I’m as forward-looking as the next guy (whoever that may be), but nonetheless a longing backward gaze never hurt anyone. Right? RIGHT?
I sure hope so, because recent retrospective tendencies are continuing unabated with this: a look at some of the funniest/strangest/most evocative photos to have appeared on this blog during the 2011 season. It’s a feast for the eyes, so lather up those retinas and dive right in to the unparalleled visual extravaganza that is this post.
And we’ll start with one of my favorite recurring topics: Centenarian Ceremonial First Pitches! On April 7, Violet Smith celebrated her 109th birthday with the Great Lakes Loons. 109! I still can’t get over it. This woman was in high school when the U.S. entered WWI, and has lived long enough to see Franz Ferdinand re-incarnated as a British rock group.
Take Me Out…to the Ballgame!
Segueing once again from centenarians to sky-diving bulls, this picture of the Tulsa Drillers’ Hornsby remains my favorite mascot picture of all time.
The month of May provided what was probably the most famous picture to emanate from the Minor League landscape all year. Mark Gormus of the Richmond-Times Dispatch should be commended for this one, a thrilling snapshot of “Supermom” in action at a Flying Squirrels game.
He’s not on the same level of heroism as “Supermom,” but who can forget Michael Restovich’s stint as “Cupman”?
Meanwhile, in Visalia, the Rawhide established themselves as the Cal League’s preeminent practitioners of age-based beauty contests. The winner of their “Belle of the Ballpark” competition was 96 years young, and very happy to have emerged victorious.
The Rawhide’s Cal League cohorts in Lake Elsinore capitalized on the planking craze in memorable fashion. Here, the inimitable Grounds Crew Gorilla lays it all out atop an oven.
I don’t mean to pry, mate, but how’d you get up there?
Similar posture was utilized by David “The Human Cannonball” Smith when he was shot over the outfield fence at a Lowell Spinners game.
While it would be inconceivable for a player to be shot out of a cannon (at least in affiliated ball), sometimes they do find a way to participate in the promotions. One of the most enthusiastic was Frank Pfister of the Bakersfield Blaze, who gamely chugged away after losing a pre-game “Milk-Off” to members of the aforementioned Visalia Rawhide.
But humor can be milked from any situation. After the Boise Hawks misplaced their helmets prior to a late August ballgame, the team’s hitters were forced to borrow from the opposing Spokane Indians.
I’ll close this post with what may very well be the best photo ever taken of me, the world’s
most self-loathing GREATEST Minor League blogger/itinerant solo traveler. Getting pied in the face atop a dugout while Mexican wrestling-enamored interns look on was a definite career highlight. The experience made me glad to be alive; thanks to the Akron Aeros for making it happen.
Minor League Baseball can be a beautiful thing sometimes.
2011 promotional schedules are being released at a rapid clip these days, with highlights aplenty.
A “Human Home Run” is exactly what you would think it is. Say the Spinners:
“When it comes to human cannonballs, David Smith is the best of the best,” said Spinners Vice President Jon Goode. “This is an idea we discussed years ago and he saved it for the Lowell Spinners. Five years in the making, this is going to be a night you will not want to miss.”
Human Cannonball-ing runs in the Smith family, as David Sr. currently holds the world record for “farthest cannonball flight” for his 185 ft. shot in 1998. Unless the Spinners move the fences WAY in, Jr’s home run flight at LeLacheur Park will far surpass this.
Regardless, I plan to cover this promotion with the same fervor I devote to human fireballs. Stay tuned.
In Other Promo News:
Yesterday the Reading Phillies announced the latter half of their “Top 20 2011 Promotions.”
The team is once again staging a “Tribute to the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor“, and this time one lucky fan will win a 550-pound life-size replica of the man himself. For those keeping track at home, this is the second 550-pound life-size replica giveaway that the R-Phils have announced. Will there be more to come?
— The Lancaster JetHawks have announced a “Stadium Dust Globe” giveaway, in honor of their oft-stormy ballpark weather conditions. I hail them for their creativity, snow doubt this’ll rain supreme in 2011’s giveaway pantheon.
— And speaking of Stormy, the anemometer-ically correct Omaha Storm Chasers mascot is now the star of a new video series. Find out why it’s not easy being green.
Finally, TWO teams have recently asked fans to submit potential 2011 theme songs — the Huntsville Stars and Durham Bulls. I am always happy to feature franchise-specific tunes on this blog. Send ’em on over, please.