Ticket Stub Tuesday- Coachella 2007

Coachella Festival
April 29, 2007
Indio, CA

In the buzz surrounding last week’s announcement of the 2011 Coachella lineup, I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this installment of Ticket Stub Tuesday to my first ever experience at the famous festival in the desert. It took me awhile to confirm that 2007 was indeed my first Coachella trip. I thought for sure it had been earlier, that I had been more often, and that I couldn’t have waited 8 years to get with the program. Then I remembered why I never made it out to Indio until 2007 and the circumstances that made it an event I wouldn’t miss for the world.

When you work in baseball, the little color coded schedule on your fridge or in your wallet becomes the blueprint for your summer. Darkly shaded boxes are dates you won’t be doing anything outside the ballpark. Unfortunately for Coachella, it falls square in the middle of the first month of baseball season and in my case, the Minor League scheduling gods apparently don’t like good music. Nearly every year since I started my career in sports in 2002, Coachella landed on the weekend of a homestand.

In 2007 though, it didn’t matter that Coachella fell during a stretch of home games. Ending what felt like years of rumors, it was announced that a reunited Rage Against the Machine would headline Sunday night. After working almost 300 straight games, it would be the first home date I’d miss in my career. Aside from being one of my favorite bands growing up, I was lucky enough to see some of Rage’s biggest shows back in the day- the most noteworthy being their final show before unexpectedly breaking up in 2000. Seeing that my RATM partner in crime K.C. and I saw their final show, we had to be there when they reunited. 


Coachella Lineup Announced

In the annual revelation of Coachella's lineup, months of speculation and rumors became clear tonight. Despite my unsuccessful efforts to will an At The Drive-In reunion into reality, I'm initially pretty pumped on the lineup. Afterall, Coachella is the festival of festivals in my opinion. It sets the tone for the summer and has repeatedly launched act after act from hype to legitimacy. Want to prove how indie you are? Citing your familiarity with bands listed in the smallest font on Coachella's famous gig posters will cement your alt status with your friends. Here's who's coming to Indio this year:

At first glance, I'm most excited about a reunited Death From Above 1979 on Sunday, but I wouldn't turn down an offer to see any of the days' lineups. What do you think kids?

Ticket Stub Tuesday- Vegoose 2007

Welcome to the first installment of Anthems and Atleticos' Ticket Stub Tuesday. Every week, I'll pick out a stub from over a decade's worth of shows and events and share some stories. Special thanks to all of the friends and strangers who make these tickets come back to life when I think about them.  Coachella announces their 2011 lineup today, so I figured it would be fitting to start off with the festival spirit...

Vegoose Festival
October 27, 2007
Las Vegas, NV

One pyramid. Two robots. 20,000 costumed dancing machines. The now-defunct Vegoose festival served as the ridiculously memorable setting for one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Imagine your favorite music & arts festival. Got it locked in? OK, now take that festival from the desert or middle of Tennessee or wherever, and transport it to Las Vegas…on Halloween weekend. Add in your 5 best friends from college and a handcrafted lineup and you’ve got the makings of something epic.

We expected it to be a pretty surreal environment to see some shows. The festival grounds would be covered with people in some amazing Halloween costumes. (Special “where are they now” mention goes out to the whoopee cushion we befriended who affectionately referred to herself as “Fart Bag.” Classy that one.) After the last set of this huge costume party, we realized we’d come back to our hotel room on the Strip. No camping, no hippies, no water bottle exchange programs. After the show, we were going to change out of our own costumes (more on that later) and hit Vegas head on. It was almost too much to take in. And then you rundown the lineup you are about to see and it’s hard to figure out why they couldn’t keep this festival going.

The first piece of news that got my attention about Vegoose 2007 was that Rage Against the Machine had added it to their reunion-like festival circuit. They would headline Sunday night. I never thought a RATM show could become the afterthought of a weekend, but Saturday’s lineup was just bananas. We took in sets from M.I.A., The Shins, and the mighty Queens of the Stone Age. They were all great, but they all simply paled in comparison to Saturday night’s main event. I’ve never been so unexpectedly blown away by a live performance. I knew they’d be good, but I didn’t know that two French DJ’s who treated every day like Halloween would turn in the most vivid, visually stunning, all-out-fun show I’d see to this point in my concert going life. During a weekend tailor-made to create good times, it was Daft Punk that left the most indelible mark in all of our minds.


Can You Be Your Team's Social Media E.X.P.E.R.T.?

(From "The Carter File" on GameOps.com, originally posted 12/31/10)

Few things in sports business will ever be as dynamic or conscious altering as the ascension of social media. In a matter of months, teams have moved from a tentative adoption of platforms to full scale strategies involving dedicated personnel. The stakes have been raised and more important questions are being asked. How do you capitalize on all of the connections you’ve made over the past couple of seasons? How do you jump from simple fan engagement to mobilization and monetization? How does your use of social media become completely integrated into your organization’s marketing, public relations and customer service philosophies?

To address these questions, many have forecasted the rise to prominence of social media managers- staff members committed to navigating the landscape and taking team initiatives to the next level. Given that a haphazard approach to social media will only alienate fans and foster one-way, “us first” perceptions, the expansion of social media focused positions seems inevitable and rightly so. At the major league level, several teams have already hired social media, digital marketing, or new media directors. On the minor league front however, where staff members must have a broader scope of responsibilities, the creation of social media specific jobs seems unlikely. That being said, minor league organizations still need a point person to quarterback new technology efforts.

So, why can’t it be you? Considering how quickly the environment has grown and changed over the last couple of years, there are people out there calling themselves “experts” that didn’t have an inkling to tweet until recently. Quite simply, the more you use, share, read and interact, the more proficient you’ll become in the realm of social media. Those are the keys though, as you have to commit to total immersion if you hope to be regarded as an authority on the topic. Posting periodic game updates isn’t going to do the job.

Using a fitting acronym, here are some fundamentals needed if you plan on becoming your team’s social media E.X.P.E.R.T.

Pay attention


Predicting the 2011 NFL Playoffs...As My Mom Would

Considering how wide open the NFL has been this season, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to predicting the 2011 playoffs. So rather than rehash the participants’ stats, personnel, and recent history, I figured I would get a real objective look at how this tournament is going to shake down. Whenever I’ve hit a slump in picking sports games (just for fun of course), there’s really only one person who I can look to for an unbiased perspective on sporting outcomes. It’s someone who cuts right through all the experts’ jargon and Vegas’ betting line with resolute decision making criteria. That person is my Mom. Say hi to my Mom:

Does my Mom actually care what’s happening in the NFL? Not in the slightest. She just knows my Dad and I care and that it keeps us out of trouble on Sundays when I’m visiting. Most of her sports knowledge comes through osmosis I suppose, since she’s always preferred mascots over players. She’s always been steadfast in her picks though- unwavering and decisive. Considering the parity in NFL these days, I’m rolling with those instincts.

I wanted this to be somewhat scientific though, so I had to get down to the roots of her forecasting prowess. When I asked her to help me with this project, besides just asking “Why?” she proceeded to tell me her three main factors in calling games. The secret boils down to this: 1) Tenacity of team name/mascot; 2) Location of the game (with special attention paid to indoor vs. outdoor stadiums); and 3) Uniforms and team colors. Sit on that ESPN.