TWO TEAMS IN BASEBALL'S CELLAR SEEK RELIEF VIA ADS: OAKLAND, CHI. CLUBS PROMOTE THEIR PLAN TO USE YOUNG PLAYERS

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Two cellar-dwelling Major League Baseball teams are starting advertising campaigns that portray their players as kids who trot out on the diamond for love of the game.

The Oakland A's, a team up for sale and second to last in attendance in MLB, focuses on young players in a new campaign that runs with the tag: "They're young, but they can play. Generation A's."

The Chicago White Sox, who are in a rebuilding mode and lost antisocial outfielder Albert Belle in the offseason, are breaking a thematically similar campaign tagged "The kids can play."

"Fans don't know who the White Sox are," said a spokeswoman.

Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, handles the A's. Tom Reilly Advertising, Chicago, handles the Sox.

The Sox plan to break 11 TV spots, supported by print and radio, during the season, and will spend more than $1 million. The spots are testimonials meant to give the players personality and appeal.

DURHAM TO THE PLATE

In one spot, Ray Durham, the Sox's lone representative at last year's All-Star Game, talks about getting up at the crack of dawn during spring training to field ground balls.

The Sox hope to increase attendance by current fans, said Rob Gallas, senior VP-marketing and broadcasting.

In one Oakland A's spot, newly inaugurated city Mayor Jerry Brown -- former California governor and presidential candidate -- appears in the locker room with aspiring Rookie of the Year Eric Chavez, a third baseman.

Mayor Brown urges the young player to campaign for the honor, and tells him to distribute signs, buttons and posters and to take his case to the people by going to rallies and kissing babies.

"It's the vision," he tells the rookie.

Spending on the campaign will be up about 25% to $3 million this season.

David Alioto, senior director of sales and marketing for the A's, acknowledges that baseball teams today are divided into the haves and the have-nots. Those organizations with big revenues have big bucks to recruit star talent.

Seven or eight teams are in the same boat as the A's, he said. As a result, the A's and others are turning to advertising to get them on the revenue stream.

"Revenue is tied to the players," he said.

EVEN TRIED SUPER BOWL

The A's even ran a local spot during the January telecast of the National Football League's Super Bowl game in an attempt to generate season-ticket sales.

The A's also are making a push to increase their outdoor presence in Silicon Valley. The high-tech hub provides enough fans to sell out almost all home games

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