Tagged: Milestones


Today is my 35th birthday and, also, it is the day of my 1000th blog post. I did not mean for these milestones to coincide, but I’m glad that they did. It’s like going to a baseball game and seeing a future Hall of Famer hit his 500th home run in support of a perfect game, except 7000% less meaningful.

Over the last couple of weeks I gave a fair amount of thought to what my 1000th post should be, with the general consensus (in my own head) being that it should serve as both a comprehensive retrospective and heartfelt thank you to the loyal readers who have continued to help justify this improbable professional existence. But that kind of post takes a lot of work, and since it’s my birthday I’d much rather spend the day walking around listening to the new Eminem on my Discman and playing laundromat pinball. You know, typical grown man stuff.

Fortunately, while I was out “running” on Tuesday morning,  I had an epiphany: I can still make post #1000 special, but without doing a lot of work. In fact, this is going to be a truly unique post in the annals of Ben’s Biz Blog, something completely and totally without precedent: It’s not going to have a single thing to do with Minor League Baseball! Instead, for the first and most likely last time, I will share with you one of my other passions in life: writing puns. I’ve done this compulsively for years, in tattered pocket notebooks, and last summer in San Francisco many of them were displayed in ink-on-bread form in a gallery installation entitled “Toasted Puns” (yes, despite having celiac disease I am still able to work in a gluten-based medium).

Toasted Puns -- it actually happened

Toasted Puns — it actually happened

So, that’s it: Post #1000 is going to consist of 25 original puns from my ever-growing notebook collection (one pun for every 40 blog posts, as is the standard exchange rate). I hope that you tolerate them, but if not then don’t despair. Post #1001 will mark a return to biz-ness as usual.

Some Puns

— A good entomologist can always make adjustments on the fly.  

— Beyonce’s cell phone is set to vibrate; ironic that she didn’t put a ring on it. 

— The notion of an olfactory factory may seem strange, but it makes scents. 

— During my days on the competitive Rock, Paper, Scissors circuit I was making money hand over fist. 

— The incarcerated proofreader felt right at home in a correctional facility. 

— I wanted my jokes to be raunchier, so I hired an offensive line coach. 

— The mathematician’s drunken temper tantrums were seen as a regression to the mean. 

— My opinion on palindromes could go either way. 

— The documentary on neutrinos was over before it began. 

— The best episode of Extreme Makeover is the one where Nuno Bettencourt gets a buzz cut. 

— Every day at five o’clock the roofer came down with a case of shingles. 

— The aquarium dermatologist refused to work with ray cysts. 

— It was ironic that the stationary store kept changing locations. 

— This venison seasoning is a real game-changer! 

— The hairstylist to the krautrock stars possessed a real Can ‘do spirit. 

— After getting laid off at the jigsaw puzzle plant all I could do was pick up the pieces and move on. 

— The quickest way to lose weight is fast. 

— The rock climber pursued his hobby whenever he had the inclination to do so. 

— Doctor Barbie is, more accurately, a plastic surgeon. 

— The best part of tweeting for a living is the per-DM money. 

— The tennis star in the oversized pants was nicknamed Billowy Jean King.  

— Upon raising his net, the fisherman let out an anguished whale. 

— The free-thinking horticulturist planted an avant garden. 

— The contrarian panhandler begged to differ. 

— Puns can be childish, but groan men like them too. 

Okay, that’s it: post #1000, off-topic and totally self-indulgent. I’m gonna take a vacation now, thanks for reading and talk to you next week sometime. And, above all, thanks to all of you who have read this blog on a regular basis over the past six years. It really means a lot.



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.”



Obscuring To New Heights in Lake Elsinore

The Lake Elsinore Storm held “Obscure Sports Night” last week, a write-up of which can be found HERE.

But no write-up could accurately depict the madness which transpired on this special evening. Madness such as this:

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_Fish8.JPG

That’s a Photo of the Year contender if I ever saw one, and I am happy to say that I am in possession of a large cache of fish tossing photos. I will share each and every one of these photos with my flying fish-obsessed public, but first let’s look at some of the other sporting events that were held.

In this game, Thunder the mascot walked like a zombie toward a metallic hula hoop, avoiding crouching team employees all the while. He then engaged in the ceremonial crushing of the one holding the hoops.

That’s my interpretation, anyway:

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_Hula.JPG 

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_Hula2.JPG

And then there was the time-honored art of whatever this is:

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_pole.JPG

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_pole2.JPG

But I’m a realist, well aware that fish tossing is the main attraction here. Well, if it’s fish tossing you want then it’s fish tossing you’re gonna get.

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_Fish.JPG

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_Fish2.JPG

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_Fish3.JPG

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_Fish4.JPG

Thumbnail image for Lake Elsinore_Obscure_Fish6.JPG

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_Fish7.JPG

The “Fin”ish Line:

Lake Elsinore_Obscure_Fish9.JPG

I certainly hope that the above treasure trove of photos satiated your airborne fish desires, because that’s all I’ve got.

This will therefore conclude Ben’s Biz Blog post #495, which leads me to ask the following question: Any ideas of how I should commemorate post #500? Usually when I want to celebrate a milestone I just run 5,280 feet while carrying a medium-sized rock, but I don’t think such a symbolic gesture would be appropriate in this case.


