The Brooklyn Cyclones, not surprisingly, are at it again. In 2015, the Class A Short-Season Mets affiliate staged a rollicking tribute to Saved By the Bell. This season, the nostalgia-inducing early-’90s sitcom in question is Full House. And why not? The San Francisco-set TGIF TV night staple is currently enjoying a renaissance via Netflix’s Fuller House reboot.
The Cyclones’ tribute to the Tanner family, taking place on July 9, is anchored by a John Stamos “real hair” Uncle Jesse bobblehead (2500 of which will be given away). Stamos used to have a lot more hair, but as you can see from the below tweet he has since “cut it out.” (Yeah, I know that was an Uncle Joey saying, but whatever).
— Brooklyn Cyclones (@BKCyclones) March 3, 2016
In times like these, I defer to the almighty fountain of information that is the press release.
The Full House Tribute Night will be held at MCU Park on Coney Island (The City by Sheepshead Bay)….The Cyclones cannot say with certainty that they will HAVE MERCY on their opponents that evening, the Rush Hour Renegades (Okay, their [sic] actually from Hudson Valley, but we’re going for a theme here in case you didn’t notice).
[T]he Cyclones will be wearing special on-field jerseys that will instantly take you back to those Friday nights in front of your TV watching “TGIF”. The uniforms will feature a foggy Golden Gate Bridge on the front and a design reminiscent of Uncle Jesse’s wallpaper, pink bunny and all, on the back.
The Cyclones aren’t the first Minor League Baseball team to don Full House jerseys, of course. That honor — or debasement, depending on your point of view — goes to the Frisco RoughRiders. (And, you oughta know, the ‘Riders actually brought Dave “Uncle Joey” Coulier out to the ballpark.)
- In honor of Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky’s 25th Wedding Anniversary (has it really been that long?) the first 25 couples who were married in 1991 will be able to throw a first pitch prior to the game. They will also be invited onto the field prior to the start of post-game fireworks for a cheek-to-cheek dance to Uncle Jesse’s hit song “Forever.”
- Danny Tanner Clean-Off
- Uncle Jesse Air Guitar Contest
- No Hands Cereal Eating Competition – After Uncle Jesse’s motorcycle crash, he tries to eat a bowl of cereal with two broken arms, contestants will be asked to do the same (don’t worry, nobody’s arms will be broken during the process)
- Uncle Joey Race Around the Bases – Contestants will have to perform various tasks associated with Uncle Joey including dressing like Bullwinkle, playing the role of Popeye and saving Olive Oil, scoring a hockey goal and then racing home to wave the Canadian Flag.
- How Rude Pout Cam
- Kimmy Gibbler Stinky Feet Competition – Some poor soul on our staff will judge who has the most foul smelling hoofs in the ballpark.
- All broken bats will be presented by Ranger Joe’s sidekick Mr. Woodchuck.
- In honor of the Olsen Twins and Michelle Tanner, real life twins will be able to take advantage of 2-for-1 ticket deals at the box office.
Re: the “no-hands cereal eating contest”:
Expert Minor League observers (ok, me) will note that this isn’t the first time that the Cyclones held a sitcom-related cereal-eating competition at the ballpark. During 2014’s Seinfeld promo, fans competed to finish a bowl of cereal (including the milk).
Over on MiLB.com you can read my round-up of the 2014-15 Minor League re-branding season, featuring 11 new team names and/or logos. In conjunction with this, my latest journalistic masterwork, I decided to take a look around the Minor League landscape in order to subjectively determine the team from each league that is most in need of a makeover.
We’ll start at the top of the Minor League ladder and work our way down. Perhaps, come this time next year, some of these clubs will have opted to update their iconography. Whether you agree, disagree or couldn’t care less, feel free to tell me so in the comments or on Twitter (@bensbiz).
International League: Louisville Bats (current logo in use since 2002)
This logo is a little too reminiscent of Batman, so maybe it’s time that Louisville Gotham selves another one.
Pacific Coast League: Fresno Grizzlies (current logo in use since 2008)
The Grizzlies are actively embracing their post-San Francisco identity, but the orange and black color scheme still screams “Giants affiliation!”
