freddy-Sez," that he wears to each game. Oh, and did I mention that he carries a saucepan that he continually beats with a wooden spoon throughout the game?
Yeah. Freddy's an original. Ah, and given that today's Friday, let's take a look at a Featured Foto of Freddy.
Now, rumor had it that sometimes Freddy had tickets to the games he attended and sometimes he didn't. Seems he has friends at the gates.
But, earlier this season I'd read that the guys who man the new Yankee Stadium turnstiles had been instructed not to let Freddy into the games for free any longer.
Hey, building this ballpark cost the Yanks a lot of money, ya' know?
Imagine what the reaction was. No Freddy? "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" was that about??
But, in this case, wiser heads prevailed. This was all a "miscommunication" a team spokesman said; Freddy's always welcome.
Now, what if this was your brand? What if you were trying to create a high-class atmosphere with luxury customers and big pricetags? Would you find a way to accommodate an oddball like Freddy? Do your customers have to meet your standards to qualify as diehard brand supporters?
Or, are you smart enough to appreciate the importance of idiosyncratic people who just love what you do and willing to encourage that support by putting your money where your mouth is? Or is that, putting your money where your heart is?
That's the question.
PS - Freddy's also a Fordham Rams fan. I've seen him at their basketball games, rooting against my Dayton Flyers and bangin' that damned saucepan like there's no tomorrow. But I'm not going to hold that against him. How 'bout one more World Series for Freddy, guys.