Tagged: Belly Buster

On Fire, Smashed Up, and Totally Full of It

An abundance of blog-worthy items have arrived in my inbox over the past several days, causing my notebook to look like the pen and paper equivalent of a 42-car pile-up.

This, then, is an attempt to clear away the debris so that we may all arrive safely at our respective destinations.

For (fire)starters, I must mention what is scheduled to take place in Savannah on August 14. This:


Photo By: Greg Harriss

The above individual is Ted Batchelor, who holds the world record for “Longest Full-Body Burn Without Supplied Oxygen.” As a prelude to Saturday’s fireworks show, he’ll be set aflame by “one lucky fan” and then circle the bases. Rest assured that I’ll have more on this in the coming days.

Another illustrious figure set to grace a South Atlantic League ballpark with his presence is stand-up comedian Gallagher, performing a post-game show at Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley Ballpark on August 18.


Sez the team:

Fans of the outrageous performer are
encouraged to get seats up close to the action as Gallagher and his “Gallagear”
always gets the audience involved in the act. Be a front row fan, but
“BYOP”, Bring Your Own Poncho, because the Master of Melon is sure to have a
messy trick or two up his striped sleeve.

The RiverDogs have actually already staged a “Watermelon Night’ promotion this season, an evening that included this iconic scoreboard image of clubhouse manager “Rally Vinnie”:


The Lake County Captains recently staged a Watermelon Night of their own, resulting in adorable images such as the following:

Lake County_Watermelon.JPG

Fans who participated in between-inning contests received specially-baked watermelon cupcakes, although the opportunity to squash a watermelon is its own reward:

The Captains staged a more ambitious (and gut-wrenching) food-related promo just last night: The Competitive Eating Olympics. Following a format first used by the Williamsport Crosscutters in their annual “Belly Buster” competitions, contestants had to consume one item per inning.

The line-up:


Winner Mark Ogrize celebrates his accomplishment:


A crowd gathers to watch the riveting final round, pitting Ogrize against runner-up George Lianopolous:

Final Round.jpg

If Lianopolous is a single man, then I suggest he make this the main picture on his online dating profile. In this case, “Adidas” stands for “All Day I Dream About Spam”:spam.jpg
Finally, a blow-by-blow account:

This promotion was featured on Deadspin this morning, so congrats to the Captains for the national publicity. But for Minor League teams, Deadspin is like a rich bachelor uncle who sporadically drops in before turning his attention back to more titillating pursuits. I, however, am the doting mother: there for you through thick and thin, easy to take for granted, and prone to insufferable bouts of extended and unnecessary martyrdom.


2009: The Year in Photos

cam.jpgI am ready to embrace the offseason. I really and truly am. But if I come up with a blog post idea that will let me re-visit a time when Minor League Baseball was actually played every day, then you best believe I’m gonna do it.

And today, that idea is this: to present my favorite photos that appeared on this blog during the 2009 season. I did not apply any specific criteria when making these selections, other than to ask myself “Does this photo make my inner-most being cry out in rapturous wonderment?.” If the answer was in the affirmative, then you will see it listed below. Hopefully, your innermost being will respond similarly.   

What follows are my top 10 pics of the year, listed in the order in which they appeared on this blog.

Master Yogi Berra Lets LooseOn April 21, Greensboro Grasshoppers canine mascot Master Yogi Berra had a bit of an on-field accident. The following is one of two pictures I obtained of the incident (the “clean version”, if you will):

yogi (2).jpg  
(Photo credit: Dano Keeney)

Ceremonial CentenarianOn April 24, Round Rock Express season-ticket holder Chris Nocera threw out the first pitch. She is 102 years old — and very determined:

Thumbnail image for 102 pitch 1.JPG

Cream Stick Gets CreamedThe Akron Aeros nightly “Cream Stick Race” was, by all accounts, a chaotic free-for-all. Here, Vanilla feigns innocence immediately after pushing Maple to the ground:

creamstick 1.JPG

Ready, Set, SwallowSword swallower extraordinaire Dan Meyer prepares to ply his trade in Huntsville. I was lucky enough to be in attendance for this, a post-rainout performance for an audience of 15.

dan ready to perform.JPG

A Moo-ving ImageA key component of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ “Salute to Cows” was a mooing contest. The following picture depicts the eventual champion as he readied himself for the moo of his life:

timber rattlers moo contest.JPG 

Presidential Self-Love The Brookyln Cyclones gave away Obama bobbleheads as part of “Barack-lyn Cyclones” night, and the commander-in-chief went out of his way to let the crowd know that he approved:

brooklyn baracklyn bobble.JPG

(photo credit: George Napolitano/Brooklyn Cyclones)