Eastern League: Portland Sea Dogs (current logo in use since 2003)
Southern League: Mississippi Braves (current logo in use since 2005)
Texas League: Midland RockHounds (current logo in use since 1999)
California League: High Desert Mavericks (current logo in use since 1991)
Carolina League: Carolina Mudcats (current logo in use since 1991)
Florida State League: Tampa Yankees (current logo in use since 1994)
Midwest League: Lansing Lugnuts (current logo in use since 1996)
As was pointed out to me when I visited Lansing: That’s not a lugnut. It’s a bolt.
South Atlantic League: Kannapolis Intimidators (current logo in use since 2001)
New York-Penn League: Brooklyn Cyclones (current logo in use since 2001)
The Cyclones seem to do everything right, so I may as well give them a hard time for not updating the logo they came into existence with.
Northwest League: Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (current logo in use since 1997)
Appalachian League: Johnson City Cardinals (current logo in use since 1995)
Pioneer League: Helena Brewers (current logo in use since 2011)
In closing, I’d like to offer a tip of the cap to Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net. It’s a great source of info.
This week I have been aware of a distinct shift in the tone and tenor of the national Minor League Baseball conversation. Valentine’s Day promos and borderline insane snow-related ticket deals are on the way out, as the primary focus is now on the 2015 season that soon will be. Promotion schedules are being released at a rapid clip, and as a result Opening Day know feels like a tangible thing as opposed to a vague abstraction.
What I’m trying to say here, as always, is that I have a bunch of random new Minor League promos to share with you. So share them, I will:
My prediction is that, by the end of 2015, we’ll be so sick of 30th anniversary Back to the Future celebrations that a future pop culture Terminator will go back in time in order to insure that the movie doesn’t get made at all. But for now, let’s celebrate this rising promotional trend. The Biscuits will be wearing these theme jerseys on June 27, for example:
— Montgomery Biscuits (@BiscuitBaseball) February 6, 2015
Meanwhile, the Charlotte Knights will have a Delorean on the premises.
While currently lacking a distinct visual to go along with it, the Bowie Baysox announced that, on July 19, they will be giving away a Babe Ruth bobblehead in which he is wearing the uniform of the 1914 (Minor League) Baltimore Orioles. This is, in a word, great.
(As for that “Touch a Truck” event, my hope is that the Baysox release a promotional “trailer.” For far more truck puns, courtesy of myself and several Minor League broadcasters, go HERE.)
Also lacking a distinct visual, but also great, is this August 6 eggs-travaganza in Toledo:
Bacon & Eggs Night
Fans will have a sizzlin’ good time at the first ever ‘Bacon and Eggs Night’ at Fifth Third Field. Things will heat up when the Hens take the field wearing egg-themed jerseys and hats against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, who will be wearing their popular bacon-themed jerseys.
Thanks to a “last-minute” recruiting day commitment, the Bowling Green Hot Rods are pleased to announce that Ickey Woods will be visiting the ballpark on August 15. Per the team:
Woods will sign autographs, mingle with fans, and showcase his signature celebration….His appearance will be joined by specials on cold cuts, and Woods will lead Bowling Green Ballpark in an attempt to break the record for the most “Ickey Shuffles” done simultaneously in one location.
The Sacramento River Cats are capitalizing on on our nation’s apparently insatiable appetite for ’90s pop culture nostalgia via this “Legends of the Hidden Temple” theme jersey:
If the mere mention of the Shrine of the Silver Monkey brings up intense emotion, our ’90s Night jersey is for you. pic.twitter.com/au5UzLIrM8
— River Cats (@RiverCats) February 6, 2015
Speaking of ’90s nostalgia, you probably heard about this one already. The Brooklyn Cyclones are staging “Saved By the Bell Night” on June 24:
You’ll have to use your imagination for now, but the Richmond Flying Squirrels are giving away Joe Panik “Panik Buttons” on July 21.
Star Wars promotions have become an epidemic throughout Minor League Baseball. The Buffalo Bisons, one of many teams to tie a theme jersey into the evening’s attractions, will be wearing “Jedi Robes” on July 18.
In what is certainly one of the cruder promotions of the year, the Midland RockHounds are wearing these black gold-splattered duds during August’s “Oil Field Weekend.”
