The Lowell Spinners and the Yankee Elimination Project: A Case Study Consideration of Linking Community Relations and Sponsorship, pp. 122-126

Dan Covell

In May 2005, Jon Goode, Director of Corporate Communications for the Lowell (Massachusetts) Spinners, the Class A New York-Penn League affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox, was taking part in a literacy program visit at a third-grade class in nearby Andover. He asked an innocent question to get the class warmed up: How many of you play baseball? Many raised their hands. Goode then pointed to one boy and asked, “What team do you play for?” “The Yankees,” the boy said. “That’s cool,” said Goode, a dyed-in-the-wool Red Sox fan trying to present a façade of equanimity. Deadly serious, the kid responded: “No, it’s not cool.” Goode was taken aback by the boy’s negative response. A day later a woman who coached a softball team in adjacent Dracut called and asked if her team could change its name from the Yankees to the Spinners because the girls refused to play and wear Yankee uniforms. Goode: “All of a sudden it clicked. There’s probably this problem everywhere.” What resulted was a community relations program based on the region’s affinity for the Red Sox and an opportunity to have some fun at the expense of the hated “Evil Empire” of King George Steinbrenner.