My list of “potential blog topics” has become exceedingly unruly, thanks to my tendency to fill every square inch of notebook paper before flipping over to a fresh sheet. The page is so crowded that I can barely read my own writing anymore.
Therefore, time is of the essence. I must share as many of these “potential blog topics” as I can, before they are lost forever due to poor notebook maintenance.
So let’s do this!
Traficant Do It — The Mahoning Valley Scrappers put their name into action when they were forced to scrap September 2’s “Traficant Release Night.” For those who don’t keep up on Ohio’s sordid political scandals, James Traficant is a former congressman currently in jail as a result of a whole slew of felonious offenses related to corruption and general sleaziness. The Scrappers’ promotion was meant to acknowledge (and perhaps satirize) Traficant’s upcoming release from prison, but not everyone in the community was on board with the idea. After receiving a virtual mountain of complaints the team wisely put a kibosh on the whole thing. In its place? “Valley Pride Night” — a celebration of area businesses, attractions, and individuals that is sure to be far less divisive than a corrupt politician with a staggeringly bad toupee.
A Great Need, Fulfilled — The simmering feud between Akronites and Birminghamians will soon get an outlet, as whatifsports.com will be running a simulated seven-game series between the Eastern League Aeros and the Southern League Barons.
The theme song for this promotion should be a parody of Mary Poppins’ “Chim Chim Cher-ee“: Sim Sim Series, Sim Sim Series, Sim Sim Series/A Sweep is as lucky, as lucky as can be.” I didn’t even have to change that second line at all!
Outside of My Jurisdiction — I cover the world of affiliated Minor League Baseball. You know this. But I still receive emails from individuals and organizations within other subsections of the sports marketing landscape, many of whom are staging promotions that could most certainly be described as “Minor League Baseball-esque”. Like this — “Jon and Kate Plus Eight Family Night” at Washington state’s Skagit Speedway:
Skagit Speedway will ensure the ultimate fun for “Jon & Kate Plus 8 Night” families by banning all paparazzi and tabloid reporters from the facility for the evening. Families are encouraged to video their own reality show at the event and upload the experience to YouTube.
I also recently recieved a promotional email from a big league club, something that does not happen very often. So, hey, check it out — everyone who buys a “special event ticket” for the San Francisco Giants’ upcoming “Latino Heritage Night” receives a limited-edition Carlos Santana bobblehead:
This One Blows — I included the Northwest Arkansas Naturals’ “Kazoo World Record Attempt” in the August 11 edition of “Promotion Preview”. The club has since sent out a press release announcing that 3000 fans participated in a group rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, thereby establishing a new world record. While I congratulate the Naturals on their efforts, I wonder if they will be able to have their achievement validated by the Guinness Book of World Records. As I learned while researching this article, breaking a world record is much easier said than done.
Switching Things Up — Ambidextrous pitching prospect Pat Venditte is regularly profiled in the national media, by artisans and hacks alike. The most recent feature aired this Tuesday on ESPN’s E60 program — and included footage of Venditte while he was with the Charleston RiverDogs. This gave the club the opportunity to boast that they would be on national television on back-to-back nights, as on Wednesday the RiverDogs’ Homewrecker Hot Dog appeared on the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food.
The lesson here is simple — ambidextrous pitchers and giant frankfurters never fail to get the national media’s attention. Teams lacking these attributes should rectify the situation immediately.
That will be it for me this week. Thanks, as always, for reading and emailing.
Minor League Baseball has always been “real”, simply due to the fact that it exists on our level of spatial and temporal awareness. But this week it will somehow become more “real”, due to the fact that not one but TWO reality shows will be visiting Minor League Ballparks.
First up is the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. On Tuesday, this Texas League franchise (which is not located in Texas — discuss) will host the Duggars clan. This gigantic family stars in the TLC program “18 Kids and Counting“. Headed by recidivist baby-makers Jim Bob and Michelle, the Duggars have thus far brought a dozen and a half children into the world. As an added bonus, all of their names start with the letter “J”.
From the Naturals’ press release:
Jim Bob, Michelle, and their 18 children will throw first pitches before the game, and their actions all night will be filmed by the TLC camera crews who will be on-site shooting an episode of the series. The Duggars will participate in the Naturals’ on-field activities during the game in which they will show the television audience their allegiance to the region’s only professional sports franchise.
The other Minor League team set to recieve some nationwide basic cable exposure is the Charleston RiverDogs. The show “Man Vs. Food” will make a pit stop at Joseph P. Riley Ballpark on Tuesday, so that host Adam Richman can take on an item that has been featured on this blog several times in the past: The homewrecker hot dog.
Can just one man make it through this half-pound monstrosity? Perhaps, but it will be interesting to see which toppings Richman elects to adorn his dog with. 25 are currently available, including pimento cheese, okra, jalapeno, and cole slaw.
At any rate, I am a little disturbed by the fact that this show is called “Man vs. Food.” Shouldn’t there be a symbotic relationship between the two? Does this guy have antagonistic feelings toward water and oxygen as well?
Let me know! I don’t have cable.
As of this writing (6:33 p.m. EST), over 11,000 unique visitors have stopped by and had a look, and I sincerely hope that at least a few of these individuals become repeat “customers”. The reason for this dramatic uptick is my recent post on West Michigan’s mammoth 1.6 pound hamburger. CNBC’s Darren Rovell picked up the story and was kind enough to give me a “shout out”, and since then the post has been linked to by a dizzying array of blogs and message boards.