(For what it’s worth, I am a much bigger fan of locally-oriented theme jerseys such as that shown above. Pop culture jerseys have their place, but as a general rule I believe that clubs should give precedence to that which highlights the uniqueness of their own community. And, certainly, Midland is a unique baseball market.)
Finally, we have the Lakewood BlueClaws. On May 22, two days after David Letterman signs off from the airwaves, the team is staging a promotion in honor of the iconic late night host. If you’re wondering why they would do such a thing, then simply consult the BlueClaws’ Top 10 List.
This post represents a mere smattering (is there any other type of smattering?) of the notable promotions that will be staged in 2015. Stay tuned, as there will be (too) much more where this comes from.
Can Minor League Baseball be stopped? No, it cannot be stopped.
Star Wars theme jerseys are not a new phenomenon, but this year Minor League Baseball teams have really taken it up a notch.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are Luke’s father, the Kane County Cougars are makin’ Wookiee, and the Durham Bulls are 2D2 (just to name a few examples). But one team just might have trumped them all, and that team is the Brooklyn Cyclones. On the evening of August 2, the Cyclones will become the “Sithclones.” And on that night they will wear these jerseys, with “Brooklyn” written out in Aurebesh (the high galactic alphabet).
For more information on this Padawan of a kind initiative, I now direct you to Cyclones director of communications Billy Harner:
Last season, the Cyclones held the first-ever Star Wars Night at MCU Park in front of a capacity crowd on Coney Island. It was such a success that we knew we needed to bring it back for the 2014 season. But how do you improve on a first-pitch from Darth Vader, light saber battles on the field, a meet and greet with Princess Leia, and a post-game family sleepover on the field? It was tough…but we found a way.
On Saturday, August 2nd, the first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a Padawan Pee Wee bobblehead featuring our youngest mascot in the form of a Jedi Apprentice.
But that’s not all. The team will also be wearing one-of-a-kind Sithclones Jerseys on the field that evening which will be raffled off to benefit local charities. The jerseys feature the emblem of the Sith Empire on the right sleeve, and has “Brooklyn” spelt across the chest in “Aurebesh.”
“Best” is a subjective term, so whether these are the “best” Star Wars jerseys is a matter of debate. What isn’t up for the debate is this: these are the most terrifying Star Wars theme jerseys ever created. If I was at this game, I’d truly be concerned about the possibility of them gaining sentience.
And, lest we forget, the sure-to-go-national Star Wars promo comes on the heels of the Cyclones’ already-gone-national Seinfeld promo.
Sez the team:
On July 5, 1989, the “Seinfeld Chronicles” aired on NBC for the first time and 25 years later, the Cyclones will celebrate the “show about nothing” that has left an indelible mark on popular culture. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a Keith Hernandez “Magic Loogie” Bobblehead. In addition, there will be non-stop Seinfeld themed entertainment from beginning to end. Yada yada yada…you’ll have an awesome night.
How do you say “Magic Loogie” in Aurebesh?
During my recent run of bouillabaisse blog posts, I took the time to parse the “Year in Blogging” report that I had recently received from WordPress. For the purposes of today’s post, I’d like to return to the following excerpt:
[T]he 2013 Year-End Blogging Report…included the following information regarding the search terms that led people to visit Ben’s Biz: “Some visitors came searching, mostly for canadian tuxedo, ben’s biz blog,bens biz blog, skateboard, and brett favre.” The lesson here is that a picture of Brett Favre in an all-denim outfit riding a skateboard would be blog traffic gold. Can someone doctor one up for me?
I am happy to report that not one, but two, someones indeed doctored one up for me. Posting them here will drive my traffic to stratospheric new levels, insuring that I remain the most influential and indispensable blogger in Minor League Baseball history. This one is courtesy of Wisconsin Timber Rattlers creative director Ann Mollica, who, among other accomplishments, played a huge role in making the world aware of the Whitewall Ninja.
And this one is courtesy of a mysterious Twitter entity, known as @AizersWallet.
My sincere thanks to Ms. Mollica and Mr. AizersWallet for their photoshopped efforts on my behalf. And I thank you, random internet Google searcher, for your fleeting visit to Ben’s Biz Blog. Before you leave, please take a moment to recognize that I am the greatest and also most underrated baseball writer of all time.
You know what else drives the eyeballs to this little slice of the internet landscape? Rhetorical questions.
But since I don’t have any material related to that particular topic, I’ll instead hit you with some logo news. Late last month, the polarizing but undoubtedly influential “ideas company” that is Brandiose announced the final re-branding of what had been a very busy offseason (Akron RubberDucks, El Paso Chihuahuas, Inland Empire 66ers, Vermont Lake Monsters, and more that I am probably forgetting as I sit here typing stream of consciousness-style).
Forthwith, the Vancouver Canadians will sport this updated look (note the “V” hidden within the leaf):
On the topic of “new logos with cool hidden elements,” here’s the Brooklyn Cyclones’ 2014 New York-Penn League All-Star Game logo:
Even cooler are the jerseys that will be worn during the All-Star Game, which feature “the names of EVERY Player who made it from the NYPL to the Major Leagues watermarked into the pattern.”
And, finally, how about a logo for a team that doesn’t officially exist yet? If all goes according to plan, the Huntsville Stars will move to Biloxi in time for the 2015 season. This fledgling Southern League franchise, a Brewers affiliate, does not yet have a name. But it does have a website, and the website includes this logo:
Seeing those two B’s together reminds me that I need an official “Ben’s Biz” logo. Please, feel free to send over your prototypes.
As you may recall, the last post on this blog was a bountiful bouillabaisse of ripped-straight-from-the-notebook Minor League news items. Well, that’s what this post is gonna be dedicated to as well.
But before we get started with that, please click THIS LINK to read this MiLB.com article detailing my Top 10 favorite Minor League stadiums. Feedback is appreciated and encouraged, and views both complementary and dissenting will be included in a future blog post.
And now, to the notebook!
I’ve never been a Jay Leno fan, but nonetheless there’s always been one thing I’ve loved about his show and that’s the weekly “Headlines” segment. And wouldn’t you know it? Last month, none other than the Lehigh Valley IronPigs made an appearance thanks to this newspaper ad:
Watch it HERE, the IronPigs reference is around the 2:30 mark.
I haven’t yet compiled my 2013 Minor League promotions spreadsheet (yes, compiling such a spreadsheet is an annual offseason task), but one giveaway item that has already caught my eye — and you know how painful that can be — comes courtesy of the Lake County Captains:
On Saturday, July 6, a Skipper Rock-N-Bobble doll featuring the Captains mascot paying tribute to Randy Newman, an inductee in this year’s class of Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame musicians, will be given to the first 1,500 fans compliments of Sysco. This year’s doll will also feature a sound clip from Randy Newman’s Burn On, which is synonymous with the Major League movie.
Yes! A Randy Newman-themed giveaway. And one featuring a song from “Sail Away,” arguably his best-ever album (it’s certainly my favorite). Here’s hoping Randy Newman promos spread through the Minors like a fire on the Cuyahoga. How about “Salute to American Foreign Policy Night”?
It’s pretty much indisputable that the Lexington Legends possess the best team van in Minor League Baseball. Great slogan, horrible pick-up line:
Remember a few weeks back when I wrote about the Hickory Crawdads’ “Day in the Minors” fan package? This post prompted an email response from New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ media relations manager/broadcaster Tom Gauthier, who wrote:
While we don’t have a program like [the Crawdads], we do offer a program for young kids to experience a day in the life. We work with Citizens Bank (sponsor love) to open up a handful of jobs for kids ages 6-16. They shadow with us for an afternoon and then through the game itself.
To read more about the Fisher Cats’ “Kids Run the Show” promo, click HERE.
Meanwhile, I’m more than happy to have kids shadow me for a day. As a veteran blogger, I will teach them how to show up to the office late and disheveled, overpay for lunch in lieu of bringing your own, and write jokes on Twitter instead of doing meaningful work.
You may remember my piece last season on the art of scorekeeping. In this piece one of the fans profiled was the pseudonym-ed “Stevo,” and I will now take the opportunity to direct you to his blog “The Baseball Enthusiast.” Stevo has just begun a series of posts entitled “For Those Keeping Score at Home,” featuring “intermediate to advanced” tricks of the trade.
