We are in the midst of “Hot Stove Dinner” season, that time of year when teams stage gala banquets featuring distinguished celebrity speakers, memorabilia auctions, and awkward jokes from suit-wearing media relations directors pressed into MC duty.
I’ve already written about these dinners in the past, and an exhaustive rundown of that which has or will take place would exhaust the reader while making me feel run down. But in the interest of stirring up what passes for debate these days, I’d like to remark that the Richmond Flying Squirrels have put together what I believe is this year’s best Hot Stove Dinner line-up:
— Darryl Strawberry
— Billy Wagner
— Tommy John
— Javier Lopez (San Francisco Giants reliever)
— Eddie Kasko (Played for the International League’s Richmond Virginians, 1954-56)
— The entire Flying Squirrels 2011 field staff
— Pat O’Conner, president of Minor League Baseball
Remarkable, no? Would anyone care to dispute my assertion that this is the year’s best Hot Stove line-up? If so, put your disputation into email form and send to firstname.lastname@example.org
But let’s face it, Hot Stove Dinners are little more than a way to pass the time during the interminable offseason void. One indication that said void is on its way out is that teams have begun releasing 2011 promotional schedules. Observe:
— Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (favorite promo: Harry Kalas bobblehead, May 16)
— Lakewood BlueClaws (favorite promo: appearance by tag-team tandem of Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, June 11 )
— Inland Empire 66ers (favorite promo: Lucha Libre Mask Giveaway, July 22)
Also, in the “weekly promo” category, the Lake Elsinore Storm have announced the alliterative beauty that is “Wacky Weenie Wednesday.” All fans receive free hot dogs through the seventh inning.
There will be plenty more where all this came from, but like an opponent of the Iron Sheik or an empty beer keg I’m all tapped out for now. Well, except for this. It’s a video featuring Conrad the easily-distracted costumed crustacean:
I would like to begin 2011 by employing my favorite kind of metaphor — a belabored one. Over the next three months, Minor League Baseball teams will be turning the lever on the jack-in-the-box that is their operation. They will do this, with increasing speed and intensity, until the cadence of the calliope reaches a fever pitch. And then — BAM! — out pops the 2011 season.
From that point forward (assume determined, gravelly tone): It’s On!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The gears are turning rather slowly right now, but as long as they’re moving I’ve got something to write about.
Let’s start with some news that came out of Trenton this morning, as the ever-reliable Thunder have announced a promotion that has an obsessive, Rainman-like numbers fixation.
The calendar will reach 1/11/11 next week and the Trenton Thunder…have taken the lead in the sports world by recognizing the
number one‘s historical day. The team selected their number one value-driven promotional game on the 2011 schedule and will have an early one-day release for individual tickets to that exclusive game.
On Tuesday, January 11th the Thunder will open up 1,111 tickets for their Friday, April 15th game against the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals). On the 15th, for the advanced ticket price of $11, fans can enjoy free Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers throughout the game.
My thoughts, as they often do, turn to music. Songs that should be heard at the ballpark on this special evening include “One” (Metallica gets precedence over U2), “One Is the Loneliest Number” (Nilsson version, please!), and, of course, “What a 1-derful World.”
But the Thunder aren’t the only 1 doing a special 2011-based ticket offer. Down in Fort Myers, the Miracle have their own ideas on how to commemorate time’s inexorable passage.
The Miracle are pleased to present the “Miracle NewYear’s Resolution Pack”.
That’s right, a pack that gets one a free week membership to Fort Myers Fitness, a gift card for your nutritional needs and supplements from Mother Earth Natural Foods,
PLUS a 4-pack of Miracle tickets — all yours for the New Year’s price of $20.11.
It should go without saying, but this stupendous offer is only available through 1/11/11 at 11 a.m. (come on guys, I think you should extend the deadline to 11:11).
Moving on to less numerically-based news, I’d like to focus your attention on a quite-awesome piece of ultra-limited Minor League apparel: The Bowling Green Cave Shrimp Hat, designed by the taste-making impresarios over at Plan B Branding.
As regular readers of this blog know, this iconic sightless crustacean has already been celebrated in a series of reality-bending game day promotions staged by the Bowling Green Hot Rods. May the power of the cave shrimp only continue to grow.
Okay, I believe that’s enough lever-turning for one day. But, please, this blog needs constant fuel or else it will wither and die. Do your part by contacting me through the following channels: