Tagged: Lancaster JetHawks

Something For Everyone

Lots of flotsam and jetsam has piled up on the shores of Ben’s Biz Blog remote island headquarters, and the only way to deal with such excess detritus is by accumulating it into a tidy pile.

Nice to get a belabored analogy out of the way so early. Let’s go to the info!

First of all, a pair of Pacific Coast League announcers are on the cusp of celebrating significant milestones. Tonight in Des Moines, Deene Ehlis will call his 3000th game for the Iowa Cubs. The broadcast will also be notable in that it’ll include an interview with Indianapolis Colts receiver (and University of Iowa alum) Dallas Clark, who has been immortalized by the I-Cubs in bobblehead form.

Then on Tuesday, Steve Klauke of the Salt Lake Bees call his 2500th contest:

Reports the team:

Klauke joins legendary Utah Jazz broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley (2,645) as the only two play-by-play broadcasters to call 2,500 games with one Utah team. He also becomes just the fourth current Pacific Coast League team broadcaster to reach the 2,500 games-called mark with one PCL team. Currently in his 18th season with the Bees, Klauke can be heard live on 1320 KFAN and at slbees.com.

Klauke will be recognized during a pregame presentation on Tuesday, April 26, while audio highlights of his more notable calls will be played throughout the game.

Trivia Question! Who are the other two current PCL broadcasters to have called at least 2500 games? The first person to email me with the correct response will get to contribute 150 words to a future blog post on whatever topic they choose (must be family friendly, of course). benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Since we’re on the topic of the PCL , it is well worth pointing out that the Fresno Grizzlies are staging a Saturday night tribute to severely (and senselessly) injured San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow.

In the words of the team:

Fans can purchase a Super View ticket and special Bryan Stow bracelet for $15, with $10 going directly to The Bryan Stow Fund, established to support Bryan and his family. Stow is a paramedic with American Medical Response and works games for the San Francisco’s Single-A affiliate, the San Jose Giants, at Municipal Stadium.

As you’ll recall, the aforementioned San Jose ballclub is dedicating the month of April to Stow.

I might as well stay with the PCL, as yesterday Sacramento and Reno upped the stakes of their rivalry via a bet between each city’s classic car museum. Typical, right?


Pertinent details:

The annual season series between the Reno Aces and the Sacramento River Cats will take on new significance in 2011, as the two host cities’ auto museums will face off in a high profile wager based on the overall winner of the season series. Reno’s very own National Automobile Museum will put up the 1949 Mercury that James Dean drove in “Rebel Without a Cause,” while Sacramento’s California Auto Museum will put up a 1932 Ford raced by driving legend AJ Foyt.

The RiverCats have owned the Aces as of late. Reno’s win on 4/19 snapped a 12-game losing streak against Sacramento, with their previous victory having come exactly a year previous. (My knowledge truly knows no boundaries, a fact that I’ll tell myself many times over tonight while sitting in an easy chair and drinking whiskey in a darkened living room.)

But anyway, can you believe that I’ve made it this far before featuring a new food item that laughs in the face of death? What follows is the Lancaster JetHawks’ new “Heart-Stopper” a limited time only delicacy consisting of a hot dog on biscuits, smothered in sausage gravy, cheese, and bacon.

I actually think this one looks pretty good! If only concession items could safely and sensibly be sent via the United States post office…

Until that day arrives, I’ll be amusing myself with humorous videos. This one, featuring the clumsy ball-handling skills of Durham Bulls hurler Mike Ekstrom, is a must-see instant classic.

That’s going to close out the week for me. But before I go, may I direct your attention to my latest “Farm’s Almanac” piece on MiLB.com? Professor Joe Price is singing the National Anthem at over 100+ ballparks this summer, and he’s truly a man on a mission. From the story:

“I always love for people to join in, and for the anthem to be sung together regardless of political orientation,” said Price. “This can, potentially, be everyone’s national anthem. And as a result it can bridge the gap between the Tea Party and liberals, between hawks and doves. Because, even though it is a wartime song, it was written as a celebration of freedom. The preservation of our freedoms is what lies at the heart of it.”

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Closing Out Opening Day

The final wave of Minor League home openers are taking place throughout the country today and tomorrow, with many of them qualifying as bona-fide galas.