I have a feeling that many readers of this blog will enjoy picking up what he’s putting down.
I’m pretty sure that the Reading Fightin’ Phils are the first team to give away their stadium, even if it is only for a day. Read all about it HERE. Or just look at this visual and wonder.
I know that snow-covered ballpark photos are so two weeks ago, but here’s a good one courtesy of the New Britain Rock Cats. So soothing!
In what I believe is a Minor League anomaly, the hair of Wilmington Blue Rocks mascot Rocky is real and actually grows. And once it grows long enough, he’s going to donate to Locks of Love. Click HERE to see his ‘do.
Proving that just about anything can be capitalized on by Minor League Baseball teams, the Mobile BayBears recently opened their arms to distressed travelers after the beleaguered Carnival Triumph finally limped into Mobile.
Sez the team:
The Mobile BayBears would like to give all passengers aboard the Carnival Triumph cruise ship the opportunity to visit the Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum for free on Thursday and Friday February 14th and 15th.
“We understand travelers have been through a lot in the past few days,” said team spokesman Craig Durham. “In an effort to make their time in Mobile as enjoyable as possible we encourage them to come see one of baseball’s most unique museums and pay tribute to Mobile legend Hank Aaron.”
The museum will be open from 9-5 on Thursday and Friday, and all non-Carnival passengers will be able to visit the museum for the standard price of $5.
NYC still has a long ways to go when it comes to fully recovering from Superstorm Sandy, and the Brooklyn Cyclones are doing their part via their “Meaningful Mondays” initiative. $3 from every ticket sold to every Monday game will go toward a local charity — read about it HERE.
Speaking of meaningful, I’d recommend that you read these most insightful observations from former Durham Bulls staffer Matt DeMargel regarding why employers should look at Minor League Baseball experience in a positive light.
And now I have reached the end of this notebook page and, therefore, the end of this post. I’ll conclude by sharing this Augusta GreenJackets staff bio. The legend of Dumpster the Stadium Cat continues to grow!
Who is CatDog?
This past Friday sure turned out to be a doozy in the world of Minor League promotions. The independent Florence Freedom got most of the attention with the announcement of their “Manti Te’o Girlfriend” bobblehead (the box is empty, see?), but they were soon joined on the affiliated front by the Brooklyn Cyclones.
On June 21, the team will be staging “Fictitious Friday.”
Below, please find a bite-sized portion of the Cyclones press release:
Anyone who purchases one ticket at regular price will be allowed to bring their make believe significant-other to the ballpark free of charge. Fans will also have the chance to draw a picture of their girlfriend, because obviously something came up and she couldn’t make it, so that their friends can finally see what she looks like. As a special treat, MCU Park will host a unique petting zoo for those in attendance, featuring a unicorn, a mermaid, and a Minotaur. The Cyclones are also in discussions with the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot to throw out a ceremonial first pitch that evening. In keeping with the tradition of Coney Island amusements, the Cyclones will put a spin on a traditional carnival game, as fans that are able to toss a ping-pong ball into a fish bowl will receive a catfish. Lastly, all of the player headshots used on the video board will just be random people whose photos we find on the Internet.
Eager, as always, to get the facts behind the fiction, I contacted the Brooklyn Cyclones for more info on this most imaginative of promotions. GM Steve Cohen was quick to provide answers to my queries:
Letting make-believe girlfriends in for free is a very generous gesture. How much do tickets for make-believe girlfriends usually cost?
Steve Cohen: It depends on if they take up a seat or not. To keep up with the ruse, you might need an empty seat next to you in case you run into somebody you know. This way if they ask where your girlfriend went, you can tell them “Oh, you just missed her. She just went to grab something to eat, but she was sitting right here.” We have always supported make believe girlfriends – haven’t you seen our staff?
How are your negotiations with the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot progressing?
Steve Cohen: Not good. The market for make-believe creatures is currently at an all-time high. Their agents see this as a golden opportunity to cash in and they are asking an enormous amount as an appearance fee. Plus they are making odd demands like every picture we take of them needs to be out of focus and from at least 100 yards away.
How many catfish do you expect to give away on this special evening?
