Today’s “Farm’s Almanac” feature is on the topic of walk-up songs, and includes a variety of anecdotes related to this increasingly popular facet of the professional baseball experience. Did you know that Josh Harrison’s walk-up music is written by his brother? Or that Jeff Locke chose his after extensive focus group testing on Twitter? Or that our old friend Scot Drucker once coordinated bullpen dance routines to New Kids on the Block?
Read all about it HERE.
But the article was over-stuffed as it is, and one aspect of the walk-up experience I wasn’t able to include was that of the visitors. Or, rather, that the visiting team is at the mercy of pun-happy and perhaps slightly mean-spirited control room employees. What follows is a sampling of the info I collected:
Over Twitter, Jackson Generals assistant general manager Jason Compton shared the following:.
We played “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” for Prince Fielder when Huntsville visited Pringles Park back a few years ago.
And, even better:
We also played “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” for Delmon Young when the Biscuits came to town…this was my favorite.
Take that, Dmitri!
Kevin Huisman, who now works for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, shared this anecdote from his days with the Hickory Crawdads:
Being in the Sally League, we got a chance to play the Rome Braves, which gave us the chance to break out some opera and just about anything that we could find that had an Italian sound to it (“Funiculi Funicula”, etc.). That season, Rome also had a gentleman by the name of Van Pope on their squad, which gave us an added chance to pull in some Gregorian Chants more likely to be heard in Vatican City than a ballpark….Another opponent that season, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, gave me the most memorable dig from that season. One of their players was named Jared Gaston…[fellow Crawdads employee] Mark had 3 children at home, and we were both fans of Disney movies, so we both came up with “Gaston” from “Beauty and the Beast” pretty quickly. I think we were only able to get away with playing it once, but the reaction was priceless. My wife was sitting with the wife of one of the Crawdads players that we’d gotten to know pretty well…when they heard the first line come out, you could hear their laughter echoing along with everyone else in the crowd.
Along those lines, Altoona Curve director of creative services John Foreman shared the following.
“Last year when New Britain was in town, we’d play Skee-Lo “Wish I Was A Little Bit Taller” for [7’1″] Loek Van Mil. And when [catcher] Carlos Santana was with Akron we’d play Carlos Santana and incorporate a Carlos Santana headshot on the videoboard.
“And then there’s Lucas Duda, he’d get “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” or “Camptown Races”….Guys with the last name of Sylvester we’ll play “I Tawt I Taw A Putty Cat,” and the Mr. Rogers theme song for anyone with the last name of Rogers.”
And on and on and on it goes. This topic is a wordplay goldmine and I expect — nay, demand! — for this to be an ongoing feature. So please, no matter who you may be, get in touch with examples of visiting team audio hi-jinx!
And, of course, what would YOUR walk-up song be? Contenders in my universe include James Gang “Bomber”, CCR “Bayou Country,” Dirtbombs “Wreck My Flow” Fat Joe “Massacre on Madison” and New Kingdom “Mexico or Bust.” But number one remains:
Lots of flotsam and jetsam has piled up on the shores of Ben’s Biz Blog remote island headquarters, and the only way to deal with such excess detritus is by accumulating it into a tidy pile.
Nice to get a belabored analogy out of the way so early. Let’s go to the info!
First of all, a pair of Pacific Coast League announcers are on the cusp of celebrating significant milestones. Tonight in Des Moines, Deene Ehlis will call his 3000th game for the Iowa Cubs. The broadcast will also be notable in that it’ll include an interview with Indianapolis Colts receiver (and University of Iowa alum) Dallas Clark, who has been immortalized by the I-Cubs in bobblehead form.
Then on Tuesday, Steve Klauke of the Salt Lake Bees call his 2500th contest:
Klauke joins legendary Utah Jazz broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley (2,645) as the only two play-by-play broadcasters to call 2,500 games with one Utah team. He also becomes just the fourth current Pacific Coast League team broadcaster to reach the 2,500 games-called mark with one PCL team. Currently in his 18th season with the Bees, Klauke can be heard live on 1320 KFAN and at slbees.com.
Klauke will be recognized during a pregame presentation on Tuesday, April 26, while audio highlights of his more notable calls will be played throughout the game.
Trivia Question! Who are the other two current PCL broadcasters to have called at least 2500 games? The first person to email me with the correct response will get to contribute 150 words to a future blog post on whatever topic they choose (must be family friendly, of course). firstname.lastname@example.org
Since we’re on the topic of the PCL , it is well worth pointing out that the Fresno Grizzlies are staging a Saturday night tribute to severely (and senselessly) injured San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow.
Fans can purchase a Super View ticket and special Bryan Stow bracelet for $15, with $10 going directly to The Bryan Stow Fund, established to support Bryan and his family. Stow is a paramedic with American Medical Response and works games for the San Francisco’s Single-A affiliate, the San Jose Giants, at Municipal Stadium.
As you’ll recall, the aforementioned San Jose ballclub is dedicating the month of April to Stow.
I might as well stay with the PCL, as yesterday Sacramento and Reno upped the stakes of their rivalry via a bet between each city’s classic car museum. Typical, right?
