In recent years, Asheville, North Carolina, has exploded into one of the craft beer capitals of the world. Buncombe County, of which Asheville is a part, is home to 24 breweries alone. This concentrated collection of alcoholic enterprise has prompted many a tourist to put out an ABV for Asheville aka “Beer City, USA.”
Today, the Tourists themselves got in on the act, with the announcement that they will suit up as the Beer City Tourists on June 2. This team’ll have some suds in their duds, but save your applause. Booze would be more appropriate.
In the Tourists’ press release, which may have been written by their IPA announcer, the endeavor is explained and justified thusly:
The Tourists jerseys will display the customized print “BEER CITY” across the chest and their New Era caps will have a pint glass logo with the official Asheville “A” embedded on the pint glass. These unique jerseys will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Asheville Tourists Children’s Fund which uses money to purchase shoes for needy children in Western North Carolina.
Asheville Tourists president Brian DeWine is also quoted in the release, yet it is not mentioned whether he will change his name to Brian DeBeer on June 2. Just wanted to pint that out.
Anyhow, Beer City t-shirts and (Pilsnerbox?) hats are already available in the Tourists’ team store. The former piece of apparel looks like this:
The Tourists are no stranger to beer-related promotions; they’ve always had a can-do spirit. The term “Thirsty Thursday” originated with the team, and they had it trademarked in 1995. I wrote an article about the team’s “Thirsty Thursday” legacy when I visited McCormick Field in 2013. Look, they’ve got a trademark and everything!
Anyhow, the “Beer City Tourists” promotion makes a nice complement to Bowling Green’s “Bootleggers” night. That bourbon-themed celebration is scheduled for July 16, almost six weeks after Asheville’s promotion, marking a rare instance in which the beer follows the shot.
For much more MiLB promo material, guaranteed to provide equal parts titillation, inspiration and edification, check out my new “Promo Watch” column on MiLB.com. This week’s edition focuses on the Nashville Sounds’ new “Country Music Legends Race,” featuring tottering, inexplicably khaki-clad facsimiles of Reba McEntire, George Jones and Johnny Cash.
It’s promo scheduling unveiling season — or p.s.u.s. for the acronymically inclined — meaning that teams across the land are announcing buzzworthy theme nights at a rapid clip.
But the most literally buzzworthy is that which was announced by the Bowling Green Hot Rods on Wednesday.
— BG Hot Rods (@BGHotRods) February 10, 2016
As a longtime aficionado of whisky, barrels (my Mom’s maiden name is Cooper) and the covert production and distribution of illicit goods, I’m a big fan of the Hot Rods’ “Bootleggers” promo. Especially because there are already visual elements. No one gets excited by text-only promotion announcements, much like no one is excited by reading the words in this blog post that appear between the images.
Images like this. Let there be merch!
— BG Hot Rods (@BGHotRods) February 10, 2016
In short, “Bowling Green Bootleggers” equal bats, beards, buttons, boots, bourbon and barrels. Just watch what you’re doing with your right hand there, Mr. Moonshiner sir.
— BG Hot Rods (@BGHotRods) February 11, 2016
For more on “Bootlegger Night,” let’s go to the lazy blogger’s best friend: The press release! (Why do the work when it’s already been done for you?)
An idea brought on by past and present members of the Bowling Green staff, Bootlegger Night will serve as a tribute to the “Hot Rod” aiding the bootlegging industry over a century ago as a way to outrun law enforcement. This rich bourbon heritage has since become synonymous with Kentucky, with over 35 distilleries present throughout the state.
As fans will be greeted by a special “Mason Jar Giveaway” when they enter the gates, the Hot Rods will wear customized hats and specialty jerseys styled after a bourbon barrel….In addition to the customized apparel, fans will also have the opportunity to pre-order two packages featuring personalized memorabilia from the night.
And here those packages are:
Prior to unveiling this promo yesterday, the Hot Rods tweeted that it would, possibly, be 2016’s best promo.
Time will tell. For now, it’s worth noting that, in their inaugural season of 2009, the Hot Rods won MiLB.com’s “Promo of the Year” for “What Could’ve Been Night.” On that evening — the first “What Could’ve Been Night” in Minor League Baseball history — the team suited up as the Cave Shrimp.
“Cave Shrimp” was one of the finalists in the Hot Rods’ 2008 “Name the Team” contest. Bootleggers was not. So, in effect, Bootleggers never “could’ve been.” But yet, here we are: Bootleggers soon will be, resulting in the first”What Could’ve Been ‘What Could’ve Been’ Night” in Minor League Baseball history.
Life is weird. Minor League Baseball is weird. I’m weird. You’re weird. Drink whisky.
— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) February 10, 2016
Tonight is “Thrifty Thursday” in West Michigan, featuring a plethora of food and beverage discounts. It is also “Space Alien Night.”
And judging by the looks of jersey the team is wearing, it looks like they might want offer a special on hamburgers and Jim “Beam.”
“Space Alien Night” appears to be an ambitious endeavor, as the team has the following events planned:
Pregame interview with an alien…Video clips and music from famous alien movies…Inflatable Aliens decorating the ballpark and given away as prizes…Space alien jerseys for the team and alien costumes for the staff…Recreation of the mashed potato sculpture from Close Encounters of the Third Kind…A $5 reserved seat offer ($4.50 off the normal price) to anyone that lives on Jupiter Ave….Alien themed promotions on the field…An alien autopsy display…We will reveal the answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything…Alien trivia.
I like that penultimate initiative, thrown in there like it’s no big deal: “We will reveal the answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything.” Of course, the best way to advertise such a spectacular event is through a series of absurdist no-budget comedic vignettes.
The WhiteCaps are strong proponents of the absurd comedic video, as evidenced by this recent ad for “Japanese Baseball Night”:
Japanese Baseball Night was more than just a celebration of dubious b-movie dialogue that may or may not have been of Japanese origin in the first place. Promotions manager Brian Oropallo writes that
We served some hot dog sushi, played Japanese music and baseball highlights, had a Japanese announcer for the starting lineups and an inning of PA announcing and, as seen in the video, some animal mascots from Japanese league teams. The balloon launch was the highlight of the evening.
Ah, yes, seventh-inning stretch balloons. Just one of many, many, many things I have written about through the years. Here’s how it looked:
In closing, I once again urge you to send me your introspective mascot photos. Since self-respect is an “alien” concept to me, I will continue to beg for them until I have attained at least 10.