Steve Cohen: We had a couple wash into our office during Super Storm Sandy, so we already have a pretty decent supply to start off with.
If this promotion is a success, will other make-believe promotions follow?
Steve Cohen: You bet — the make-believe ones are a lot less expensive than the real ones!
And would you believe that yet another team has jumped into the fray? I bet you would! In the wake of the Cyclones’ “Fictitious Friday,” the San Jose Giants announced that April 12 would be “Lennay Kekua Night.” Per the team:
Items such as catfish will be featured on the Turkey Mike’s BBQ menu and fans who purchase a game ticket can bring their imaginary or real significant other to the game for free. A meet and greet will also take place prior to the game for all couples to introduce their significant others to their parents, to avoid any confusion about the existence of a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Two free future game tickets will be given to all fans who dress like Manti Te’o and to all Stanford University students because they may know or be Te’o’s girlfriend. During the game, promotions will include individuals and their imaginary significant others competing to win great prizes.
For the record, I am no stranger to on-field solo competition:
Oh, and “speaking” of the Lake County Captains: on Friday they announced the first Lance Armstrong-themed promotion in Minor League Baseball (my guess is that, risky topic or not, other teams will follow suit). I went ahead and wrote an MiLB.com news piece on it, yet another specious example of how I am using whatever talents I have to the best of my abilities. Here’s the graphic that ran with the piece:
And that’s about all I have to report on regarding this particular news “cycle.”
Last Friday, just two days after visiting the quiet confines of Staten Island’s Richmond County Bank Ballpark, I once again hit the subway in order to visit a New York City-based Minor League Baseball team. In fact, let me recycle the same photo I used in the last post:
But whereas the route to Staten Island begins with the 1 train, the journey to Coney Island — home of the Brooklyn Cyclones — begins (and ends) with the F. The above is where it starts, and here, some 27 (!) stops later, is where it terminates.
Coney Island, baby! Smell that ocean breeze.
But you know what? 27 stops or not, Cyclones game or not, Coney Island is always worth the trip. Always. The neighborhood has had dramatic ups and downs through the years — and is currently in a state of flux — but its status as New York City’s summertime playground remains intact. As soon as one leaves the subway, you just feel it. This is Coney Island, and Coney Island is like no place else.
The mural below is courtesy of the controversial Thor Equities, who have initiated many development projects in the neighborhood. While it’s hard to argue with progress, to what extent will it obliterate Coney Island’s idiosyncratic charm?
One place that’s not going anywhere is the flagship location of Nathan’s Hot Dogs. 96 years as a neighborhood anchor and still going strong!
The not-so-charmingly named MCU Park is located just down the street on Surf Avenue. Along the way, one walks by this scrappy Nathan’s competitor. From an aesthetic standpoint, this might be my favorite storefront in all of NYC.
This a busy time of year for all involved, and my communication with the team in the week leading up this ballgame was minimal. So, as had also been the case with Staten Island, I decided to attend this game more or less as a civilian. I picked up my tickets at will call, and received my ego boost of the evening when, after looking at my ID, Cyclones account executive Josh Hernandez said “I read your blog!” (I spend way too much time by myself in front of a computer. That kind of thing goes a long way).
Around the corner is the main entrance and — hey — what do you know? There were two people I knew standing there. The woman in the grey skirt, looking at the camera, is my cousin Jane. And the gentleman in the basketball jersey walking toward her is her boyfriend Jesse (who, rumor has it, once won a “best biceps in Brooklyn” competition). Those two will make a more substantial appearance in the “narrative” in just a moment.
Our seats were behind home plate, and when we mistakenly sat in the wrong section a friendly but aggressive usher immediately moved us over. He was just doing his job, but it was annoying to be stuck in the middle of row, disrupting people on both sides, when there was room elsewhere.
“Do you know who I am?” I felt like saying. “I’m a guy who spends most of his waking hours alone and in front of a computer screen!”
But they were good seats.
Soon after sitting down, Jane spotted a squadron of pom-pom wielding young ladies atop the first base dugout and incredulously asked me “Baseball has cheerleaders?!”
Usually, that answer is an emphatic “no.” But, Brooklyn being Brooklyn, Brooklyn has the Beach Bums. Here they are performing between innings.
