June 16, 2016
I have no idea if my son likes baseball. He turns four months old tomorrow, and thus far, the only way of telling if he enjoys something is by observing whether it can distract him from sucking any number of fingers clean off his hands. Babies, right?
As with so many other first-time parents, my wife and I have pledged to expose Jack to all manner of competitively priced culture. He’s free to like whatever he likes in this life, but damn it, we’re going to present him with some options. So, on Saturday night, we took him to his first baseball game at Target Field. (Like the common cold and most germs, it’s healthiest to expose infants to the disappointment of Minnesota pro sports as early as possible.)
How did it go?
During the first six innings of the game, we: checked our stroller at guest services, arrived to scorching hot seats basking in the blazing July sun, changed a diaper, stood in the shade of the concourse to cool off, waited in line at concessions, changed a diaper, stood around a little longer in the concourse, took turns using the restroom while the other held the kid, changed a diaper, and then finally made it to our seats.
Finally, the sun had dropped, the game was taking form and Jack found a sliver of contentment (by staring, mouth agape, at the massive video board overlooking left field).
Then, something special happened.
Earlier in the evening, during repeat trips to and from our seats, I had mentioned to the ticket checker at our section it was our kid’s first game. It’s probably something the gentleman hears five or six times every game. However, in the seventh inning, he made his way to our seats with a gift bag and a few kind words. The bag contained a certificate commemorating Jack’s first Twins game, as well as the one still-pure thing in baseball that thrills fans of all ages: a game-used baseball. It was an incredibly thoughtful gesture — simple, yet unforgettable.
The first baseball my kid ever held was possibly minutes ago used in a Major League Baseball game. Or it was pulled from an inventory back of house for occasions like this. But regardless, the gift punctuated a memorable first trip to the ballpark, and reminded me as a marketer that personal touches can have a long-lasting impact.
If Jack ends up a baseball fan — and, have mercy, a Twins fan — it will have everything to do with a Twins employee who went out of his way to help mark a moment. Each one of us in our professional lives — or in our clients’ lives — has opportunities to do the same. And the ROI is incalculable.