Tagged: hiatus

Leaving On a Jet Plane

The most pressing thing that needs to be conveyed at this moment in space and time, from a blogging perspective, is this: next week there will be no new blog posts. This is because I’m taking a a week-long respite from Minor League Baseball, in the form of a vacation.

When I return, it will be nearly March. And if it’s nearly March it’ll nearly be baseball season. Therefore, it’ll be time for me to make some plans — where to go, who to see, and how to best cover this multifarious entity known as Minor League Baseball.

Suggestions welcome, and appreciated! Unique content is key, so please get in touch with any knowledge you may have about any particular corner of this Minor League universe.

I look forward to your reply. But, in the meantime, here’s a nice-sized portion of that typical Biz Blog content you’ve come to know and tolerate.

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re in the midst of “promotion unveiling season.” One of the more interesting ones to come down the pike this week comes courtesy of the Memphis Redbirds, who have put an interesting spin on the increasingly prevalent “social media” sub-genre.

Reports the team:

The first 500 fans through the gates that use Twitter can write down their Twitter username, allowing the Redbirds to follow them. Prior to the game, a Twinterview will be held with one of the Memphis Redbirds players. Twitter handles from each player will also be included on their headshots on the Redbirds’ new video board.

Fans will be encouraged to take a photo from where they sit at the ballpark and share it on Facebook. Adding their seat location to the picture caption will give them a chance to win a social media themed prize during the game. One fan will also receive a prize pack that includes a bird watching book, a team-signed hashtag and a box of figurines containing 140 characters.

Not surprisingly, my favorite aspect of this promo is the “prize pack.” I look forward to seeing what a “team-signed hashtag” looks like, and, especially, what sort of figurine characters end up in the box.

My last post had a Valentine’s Day emphasis, but now that particular holiday is firmly in the rear-view mirror. Or, is it? In honor of the Red Sox’s new manager, the Lowell Spinners are hosting their own “Valentine’s Day” on July 14.

Ya gotta love it:

The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a pink Bobby Valentine’s Day Spinners’ baseball. Fans who do not receive a baseball will be rewarded with Valentine’s candies and cards so no fan is left lonely on Bobby Valentine’s Day.

 The concourse will feature a Valentine’s card swap area, with Valentine’s available for younger fans to give to each other, leave for their favorite Spinners players or, of course, leave for Bobby Valentine. The area will also have an abundance of Valentine’s Day favorites, including Hershey’s Kisses and NECCO Hearts.

Outside of Valentine’s Day, the Spinners will also salute Bobby Valentine by exploring some of their favorite Bobby V-isms. The concession stand will feature wrap sandwiches, in honor of their inventor, and the team will celebrate Bobby’s fabulous ballroom dancing moves, with a between innings dancing contest.

As I mentioned on Twitter earlier this week, a component that needs to be added to this stellar promo is a mustache giveaway. And all fans in disguise should get in free!

A reasonable question to ask at this juncture is “who cares about any of this stuff? The world is ending!” The Frederick Keys understand such apocalyptic angst, and are therefore staging “Six Months Until the End of the World Night” on June 21.

“We will be paying tribute to what is supposed to be the end of life on earth with our six months til the end of the world celebration. Enjoy survival of the fittest events, last meal eating contests, zombie interns and more!” reported the team. “Oh, and there will be Keys baseball too.”

If the above didn’t satiate your appetite for apocalyptic images, then perhaps this will.

Photo: Laura Brinkman

Yep, that’s Visalia Rawhide mascot Tipper with his ol’ buddy Newt Gingrich at Tuesday’s World Ag Expo.

“Newt Gingrich” sounds like a good name for a Zooperstars character. This beloved troupe of pun-obsessed inflatables are visiting Charlotte on May 26, with five of the characters confirmed. The team has launched a fan poll to determine the final two characters, with the choices as follows:

  1. Manatee Ramirez
  2. Yao Flamingo
  3. Jeff Gordog
  4. Centipete Rose
  5. Mackerel Jordan
  6. Nolan Rhino

A manatee, a clam, and a centipede walk onto a baseball field...

The triumvirate of above characters look like they could be gatekeepers to the afterlife, but fortunately we won’t have to deal with such matters for another six months. In the meantime, all you need is Like!

