Today is Groundhog Day. As a strong proponent of doing the same thing again and again, I thought I’d go ahead and write a blog post dedicated to how the world of Minor League Baseball is celebrating this most hallowed of rodent weather prediction holidays.
We’ll start in Pennsylvania, of course, as the Keystone State has long served as the spiritual center of Groundhog Day. In State College, located 75 miles east of Punxsutawney, the Spikes have announced the following initiative:
The offer of bonus vouchers on McDonald’s Flex Books are a superfluous tie-in; the justification is that they give “fans multiple ways to enjoy Groundhog Day over and over again.”
More relevant is the offer of free admission to people named “Phil” on August 2. The Spikes mention that this offer extends to “Phil Collins, Phil Mickelson, Phil Jackson, Phil Simms and Dr. Phil”, but that “no current or former members of the Philadelphia Phillies will be allowed in free that night.”
I think some former Phillies should question this policy. Like, if Desi Relaford showed up and was like “Hey, give me a free ticket” I bet the Spikes would oblige.
The Altoona Curve are located even closer to Punxsatawney than are the Spikes. Last season, they even gave away a Groundhog Day bobblehead and had Phil out to the ballpark.
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) February 2, 2016
They also released a new commercial:
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) February 2, 2016
Frisco RoughRiders vice-president Jason Dambach is a Punxsutawney native and former Curve and Spikes employee. So I’m going to go ahead and check in on the RoughRiders to see if they are celebrating the day in a notable way.
Well…this is notable, I suppose.
— Frisco RoughRiders (@RidersBaseball) February 2, 2016
Another team I think of when the search engine that is my brain conjures up “Groundhog Day Minor League Baseball” are the Charleston RiverDogs. Team co-owner Bill Murray was the star of Groundhog’s Day, as you may recall. Let’s see what they RiverDogs are doing.
Okay, so here’s a tweet.
— Charleston RiverDogs (@ChasRiverDogs) February 2, 2016
That’s all I’ve got, but in the interest of total thoroughness I’ll do a quick run through my Twitter feed to see if I missed anything….
Update: I didn’t really miss anything, save for this.
If any teams were omitted from this post, please know it is because I did so intentionally and in fact don’t like your team and will never visit.
In closing, here’s a scorching track from underrated ’70s rockers Groundhogs.
I had a blog post all ready to go this morning, but then a “big” “news story” came across my “desk”:
Last night, the Akron Aeros got a prominent shoutout on “The Daily Show.” The team’s recent “Nice 2 Meat You” burger caused the perpetually apoplectic Lewis Black to wax enthusiastic. Watch it HERE (the Aeros come in at the 2:25 mark).
And here’s the picture, first seen on this blog, that appeared on the show.
Touting the “Nice 2 Meat You” as a much-needed antidote to the beef-skimping Taco Bells of the world, Black held aloft a pair of ducats and claimed that he would be at the Akron Aeros home opener.
I caught up with Aeros food and beverage director Jason Kerton this morning, and he says that he had no idea that his creation was going to get a mention during Black’s latest broadside.
“I was falling asleep on the couch last night, and my phone started beeping left and right,” said Kerton. “I was getting a lot of texts from friends telling me that [Nice 2 Meat You] was on TV.”
And while no one wants Black to go into cardiac arrest while enjoying an Aeros game, the team would love to see him make an appearance at Canal Park this season.
“We’d give him the burger, a Three Dog Night, and anything else he wanted,” said Kerton. “But I’m still in shock that we were on the Daily Show. It was funny that we were on it, and even more funny that no one knew it was going to happen.”
Most teams ignore this special day of rodent weather prognostication, instead focusing their energies on Valentine’s Day. But in Norfolk, the Tides have put together a promotion with an extremely easy-to-predict result:
[We’re not] taking any chances that a groundhog in Punxsutawney sees his shadow and curses everyone to six more weeks of winter.
Instead, the Tides have employed the weather-prognosticating services of Rip Tide, and they have even offered a bribe to the furry mascot. If Rip Tide doesn’t see his shadow – or just blatantly ignore his shadow all together – then the Tides will give 25 lucky fans a pair of tickets to the Tides game on Sunday, April 17.
And the stunning result? Rip Tide didn’t see his shadow, winter will soon be over, and fans may now enter into a drawing for free tickets. And, for maximum publicity, this all went down on a local morning news program. Good work, Rip Tide.
Meanwhile, the Portland Sea Dogs didn’t even make a pretense of pretending that a Punxsutawney prognostication had any meaning to them.
The team’s “Groundhog Day Special” is as cut-and-dry as a Saharan bodybuilder.
Regardless of whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow today, there are only 9 weeks before the Sea Dogs open the 2011 Season! Therefore the Sea Dogs have a special $9 ticket package offer for fans, good today only!
A different sort of mascot intrigue is going on over in Lancaster, as JetHawks mascot KaBoom is intimating that he may leave the real world for a virtual one.
As we inch our way closer to the 2011 season it seems as if JetHawks fans are all asking the same question; Is it true that KaBoom will join the next generation of Angry Birds?
Lancaster JetHawks Director of Promotions Jeremy Castillo addressed the issue early Monday morning, “At this point I can neither confirm nor deny the rumors. KaBoom and I have had a few closed door meetings, and he has expressed some interest in the game. That’s really all I can say at this time.”
If KaBoom does indeed join the next generation of Angry Birds, it would make him the first Minor League mascot video game character of all time. Let’s all salute this avian innovator:
I have written many times in the past about Lehigh Valley’s propensity for pig puns, but they really outdid themselves with a press release put out on Friday.
In this missive, the team heaps praise upon a Washington man who saved a pig by giving it “mouth-to-snout” resuscitation:
In hearing a hoof-warming story of a man saving a pig through CPR in La
Center, Wash., IronPigs mascots FeRROUS and FeFe wanted to publicly
honor and award human hero Jeff Olson.
For his saving the life of “Pig Pig” though mouth-to-snout
resuscitation, the pair will be sending a care package to Olson —
which consists of an IronPigs sweatshirt, a bottle of Listerine and
tube of ChapStick – along with an offer for free IronPigs tickets for
he and his wife any time they are in the Lehigh Valley.
But here’s where it really gets good:
In a written statement, FeRROUS had the following words for Olson: “On
behalf of FeFe and all pigs in the Lehigh Valley, I would like to
porksonally say ‘thank you’ to Mr. Olson for going above and beyond the
Call of Suey. By risking life, limb and a lifetime of bad breath,
little Pig Pig will one day be able to go to the market.”
The appearance of “porksonally” and “Call of Suey” in the span of one sentence is a tremendous gift, the sort of thing that gives me the strength to carry on for another day.
Even if the day in question is exactly like the one that preceded it — Groundhog Day, if you will. And I assume you will, because that’s what today is — Groundhog Day, if you will. And I assume you will, because that’s what today is — Groundhog Day.
To sum it up: Groundhog Day is today!
The world-famous Punxutawney Phil saw his shadow, supposedly condemning the nation to six more weeks of winter. But those within the world of Minor League Baseball should instead heed the prognositications of Gwinnett County’s General Beauregard Lee, who failed to spot his shadow. General Lee has far greater baseball credentials, as he served as the inspiration for Gwinnett Braves mascot Chopper (the world’s most seductive groundhog, as you may recall).
Next up on the holiday calendar is Valentine’s Day, which I have already covered extensively. However, there is PLENTY more where that came from — prepare thyself.