Loose Ends Tied Up
This word, spoken from outside the door, is my alarm clock when I’m on the road. It brings me back to hotel room reality, as I lie in bed and wish to the high heavens that I had remembered to put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign the night before.
Housekeeping is also the purpose of this post, as I fear that readers of this blog may not have been picking up on much of what I’ve been putting down lately. To wit:
Are you familiar with “The Show Before the Show”? It’s the weekly MiLB.com podcast, co-hosted by esteemed colleagues Sam “Not Lenny’s son” Dykstra and Tyler “Maybe Lenny’s son for all I know” Maun. Each week, I join Tyler and Sam for “Ben’s Biz Banter,” in which we riff on current MiLB events that fall within my broad purview. Listen, rate and review HERE.
But THAT IS NOT ALL. I’ve been promoting it relentlessly on Twitter, but earlier this month, Tyler and I hosted a special “ALL MINOR LEAGUE TEAM THEME SONGS” edition of the podcast. Seventeen baseball earworms, three interviews with songwriting masterminds and all the contextualizing info and theoretically witty banter you could could ever want. Look — like Richard Marx, it’s right here waiting for you! Listen now! I won’t give up until I’m satisfied.
After listening to all of these songs way too many times, I think my favorite is “Everybody Loves Curve Baseball.” What’s yours? Also, if you’d like a specific team theme song to be featured in an upcoming episode, please get in touch.
Every Friday, I have a feature story on MiLB.com. Today’s piece tracks a remarkable 36-season streak, as at least one new Minor League ballpark has opened every season from 1981-2016. Check it out HERE. And, hey, here’s a visual that shows how much the Minor League landscape has changed over the last two-plus decades.
I had to compile and contextualize a lot of info for this piece and, unfortunately, there were a few omissions. I appreciate people pointing them out, but jeez, it’s not intentional. If I ever make a mistake regarding your team, it’s not because I don’t like your team. I love everyone.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, I wrote a piece about David LaBounty and his “Bookstores and Baseball” zine. I was very glad to get the chance to write about a zine in a professional context, and this one fit as it is about, yes, bookstores and baseball.
For years, David and his family have gone on road trips centered around attending literary festivals, visiting independent bookstores and seeing baseball games (many in the Minors). Each issue — or inning — of the zine covers a year of travel, and there are eight so far. If this sounds like your kind of thing, in line with your sensibilities, then give the article a read and check out the zine HERE.
Also, if you like being kept abreast of the Minor League promo scene, check out “Promo Watch.” It runs every Tuesday. Where else can you find important information such as how Greg “The Hammer” Valentine bailed out of a Fort Myers Miracle appearance due to “unspecified differences” with fellow guest (and former tag team partner) Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake?
Don’t worry. Bushwhacker Luke showed up in Greg’s place and all was well.
And, of course, there’ll be plenty of road trip material — on MiLB.com and on the blog — in the very near future. I’ll be hitting the road next week!
Okay, I shall now consider this house to be kept. Thanks, as always for reading.
Turn the Page
The silence that greeted my offseason round-up post could not have been any louder, so nothing to do now but dust myself off and stare boldly into the future.
Baseball is coming!
And if baseball is coming then new content is coming, both on the blog and over on MiLB.com. My Southern League preview and prospect guide runs tomorrow (not my bread and butter, but I do what I can), followed by Thursday’s Opening Day guide as well as 2012’s first edition of Promo Preview!
2012 marks Promo Preview’s seventh season of existence (what have I done with my life?) and this year the format will differ from what it has been in year’s past. As opposed to 10 capsule write-ups, there will be one lead promo featured each week and this portion will be followed by a more free-wheeling run-down of everything else of note that is going on. But the more things change the more I am obliged to resort to hoary cliches: much of the column will continue to rely on your input. Never, ever hesitate to get in touch with your promo related tips, leads, and scuttlebutt.
The resumption of Minor League action means the cessation of my Minoring in Business and Offseasoning columns, but joining Promo Preview on the weekly roster is Farm’s Almanac. This is, quite simply, a feature about nearly anything related to the Minor Leagues — player profiles, book reviews, historical explorations, on-location travelogues and so on and so forth. And, again, I am always amenable to your suggestions regarding what would make a good Minor League story.
And, of course, I’ll be hitting the road several times during the course of the season. (I’ll dedicate a post to Trip #1 early next week. It kicks off April 27). The plan, tentatively, is to embark on four week-long trips in addition to more incidental visits within the greater NYC area. And not to be a broken record or anything, but your suggestions/invitations are always appreciated.
And, finally, I’ll be tweeting as often as time and space constraints allow. Our weekly series of Twitter souvenir giveaways has gone well thus far, and will continue into the foreseeable future (every Friday at 2 p.m.). I’m currently sitting at 1899 followers (a number that, for me, always brings to mind the Cleveland Spiders), and would like to get to 2012 by Opening Day.
Teams, can you help me out with that? I’ve (most likely) scratched your back, and now I’ve got an itch that you can assist with. Tell your fans to follow @bensbiz!
Apologies for the excessive housekeeping here, but it is the time of year for such things. Stay tuned both here and MiLB.com for what will (hopefully) be another season of unprecedented Minor League coverage and, most importantly, thanks for your support!
Housekeeping Until Said House is Kept
Greetings, once again, from New Orleans.