The Reading Phillies certainly had a lot going on. The club rang in a new era yesterday, as fans finally got a chance to check out the many improvements  made to 60-year-old FirstEnergy Stadium as part of a $10 million renovation project. Churgers were chomped, the mascot band rocked, and the first 3500 entrants received a “Ryan Howard Garden Gnome” figurine.  But one fan got to take home a 550-pound life-size version. Behold:

And behold some more:

Meanwhile, the Omaha Storm Chasers play their first game ever at Werner Park tonight tomorrow!

Update: In a disappointing but perhaps fitting bit of irony, the Storm Chasers had to postpone their home opener due to inclement weather.

The first 2500 fans receive welcome mats emblazoned with the stadium logo, and one of the guests of honor is none other than part-owner Warren Buffet. The Opening Day festivities started early this morning, with the Weather Channel broadcasting live from the stadium between 6 and 9 a.m. Say what you will about the new team name, but suffice to say that no national broadcasts would be taking place at the home opener of a Minor League team named the Royals (save for Will and Kate-obsessed British tabloid television, but they’ll broadcast from just about anywhere).

Another Pacific Coast League opener of especial significance is going down in Tucson, as the Padres play their first game at Kino Stadium after re-locating from Portland. The evening will begin on an emotional note, as the team is staging a stirring tribute to local heroes:

With Opening Night falling just three months after the tragic events of January 8th, the Tucson Padres will honor many people associated with the shooting. The following five people will throw ceremonial first pitches:

 Colonel Bill Badger: Retired Army Colonel who helped tackle the shooter on January 8th

 Daniel Hernandez: The intern who helped save the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

 Patricia Maisch: Tucson resident who helped contain the shooter after he was tackled

 Roger Salzgeber: Tucson resident who helped tackle the shooter on January 8th

 Joe Zamudio: Tucson resident who jumped on the shooter to contain him

In a similarly community-minded move, the San Jose Giants have dedicated the month of April to critically-injured fan Bryan Stow. Stow, who was attacked at the Los Angeles Dodgers home opener and suffered serious injuries, has been a familiar presence at San Jose’s Municipal Stadium.

Reports the team:

The San Jose Giants will collect donations throughout the month of April to benefit the fund established to support Bryan and his family with a special tribute planned for Opening Day, April 14th at Municipal Stadium.

 “Bryan has contributed so much to the safe operation of Municipal Stadium. He has been the first person to respond to any injuries in our ballpark and has provided outstanding medical assistance to all of our fans.” said Jim Weyermann, President and CEO of the San Jose Giants. “He is a member of our family and needs our help and prayers. We intend to be there for him in the same way he has been there for our fans, hand in hand, working together to make sure that he and his family don’t have to go through this alone.”

One of the beautiful things about attending a Minor League Baseball game is that there is equal room for wacky and the somber. But when it comes to blogging about it all, I often struggle to find an appropriate tone when dealing with such disparate subject matter in the same post.

That said, I’d like to close the blogging week by bringing your attention to one of my favorite press releases of the year. In Tuesday’s post I wrote about the Lancaster JetHawks’ “Sweet Po-Tater Tots”, and the very next day this appeared.

Between Taters and Later

Benjamin Hill, a national reporter/blogger for MILB.com, the official website of Minor League Baseball, recently included the JetHawks Sweet Po-tater Tots in a blog entry on premier new food items throughout Minor League Baseball.

That’s me all right — a national reporter/blogger who will now spend the weekend showing skeptical club doormen a crumpled print-out of the JetHawks press release.

“Of course I’m on the list. Don’t you know who I am?”

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Regional Cuisine, Sweet and Extreme

Now that the relentless onslaught of season-opening news has finally subsided, I can dedicate a post to the topic most near and dear to the hearts of Minor League fans everywhere.

Food.

But instead of leading with yet another heart-stopping meat-strosity, today’s post will begin by highlighting a food and beverage innovation that deserves to catch on throughout the land. The Richmond Flying Squirrels are offering a “Tastes of the Eastern League” special this season, in which they offer a concession item inspired by the home city of their opponent.