An A-peel-ing Photo —  As part of the Idaho Falls Chukars’ “Potato Night”, so-called “Spuddy Buddies” were thrown into the crowd. It was a thing of beauty:

Idaho Falls -- Spuddy Buddies Go Flying 2.JPG

Mascot MassageIn Birmingham, even costumed characters need the occasional rubdown:

Birmingham -- Mascot Massage 2.JPG

Belly Quickly BustedThis guy couldn’t even make it out of the first round in the Williamsport Crosscutters’ annual “Belly Buster” contest:

Thumbnail image for Williamsport -- Belly Buster, hot dog loser.JPG

Owlz Well That Ends Well Hootz and Holly tied the knot in a dramatic post-game ceremony in Orem, resulting in a surreal and oddly touching spectacle:

Thumbnail image for Orem Mascot Wedding Hootz sez I do.jpg

If you have any photos from this past se
ason that you think are worthy of inclusion in this blog, then by all means get in touch. I’ll be waiting patiently for your correspondence.


All But One Belly Busted En Route to the Pink Pig

Thumbnail image for crosscutters.jpgThe popularity of competitive eating over the past several years has certainly impacted the Minor League promotional landscape. The likes of Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi have become bona fide celebrities, and many teams have capitalized on this trend by staging contests featuring hot dogs and other such All-American foodstuffs.

But no team can match the Williamsport Crosscutters’ annual “Belly Buster:, an eating contest of truly epic proportions. The promo is the brainchild of Crosscutters’ marketing guru Gabe Sinicropi, who last year went so far as to deliver a presentation on the “Belly Buster” at the annual Minor League Baseball promotional seminar.

Courtesy of Sinicropi, here are some of the more pertinent rules:

Contestants have to consume designated amounts
of food during each inning. (starting in the 2nd inning)

If the contestant cannot finish the food in a
full inning, then the contestant is eliminated from the contest.

Food can be eaten starting with the announcement
of the first batter of the inning. Contestants must stop eating when the 3rd out is recorded in the bottom
of the inning.

Contestants are not allowed to take bathroom
breaks or leave the contest area for any purpose.  If they do, they will be disqualified.

The last person left will win a VIP Trip for 2
to the NYPL All-Star Game & 50 Burger King ********
(ed note: for some reason, MLBlogs censors the name of Burger King’s most popular menu item). All other contestants
will receive parting gifts.

And here is the list of food that was consumed, one item per inning: Two hot dogs, bag of Andy Capp Hot Fries, jar of applesauce, two jars of baby food, jar of maraschino


cherries, three tacos, and a sleeve of Saltines.

As for how it went down, Sinicropi provided the following recap:





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almost had to go to overtime, but Scott
McPeek was our winner. There were three contestants left in the final round..which is usually one sleeve of saltines. I
figured they ALL might finish it so I upped it to two sleeves. As I hoped
for nobody finished them both, so we could easily measure who ate the
most. Scott beat the 2nd place contestant by four crackers to win the VIP trip to the NYPL All-Star Game.

Now, at this point I feel that I know my reading public fairly well. And therefore, I know that pictures must be provided. Of the following image, Sinicropi wrote “Why did this guy enter? He could not even eat the two hot dogs provided in round one.”

I love this guy:

Williamsport -- Belly Buster, hot dog loser.JPG

Here, a tank-top wearing contestant oh-so-daintily eats his jar of baby food, like this is the sort of thing he does every day. Note the slightly-less-composed facial expression of the gentleman on the far left: 

Williamsport -- Belly Buster, purple shirt eats from a jar.JPG

Here, I imagine that Mr. Green Shirt is contemplating the absurdity of his existence:

Williamsport --Belly Buster side profile contestants.JPG

The eventual champion digs in to a jar of cherries:

Williamsport -- Belly Buster, purple shirt different guy eats from different jar.JPG

Applesauce Chug!

Williamsport -- Belly Buster Apple Sauce Chug.JPG

When all was said and done, the immortal Mr. McPeek was awarded the coveted Pink Pig: 

Williamsport -- Belly Buster Winner w his pink pig.JPG

So there you have it, folks — the “Belly Buster” is certainly one of the Minor League’s most entertaining food-related promos. Sure, it’s a bit off-center (much like the text in this post) but keep in mind that these are the front office masterminds who put it together (Sinicropi is on the far left, while that gentleman on the far right might end up getting sued by the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor):

Williamsport Halloween Staff Pic.JPG

I’m running out of creative ways to solicit emails from you, the reader. Just email me, okay? It can be about anything at all.