Ben’s Biz: Now Wearable!
In June of 2015, the official Ben’s Biz logo made its debut. This was a professional milestone for me.
Ever since the logo — designed by the magnificent Sean Kane — appeared, dozens if not scores of people have asked me the following question: “So when am I gonna get to buy a T-shirt featuring your beaming, beatific countenance?”
That question has a new answer: “Now!”
The official Ben’s Biz T-shirt is available for purchase!
The official Ben’s Biz T-shirts, Made in the USA by Original Retro Brand, retail for $20. They look and feel great, and a portion of every purchase benefits Minor League Baseball Charities, supporting youth baseball, community outreach and disaster relief efforts in Minor League cities across the country. Every shirt comes with a free autograph, which you will surely frame and hang in a prominent location:
I couldn’t find anyone to model one of my shirts for me, so I took to the streets myself.
Once again, the shirt is AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE! Supplies are limited, because the market for this shirt is limited. More than anything, this is about spreading the word: the word that there’s a guy who writes about the business and culture of Minor League Baseball, visits many different ballparks, tries to be original and funny and not too much of a sycophant and — hey! — his stuff might be worth reading. Thanks to all who’ve spread the word thus far.
AND THAT’S NOT ALL!
There’s another Ben’s Biz T-shirt, and this one is not for sale. This one will only be available to an exclusive fraternity: the Designated Eater.
In 2012 I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Since then, at each ballpark I visit, I’ve recruited a designated eater to consume the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits. Going forward, every designated eater will receive the T-shirt seen above. I’ll be bringing them with me on my next road trip, which kicks off Aug. 1 in Sacramento.
So there you have it: Ben’s Biz is in T-shirt form, and these shirts are AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work on my modeling poses.
Logos Round and Round
There are many ways, perhaps infinite ways, to visually represent the entirety of the Minor League Baseball ecosystem. One could place each team’s logo on a map of the area they represent, group them by league, affiliate or classification, or simply make an alphabetical list from Aberdeen to Wisconsin. (It’s really too bad that the Carolina Mudcats don’t call themselves the Zebulon Mudcats, as they are the only team operating in a town that starts with “Z”.)
But I’ve never seen a better way to represent the world of Minor League Baseball than the Isaac Newton-inspired visual feast published today by Chris Creamer’s Sportslogos.net.
I hate saying “behold” in blog posts because it smacks of clickbait condescension, but this really should be beheld:
The Minor League Baseball Logo Colour Wheel (yes, “colour”, as Sportslogos.net is based is Canada, where some words are not spelled properly).
Speaking as one who has become accustomed to routinely seeing his blog posts repurposed by other websites (thanks for the “h/t” at the end of the post, I guess) I’d strongly encourage you to visit the original “Colour Wheel” post. The Colour Wheel was created by SportsLogos.net contributor Paul Caputo, who gets bonus points for using the word “embiggen.” (It’s a perfectly cromulent word.)
To be quite honest, I’m not exactly sure what a color wheel is. Let’s learn together, via the unimpeachable and virtually infinite reservoir of information that is Wikipedia:
A color wheel is:
“[An] abstract illustrative organization of color hues around a circle that shows relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors etc….”[A]rtists typically use red, yellow, and blue primaries (RYB color model) arranged at three equally spaced points around their color wheel.…Intermediate and interior points of color wheels and circles represent color mixtures. In a paint or subtractive color wheel, the “center of gravity” is usually (but not always) black, representing all colors of light being absorbed; in a color circle, on the other hand, the center is white or gray, indicating a mixture of different wavelengths of light (all wavelengths, or two complementary colors, for example).
The arrangement of colors around the color circle is often considered to be in correspondence with the wavelengths of light, as opposed to hues, in accord with the original color circle of Isaac Newton.
Okay. Cool. As for the Minor League Baseball “Colour” Wheel, I think my biggest takeaway is that the industry is “bluer” than I had imagined. Also, that it would make for a really cool blacklight poster.