Here’s the list, with my only complaint being the absence of “Spiedies” when the Binghamton Mets are in town:

Akron, Ohio: Galley Boy – Two cheese burgers topped with a slice of onion and BBQ sauce

An approximation of "The Pittsburgher"

Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pittsburgher – Roast beef, slaw, cheese, and fries on a hamburger bun

Binghamton, New York: Meatball sub

Bowie, Maryland: Crab cake Sandwich

Erie, Pennsylvania: Pierogies

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwich

New Britain, Connecticut: Funnel Cake with marinara sauce

Manchester, New Hampshire: Fried Fish sandwich

Portland, Maine: Lobster Cake Sandwich

Reading, Pennsylvania: Philly Cheese Steak sub

Trenton, New Jersey: Taylor Pork roll sandwich

Blogger-ly intuition tells me that the Flying Squirrels aren’t the only team promoting league-wide culinary adventures. Are you?

Of course, the Flying Squirrels are offering suitably obscene “Extreme” menu items as well. This is Minor League Baseball we’re talking about, after all.

From left to right we have the Giant Burger (two 6 oz. Certified Black Angus patties topped with a mound of Squirrelly fries covered in BBQ sauce, drenched in cheese, served on a Crustini bun), Trolley Dog (giant hot dog covered with chili and cheese, nestled on top of two fried pickles), and the Golden Gate Burger (Two 6 oz. Certified Black Angus patties topped with a mound of Squirrelly fries covered in BBQ sauce, drenched in cheese, served on a Crustini bun). Thanks to Richmond director of broadcasting Jon Laaser for the copious food info.

Meanwhile, out west, the Lancaster JetHawks are making waves with their “Sweet Po-Tater Tots” (with a side of syrup). Now this is how teams should photographically depict premier concession items! Take note:

The Sweet Po-Taters recently caught the eye of CNBC sports biz reporter Darren Rovell, who tweeted the above pic to his legions of followers. This, in turn, inspired the JetHawks to put out a press release bragging about said Tweet. If only I were influential enough to inspire photo-shopped images such as this:

Remaining in the California League, you may recall this recent picture of the Lake Elsinore Storm’s “Filthy McNasty,” a two-pound burger stuffed with two hot dogs, bacon and cheese….smothered in chili and topped with crispy onion straws.

Well, there’s more where that came from. In a distressingly (or perhaps mercifully) photo-free press release, the team also relays the following info:

Another attraction is the “Home Wrecker”….three half-pound chili dogs topped with one-and-a- half pounds of French Fries, two pounds of chili and three-quarters-of-a-pound of cheese and diced onions….If one person can finish this monster dog in less than 20 minutes, it’s free!

Other new items added to the 2011 Diamond Club menu include: a one-and-a-half pound baked pretzel with dipping sauces named the “Belly Twister”, cheeseburger sliders with soft pretzel buns called “Pretzel Sliders”, a bleu cheese stuffed cheeseburger aptly named the “Juicy Bleusy”, a jalapeno stuffed cheeseburger called the “Cajun Lucy”, a burrito filled with shrimp, fries, guacamole, pico de gallo and cheese named “The Pipeline” and a make-your-own burrito called the “Cardiac Roll.”

Update! Here are up-close-and-personal pics of the “Homewrecker” and “Pretzel Sliders”:

And here’s the Filthy McNasty, about to be devoured:

The Toledo Mud Hens aren’t lacking for pictures either, as the team recently released a captivating online menu featuring their new concession items.

Highlights include Deep-Fried Pickle Spears as well as the “Texas Twist” a 24-oz soft pretzel, measuring one full square foot! Served with honey dijon, spicy & fancy yellow mustards.

Knot bad!

Sorry, that’s going to have to do. Knot bad. They can’t all be weiners.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Promotions: Canonical, Comical, and Climatological

2011 promotional schedules are being released at a rapid clip these days, with highlights aplenty.

But few things in this world are as exciting as unprecedented onfield aerial acrobatics, making THIS Lowell Spinners promo an (exceedingly) early “Promo of the Year” frontrunner.

hhr.jpg

A “Human Home Run” is exactly what you would think it is. Say the Spinners:

spinners.jpg[T]he human cannonball, David Smith, Jr., will be shot from a cannon at home plate over the outfield wall following the conclusion of the Spinners game.

“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?

