Have you ever tried to monitor the actions of 160 entities on a daily basis? That’s basically what my job is here at MiLB.com, and please believe me when I say that it can be overwhelming! Keeping track of a such a vast industry exacerbates my already quite pronounced OCD-tendencies, and leads to notebook pages such as the following:
All of this is to say — it’s time to turn the page! But before doing so, please enjoy this bouillabaisse blog post consisting entirely of news items seen on the above notebook page. Y’know, topics that I’ve kept meaning to get around to but never did (or at least never did outside of the Twitter realm).
So here you go — no segues, just news news news!
Would you believe that the Hudson Valley Renegades have not one but TWO former MLB pitchers on their front office staff? Joe Ausiano (1994-95 Yankees) has long been with the team, and he has now been joined by Rob Bell (who played for four teams over seven big league seasons). Bell, now 36, will serve as a sales account executive.
Hudson Valley: home of Minor League Baseball’s best front office softball team?
The Iowa Cubs have long prided themselves on conducting the most irreverent website polls in MiLB, but decided not to continue with the practice after their site underwent an extensive re-design (as nearly all team sites have done of late, courtesy of the tech wizards here at MLBAM).
But, rest assured, they went out on top of their poll game!
You may recall my recent post on Minor League Front Office Cliches, in which one of the cliches mentioned was “We wear a lot of hats.” This prompted @Interstate19Cap to reply, via Twitter: “I wear a lot of hats. Haha! I should work in MiLB.”
He also attached a picture of his formidable hat wall. Not quite at a St. Pete level, but close!
You may or may not be aware of my most recent “Ben’s Bookshelf” column, which had a Black History Month angle.
I recommend all six of the titles shown above (read the article, linked to above), but there’s far more where that came from. Check out this bookshelf pic, sent to me via Twitter by @BeesGal_SLC, and marvel at its thoroughness.
That reminds me — I really should read Curt Flood’s book!
On the promotion front — this, from the Altoona Curve, is worthy of attention. April 11 will be BOpening Night, a tribute to batboy Bo Forney who passed away earlier this month at the age of 21.
From the team:
Bo has been an inspiration to many with the way he lived,” said Curve General Manager Rob Egan. “He had the rare ability to make anybody who came in contact with him feel better. Bo was such a positive person, loved life, and truly enjoyed people. We miss him deeply and look forward to celebrating his life on ‘BOpening Night’ and throughout the season.”
A silent auction will take place during BOpening Night with all proceeds from the auction benefitting the American Heart Association. The auction will consist of game-used items from the Pirates-Curve Exhibition game and will include, in addition to other items, 14-game used jerseys that have been signed by former Curve players /current Pirates players.
To commemorate the life of Forney, a patch with Bo’s cartoon likeness will be affixed to all bat boys uniforms throughout the 2013 season. The Forney family will also be in attendance for BOpening Night and will throw out ceremonial first pitches prior to the game. A moment of silence will be held in Bo’s honor prior to the game as well.
This reminds me of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who last season held a ballpark service for vendor Brock Calmes. Events like these help to illustrate the deep bonds that form within Minor League Baseball ballparks, and just how meaningful the presence of Minor League Baseball within a community can be.
Last week, the Tacoma Rainiers let it be known that anyone willing to purchase 350 Opening Weekend ticket deals would receive this pyramid of Dustin Ackley bobbleheads. I don’t think that anyone took them up on it.
Next I’d like to give a shoutout to Spikes, intrepid mascot for your (or at least someone’s) Rochester Red Wings. He joins Rocky of the Wilmington Blue Rocks as the only mascots (that I am aware of) to take part in a Polar Plunge for charity.
During all 10 of their Friday night home games this season, the Charlotte Knights will be wearing 1990 throwback uniforms. Luxuriate in this image!
This initiative was inspired by the fact that 2013 will be the team’s last at Knights Stadium. 1990 was the first. Sez the team:
The jerseys, which were worn by the inaugural Knights Stadium Team in 1990, will now be worn by the current Knights team during the new “Flashback Fridays” series, which is set to commemorate 24 years of history at Knights Stadium.
To return to philanthropic endeavors, the Erie SeaWolves are now at the tail end of their “Drive to Five” initiative.
The most pertinent of the details:
Through February 28, the Erie SeaWolves will donate $25 to United Way for each new full-season ticket package purchased. If 100 new season ticket packages are purchased, the SeaWolves will double the contribution – raising $5,000 to help United Way achieve its goal to reduce poverty in our region.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys detailed analysis of industry-wide attendance figures, then you’re going to love the Number Tamer. Nobody does it better! (Or, if someone does, I’m certainly not aware of it).
As you may be aware, one of this year’s most ill-fated sporting ventures occurred in Williamsport, PA. The Federal Hockey League’s Outlaw franchise set up shop at outdoor Bowman Field (longtime home of the Crosscutters), an idea that may sound cool in theory but turned out to be a unmitigated financial disaster. The team pulled the plug on the season mid-way through, leaving everyone in the lurch, and once this happened the Crosscutters offered a quick response via this local newspaper ad:
This seems like a disaster waiting to happen, but nonetheless I encourage you like Lancaster JetHawks mascot KaBoom on Facebook. Here’s why:
Speaking of inadvisable mascot feats, here’s a picture of Lake County’s Skipper, immediately after “Tackling the Tower.”