Kudos once again to Paul Caputo and sportslogos.net, who have done Canada proud with this “labour” of love. Did you know that the country has a “Double-Eh” team? It’s true:
Another awesome joke by me. I’m gonna celebrate by listening to Zed Zed Top at full volume.
Biz Blog Bouillabaisse II: The New Batch
Yesterday’s bouillabaisse blog post focused exclusively on anniversary logos. Today, the bouillabaisse returns for the more wide-ranging grab bag of the Minor League odds, sods, bits, scraps, leftovers, debris and remnants that you (may) have come to love. If you’re a fan of divers and sundry, then you’re definitely in the right place.
Let’s begin by returning to yesterday’s topic, as I neglected to include the Lancaster JetHawks’ 20th anniversary logo.
The JetHawks will be celebrating this Diamond milestone throughout the season, perhaps most noticeably with their “20th Anniversary Mondays” promo (in which ticket prices are rolled back to what they were in 1996). May I suggest a promotion in which they ask fans to submit their best Lancaster-area dust storm photos from the last 20 years? This could be called “Show Us Your Haboobs.”
Yesterday (or Wednesday, for those keeping score at home), the Columbia Fireflies unveiled their uniforms. The Fireflies are the Mets’ Class A affiliate, replacing the Savannah Sand Gnats.
Interestingly, the Fireflies’ press release does not include the phrase “glow in the dark.” But, yes, portions of this uniform will indeed glow in the dark. Entities across the internet were quick to celebrate this fact.
Get ready to glow in the dark with the new @ColaFireflies jerseys: https://t.co/DrTUz8bdfH pic.twitter.com/pb7zYIKYrg
— Cut4 (@Cut4) January 27, 2016
Let it Glow! Columbia Fireflies unveil new uniforms incl. glow in the dark caps Our post: https://t.co/bWOCJC1P7Gpic.twitter.com/lAYTRf0Nx0
— Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) January 27, 2016
Question: Are the Fireflies the first Minor League team to have uniforms that incorporate glow-in-the-dark elements?
Last week the Omaha Storm Chasers announced the winners of their annual bookmark design contest, which the teams says is “the highlight” of their “Hit the Books” literacy program. I am including this photo of the winning designs because the overall winner’s name is “Brooklyn Bratetic” and that has to be one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard.
Note, also, that one of the other winners is named “Koa Stonebraker.” Kids in Omaha must be cooler than kids in other places.
You may recall that, early last month, the Norfolk Tides unveiled new logos. These logos prominently featured a seahorse, and now that seahorse has a name. His name is Triton.
You may also recall (but more likely you never even knew) that January 21 was “Squirrel Appreciation Day.” The World’s Fastest Squirrel, long a part of the Lake Elsinore Storm’s usual gang of idiots, was one of the prime recipients of this nationwide outpouring of appreciation.
It’s #SquirrelAppreciationDay… and we do! Do you? pic.twitter.com/RL5zTQBpuK
— Lake Elsinore Storm (@Storm_Baseball) January 21, 2016
Oh, and wouldn’t you know it? I have just been reminded of another anniversary logo that I forgot to include in my previous post: The Tri-City ValleyCats are celebrating their 15th season. If my calculations are correct, each white star in the logo equals one season, while each red star equals four seasons.
Now that this post is properly bookended, I’ll bring this latest (and therefore greatest) bouillabaisse session. Stay tuned for more, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Biz Blog Bouillabaisse: The Ambiguity of Anniversaries
According to my records, which I store in a meticulously organized and heavily guarded 52-inch filing cabinet, I have not authored a bouillabaisse blog post since January 6th. Three weeks have since passed and, thus, it is time for another one. But this will not just be any bouillabaisse, mind you. This is an anniversary logo bouillabaisse. My bouillabaisses have subcategories now. I have evolved.
