Local reporter Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle likes to bang drums. He has a tendency to be on the negative side, and it has earned him the nickname "Bitter Twitter" for his constant barrage of negative tweets. One of the drums he has gone Neal Peart on this week has been the Buffalo Bills training camp schedule filled with early morning practices. These tweets are from Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
I would suspect #Bills are gonna take a hit this camp in merchandise sales. With many practices starting at 8 a.m., attendance will be down— Sal Maiorana (@salmaiorana) July 30, 2013
Small gathering of fans in bleachers. Marrone must have some pull talking Brandon into morning practices. Merchandise sales surely down— Sal Maiorana (@salmaiorana) July 31, 2013
Looking at the schedules for the last two seasons, there's a sharp contrast between Chan Gailey's final training camp and Doug Marrone's first. In 2012, there wasn't a single morning practice (though in previous seasons there were). Last year, 11 practices began at 3PM and four started at 6:30PM. If you were in Buffalo, you would be able to go to work for a half day and travel to Rochester for the late afternoon practice.
This year, there are six early morning practices beginning at 8 AM. That effectively knocks out most of the people traveling from Buffalo to see a practice. Four afternoon practices start at 2PM, which would likely require a full day off from work for most travelers. There are still four night practices, as well.
I posed the question on Twitter yesterday and received a few responses from Bills fans with very different reasons for wanting an early or late day practice.
@MattRichWarren not at all. 3 pm would be more do-able, but honestly for the average person in Buffalo, its weekend or bust.— Edward Sadowski (@SadowskiEdward) July 31, 2013
@MattRichWarren personally id rather go at 8.. Far less people/not as many kids. Understand logic behind 3— James Warren (@yamez9) July 31, 2013
@MattRichWarren 3PM makes it much easier for the Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Toronto fans to make a day trip. 8AM calls for an early start— Anthony Marino (@AnthMarino) July 31, 2013
@MattRichWarren 8am. Less people.— Rich Fann II (@Fanntastic81) July 31, 2013
Several fans responded with the early time as their preference because there are less people. The delineation seems to be that the die-hards that are posting on my Twitter feed and this site want fewer of the hangers-on, while the "average fan" (sorry folks) probably prefers the afternoon.
How do you feel about the early morning practices now that we have lived them for a few days? Are they better or worse than all afternoon practices? If you could give advice to Russ Brandon and Doug Marrone about scheduling for 2014, what would it be? Have at it in the comments section.