Thumbnail image for Reading_CHDV_autographsession3.JPG

— 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.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Free Publicity and Foregone Conclusions

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.

Thumbnail image for Nice2side.JPG

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.

black.jpg“Look for me on the Jumbotron,” he yelled. “I’ll be the one having a heart attack.”

Talk about going out in style. Hey Lewis, you might as well have a “Three Dog Night” while you’re at it. And then, if still living, go on a road trip that includes Charleston and West Michigan.

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.”

We now return to regularly scheduled programming…

Happy Groundhog’s Day!Groundhog_of_Lenoir,_NC,_USA.jpg

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.

riptide.jpg

Meanwhile, the Portland Sea Dogs didn’t even make a pretense of pretending that a Punxsutawney prognostication had any meaning to them.

portlandgroundhog.jpg

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.

angry.png

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:

KaBoom.JPG
Or, as I like to call him, an “innavianator.”

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

A Day In the Life

tomorrow.jpgTomorrow, as it’s been said, is only a day away. And tomorrow’s tomorrow, when it becomes the present, presents a bountiful array of enticing presents to fans gracing Minor League ballparks with their presence.

Wishing to continue my reign as a preeminent prescient promotional prognosticator, I now present this truncated list of just what, exactly, is taking place tomorrow. Taken in toto, it serves to illuminate the the voluminous vitality of the Minor League landscape.

I know many of you would like to punch me in the face after reading the above two paragraphs, but you can’t. I’m light years away, and ensconced in bubble wrap. 

To the list!

Hank Conger Bobblehead Giveaway (Arkansas Travelers) — In honor of the switch-hitting backstop who suited up for the team in ’08 and ’09.

William Seward Bobblehead Giveaway (Auburn Doubledays) — In honor of NewThumbnail image for seward.jpg Yorkstate’s 12tgh governor, who suited up for the commonwealth from 1839-1842. He later served as Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln. Now he’s a bobblehead.

Three World Record Attempts (Bowie Baysox) — As detailed in this week’s “Promotion Preview” column, the Baysox are attempting to reach new heights in the categories of “Most People Sitting on a Whoopee Cushion”, “Most People Doing ‘The Twist'”, and “Most People Engaged in Simultaneous Air Guitar.”

Farmer Axle Bobblehead (Bowling Green Hot Rods) — It’s “Agriculture Night” in Bowling Green, hence a giveaway featuring a tractor-driving mascot.

Lumberstock (Clinton LumberKings) — An all-day festival featuring live music, cornhole tournaments, and plenty of food and drink. “Wood”n’t you like to go?

hooks.jpgRetro Jersey Giveaway (Corpus Christi Hooks) — An inimitable item mimicking the ’80s incarnation of parent club the Houston Astros.

Ryan Dempster Theme Jersey Auction (Daytona Cubs) — Proceeds benefit the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation.

Buster Posey Bobblehead (Fresno Grizzlies) — If you want one of these then you better Buster move to Chukchansi Park.

Jimmy Hart Appearance (Lexington Legends) — The “Mouth of the South” attempts to devour Applebee’s Park.

Ladies Night w/ Rafe Hernandez (Mahoning Valley Scrappers) — The “Days of Our Lives”rafe.jpg star visits Eastman Field, delighting fans with hourglass figures.

Jacoby Ellsbury Bobblehead (Pawtucket Red Sox) — Free to the first 4000 fans age 14 and under. Or at least those, like Ellsbury, who can pass for 14.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jerry Lawler Appearance (Richmond Flying Squirrels) — Because two legendary grapplers are always better than one, unless they gang up on you.

A few odds and ends before closing up shop:

— A new “Farm’s Almanac” feature is up now, about the Frederick Keys’ “Volt Night” and executive chefs in Minor League Baseball. “Volt Night”, in which Top Chef’s Bryan Voltaggio manned a concession stand, was a huge hit in Frederick (attracting a near-sellout crowd on a Tuesday night). The Baltimore Sun ran an excellent recap and photo gallery of the event.

volt.jpg 

— For sheer wordplay lunacy, it will be hard to top the Huntsville Stars’ September 6 promotion. The game will be preceded by the “Okra Win-Free Labor Day Marathon”. 103 people will split the duties of running the race (no one will “win”, see?) and okra will be a side dish in the steak dinner following the race. Plus, an invitation has been extended to Oprah Winfrey, who once ran a marathon. The entire event should be soundtracked by THIS.