It is been rather difficult for me to update the blog over the past several days, as the task of attending and then writing about the promotional seminar has proven to be all-encompassing. Nonetheless, there are a few pertinent matters that I feel my readership needs to be aware of.
Matter the first is this:
My comprehensive “Year in Promotions” article is now up on MiLB.com.
Read it, explore the copious linkage provided, and, most importantly, VOTE for your favorite promotion of the season. The more votes this article gets, the more my existence is justified. At the very least, then, think of this as a charitable act — pitch in to improve the mental health of a perpetually anxious and dissatisfied baseball writer!
I have been covering the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar as if I were some sort of journalist.
Read about it HERE. I have been enjoying myself in New Orleans, overall, and it’s been a great opportunity to meet/reconnect with those in “the industry.” My one complaint has been the lack of quality food. New Orleans is a culinary mecca, offering dishes of virtually unfathomable deliciousness as if it were no big thing. But I’ve had to subsist on generic catered hotel offerings, and even our field trips to outside locations have resulted in little more than chicken fingers and pasta. I need something authentic, or else I might turn to dust.
Finally, an article I wrote about Cole Hamels can be found HERE. These sort of stories, they help to pass the time.
And Since I’ve Got Your Attention (maybe)…
I am always curious if any readers of this blog can relate to my musical sensibilities (which are admittedly all over the place). What I am currently looking forward to are the new albums from Om and Anti-Pop Consortium. If this, or anything I write, means anything to you then please get in touch.
Dancin' In the Rain
Two incidents do not a trend make (I’m quoting Shakespeare here), but it is worth pointing out that last weekend’s baseball action included a pair of rain delay dance-offs.
In a story that got some play around what is sometimes referred to as “the blogosphere”, UConn and South Florida alleviated their rain delay boredom on Friday by engaging in an impromptu dancing competition. Video of that spectacle can be viewed here.
On Saturday, the same thing happened in a game between the Lakewood BlueClaws and the visiting Greensboro Grasshoppers. A ninth inning rain delay resulted in the cancellation of that evening’s fireworks display, causing many of the fans in attendance to head for the exits. Those that remained were treated to this:
According to the BlueClaws Blog, the teams also engaged in the Cupid Shuffle, Cha Cha Slide, Apache, and the Stanky Leg. In fact, video of the Cupid Shuffle can be viewed here.
Thanks to Greg Giombarrese and Tim Slisky for the heads-up on this.
And now, some housekeeping:
— If you haven’t already, please take the time to read the previous post on this blog. It deals with my close encounter with a sword swallower on a recent trip to Huntsville, and is a small indication of the sort of stuff I’m hoping to do more and more of. Maybe one day I’ll even find a way to get paid for it.
— A new Promo Preview column is up today. Please check it out. In case it’s not clear, I treat each column as an exercise in joke-writing. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I am always interested in reader feedback.
— Bursting onto the Major League scene with a handlebar mustache and great backstory, Clay Zavada has gotten a lot of attention lately. I did a profile of Zavada last fall, and found him to be one of the most likable athletes I had ever talked to. Check it out here.
— Today is the 50th Anniversary of Harvey Haddix’s 12-inning perfect game (he lost the perfect game bid, and the game itself, in the 13th). This MLB.com story also includes a live performance of the song “Harvey Haddix” by the Baseball Project. It’s excellent stuff.
Just 162 Days Away…
One of my many self-imposed “housekeeping” tasks here at MiLB.com is to compile an Excel spreadsheet of next season’s notable promotions.
As most teams have yet to announce their promotional schedules, my 2009 spreadsheet is currently quite barren. In fact, it includes a mere 28 listings. But of these 28, four are scheduled to take place on the same day. That day is June 20, which is shaping up to be quite an action-packed day in the Minor Leagues. Let’s take a look at what lies in store thus far:
Bowling Green Hot Rods — Fan’s Choice T-Shirt Night
This design of this shirt will be selected by the fans, who will make their voices heard through the magic of online polling. I’m hoping that the shirt will commemorate an alternate reality in which the team’s name is “Cave Shrimp“.
Hudson Valley Renegades — Benchwarmer’s Night
I have already dedicated a post to this most entertaining of promotional nights. Inspired by the Knicks’ laughable Stephon Marbury situation, the Renegades will be paying tribute to benchwarmers all game long. The night even includes a wooden seat cushion giveaway.
Lakewood BlueClaws — “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan Appearance
In which the BlueClaws will welcome the WWE’s oldest wrestler, whose weapon of choice is a 2×4.
Peoria Chiefs — Lee Smith Appearance
Even more intimidating than “Hacksaw” is Lee Smith, the legendary 6’6″ closer who amassed 478 saves over 18 Major League seasons.
So there you have it folks…June 20 is still more than five months away, yet we are already assured of four above average promotions. Please get in touch if YOU are aware of anything going on in the Minor Leagues on June 20 (or any other day, for that matter):
And now, courtesy of Wikipedia, here are a few other somewhat notable events that have occurred on June 20:
451 — Flavius Aetius defeats Atilla the Hun at the battle of Chalons.
1782 — The U.S. Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States.
1893 — Lizzie Borden is acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother.
1976 — The birth of Rob Mackowiak.
2008 — Reading Phillies stage Spam Carving Competition.
Thank you, as always, for making it through to the last sentence.