So consider this a "Freddy Modin Maintenance Day." I have no idea what that means, but clearly Freddy has lots of maintenance to attend to...
Anyhoo, there are two or three miscellaneous posts that I always wanted to write about being a CBJ fan and a hockey fan. A Dark Blue Jacket 'bucket list,' if you will. And this is one of them. Seems kind of silly/trivial, but bear with me.
I moved to Columbus in the fall of 2006 and knew nothing about the Blue Jackets. Now I can't remember what came first, my first home game (at Nationwide, in the Gary Agnew coaching stint when we got schooled by the Red Wings) or the schedule cup to the left. It's an '06-'07 cup, replete with the old logo. Or maybe I got it at a Giant Eagle gas station. Matters not. What matters is that it's my first legit CBJ souvenir. The schedule printed on the side also probably was responsible for getting me to another game that season (and the immediate improvement under Ken Hitchcock was stunning, giving me hope and really stirring up some interest in the team on my end).
The cup to the right is an '07-'08 cup. New logo, "Carry The Flag," the whole shootin' match. And excellent complement to cup no. 1. They're both well worn and well-loved, having gone through the dishwasher many, many times. Yet I wouldn't dare trash them.
Why am I waxing rhapsodic about cheap plastic cups, you ask? Simple. Little things like this are important. First, idiots like me save them and build a collection. It's a small way to feel connected to your team. More often than not, I am drinking my tasty beverage of choice out of one of those cups when watching the Jackets play on TV. No kidding. It's not superstition, just personal preference. I support the Jackets, I want the logo close by. It's a way to show the world that I'm Carrying The Flag.
Second, and this is important in our current dark economic times, team schedule cups are a cheap and simple way to promote the team in the community and also stay in the forefront of people's thinking. It's a cup. You look at it, see what's on the side, notice the schedule and see that the Jackets are home next Tuesday. You think, "I don't have anything going on next Tuesday. Maybe I should get to a game..." Bang, zoom - 2 tickets sold that wouldn't have been sold otherwise.
Lastly, let's continue with the economy thing. Right now, some people just can't afford the swag at the Blue Line. (But I will admit that I'm impressed at the range in pricing in the store.) Just about anyone, however, can drop a buck-and-a-half for a soft drink in a schedule cup. And the purchaser has their own little piece of the CBJ. So they can watch the Jackets and have their own personal connection to the team.
But what's happened since the '07-'08 cups? I don't remember seeing an '08-'09 cup. I'm not sure about '09-'10 cups. Giant Eagle, a CBJ sponsor, has generic "GetGo" cups at their gas stations right now (I checked yesterday). I haven't yet made it over to Masonwide, so I don't know if they have souvenir cups...but really, the value of the schedule cup as a marketing/promotional item is to distribute them OUTSIDE of the arena (gas stations, fast food restaurants, etc.) to lure fans INSIDE.
For the life of me, I do not understand why the Jackets don't have schedule cups on the street as a matter of routine every year. Perhaps they did, and they stopped with '07-'08. Regardless, it's a lost opportunity to promote the CBJ and highlight its prominent place in the Central Ohio community. Little things like this make a difference over time.
Thanks for listening. Hopefully the inanity of this post won't drive you away completely. I'll get back to hockey now...