“Tackling the Tower” isn’t some sort of euphemism, but an annual stair-climbing event with (of course) philanthropic intent. Good work, Skipper!
And, my goodness, this notebook page still has a lot of stuff on it. This post is gonna be a two-parter.
Everything I do, I do it for you.
The latest edition of Ben’s Bookshelf appeared on MiLB.com this past Thursday. The featured book this time through is Jesse Goldberg-Strassler’s “The Baseball Thesaurus.” It looks a little something like this:
The Baseball Thesaurus is just what its name implies. To quote my own (stellar) writing, the book is “an alphabetized romp through the baseball lexicon peppered with quirky anecdotes, vintage photos and memorable quotes.”
The Baseball Thesaurus greatly enhances my ability to turn pedestrian baseball sentences into flowery works of national pastime poetry, and for this I am grateful. Using the thesaurus, one can transform a bland remark such as “The pitcher threw a curveball and the batter hit it over the fence” into “The hurlester buggywhipped a snapdragon and the swatsmith manhandled it beyond the rampart.” (Reader comprehension be damned!)
Words, let’s not mince them: I am a nerd who enjoys writing in this antiquated (and, yes, borderline pretentious) sort of way. So last Thursday afternoon I took to Twitter and asked my ragtag band of followers to submit run-of-the-mill baseball sentences so that I could then gussy them up with the Thesaurus. Some highlights:
1. “The Northfield nine posted a picket fence in the middle innings and held on for a 3-2 win.” (submitted by @NatsProspects)
@NatsProspects is kind of messing with me here, by submitting a sentence that is already gussied up! The alliterative “Northfield Nine” can’t really be improved upon, nor can the use of “picket fence” to describe three one-run innings in a row. But, beyond that, I did my best to tweak it up (although the only instance in which I was able to employ The Baseball Thesaurus was with the word “inning”). My version:
“The Northfield nine posted a picket fence in the centermost stanzas, and persevered for a 3-2 triumph.”
2. “The runner tags from second and is thrown out by the right fielder.” (submitted by @LivingInAJar)
In this case, The Baseball Thesaurus equipped me with the tools I needed to go on an alliterative rampage:
“The tenant tags from the second station, but is vanquished at the coffin corner by the rightfield retriever.”
3. “‘fly ball…..caught’ or anything else Harry Doyle broadcast during the amazing 1989/1990 Indians seasons” (submitted by @Spike_RRE)
For those who may have forgotten, Harry Doyle is the name of the Cleveland Indians announcer played by Bob Uecker in the Major League films. You know, this guy:
“Fly ball…caught” can be transformed into “Cloud-scraper…captured”, but why stop there? Here’s another Harry Doyle quote, transformed via the Thesaurus.
“That ball is off his glove and outta here!” becomes “That lemon is off his lobster trap and over the barricade!”
4. “Sharp two-out single up the middle. This will score two.” (submitted by @CJBoerger)
Okay, this’ll be the last one. My transformative attempt:
“Screaming Meemie to the center of the outer garden. This will send two plateward.”
And then there is the great art of photography, each example of which is worth 1000 words. This picture, tweeted on Tuesday afternoon by the fast-acting folks @IndianapolisEMS, is my favorite example in quite some time.
Unforeseen technological adversity has made it so that I can’t post this picture. So, click HERE to see a droopy-eyed bear practicing first aid on a severed torso.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: this offseason, I am writing a recurring column with the pleasingly alliterative name of “Ben’s Bookshelf.” Each column features a review of a Minor League Baseball-themed book, and there have been two thus far: the first took a look at Dave Rosenfield’s Baseball…One Helluva Life and the second ventured a gander at Katya Cengel’s Bluegrass Baseball.
Thus far the response to the column has been robust — at least when it comes to the number of authors seeking to have their books reviewed. I’ve received seven submissions in less than a month (and more are welcome), so clearly this is something that has legs. Or at least a spine.
But anyway! This is where you come in: I’d like to beef up Ben’s Bookshelf by including reader-submitted reviews of favorite (or perhaps not-so-favorite) Minor League tomes. These reviews should be short (no more than 300 words), but beyond that there are no real restrictions so long as the book in question has some sort of Minor League Baseball angle. Interested in having YOUR review featured in an upcoming column? Then simply send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll discuss your proposal in a genteel yet not needlessly loquacious manner.
And, along those lines, I’ll be soliciting ultra-concise Twitter reviews as well, so follow @bensbiz and keep your eyes peeled for literary-minded missives of the utmost brevity.
Okay! With that bit of business out of the way, I’d like to briefly and belatedly follow-up on one of this past summer’s most interesting promotional endeavors. As you may recall, the Fresno Grizzlies held a season-long raffle for a most intriguing piece of baseball history: a pack of 1909-11 Piedmont Cigarettes, which could possibly include the ultra-rare and incredibly expensive Honus Wagner T-206 card.
The winner, announced on September 3 (the last home game of the season), was one David Tyckoson. So, what did Mr. Tyckoson decide to do with his prize?
“I’m not going to open it immediately, if ever,” said Tyckoson, in a press release put out by the Grizzlies. “One of the things I love about the sport of baseball is the history behind it and this is a part of that history. To connect back to something from that history is really cool.”
So, the mystery of what’s in the box shall remain just that: a box. Or, I mean, a mystery. What would YOU have done?