Starting any piece of writing with the formal definition of what will then be discussed is as hackneyed as it gets. But when has an aversion to the hackneyed ever stopped me before?
Hashtag (noun) — The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.
While this may be old news to the more social media-adept among us, I included the above definition (taken from the Twitter Help Center) as a way to bring everyone up to speed regarding a technique that I’ve been using more and more as a means to gather news and opinions from the disparate corners of the MiLB universe.
For instance, I established the #MinorLeagueFrontOffice cliche hashtag as a means to collect said cliches, and the result was the “Minor League Front Office Cliche” compendium that you may have read (and may have even enjoyed) last week.
And while I did not originate the #mascotlove hashtag, I suggested to teams that they use it within all of their Valentine’s Day tweets chronicling the amorous travels of their gift-delivering mascots. Searching through tweets with the #mascotlove tag, one can find images such as the following:
And on and on the #mascotlove went, but at this point I think you get the general idea.
Meanwhile, the Harlem Shake has been a gargantuan internet trend over the past week. While its power is now waning, mercifully, the #HarlemShake hashtag provides a seemingly infinite list of individuals and institutions who did their own version.
This includes Minor League teams, of course, with the State College Spikes the first out of the gate. The Connecticut Tigers soon followed suit, and other teams to post their own versions include the Columbus Clippers, Vancouver Canadians, Lake Elsinore Storm, Tulsa Drillers, Buffalo Bisons, Round Rock Express, Delmarva Shorebirds, Charlotte Stone Crabs, Gwinnett Braves, Corpus Christi Hooks, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lexington Legends, Bowie Baysox and Frederick Keys.
As for a favorite? Choosing one is a near impossible task. But I’ll go with the Connecticut Tigers, due to their creative use of outdoor environs. Also, the “roar” at the end of the song is very fitting given the team name.
[10 minutes later]
I can’t seem to post this. So watch it HERE.
And as for a video I actually CAN post, how about Round Rock’s bobble-centric version?
If the demand exists, I will follow up this post with a compendium of all MiLB Harlem Shake videos. It won’t be one of the prouder moments of my life.
Finally, there’s this: inspired by the Brooklyn Cyclones’ freewheeling “Ask Me Anything” blog posts, I have instituted an #askbensbizanything hashtag. As the name would imply, feel free to ask me anything (the weirder, the better) but please keep in mind that this is a family publication. Thus far the questions have trickled in at a glacial pace, but when have I ever let a profound disinterest on the part of the reading public ever get in the way of anything?
I look forward to your continued queries, however few and far between they may be.
The posts on this blog are rarely team-specific during the offseason, simply because there is rarely enough content from one team to comprise an entire post.
Today is one of those rare occasions, as the Reading Phillies have unleashed a torrent of notable news upon the world. First and foremost, the team’s plans for the 2012 Eastern League All-Star Game Home Run Derby are downright hallucinogenic.
The above visual (yes, that is an intern on a crane out in left field) will all come to life on July 10. Perhaps some extensive quoting from the press release would be warranted at this juncture:
[P]layers will be trying to hit select targets around the field to earn points….targets include outfield dunk tanks, R-Phils fanatics jumping on a trampoline, and pink flamingo yard ornaments sprinkled around the outfield.
Conversely, there will be obstacles hitters will want to avoid in order to not lose points. The Reading Phillies mascots will be scattered around the field, trying to snag balls hit by the all-stars. For each ball the mascots catch, the hitter will be penalized with negative points.
While the hitting challenge is going on, an exclusive VIP party will actually take place right on the infield. These VIP quests will be protected by a net as they party away with homerun balls sailing over their heads.
Grammy Award-winning musician and Berks County resident David Cullen will also be performing uncomfortably close to the pitcher’s mound in a protected area as he entertains fans and all-stars in attendance.
Those desirous of a detailed visual explanation would do well to watch the team’s five-minute explanation video, linked to in the aforementioned press release.
My guess is that the R-Phils were influenced by the Quad Cities River Bandits, who last season put some very unique twists on the Midwest League Home Run Derby. Any other 2012 All-Star Game hosts planning something similar? Let me know!
Meanwhile, a new logo has come out of Reading as well. This:
The above frankfurter, designed by
the artists formerly known as Plan B Branding Brandiose, is the new mark for the club’s Baseballtown Charities. Some explanation:
Baseballtown Charities, a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity, was launched ten years ago in association with the Reading Phillies in order to keep baseball alive in Reading through charitable donations to underprivileged youth, who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to play baseball. The organization was also founded to pay tribute to Reading’s rich baseball history.
Since its inception in 2002, the Baseballtown trademark has played a necessary part in the baseball community of Berks County. Under the Baseballtown namesake, FirstEnergy Stadium has played host to the High School All-Star Game and the Olivet’s Boy’s and Girl’s Club Championship. Each year, the organization crowns the King or Queen of Baseballtown to honor the past by recognizing that individual’s accomplishments and contributions to baseball/softball.