But we weren’t there just to watch baseball. Or Beach Bums. Upon hearing of my “designated eater” concept (in which others eat the ballpark food that I, with celiac disease, can not) Jane had expressed prodigious interest. Jesse was on board as well.
The Cyclones lean heavily on Nathan’s iconic appeal, as nearly all of the concession stands put the focus on hot dogs and crinkle-cut fries.
My gluten-free options were limited, but certainly not non-existent. But as I was placing my order, Jane and Jesse decided that this was not the concession stand for them. The hot dogs didn’t have toppings!
They re-located to this nearby stand, whose line was far more manageable anyway.
I bade my time by watching this fan enthusiastically join in on another Beach Bums dance routine.
It was a beautiful atmosphere all around.
Finally, Jane and Jesse were ready to go: Nathan’s Dog’s with all of the fixings, with baseball in Brooklyn as the backdrop. It doesn’t get any more American than that!
These two made exceedingly quick work of their delicious frankfurters. And looked beautiful doing it.
Now it was my turn. Celiac disease might have me down when it comes to ballpark food options, but I’m never out! At first I kept things close to the vest.
But soon it was time for the big reveal. I had ordered my first-ever hot dog, sans bun! (An email to Nathan’s HQ had confirmed that the dogs themselves are gluten-free.)
A hot dog by its lonesome is an admittedly pathetic sight, and you don’t get any sort of discount for ordering one without the bun (but it certainly wasn’t a problem, as the friendly woman at the counter simply asked one of her colleagues to pluck a fresh one right off of the grill). But, here’s the thing — it tasted really, really good. I felt like I was eating a premium piece of beef jerky — crispy, salty, and well-spiced.
This led to a realization — the bun only gets in the way, and should one wish to be a true frankfurter connoisseur then it needs to be consumed in its naked state. Just as it would be pure folly to drink a fine single-malt scotch on the rocks, it is an unnecessary dilution of the gustatory experience to ensconce a lovingly crafted tubular meat product within a poorly defined lump of dough.
Am I on to something here, or are these merely the ravings of a poorly defined man ensconced in front of a keyboard? Please let me know!
After dinner, we decided to sit in some seats that allowed more room to move. We ensconced ourselves down the third base line, just in time to see a dance-off between Sandy the Seagull, a random fan, a Beach Bum, and on-field MC King Henry.
The fan won, of course, but it is King Henry that captured my attention.
The King has been a Cyclones staple since 2003, and on the team’s web site one learns that his real name is Guy Zoda and that he “has been a professional entertainer since 1989 specializing in family entertainment, business promotion and marketing.” He keeps things family-friendly, but nonetheless has an abrasive New York edge and always seems like he’s on the verge of going blue. (I could definitely envision King Henry as a cast member on Get A Life, hanging out with chain-smoking cop-turned-landlord Brian Doyle Murray, but that’s an obscure cultural reference for another day.)
The Cyclones do a great job of creating a colorful, anything goes environment (even though the pink gorilla I spotted on previous occasions was nowhere to be found). Here, mascot Sandy throws t-shirts off of the stadium’s second level.
Next up was the “Dime Big Deal” (not to be confused with the dime bag deal one can find outside on the boardwalk), in which a fan guesses which one of the four letters in “DIME” contains $500 in cash.
The fan was wrong.
And oh, wait, what? Pretty soon the game was over! How did that happen?
The Cyclones victory was followed by fireworks…
…which can be viewed both in and outside of the ballpark.
I soon bade farewell to the voracious hot dog eaters whose company had I enjoyed, but not before taking a picture in a most apropos location.
I meanwhile, lingered around a bit longer. For this was an atmosphere worth recording: Coney Island at 9:30 on a Friday night in the heart of the summer. There’s nothing like it.
Sideshows by the Seashore, located on Surf Avenue and West 12th and run by the eminently worthwhile organization Coney Island USA, is an absolute must-see diversion.
Especially if this guy is working the door.
Out of focus fireworks aftermath, taken with a fisheye lens effect. Photojournalism at its finest!
And, finally, there’s a reason that this team is called the Cyclones. Here it is, in all its neck-breaking glory.