I have thought long and hard about how to capitalize on my fleeting, jumbo burger-related “fame”, and here’s the plan that I have come up with:
1. Give the people (more of) what they want.
2. Follow up by giving the people something they didn’t even know that they wanted.
Part Two is coming tomorrow, and it’s a doozy. But, for now, I will simply display the holy trinity of Minor League concession items. (Yes, this is gratuitous, and yes, I am pandering).
I use this image as part of my daily meditation practices, concentrating on it in order to give myself access to deep inner mental states. This is not a joke.
This is to a normal hot dog what a normal hot dog is to one those little pig-in-a-blanket mini-weiners. I did the math.
#3 Fifth Third Burger (West Michigan Whitecaps)
Whether it’s a concession stand item or a double-overtime hockey game, five thirds is always a lot.
Once again: tomorrow’s post is going to be a good one, so please check back. And, please, get in touch at any time about anything. Reader correspondence is absolutely crucial to this operation.
The idea of paying $20 for a hamburger at a Minor League ballpark seems a bit absurd, don’t you think? In this economy, fans are looking for value above all else. No one seems particularly anxious to indulge themselves, unless they have recently awakened from a decade-long coma.
But context is everything. The West Michigan Whitecaps recently announced their new concession items for 2009, and this list is indeed highlighted by a $20 hamburger. Believe it or not, this burger is actually a good value: it weighs 5/3rds of a pound, and can feed a family of four!
The “Fifth Third Burger” (so-called because the Whitecaps play in Fifth Third Ballpark) is 5/3 pounds of grilled hamburger topped with lettuce, tomato, nacho cheese, chili, salsa and crunched tortilla chips. Saddled with the heroic task of holding it all together is an eight-inch sesame seed bun.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The picture:
In closing, I would like to ask the following question: If your life depended on it, would you rather eat the Fifth Third Burger, or the Homewrecker Hot Dog? Think hard, and choose wisely.
Update, 3/25: This post has received an absurd amount of attention over the past several days, and it is now time to move on to the next Minor League innovation. Click HERE. You will not be disappointed.
The email was from the Charleston RiverDogs, one of the teams that I was considering focusing on in today’s post. I do not take new email messages lightly, interpreting each one as a divine riddle to be deciphered by my all-too-human mind. So, the conclusion I have come to is that I must focus on the RiverDogs in this post.
Specifically, I must focus on the RiverDogs’ recently-released promo schedule. Man oh man is it a doozy. It can be read in its entirety here, but allow me to zero in on some highlights.
Salute to Cooterfest (April 15) — On this special day, the club will pay tribute to the Charleston area’s long tradition of turtle raising. Were you expecting something else?
Salary Cap Giveaway (May 2) — I am really curious to see what a literal “salary cap” looks like. Here’s my guess:
Salute to the G-String, June 11 — Apparently, “select” fans will receive a G String upon entering the stadium. Let’s hope this has something to do with guitars.
Here’s To You Mr. Competitive Adult Softball Player Night (June 18) — The RiverDogs’ front office must be big fans of tongue-in-cheek Budweiser ad campaigns.
Nancy Appreciation Night (June 30) — From Drew to Pelosi to Reagan to Grace, the RiverDogs will be paying tribute to notable Nancys. But the best part of the evening is that the RiverDogs will pick one Nancy out of the Charleston phone book; she will then be “lampooned” throughout the ballgame.
Football Night “Ilegal Use of Your Ed Hochuli” (August 11) — Are the RiverDogs implying that “Ed Hochuli” is a body part? I’ve never heard that terminology before, but you learn something new every day.
To conclude this post, I must offer my customary “kudos” to the RiverDogs. Once again, they have shown a willingness to innovate and experiment when it comes to promos. Also, they offer this at the ballpark:
Things are starting to kick into high gear, folks. Therefore, I am occasionally going to have to include multiple topics within the same post. Presented forthwith is a triumvirate of interesting Minor League news items:
#1 — I had always thought a Homewrecker Hot Dog was an adulterous ski instructor, but leave it to the Charleston RiverDogs to show me the error of my ways.
Last week, the club announced a bevy of new season ticket options, one of which immediately caught my eye. Take it away, press release:
[H]ighlighting the new slate for the 2009 season is the Homewrecker Hot Dog Pack. This 10-game flex pack…not only offers fans the choice of two areas of seating, but also includes a Homewrecker Hot Dog Trucker cap and a voucher for a Homewrecker Hot Dog for each game.
Okay, but if not an adulterous ski instructor…what is a Homewrecker Hot Dog?
A Homewrecker is a half-pound of hot dog with a choice of multiple toppings that range from sauerkraut and okra to hot peppers and cole slaw.
And now, in lieu of 1000 words:
(thanks to RiverDogs play-by-play man Danny Reed for the picture. I am grateful that I now have another go-to food item to feature on this blog, in addition to the ubiquitous Taco in a Helmet).
#2 — From the “Hey, Why Not” department: The Charlotte Knights have invited Barack Obama to throw out the first pitch at their home opener. Sure, the chances that #44 attends the game fall somewhere between “slim” and “none”, but there is never any harm in extending the invitation. The Knights rationale for the invitation (as if they needed one): Obama’s favorite team is the White Sox, and the Knights are a Sox affiliate.
(thanks to blogger Jackie Adkins for the heads-up on this).
For whatever reason, I always feel compelled to promote touring performer Dave the Horn Guy on this blog. So I must mention the fact that Dave has just sent out word that 18 free “Horn Guy Ringtones” are now available for free download on his site. My favorite, by a considerable margin, is Usher’s “Yeah”.