And, finally, with Valentine’s Day on the horizon the R-Phils have put out a video in which team employees explain the significant role that mascots have played in their love lives.
Maybe one of these days I’ll put out a video explaining how mascots played a role in mine.
It was just yesterday that I wrote “Valentine’s Day can wait.” But that was yesterday, when men were men, women were beautiful, and blogging material was plentiful.
But today? Today I got nothin’. Therefore, it’s time for my first installment of Ben’s Biz Blog Valentine’s Day coverage. Thus far, I am aware of 10 teams that are offering mascot delivery services on Valentine’s Day. But, as we know, not all mascots are created equal.
What follows are snapshots of the costumed characters that will be personally delivering Valentine’s Day gifts. And for you, the reader, I have a simple question: Which of these mascots do you think is the most romantic, the one most likely to jump-start a truly memorable Valentine’s Day? Please let me know via email, Twitter, Facebook, or, of course, the perpetually neglected comments section. I’ll compile the results and post it on the blog come Monday. Here are the candidates:
Reading Phillies — Screwball or Crazy Hot Dog Vendor
So which mascot is the most romantic? Let me know.
It is a slow day in the world of Minor League news, to the extent that I was considering not even doing a blog post.
But then fate (or, more accurately, Twitter) intervened. For the Gwinnett Braves have just released the following video, one seductive in its sensuality (or would that be sensual in its seductiveness?) Observe:
In all honesty, Chopper looks to be a little too good at his job. I would be a bit wary of hiring him to deliver a Valentine’s Day present, out of fear that his charm and confidence would further illuminate my already glaring flaws and insecurites. Standing there before my (theoretical) sweetheart, he would serve as a living (albeit costumed) embodiment of all that I can never be.
But who has time for romance anyway? In what has become a tradition of sorts, I plan to spend Valentine’s Day writing impassioned message board editorials on how Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider will create a world-consuming black hole, resulting in the obliteration of all matter as well as consciousness itself.
But that’s neither here nor there. Minor League mascot Valentine’s Day delivery services have become a time-honored offseason promotion, and something that I have written about extensively in the past. I will certainly be making note of these initiatives on this blog as well as my Promotion Preview column, so please get in touch if you are aware of endeavors similar to what is going on in Gwinnett County.
Remember — What better way to say ‘I Love You’
than the gift of a spatula than by having a Minor League mascot personally deliver 2010 game tickets?
In all honesty, I’m not feeling too well today. A headache and general fatigue has resulted in a sluggish pace here at the office, and a sluggish pace can simply not be tolerated during this, the season’s homestretch.
There’s only one thing that could possibly make me feel better, and that one thing is this: mascot love. So get ready to see some mascot love.
The mascots in question are Hootz and Holly of the Orem Owlz. Astute readers may recall a recent blog post in which I mentioned the fact that these two literal lovebirds would be getting married. Owlz media relations director Matt Gittins speculated that this would be a Minor League first, but this assertion has since been debunked by readers more knowledgable than I (mascot weddings have already taken place in Lowell and Hudson Valley, among others).
But no matter. The most important thing is that Hootz and Holly have been united in holy matrimony. Reports Gittins, the pastor:
Throughout the night we played all kinds of wedding themed promotional
games, such as a Couples Cake Eating/Feeding Competition, Flower Bouquet Toss, and a Wedding Dance Off.
The mascots in the ceremony are the Flash Fox from the NBA D-League's Utah
Flash and the dog is Charlie the Angel Dog from the old Provo Angels.
The two guys in red are actually just random fans who had dressed up on
their own for the night. We thought they fit the part so we threw them
into the ceremony.
The two girls are the promotion girls Jillian and Alicia
More from Gittins:
Here are the vows from the ceremony asked to each mascot:
Do you Hootz/Holly promise to take Holly/Hootz in wins and losses, rain or
shine, strikeouts and homeruns?
By the power invested in me by Minor League Baseball and by Mascot Nation
I pronounce you Man and Wife....You may kiss the bride.
Fireworks then exploded over the outfield fence as they rode off the field
in the Utah National Guard Hummer Golf Cart.
We then took the happy couple to the local sports bar for a Wedding
Reception with all the fans and players. I gave the toast at the wedding
saying that we may see some little Owlets in the future.
I wish Hootz and Holly all the best in their new life together, and hope that “Owlets” do indeed result from their state-recognized relationship. Mascot procreation is just as legitimate as any other form of procreation, and it’s high time that American society accepted this fact.
I’d be more than happy to feature other instances of mascot love on this blog, so please get in touch if you are able to provide me with such.
But in the meantime, please check out my final “Promotion Preview” column of the year.