Two blatantly “attention-getting” Minor League promos were announced yesterday, but only one thus far has gotten any real attention (this blog doesn’t count, attention from me is the equivalent of your mother telling you you’re the most handsome guy at school).
First, the Fort Myers Miracle announced that June 6 would be “Rest the Vest Night,” in honor of recently-ousted Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. That it was the Miracle who have planned such a thing should come as no surprise. This is, after all, a team that has previously set its sights on Billy Donovan, Tim Tebow, and Craig Sager (among many other easily-satirized sports world luminaries).
Some pertinent details:
The new coach of the Buckeyes presumably will not wear sweater vests on the sidelines; so it’s time to retire them. Fans are encouraged to bring their sweater vest and place it in the retirement bin near the front gate of Hammond Stadium….The Miracle want everyone to enjoy the “Rest the Vest” Night and even though you might not have a favorite sweater vest, if you have a tattoo then you also benefit.
Just by showing a tattoo, Ohio State or non-related, fans will receive a piece of Miracle memorabilia to keep or sell.
And speaking of tattoos, the Brooklyn Cyclones announced what I believe is the Minors’ first “Hangover”-related promotion. It takes place June 22, and fans interested in attending may wish to purchase the “Wolfpack Ticket Plan.” The evening includes the following innovations:
- In-Game Baby Bjorn Olympics – Contestants will be put through an obstacle course while carrying “Carlos” in a baby carrier.
- Memory Games w/Prizes – If fans can “Remember What Happened Last Night” in the Cyclones’ previous game, prizes will be awarded.
- The Tooth Fairy – Kids get a dollar off their ticket for each tooth they are missing.
- Tattoo You! – Temporary face tattoos will be available on the concourse.
- Beard Bash – Best beard contest in honor of Alan (played by Zach Galifanakis).
And still speaking of tattoos, tonight the Clearwater Threshers are holding their second annual “Tattoo Night” promotion. 30 fans will go under the needle (the team is limiting the number after a nearly unmanageable 54 got inked last season) and receive a Threshers tattoo in return for lifetime admission to the ballpark. Like this guy:
That’s all I’ve got that’s tattoo-related (it wasn’t even my intent to write about tattoos when I started this post), but in an attempt to stay alliterative here’s some toast news from Toledo.
As you may be able to discern from the above photo, that’s some Mud Hen logo toast. And it can be enjoyed in the privacy of your own home with the purchase of the following toaster:
Are any other teams selling one of these? I’ve seen them at the Major League level, but not within the Minors.
But for those seeking heartier dining options, I’d suggest checking out the new website postgamespread.com It’s bare-bones in terms of design, but excellent in content: a fully searchable database of dining options in all Minor League markets that includes directions from the ballpark as well as team hotel. I might use it myself during my next road trip — details on that coming soon, I hope.
All of a sudden it feels like the season again, with news and notes coming in from left and right and everywhere in between. It’s time to start posting, because the content levels are rising and soon I might drown — alone and forgotten in a remote corner of MiLB.com HQ.
To the Bullet Points!
— The New York-Penn League may not start play for another three months, but that didn’t stop the Brooklyn Cyclones from releasing a picture of their Angel Pagan bobblehead. I’m glad that they took his first name literally as opposed to the surname, because a bobblehead depicting the ballplayer as a hedonistic polytheist probably wouldn’t go over too well.
— Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s NYPL rivals the Lowell Spinners announced the follow-up to last year’s celebration of Bubblewrap.The team will stage a “Flossing World Record Attempt” on June 29, a promotion recommended by four out of five dentists. My extensive research into this most crucial of topics revealed that previous attempts have involved a huge single strand of custom-made floss.
I’m not sure if this will be the case in Lowell, but either way I recommend that this product serve as the official sponsor.
— In other follow-up news, the Lake County Captains are continuing with the Christmas Story themed giveaways that started with last season’s “Skipper Leg Lamp.” On July 23, fans will receive a bobble doll in which Skipper’s nose is stuck to a foul pole. I haven’t obtained a picture yet, but this item is of course a reference to this:
— Another notable jersey hailing from the preeminent Midwest is that which the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will be wearing during Sunday home games. This one is like an undersized fish — total throwback.