— Finally, from the “Why Didn’t I Think of That” department, the Lancaster JetHawks have passed along word that they’re planning a “90210 Night” promotion for September 2. Get it? 9/02/10. It’s been right there in front of us, all along.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Lancaster's Seemingly Endless Procession of Undulating Figurines

Thumbnail image for lancaster_jethawks_primary_logo_2_3.jpgMost of my writing as of late as been focused on offseason events and initiatives. This is because it is the offseason.

But what I enjoy more than the offseason is “the season”. This is why I was happy to receive an email from Lancaster JetHawks media manager Will Thornhill, filling me in on the club’s admirably ambitious 2010 bobblehead giveaway schedule. 

Now I, in turn, will fill you in, mainly by copying liberally from the aforementioned email. Here goes:

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[W]e have a great promotion going on [in 2010]
and I thought other clubs may be open to
KB.JPG doing the same thing, as it has
garnered us a lot of local press coverage.

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Next season will mark our 15th in Lancaster and to celebrate we have named next years’ theme “15 Years
of Hangar Heroes”. As one of the many Hero-themed giveaways we plan
on having, we are going to give away 15 different bobble heads throughout the
course of the season, most of which will be voted on by the fans during the
off-season by going to our website. We have announced that our own
“Jim the Beer Man” who has been pouring fresh brews for fans since
game one at the Hangar and “Dancin’ Darryl”, an usher that frequently
gets the crowed charged up by dancing on top of the dugouts, will be
immortalized next season with their own bobble heads and Dan Uggla was the
first to be voted in by the fans just a few weeks ago.  We also plan to
have all three versions of our mascot KB, a booster club member, and other
players to be later voted on.


Now, 2010 isn’t even in existence yet, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that the JetHawks will be the team to beat when it comes to bobblehead giveaways. One of the reasons I am predicting this is because it will make other teams indignant, resulting in additional emails and, thus, more content for this insatiable, content-devouring blog.


Anyway, more from Thornhill:


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We have also adopted a super hero/comic
book theme for all of our direct marketing pieces including postcards and
our ticket guide.  Below is a piece we have been distributing throughout
our community caravan stops.

Lancaster bobble promo.JPG

Now seems a opportune time to note that the JetHawks were responsible for what is quite possibly my favorite bobblehead of all time. In 2007 the club was a Red Sox affiliate, so they decided to simultaneously honor Boston slugger David Ortiz and California’s state flower.

Big Poppy:

Thumbnail image for BIG POPPY.JPG

I’ll close with a reminder that I will be in attendance at the Baseball Winter Meetings next week. If you will be there as well we should shake hands and exchange business cards and maybe even commiserate over complimentary plastic cups of domestic draft.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz 

Minor League Ballclubs Court Women, Provide Warmth

barbs.jpgMany Minor League teams offer local youths the opportunity to join a “Kids Club”. For a nominal annual fee, these mascot-sanctioned entities generally provide the child in question with an array of team merchandise, tickets, and in-stadium discounts.

But rare is the team that makes such an offer (adopt suave, bass-inflected voice for these next three words) For the Ladies. 

With the recent introduction of their BARBS! fan club, the Corpus Christi Hooks have done just this. Press release, I’m going to let you explain things from here:

[D]esigned for female baseball fans between the ages of 16 and 54. BARBS
membership benefits include a pink visor, pink tote bag, two reserved
tickets to three 2009 Hooks home games and a 10 percent discount at
Hook, Line & Sinker.

Now, I know the question on everyone’s mind at this point is this — “Why is this thing callhook.GIF ‘BARBS’?” Fortunately, Hooks president Ken Schrom has an answer:

“The most important part of a hook is the barb, so we feel the name is a natural.”

Thanks, Ken Schrom. Now, all that remains to be seen is whether the Hooks offer will “lure” more female fans to the ballpark.

Talk About Good Timing!

splash_polar_bear_club.jpgAs I was in the midst of composing this blog post (#268, for those keeping track at home), an email from the Lancaster JetHawks landed in my inbox with a portentous thud. This missive, from general manager Larry Thornhill, announced an even more unique Minor League fan club.

