Despite the season’s increasing imminence, last week was an extremely slow one in the world of Minor League news. But such periods of lethargy are to be expected, and flush times will be here soon enough.
Lately, the greatest boom time harbingers have come courtesy of the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Here, in an image akin to a wolf introducing a lamb, Nutzy the Squirrel helps to unveil new mascot Zinger the Acorn:
Zinger isn’t the only new character in the Flying Squirrels pantheon, for the team is also currently staging a “Pig Pickin'” contest:
The team issued the following declaration:
The Flying Squirrels have announced a Pig Pickin’ Contest where fans are encouraged to vote for one of four piglets to become the team’s new Rally Pig. Voting begins today and will run through Thursday, March 3rd, on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website…The winning piglet will be unveiled at the Flying Squirrels’ Fan Fest on Saturday, March 5th.
And as for that FanFest? It’s a two-day extravaganza:
The evening includes a “Ballpark Bonfire” complete with live music and subsequent on-field sleepover. The fans who do spend the night will have first crack at buying tickets the next morning, and additional festivities that a.m. include the unveiling of the aforementioned “Rally Pig” as well as an “Extreme Eating Contest” (I greatly hope those two events are not related).
Todd “Parney” Parnell, seen above dressed like a cow (for reasons known only to him), is a veteran of staging such extravaganzas thanks to his time spent as general manager of the Altoona Curve. That organization is humming along nicely in his absence, however, and on Monday they unveiled their 2011 giveaway calendar.
The highlight would have to be the “Rudy Owens Perm Hat”, in honor of the wonderfully-coiffed southpaw who suited up for the team last season.
Perhaps even more strangely, the team is staging a series of Tom Cruise-related giveaways as part of their “Summer Cruise Series.”
The four giveaway nights will be themed with some of Cruise’s most electrifying and Oscar-worthy work as an actor and will begin onThursday, June 16 vs. New Britain with an Aviator Sunglasses Giveaway presented by Bud Light….The three other Cruise nights will be the Thursday, July 7 Tighty Whitey Giveaway…the Thursday, July 21 Shot Glass Giveaway…and a Thursday, August 4 Foam Football Giveaway.
Fans who collect all four giveaway items can bring them to September 4’s contest, in order to be entered into a drawing to win a cruise. Curve GM Rob Egan attempts to make sense of it all via the following quote:
We came up with the idea for the Summer Cruise series while pulling tarp last season, about as far away from Hollywood or the Caribbean as you can get,” said Egan. “We think it will be a lot of fun for our adult fans to remember some of Mr. Cruise’s earlier films with some different giveaways – plus have a chance to win a cruise.”
Hey, if that explanation is good enough for you then it’s good enough for me. But to return to the extremely important issue of “camping out at the ballpark” — in Inland Empire, even Bernie the mascot isn’t guaranteed admittance to 2011’s slate of games.