‘Tis the season for anniversary logos, after all, a subset of the logo world in which there is always a strong undercurrent of ambiguity. Some teams commemorate their anniversary beginning with the year in which they began, while others start counting once a year has passed (in the way that us, mere mortals, celebrate our birthdays).
To wit: A team that began play in 1997 could, theoretically, celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2016 as 2016 marks the 20th season. A team that began play in 1996 could do the same, as 2016 marks the 20th year of existence. Do you follow me? (If not, I’m on Twitter @bensbiz)
The Lake Elsinore are taking the latter approach with their California-Carolina League All-Star logo, which scelebrates the 75th anniversary of the Cal League (1941). Those in the know know that 2016 also marks the 20th anniversary of the game itself (1996).
The California-Carolina League All-Star Game gets to have its cake and eat it too on the 20th anniversary front. Not only has it been 20 years since the game was first played, but this will also be its 20th iteration (for reasons lost to the mists of time, it was not played in 1997). Furthermore! The diamond in the logo not only represents the Cal League’s “Diamond” anniversary, but it also references the fact that the game will be played at Lake Elsinore’s The Diamond.
The Rochester Red Wings’ home of Frontier Field first hosted the team in 1997, making 2016 their 20th season in the facility. Thus, the release of this logo. If I was to offer a criticism of this logo, which I suppose I am: It’s a little busy. Maybe “20 seasons at Frontier Field” doesn’t need to be in the basepaths? Isn’t that implied?
While Frontier Field first hosted the Red Wings in 1997, the facility opened in the summer of 1996 with — you guessed it — a Beach Boys concert.
Way back in December, when it was still 2015, the Reading Fightin Phils unveiled a logo celebrating their upcoming 50th season as a Philadelphia Phillies affiliate (the longest affiliation in Minor League Baseball).
The above logo was designed by Brandiose and R-Fightin Phils executive director of graphic arts and game entertainment Matt Jackson. Jackon’s job title is already too long, but if it was to truly encompass his range of skills it would be “executive director of graphic arts and game entertainment and Crazy Hot Dog Vendor” Matt Jackson.
The Visalia Rawhide are entering their 71st season as a franchise. But it is their 70th anniversary as a Visalia entity. Thus, this pastoral logo.
In conjunction with this 70th anniversary, the Rawhide are “asking people to share their favorite memories from the last seven decades of Visalia professional baseball.” Those who do so will be entered to win a trip to the California-Carolina League All-Star Game. As you may remember, that game — the 20th to be played in the past 21 seasons — is being hosted by the Lake Elsinore Storm.
And thus, we have come full circle. My work here is done.
Revenge of New Logo Round-Up: Newer, Rounder and Subject to Interpretation
Shortly after publishing my previous post, I received the following tweet from the San Diego-based logo factory that is Brandiose:
#Logovember — patent pending — is indeed far from over. After I published the previous post, the new logos paid no heed. They just kept rolling right on in. For instance, the Hartford Yard Goats unveiled their uniforms at an event that was attended by esteemed Hartfordian Doug Glanville.
Awesome does not even describe being part of the big reveal – @GoYardGoats uniforms! w/ Chew Chew and Chompers! pic.twitter.com/8sCb9hnQYt
— Doug Glanville (@dougglanville) November 18, 2015
Doug and his formidable mascot-emulating teeth-baring skills were the clear highlight of the event, but let’s not overlook the uniforms themselves. There were a lot of uniforms; like, 38% of a baker’s dozen worth of new uniforms.
The Yard Goats’ Twitter account, manic during the calmest of days, went into overdrive when the time to unveil came around. For a couple hours there, it was this tweet times 1000.
I think they’re awesome; what do you think? https://t.co/GMsSN91BX9
— Hartford Yard Goats (@GoYardGoats) November 18, 2015
The team has since moved on to more pressing matters, however.
I have a fun idea. I’m going to Tweet “WOW!”. Then you quote & retweet and write “WOW!”. Everyone who’s not in on the joke will be confused.