Enjoying outdoor activities during the early spring in the Antelope Valley can
be a rather chilly proposition. That is why the Lancaster JetHawks…have come up with a great new way to enjoy
exciting professional baseball while staying warm and comfortable at the
ballpark. The brand new “Polar Bear Club” will give its members access to a
special heated section, as well as hot chocolate and a blanket, along with
ticket discounts for all April home games at Clear Channel Stadium.

The heated section will feature several outdoor space heaters and will be
exclusive to Polar Bear Club members. Along with this special benefit, Polar
Bear Club members will receive a ticket to all 14 JetHawks home games in April. They will receive a specially designed JetHawks Polar Bear Club blanket, as well
as a hot dog and cup of hot chocolate at each game.

lancaster_jethawks_primary_logo_2_3.jpgThe price of the Polar Bear Club is $120 (a scaled down $80 option exists as well). This is a great deal for
those who were already considering attending all or most of the April
games anyway, but is probably too much money to entice the casual fan. Regardless, I love the JetHawks strategy of taking a negative and turning it into a positive by giving people a reason to want to come out and sit in the cold. Every Minor League community has its subset of hardcore, rain-or-shine fans. Why not reward and encourage their masochistic game-attending tendencies by offering something similar to what the JetHawks have done?

And, for some reason, I can’t get it out of my mind that the Polar Bear Club will result in at least one marriage down the line. 14 chilly nights of fleece blanket and hot chocolate-enhanced Minor League Baseball seems like a really good way to get to know someone.

I wonder if the BARBS would agree. 

A Heartfelt Plea

your_vote_counts_button_3.jpgIt hardly seems possible, but some of you may not have seen my 2008 Year-end Promotions Review. It is located right here.

In the article, I nominated 10 promotions for the coveted title of
“Promotion of the Year”. The winner will be decided by a fan vote,
which means one thing, and one thing only: VOTE!

This means you! Vote! When all is said and done, I would like to see at
least 10,000 votes cast. I think this is a distinct possibility, since
many of the nominated teams have already launched their own promotional
campaigns.

In the early-going, a fierce three-team battle has emerged between the Lancaster JetHawks (Skateboard Giveaway), Fresno Grizzlies (Mascot Showdown) and Quad Cities River Bandits (Tattoo Night). But this one is far from over, and its going to go down to the wire.

So, please, once again: Vote! This is very important to me, as my worth
as a person is entirely based on the success of Minor League Baseball
fan polls.

Don’t let me down, America. 

The Year's Best Giveaway? — The Aftermath

I did a post last month about the Lancaster JetHawks‘ upcoming skateboard giveaway, a most highly impressive promotion indeed. In case you need your memory refreshed, the post is here. And for further refreshment, here’s a photo of the skateboard that was given away to the first 500 kids in attendance (age 16 and younger):

skate.jpg

This promotion took place this past Saturday, and was a huge hit. JetHawks GM Brad Seymour reports:

Without a doubt, this was the most in-demand giveaway I have
seen in my career. By 4pm (two hours before gates opened) we had a line that
stretched over 100 feet and the attached photos were taken one hour prior to the
gates opening, when the line stretched from the front of our stadium down to our
visitors clubhouse. We entertained the crowd waiting in line with t-shirt tosses
from the top of the stadium and other free items, in addition to our mascot
handing out freebies.
 
We had several long-time fans comment that this was the best
giveaway our club had ever done and we had many new (and young) faces in the
crowd for the game, allowing us to reach into the demographic we wanted to
target.

Astute readers will note Seymour’s mention of an “attached photo”, which I will now dutifully attach to this post. Obviously, Lancasterarians (Lancasterites?) were psyched to get their free skateboards.

P6230221.JPG

All in all, this was obviously a most excellent day in the history of the JetHawks, even considering the 10-1 drubbing they suffered at the hands of the Inland Empire 66ers that evening. Because if there’s anything that can alleviate the disappointment associated with a home team drubbing, its a free skateboard.

Tomorrow: Pictures from a completely different Minor League promotion! If you are in “the industry”, then send pictures from your event to me at milbbusiness@yahoo.com. (and if you’re not in the industry, email me for any reason whatsoever).