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are aiming for 10,000 new Facebook fans this month, and will donate $5000 to New Horizons soup kitchen and homeless if this goal is met. So CLICK HERE and like away!


And you know what? That’s going to do it for me. I’ll be back on the blog come 2/27, but in the meantime please meditate on what you like about this blog, what you don’t, and what you’d like to see from it in the future. I’d love to hear it.



Meet the MacPhail Nominees: New Hampshire Fisher Cats

larrymacphailhof_1.jpgAfter a brief hiatus, Ben’s Biz Blog is back in action. And what better way to return to action than by resurrecting one of last year’s most popular features?

That’s right, it’s time for a series of exclusive interviews with teams that were nominated for the prestigious Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy! I’ll be running these throughout the week, in order to provide some insight into the philosophies of some of the top-performing teams in the Minors.

The winner of this year’s award has already been announced, but I’ll refrain from mentioning who it is until the end of the week. If you don’t know, but would like to, then get thee to Google.

Today’s featured nominee is the Eastern League’s New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The answers are courtesy of team president (and 2008 Eastern League executive of the year) Rick Brenner. The questions are courtesy of me.

More info on the Fisher Cats can be found here and here.



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How would you define your team’s promotional philosophy?



RB: Our philosophy is that if it has the potential to be a fun
night for our fans, then let’s do it. We have 71 games a year, and we ask each staff member to look at it like their only
daughter’s wedding and think of how they would like their wedding guests to be
What that means is that while we, as a staff, could
be working the final game of a 10-game homestand, it’s critical to remember
that there are always those fans who are attending their first Fisher Cats game
that particular night, and they deserve the best show we can put on. Whether it sells extra tickets or not, if we can hatch an idea that’s fun for
the fans and can really create a special theme around the game, then we go for
it. Of course it is always better when we can combine
entertainment with a cause that is important to the community, which is how we
have generated over one million dollars for the community in the past two


What were some of your biggest promotional successes from
last season?



RB: In addition to 20 fireworks nights
and over 45 giveaway nights o
ur biggest success in 2008 came with hosting the Bank of
America All Star Block Party the night before the
Northeast Delta
Dental Eastern League All-Star Game in July. We took the night before the
game, normally reserved for just league executives and players, and opened it
up to our fans with a free downtown block party. We
used an outdoor park right in the center of
Manchester and created a free event for the community to celebrate
the All-Star Game. We still had a VIP party, but the rest of the park was
a complete carnival and free for the over 3000 fans that came out that
There were inflatable rides and face-painting for the kids,
an autograph session with All-Star players, plus Bill “Spaceman” Lee and Babe
Ruth’s daughter, Julia Ruth Stephens. We even had live entertainment with
the Josh Logan Band, which served as a nice prelude to the All-Star Game
itself, where we set our stadium attendance record and saw one of our players,
Travis Snider, put on a show-stopping performance to win the Irving Oil Home
Run Derby.


As far as regular season games, Halloween in August worked
out very well for us. Our

Jack O Lantern Orange Pearl.jpg

fans really took to it. All kids who
dressed up in costume went trick-or-treating throughout the ballpark, and we
had a ‘best costume’ contest for the kids. Our staff members did a
tremendous job with creative costumes, especially the ladies, who dressed up as
Disney princesses and had their own contest to determine who most resembled the
Disney character they were dressed as. We also took
our Educational Days and, in addition to the normal educational things we did,
each staff member dressed like a different character from our nation’s
history. Armed with fact sheets about each character, the staff was on
hand to answer questions and interact with the kids as Ben Franklin, Sam Adams,
Pocahontas and many others. 


Any misfires, mishaps, or ideas that just didn’t work?



RB: One of our more popular theme days is Irish Day. The
only drawback in 2008 was that Irish Day and Mothers Day coincided. Everyone had a great time, but it was somewhat confusing
that moms were getting pink hats while kids were getting green horns. And
nothing like relaxing mom by allowing the kids to blow their green horns all
afternoon. Of course the flip side was the
happy Irish moms drinking all afternoon and then stealing the green horns from
their kids!


What are your favorite sports promotions of all time?


RB: We just love to see happy fans so
anything that makes them laugh and have fun is great to see. We have
Santa Claus here at every game and that is a huge success for the kids.


In a perfect world, what sort of promotions would you
like to stage in 2009 and beyond?


RB: We will have to wait and see what
is in store for the fans of NH next season!