— Hartford Yard Goats (@GoYardGoats) November 19, 2015
#Logovember — patent pending — continued with Wednesday’s unveiling in Syracuse. The Chiefs have a new(ish) look:
I wrote an article about the Chiefs for MiLB.com, with a lede that references an obscure Harlan Howard song on an obscure album that has become an improbable car stereo staple for me. But enough about me, that was already too much. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
The red, white and blue color scheme aligns the team visually with the parent Nationals, but general manager Jason Smorol said it also harkens back to the rich history of professional baseball in Syracuse. The Chiefs name dates back to 1934, while professional baseball in the city goes back to the 1880s.
In this time of controversy regarding sports teams using Native American imagery, I found it interesting that the Chiefs decided to resurrect the Indian chief logo that was first in use during the ’70s. General manager Jason Smorol told me that he didn’t expect it to generate controversy, and so far he has proven to be right.
2016 marks the Harrisburg Senators’ 30th anniversary season, and the team has unveiled a logo commemorating this pearl jubilee.
In conjunction with the anniversary logo, the Senators brought back their old pal Uncle Slam. Uncle Slam hadn’t appeared on any team imagery since 2005, but the reasons for this long period of familial estrangement are not elucidated upon in the press release:
Finally, the year of the league logo continues. First came the Southern League, then the Appy League, and now (drumroll please) the Texas League.
The press release explains it all, as press releases are wont to do:
The new logo, created by Schilling/Sellmeyer and Associates, encapsulates the rich history of the Texas League while providing a refreshed and modernized look. The prominence of the white star in the blue background, along with the blocks of white and red, pay homage to the Texas flag and the long-standing ties that the league has with the Lone Star State. Additionally, by incorporating a version of the iconic batter image, which is prominent in both the Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball brands, the new Texas League logo exhibits the circuit’s deep tradition of developing the future stars of organized professional baseball.
The blue shadows within this logo are open to Rorschach-type interpretation. Here are mine:
Logovember (patent pending). Gotta love it.
New Logo Round-Up: Fierce, Streamlined and Verdant
So, didja miss me? What’s that? You didn’t even know that I was gone? Ah, well, whatever. The important thing is that I’m back from vacation and now fully in “offseason mode.” I have nothing left to write regarding my 2015 ballpark travels, but, when one dwells fully within the world of Minor League Baseball, there is always something to write about.
Today, that something will be a full-to-bursting bouillabaisse concerning all of the new Minor League logos that were unveiled when I was outta sight and outta mind. Let’s get to it, lest it get to us.
Kane County Cougars — For the first 25 years of their existence, the Kane County Cougars held the distinction of “Minor League team whose primary logo looks most like a Boy Scout merit badge.” I always kind of liked it, at least because it was so out of place in the current Minor League landscape.
The Cougars unveiled an entirely new logo set on November 10. The Cougar in question, previously a blank slate upon which we could project our own emotional interpretation, is now fierce.
The logos were designed by Studio Simon, in conjunction with Cougars graphic designer Emmet Broderick. The team is now one of a select handful in Minor League Baseball whose wardrobe includes a lime green alternate jersey.
Bowling Green Hot Rods — When the Hot Rods played their inaugural season, way back in 2009, they looked like this:
And now, after just six seasons, the club has completely overhauled its look. The old logo was designed by Brandiose (then known as Plan B Branding); these new marks are courtesy of SME. I don’t really know much about SME, as they are not a firm that has had many Minor League clients. I guess I’ll have to learn.
If you’re looking for a relevant excerpt from the accompanying Hot Rods MiLB.com story, then boy are you in luck:
[Hot Rods general manager Adam] Nuse said the variety of colors and the shape of the old logo presented challenges to the team, especially when it came to merchandise.
