Tagged: Buster

Separating the Wheat From the Chaff

News is scarce these days, but by using the foraging skills accumulated over a half decade in the Minor League wilderness I’m able to scavenge enough to get by.

Let’s start with a new logo, although “new” might be an overstatement. “Modified” is more like it, and the modifiers in question are the Pioneer League champion Helena Brewers. They went from this:


To, well, THIS. I’m working on obtaining a picture of the logo that can be posted here, but as for now none are to be found. But what you’ll notice, of course, is that the “B” has been eliminated. The wheat has been given a more functional task as well, transitioning from a decorative swath to the horizontal bridge between the vertical pillars of the “H”.

The Brewers aren’t going against the grain, in other words.

Writing as a means to stave off loneliness, I carry on — to trick or treating mascots! Last week I wrote about Boomer! being available for this crucial October 31st duty, but also up to the task is Buster of the Lakewood BlueClaws and Durham’s Wool E. Bull.

busterhalloween.jpgBuster’s Halloween services are being auctioned off via eBay, with the current high bid being $119.50. Seven days are left to bid, however, and I’m guessing that this will reach high six figures by the time it’s all over.

The Bulls are taking a different approach, as Wool E. Bull will “surprise” one lucky family on Halloween. To qualify, this family must subscribe to the Bulls e-newletter and have registered for the opportunity.

Finally, it is very much the season for stadium renovations. Two major projects are now occurring on opposite sides of the country, dealing with ballparks that are more than halfway to centenarian status.

Work on Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium is moving right along, and the team’s website offers a construction photo gallery and “construction cam“:


Much more info can be found in broadcaster Mike Curto’s latest blog post, where he reveals that his planned “press box destruction tail gate party” was curtailed by the Rainiers’ PCL championship run.

And then there’s Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium, currently undergoing a $10 million dollar renovation. The latest video progress report, accompanied by a jaunty tune, can be viewed HERE.

Meanwhile, I’m currently soliciting funds for a $10 desk renovation project here at MiLB.com HQ. I need a Scotch tape dispenser and a new pair of scissors.


On the Road: Greetings From FirstEnergy Park

lakewood new.jpgSometimes all you can do is laugh.

That’s certainly how I felt soon after arriving at Lakewood’s FirstEnergy Ballpark on Friday. Upon securing a parking space, I meticulously made sure I had everything I needed for the evening. Notebook? Check. Pen? Check. Camera? Check. Business cards? Check. Press pass? Check.

With all the necessary supplies accounted for, I began my walk to the stadium. Unfortunately, there was one crucial thing I had neglected to do: TURN OFF THE CAR. The doors were locked, the keys were in the ignition, and it was still idling.

Buster the BlueClaws mascot sez: Dude, you’re an idiot.


To make a long story short, I spent the next 75 minutes trying to figure out a way to resolve this self-inflicted conundrum. I was eventually bailed out by Verizon Wireless Roadside Assistance (who knew?), who had been dispatched to the stadium by my Mom (thanks, Mom).

Being stranded in the FirstEnergy Park-ing lot is like being marooned in the desert.


If anyone is aware of a bigger parking lot in all of the Minor Leagues,
then please send photos. I will happily devote an entire post to baseball’s biggest parking lots.

At least while I was waiting I got to see a rainbow. Trust me, it was there, you can see it if you squint and concentrate on the space between the light poles:


Finally, at approximately 7:37, I made it to the ballpark (crawling, wearing tattered rags, and suffering from heat-induced hallucinations):


 It was “BruceClaws” night, in which the team changes its name in order to celebrate the rock ‘n roll legacy of notable New Jerseyan Bruce Springsteen. My parking fiasco caused me to miss the pre-game concert by cover band E Street Shuffle, who were, by all accounts, awesome. Several hundred fans turned out early to see them.

The team was wearing special “BruceClaws” jerseys, which fans were able to bid on:


Meanwhile, the team played Bruce’s music all evening long no matter what the circumstance. As mentioned in THIS STORY, the nightly Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese Race was accompanied by “Hungry Heart”.

Cheese won in a photo finish:


Going forward, however, I insist that the race be accompanied by a much different but nonetheless notable musical selection. THIS.
The aforementioned Buster is rapidly becoming one of my favorite mascots. He has a suitably northeastern edge about him, and is similar to the Phanatic in that he’d rather mess with you than be your friend. Here he is in action:



And he literally towers over the opposition:


Likewise, FirstEnergy Park is huge. It offers plenty of room to move, akin to newer Triple-A ballparks such as those found in Lehigh Valley and Gwinnett County.





As is often the case, FirstEnergy gets more beautiful as the night wears on:



The night ended well for the BruceClaws, who pulled out a 3-2 victory in 10 innings. Upon the conclusion of the contest, I drove all the way to my current undisclosed location and this time made sure to remove the keys from the ignition.

What do you have to say about that, Buster?


Yeah, you’re right. I’m still an idiot.