It’s been a week of -spection on this blog, of both the intro and retro varieties. Come Monday I’ll return to reporting on current Minor League events, but today we’ll keep with the theme and take one final look back at the season that was.
Specifically, my season that was. And even more specifically, the swag I accumulated. Whether through the mail or at the ballpark, people gave me a lot of stuff . By the end of the season I had no where to put it, save for in overstuffed bags beneath my overstuffed desk.
Enough is enough! Clearly, the time for Fall cleaning had arrived. First, I meticulously took stock of what I had.
And in doing so, I realized that I’d neglected to highlight the haul from my road trip to the Carolinas. This haul was dominated by the ever-generous Charleston RiverDogs, who had provided me with a full-to-overflowing bag of goodies.
The Big Lebowski-themed “Dog Abides” shirt had been briefly featured before, as I wore it while attending a game in Winston-Salem. But right above it there is a notable giveaway item — a Charleston Rainbows jersey (yes, this actually used to be the name of Charleston’s Minor League team).
I also obtained what I believe may have been a giveaway first — mascot-themed salt and pepper shakers, in which the spice-dispensing characters in question are flanked by a friendly tree.
One of the most notable members of the RiverDogs’ ownership group is Mike Veeck, who happened to be the guest of honor at the Kane County Cougars gala “Night of 100 Promotions.” And, wouldn’t you know it, I happened to obtain two shirts commemorating this event.
And, finally, a picture of some random stuff on a table. That’s when you know that you’ve reached the end of the line.
A select portion of my 2011 swag haul has been entered into the Ben’s Biz permanent archives, but the vast majority needs to be shed like so much excess skin. Plans are in the works for a swag giveaway later this offseason. Stay tuned…
At any rate, after this thorough cleaning and consolidation process, my work space is a lot more manageable.
Upwards and onwards!
But, because I can’t help myself, how about one final look back? I mentioned this on Twitter earlier in the week, but recently I came to a startling realization regarding my late July trip to the Carolinas: I saw seven games at seven stadiums in seven days, and the home team won each and every one!
I asked my Twitter followers what the odds of this happening would be, and most replied that it was 1/128 (.78%, two to the seventh power). But Scott “the Heckler” Jennings went a step further, compiling a Google document that took each team’s home record into account! His findings revealed odds of 1.01%
Regardless, it’s clear that I am a walking talisman, my mere presence brings victory to the masses. Invite me to your ballpark, and awkwardly intimate post-game celebrations will be the end result!
And, really, that’s going to it on the season-recap front (or is it?). From here on out it’s time to look ahead.
Look, a head!
Anyone who’s attended a Minor League Baseball game is aware of just how much entertainment is packed into any given evening — from pre-game concerts to between-inning contests to the time-honored post-game trifecta of launch-a-ball, fireworks, and run the bases.
And on and on and on it goes. But even by these already overstuffed standards, the extravaganza staged last Thursday by the Kane County Cougars deserves special attention. Cue reverb-drenched baritone announcer voice: The Night of 100 Promotions!
It was what it’s name implied — 100 promotions packed into a single night (the State College Spikes originated this concept, if I’m not mistaken). Fans entering the ballpark received a complete list, which included everything from “Hopscotch” to “Hula Hoop Contest” to the very meta “List of 100 Promotions.”
But number one on the list was “Mike Veeck Appearance.” Veeck, the son of legendary baseball owner and innovator Bill Veeck, has carried on the family legacy through his involvement with the Goldklang Group’s stable of teams (Charleston, Fort Myers, and Hudson Valley among them).
Veeck was one of three Chicago baseball icons on hand for the occasion. Rounding out the triumvirate were legendary executive Roland Hemond (promotion #8) and White Sox organist Nancy Faust (promotion #9).
And just because I know I’m going to get emails about it otherwise, let me note for the record that “on-field mascot defecation” was emphatically NOT one of the special promotions. That’s a tail.
But many of the scheduled promotions did make a nod toward the Veeck family’s promotional legacy. An on-field “Record Tossing” contest paid homage to the White Sox’s infamous “Disco Demolition Night,” and the “ballpark shower” was in honor of one that Bill Veeck had installed in the Comiskey Park bleachers.
On a personal level, one of my favorite promotions was #39 — Mr. Kaboom, Jr. One lucky fan got to visit Mr. Kaboom in his outfield lair and help launch off some fireworks, something I had the opportunity to do when I visited Kane County last season.
But enough about me. Here’s a smorgasbord of snapshots featuring last Thursday’s many-tiered promotion.
The evening’s surprise highlight was #98 — listed cryptically as “Rock This” on the list of promotions. What it turned out to be was a flash mob, one that the club had spent nearly two months preparing for.
It was clearly a night to remember in Kane County, and a possible 2011 MiLB.com “Promotion of the Year” contender as well. Perhaps the team might consider belatedly adding a 101st promotion: send friendly blogger complimentary case of Leinenkugel.