“We’re certainly happy with [the new look]. Previously, we had a lot of different colors, and now we’re kind of focusing on the navy and the orange. It simplifies things a bit and makes it a little more modern. Our new logos are a little more symmetric than the other ones. I really liked our old logos, but they made it hard graphically — they created some centering issues — and I think our new stuff avoids those. They’re easier to fit on graphic pieces and merchandise.”
New Hampshire Fisher Cats — You may remember reading, here or elsewhere, that the New Hampshire Fisher Cats were originally called the “New Hampshire Primaries.” The franchise never played a game as the “Primaries”, however, because the local stick-in-the-mud population was thoroughly against it.
Still, the Fisher Cats continue to have fun with their what-coulda-been “Primaries” identity. Take it away, press release, and never come back:
As the Granite State celebrates the 100th anniversary of its presidential primary, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats have launched a campaign of their own, “We the Fans 2016.” The interactive campaign will allow fans across the country to participate in New Hampshire’s rich political history by casting votes for the official game hat to be worn by the Fisher Cats on Opening Day, April 14, 2016.
Voting…will take place on the new voting website, www.WeTheFans2016.com. The initial question will ask fans nationwide to determine which hat the Fisher Cats wear for the first game next season – a blue hat with a donkey logo or a red hat with an elephant logo. The two logos are throwbacks to the Fisher Cats’ original name, the New Hampshire Primaries, and will be accompanied by the team’s bipartisan jersey that is half red and half blue with ‘Fisher Cats’ in script across the chest.
This is the first time that I’ve encountered the phrase “bipartisan jersey” and I pray that it will not be the last. I voted on Tuesday morning, at which point the votes were evenly split, but at the end of the day the Donkey was winning in 48 of 50 states. One of the two states in which the Elephant was winning was New Hampshire.
Omaha Storm Chasers — Omaha’s Pacific Coast League franchise switched its name from the “Royals” to the “Storm Chasers” prior to the 2011 season. The Royals affiliation remained, however, and now it is receiving an increased emphasis via the Storm Chasers’ new uniforms.
That one on the bottom right, it’s called the “Vortex.”
The press release, the embodiment of all Earthly knowledge, contains the following quote:
“In light of the Royals’ World Series Championship, there is no better time to further connect our two franchises, part of which is shown with these new jerseys,” said Storm Chasers President and General Manager Martie Cordaro. “From adding blue to our road jersey and with an all-new alternate powder blue jersey, we are now aligned with the color-scheme of our parent club’s primary three jerseys.”
In conjunction with the uniform unveiling, the Storm Chasers also announced that they have extended their affiliation with the Royals through the 2018 season. This affiliation, which began in 1969, is the longest in Triple-A baseball.
Appalachian League — Prior to this offseason, I can’t remember the last time a new league-specific logo was unveiled. This is, most likely, because I have a bad memory. Last month, the Southern League unveiled a new logo. And, last week, the Appalachian League followed suit:
One thing that these two new league logos have in common is that they were both designed by Todd Radom.
“The goal was to create something timeless, but built with digital platforms and the varied needs of the 21st century firmly in mind,” said Radom. “The results embrace baseball’s time-honored visual culture with a verdant palette that celebrates the traditions of baseball, the sport of summer.”
“Verdant Palette” would be a great name for a college football player.
New Logo Alert: Me!
Major League Baseball Advanced Media Headquarters, Manhattan (JUNE 19, 2015) – Benjamin “Ben’s Biz” Hill, preeminent chronicler of the business and culture of Minor League Baseball, unveiled his new logo set today during a sparsely attended event held in the vicinity of his cubicle. The logos, designed by Sean Kane Illustration, give Hill an official branded identity for the first time in his decade-long career as a writer for MiLB.com and of his affiliated Ben’s Biz Blog.
The “Ben’s Biz” logos are inspired by Hill’s “Exploring America through Minor League Baseball” tagline. Since 2010, Hill has visited 115 (and counting) Minor League stadiums, seeking to highlight just what it is that makes each ballpark — and town — unique. He is known for dressing up as anthropomorphic racing food products, nodding politely while general managers extol the virtues of new group seating areas and dejectedly observing his “designated eaters” consume the ballpark foods that his gluten-free diet prohibits.
