[Veeck: A Man For Any Season raw #9]

Raw footage of Bill Veeck in the bleachers at Wrigley Field, with the conversation continued at Murphy's. Veeck discusses the changing social status of the bleachers  and goes on to point out other examples of changes in the park which illustrate changes in social mores. He also begins to highlight some of the promotions he has created over the years.

00:00Copy video clip URL Veeck talks about life during the Depression, and how the public perception of the bleachers provides a social commentary on that time versus today. He says that there was a stigma against sitting in the bleachers during the Depression. He notes that because of the design of the park, they could sell all tickets in either sales office in the corners of the park so as to prevent people from feeling ashamed of buying bleacher tickets and to preserve their dignity. He comments on how today “this is the place to be” and how things have changed.

01:50Copy video clip URL Veeck points out the concrete abutments in the bleachers which resulted from his failed attempt to plant trees in the bleachers. He says that these are now wonderful places for people to sit, which was a surprise because they never could have planned it that way.

03:30Copy video clip URL Another example of how social mores have influenced physical changes in the park, Veeck notes, is the wire cage along the wall of the field to prevent people from throwing items on to the field. Veeck tells the story of how on Labor Day, people used to throw their straw hats on the field, but other than that, there was never any problem with fans throwing things at the outfielders. He compares spectators today to the Romans and their treatment of Gladiators, and he speculates that this may be because the players are paid so much. “People by and large are delights, delightful to be with. Even when they drink a few cans of beer, they’re fun. Even when I drink a few beers they’re fun. And I do drink a few cans of beer.” Weinberg adds, “Let’s go have one!”

05:30Copy video clip URL Cut to Murphy’s, across the street from Wrigley. Veeck sits in front of the fireplace with a can of Old Style beer. Jamie Ceaser asks him to comment his ideas, and Veeck responds that he feels uncomfortable talking about that. They continue to work with him on considering different ways to talk about his previous ideas and promotions, which he is reluctant to do. He eventually says, “Let me see what happens.”

08:10Copy video clip URL Veeck talks about how baseball has changed over the years, particularly that it has gotten more expensive. He says that “baseball has been delivered into the hands of television.” He cautions that baseball could become a puppet to television. As a result, they are “dragging out all the tired old promotions that we used to use years ago.”

11:50Copy video clip URL Veeck goes on to talk about some of his promotions, including his attempt to try non-smoking sections in Comiskey, which didn’t work. He comments also on the changes in behavior patterns for spectators. He says that there is an attempt to repeat the old things, rather than use creativity in promoting the game.

12:48Copy video clip URL Veeck comments on the production of promotional items and the use of cheap manufacturing overseas. “Actually, the best promotions, I think, rarely seem to catch on.” He goes on to say that one of his favorite promotions was the “Straight As” promotion to encourage kids to excel at school. He remarks that this promotion, just like the fireworks at Comiskey, unexpectedly made money because parents would purchase upgrades to their seats and would buy extra items at the concession stands.

15:30Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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