The annual season series between the Reno Aces and the Sacramento River Cats will take on new significance in 2011, as the two host cities’ auto museums will face off in a high profile wager based on the overall winner of the season series. Reno’s very own National Automobile Museum will put up the 1949 Mercury that James Dean drove in “Rebel Without a Cause,” while Sacramento’s California Auto Museum will put up a 1932 Ford raced by driving legend AJ Foyt.
The RiverCats have owned the Aces as of late. Reno’s win on 4/19 snapped a 12-game losing streak against Sacramento, with their previous victory having come exactly a year previous. (My knowledge truly knows no boundaries, a fact that I’ll tell myself many times over tonight while sitting in an easy chair and drinking whiskey in a darkened living room.)
But anyway, can you believe that I’ve made it this far before featuring a new food item that laughs in the face of death? What follows is the Lancaster JetHawks’ new “Heart-Stopper” a limited time only delicacy consisting of a hot dog on biscuits, smothered in sausage gravy, cheese, and bacon.
I actually think this one looks pretty good! If only concession items could safely and sensibly be sent via the United States post office…
Until that day arrives, I’ll be amusing myself with humorous videos. This one, featuring the clumsy ball-handling skills of Durham Bulls hurler Mike Ekstrom, is a must-see instant classic.
That’s going to close out the week for me. But before I go, may I direct your attention to my latest “Farm’s Almanac” piece on MiLB.com? Professor Joe Price is singing the National Anthem at over 100+ ballparks this summer, and he’s truly a man on a mission. From the story:
“I always love for people to join in, and for the anthem to be sung together regardless of political orientation,” said Price. “This can, potentially, be everyone’s national anthem. And as a result it can bridge the gap between the Tea Party and liberals, between hawks and doves. Because, even though it is a wartime song, it was written as a celebration of freedom. The preservation of our freedoms is what lies at the heart of it.”
The promotion was exactly what its name implied: a celebration of beards. Between-inning games and contests were devoted to this most dignified form of facial hair, and all bearded individuals received discounted admission to the ballpark.
I’ll start things off with a 2010 Photo of the Year contender. I like this picture so much because 1) these guys are no johnny-come-latelies to the beard scene and 2) their innate good-naturedness is so immediately apparent:
This between-inning game involved contestants attempting to shave a balloon. I’m truly grateful that I have a job that allows me to regularly write sentences such as the previous:
I have no idea what’s going on in the next two photos, but this aura of mystery enhances the visual:
The Baysox aren’t the only team to have recently staged a follicle-related promotion. The Lake County Captains held “Hairstyle Appreciation Night”, which team director of promotions Jonathan Levey described thusly:
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Appreciation Night paid homage to all facets of hair. Barbers were on hand to
cut hair during the game with all tips received contributed to Locks for Love.
The Captains player with the best hairstyle head shot (Casey Frawley) on the
video board had $50 donated to Locks For Love in his name. The Captains hosted
several contests including: Best Hairstyle, Craziest Hairstyle, Best Wig and a
Wig Relay Race. There was also color hair spraying for the kids and many
different movie and photo clips to honor hair throughout the evening.
Casey Frawley? ‘Fraid I’ve never haird of ’em:
Multi-Tasking on the Concourse:
One of the evening’s biggest stars:
As much as I love writing about hair-related promotions within the world of Minor League Baseball, allow me to briefly point out that my latest “Farm’s Almanac” feature is a good one. It’s on umpiring in the Minors, and I hope you find it engaging and informative.
Okay, with that plug out of the way, let me return to the Baysox. The following video has nothing to do with hair, however. Rather, it is an amusing look at prospects Zach Britton and Caleb Joseph as they spend an evening at Camden Yards with something less than all-access:
That’s going to do it for me, for this week. In closing, I’ll leave you with yet another “at-bat walk-up” song selection. THIS.
But I write articles, too, and would like to take advantage of this relaxed Tuesday afternoon by drawing your attention to that which has recently appeared on MiLB.com:
— New Promotion Preview column went “live” today, as is the case each and every Tuesday. I’ve been getting a fair amount of emails from people who have trouble locating the column. If it is no longer on the MiLB.com homepage, click the “News” tab and then the “Promo Preview” dropdown option.
— The first “Crooked Numbers” of the season can be found HERE. This monthly column highlights improbable and absurd on-field happenings, and I am always grateful to those who get in touch with suggestions for the column. With so much going on out there in the Minors, it is a given that there is much I won’t spot on my own.
— Farm’s Almanac appears each Friday. Last week’s feature on scouts got a great response and can be read HERE.
Continuing on the “relaxed Tuesday” theme, I recently received the following promotional video from the West Michigan Whitecaps. Saturday will be “Salute to Sweatpants Night” at Fifth Third Field, and clearly the best way to promote such an endeavor is by releasing a mascot dance audition video that concludes with an emotional home plate embrace of a pants-less pig.
Sweatpants and the Whitecaps seem like a natural fit, as concession stand items such as THESE practically demand an elastic waistband.