The Ben’s Biz primary logo color scheme consists of Ridiculous Red, Wonderful White and Beautiful Blue. How these colors differ from plain old red, white and blue is anyone’s guess, but this is Minor League Baseball and superfluous color names are encouraged. This triumvirate of hues is quintessentially American and unimpeachably patriotic, core attributes of Minor League Baseball as well as Ben himself.
The logo set is highlighted by “Smilin’ Ben,” a depiction of Hill as he would most like to present himself to the world: Beaming with confidence and possessing equal and complementary amounts of vim and vigor. Smilin’ Ben’s oversized cranium brings to mind the “bobbleheads” that are often given away by Minor League teams, while his collared shirt reminds us that this is his idea of “dressing up.” Smilin’ Ben’s unsettlingly disproportionate body is overlaid atop a map of the United States, which is itself bedecked with red baseball stitching. Like some sort of concession stand Paul Bunyan, he carries a gargantuan fork across his right shoulder that references the large role that food plays in his writing (even though he has celiac disease and can’t eat most of it himself). With his left hand, Ben is tossing a baseball in the space between the “B” and the “z” to create an impromptu “i”. Thus, “Biz.”
In addition to the primary logo, Hill unveiled a host of alternate logos that aim for a more simplified, streamlined feel. Just look at them!
And not to be overlooked is the alternate Canadian version of the primary logo, which subtly references the presence of the Vancouver Canadians within the otherwise U.S.A.-centric Minor League Baseball tableau.
“I am excited, energized, enthused and enervated to unveil these new logos,” said Hill during Friday’s cubicle-based unveiling event. “Actually, scratch that. I just looked up ‘enervated’ and that is not how I am feeling. This unhealthy alliteration impulse has gotten the best of me again. Anyhow, these logos are great. I find them to be incredible, illuminating, insightful and insipid.”
The logos were created by Ontario-based Sean Kane of Sean Kane Illustration. Over the course of his esteemed career, Sean has worked with dozens of magazines, publishing companies, institutions and corporations. Sean is also a lifelong baseball fan. His “Painted Glove Collectibles,” which were displayed in a solo New York City gallery show in 2013, feature original player portraits painted on vintage baseball gloves.
“The Ben’s Biz beat is a big one: ballparks coast-to-coast, from the front office to concession stand to on-field fun,” said Kane. “Ben’s laid-back enthusiasm, passion for the people around the game and good-natured stance toward those who can eat gluten help make him the go-to chronicler of Minor League baseball in America.”
He continued, “Capturing all that in a little logo is a bit much, but we tried anyway. We were aiming for a look that will help fans pick Ben out of a crowd, one that shows his patriotic spirit and gives a sense of how he might look as a bobblehead.”
Hill embarks on his next road trip on June 25, when he visits the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Click here to see his 2015 itinerary, as well as all his “On the Road” blog posts and MiLB.com articles.
* * *
Notable Nuggets and Meaningful Morsels
It’s been a busy week here at MiLB.com HQ, at least by February standards. We had a stadium groundbreaking on Tuesday, a logo unveiling on Wednesday, and today marked the appearance of my feature story chronicling the Potomac Nationals’ attempt to privately finance construction of their new ballpark.
Through it all, I was surrounded by wispy strands of Minor League Baseball ephemera. I always am. What follows is my attempt to compile these recently appearing items into something resembling coherence. Wish me luck.
Remember last April when I wrote an article detailing the various team-branded beers that can be found across the Minor League landscape? No? Doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Kane County Cougars are the latest team to throw their stein into the brewing game:
Fans we need your help in choosing our new @TwoBrothersBeer Cougars beer! More info here: http://t.co/AyiM0TKND1pic.twitter.com/XmYawqINUj
— Kane County Cougars (@KCCougars) February 19, 2015
So, yeah, fans can vote on what the beer should be named. Two of the choices are rather generic and more or less interchangeable; the other choice is not. If that option wins, then expect plenty of jokes like this to follow:
@bensbiz@MiLB@KCCougars Save the “Raging Cougar” label for the discounted white wine promotion.
— D.J. Eaton (@deeej15) February 19, 2015
I’ve written several times in the past about the Holiday League, a theoretical professional baseball circuit featuring, yes, holiday-themed teams. The project, overseen by designer John Hartwell of Hartwell Studio Works, unveiled its latest entity this week: The Bourbonville Krewe.
This entity, unbeknownst to most, has been in existence for 40 years. From the press release:
In a carnival atmosphere full of masked performers and festooned floats at Flambeaux Field, the Bourbonville Krewe unveiled a special fortieth anniversary logo and announced plans to celebrate the milestone throughout the coming season. “We’re gonna have ourselves one season-long party,” Owner Rex Proteus proclaimed. “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”
A parade of former players was on hand for the kick-off event, including the legendary Balthazar “Babycakes” Gateaux. The Krewe’s all-time home run leader, Gateaux entertained the throng of gathered fans with a wild reenactment of the day in 1983 when he walloped three round-trippers, then wrestled a gator that had crawled into right field.
There are 160 affiliated Minor League teams, only two of which have crossed threshold of 100,000 Facebook likes. Those teams are the Toledo Mud Hens and El Paso Chihuahuas, and now the San Jose Giants are gunning to be the third:
[W]e are hosting a 100,000 Likes Promotion. Share photos with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat showing your favorite memories and orange and black pride, using #SJG100K to enter. One lucky fan will walk away with the biggest prize in the organization’s history[.]
I’m hoping that it is, literally, the biggest prize in the organization’s history. Like, a topiary maze in the shape of the team’s logo or something of that nature.
Last season, I visited the Midland RockHounds home of Security Bank Ballpark. One of the highlights of that visit was seeing the team’s concourse train take laps around the stadium. In 2015, the team is adding another concourse attraction.
New addition to the ballpark this year! #Rockhounds @bensbiz pic.twitter.com/RUK2NZn3oo
— Joe Peters (@ShoelessJoe12) February 19, 2015
Peters later informed me, that, due to “safety reasons,” the concourse train would not drive straight through the fountains. Oh, well. A man can dream.
Speaking of dreams, one of mine has finally come true. Enigmatic Wisconsin Timber Rattlers announcer Chris Mehring has appeared as a guest on the latest episode of “Between Two Berms.” Mehring can out-deadpan anyone, even host Sam Merle.
And that’s all I’ve got. Thank you for your support, be it continued, sporadic, or barely discernible.
In With the New
Happy 2015 to you and, should you be the possessive type, yours. The first post of this calendar year, which you are reading now, shall be nothing less and nothing more than a good old fashioned bouillabaisse. A bewildering array of interesting tidbits are offered therein, and the only thing these tidbits have in common with one another is — you guessed it — Minor League Baseball.
Let’s start with a hot-off-the-virtual-presses promo that was announced today by the Kane County Cougars. The team is currently staging a “Social Media Virtual Championship Ring Unveiling,” which I believe just might be the first such thing of its kind.
Do not adjust your set:
Beginning [January 5], the Cougars will post a blurred image of the ring design on their social media channels and fans, through a pre-determined quantity of Facebook ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ as well as Twitter re-tweets and ‘likes’ on Instagram, will help virtually “unveil” the ring design, which will be released in its entirety to the public this Friday.
This reminds me of a long-gestating but little-acted-upon article idea I have had: What Minor League teams have the best championship rings? If you think the team that you follow (or work for) might qualify for such a distinction, then please get in touch.
The holidays may be over, but the Holiday League goes on. I am speaking, of course, of the as-of-now theoretical league created by logo designer John Hartwell (of the eponymous Hartwell Studio Works). Last month, the 2014 North Pole Reindeer baseball card set was unveiled, featuring the starting line-up of the North Pole Reindeer. A lot of work has gone into these; each card features an full color front and back, and every Reindeer has his own Baseball-Reference page.
The North Pole Reindeer open the 2015 Holiday League season on April 9 against the Arborville Huggers.
Every year, Minor League teams vie for the coveted honor of “alternate logo most likely to inspire scores of Space Jam references on Twitter.” In 2015, it looks like this distinction will be going to the Rome Braves.
The R-Braves maintain that their inspiration for the logo came from a far weightier source:
The logo features a Roman soldier’s helmet on a baseball with the letter ”R” on the front. The helmet was used by the military of ancient Rome from 753 BC – AD 476 and pays tribute to the name of our hometown of Rome, GA with a red, blue, and gray color scheme.
Did you know? A new Minor League mascot-themed children’s book has been released, and this book features a “very special guest appearance by Darryl Strawberry.” What more could you ask for as regards literary material for beginning readers?
Finally, what do these four disconnected images all have in common?
Yep, you guessed it: They are all proud winners of the first-annual “Bizzie Awards,” created and then (virtually) distributed by me at the end of last month. Everyone else seems to be giving out awards at the end of the year, so why can’t I?
Flipping the Script
The use of Native American imagery within the world of sports is a controversial topic, as teams like the Cleveland Indians and (especially) the Washington Redskins are under increasing pressure to abandon names and/or logos seen as culturally insensitive. But the Spokane Indians have found a way around this problem, collaborating with the local Spokane tribe to adopt a look that celebrates, rather than denigrates, the people it purports to represent.
This season, the club will wear a jersey in which “Spokane” is written in Salish script.
The collaboration between the Spokane Indians and the Salish tribe is nothing new, but the above jersey represents a significant development. In fact, this partnership will be the topic of my next Minoring in Business article, running on MiLB.com tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Speaking of teams sporting a name inspired by their region’s Native American population, the Syracuse Chiefs recently unveiled this:
100 Years of baseball in Syracuse is remembered in our patch/logo designed by Anthony Cianchetta. What do you think? pic.twitter.com/SbbrA1CJG0
— Syracuse Chiefs (@SyracuseChiefs) March 18, 2014
But that’s not the only interesting historical sporting overview that I’ve recently found via Twitter. Behold:
Project for the city magazine. Found and recreated unis for every MiLB team that played in Salem/Roa. @salemredsox pic.twitter.com/2b6wApEik9
— Clark Ruhland (@Hokie20) February 19, 2014
But as much as some things change, others remain constant. On 3/14 the Bowling Green Hot Rods held a “Pi Day” promo, in which tickets were sold for $3.14 for three hours and 14 minutes, beginning at 3:14 p.m. (And, as an added bonus, fans who bought the tickets in person were offered free slices of pizza “pi”.)
GA tickets are $3.14 until 6:28pm tonight at the ticket office&phone orders! Happy PI Day! @LostRiverPizza #FUNNER pic.twitter.com/r2nlZjRexP
— BG Hot Rods (@BGHotRods) March 14, 2014
I was curious as to how this promotion was received, and Hot Rods assistant general manager Ben Hemmen satiated my curiosity thusly.
National “Pi” Day was a BIG hit in Bowling Green. In just three hours and fourteen minutes (3.14), we sold over 600 tickets at the box office or over the phone to games for this upcoming summer. The Power of “Pi” will definitely be something that we look at using next season to tie in a promotional opportunity for our fans.
Among the many items on team to-do lists at this time of year is adding new situationally appropriate song selections to the music database. For help with this endeavor, one enterprising rookie-level P.A. announcer took to Reddit. The resulting discussion is well worth reading.
This blog is also well worth reading, in my less-than-humble opinion, and I thank you for having Reddit.