Eat Free or Diet

400.jpgI consider myself to be a man of vision, one who sets long-term goals and then acts upon them. So before Ben’s Biz Blog launched on October 11, 2007, I vowed to myself that post #400 would be dedicated to a culinary review of the 2009 Baseball Trade Show in Indianapolis.

Today we arrive at post #400, and the topic is indeed what I imagined it would be during those halcyon days of October 2007. I am proud of my prescience, but more importantly I am grateful to everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. Working together, we will be able to insure that Ben’s Biz remains the least-commented upon blog in the history of the internet.

And now, on with the show! The Trade Show, that is. In search of a free meal, let us traverse these labyrinthian hallways with a fire in our bellies and a song in our hearts:


Let’s face it: the Baseball Winter Meetings are a culinary wasteland, as attendees are forced to subsist on severely underwhelming convention center fare. But an oft-overlooked alternative exists, and that is to take advantage of vendor largess at the Trade Show. Those in the food and beverage industry who are plying their wares are only too happy to share their products with you, the free-loading consumer.

Indy -- Food -- Ben Drinking.JPG
(six ounce Blue Moon courtesy of MillerCoors, booth 335)

While not in the food biz, construction firm Barton and Malow (booth 411) are always at the ready with a bag of hot buttered popcorn.

Indy -- Food -- Popcorn.JPG 
But more varied fare could be attained at Booth 365, where the makers of the Quik N’ Crispy Greaseless Fryer were offering both chicken fingers and dessert cakes. I will attest to the fact that both items were indeed greaseless, while only one featured powdered sugar. Try to guess which one!

Indy -- Food -- Greasless Fryer.JPG

Connoisseurs of South of the Border-style meat products would have done well to patronize booth 729, as D’Rouca Foods were offering samples of their Chorizo Dogs.

Indy -- Food -- MexiDog.JPG 
Unfortunately, the above photos were for “display” only. If D’Rouca had been handing out full Mexican platters (as opposed to delectable chorizo chunks) then I would have declared them to be the greatest company in the history of American business.

Instead, that honor will have to go to Red Hot Chicago, who offered up Windy City-style dogs with all the fixins. Man alive were these things good, to the extent that they prompted me to actually write “man alive.”

Indy -- Food -- Chicago Dog.JPG
(the grand champion offerings to be had at Booth 871)
Dessert was an intriguing proposition, as it offered a choice between two near-identical products: Dippin Dots (booth 454) and IttiBitz (757). The former, cookie dough flavored:

Indy -- Food -- Trade Show Dippin Dots.JPG

The latter, in a cotton candy kind of mood:

Indy --Food -- Ittt Bitz.JPG

Honestly, I cannot tell the difference between these two products. Dippin Dots, which has been called “the ice cream of the future” for so long that the future has lapsed into a wispy, cloud-strewn memory, has a bigger reputation in the alternate reality dessert industry. IttiBitz, on the other hand, I had never heard of. When I typed the brand name into Wikipedia I was eventually directed to an informative overview of the life and career of computer pioneer George Stibitz.

Did you know that Stibitz was “known for his 1930s and 1940s work on the realization of Boolean logic digital circuits using electromechanical relays as the switching element”?

And here I thought we were talking about dessert. Guess I lost focus, and when that happens, there is only one place to turn: Booth 640. For it is there that the Jelly Belly Candy Company was jovially distributing packets of “Sports Beans.”

Indy -- Trade Show -- Sports Beans.JPG

The secret ingredient is tapioca syrup, and by “secret” I mean listed prominently on the back of the package as one of the product’s primary ingredients.

So, there you have it: beer, popcorn, chicken fingers,
cake, chorizo, hot dog, jelly beans, and TWO types of dystopian future ice cream, all gratis. If you enjoyed this write-up, then please join me on December 14, 2010 for Ben’s Biz Blog post #642. The topic will be the culinary offerings to be found at the 2010 Baseball Trade Show in Orlando, FL. Until then, contact me at:


And thanks for reading!

Kane County Able to Capitalize on MLB's Skyrocketing Cougar Population

cougars.gifAs regular readers of this esteemed blog are well aware, there is nothing I like more than writing unsolicited commendations of Minor League PR innovations in exchange for little or no recognition. That’s what I was put on this Earth to do, and who am I to argue with my cosmic destiny?

Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I direct your attention to a novel and interesting contest that was staged by the Midwest League’s Kane County Cougars. At the start of the 2008 campaign, 96 former Cougar players had appeared in the Major Leagues. I’ll let the press release take it from here:

This past March, the Cougars began a “100th Cougar Contest” in
conjunction with the organization potentially reaching the milestone
this season. Fans were encouraged to submit a guess from a preselected
ballot of nine former Cougars who were on the verge of becoming
gray.jpg Major
Leaguers this season.

One of these pre-selected Cougars was right-handed reliever Jeff Gray, who played for Kane County in 2006. Gray made his Major League debut with the Oakland Athletics on September 8, and in the process became Cougar #100 to make it to the bigs.

Take it away, press release:

Cougars fan Kerry Palmiter of suburban Romeoville was the randomly
selected entry winner. Palmiter submitted the correct guess earlier
this summer and will receive an authentic Cougars home jersey with
special #100 embroidery.

This is the first time I have ever heard of such an innovation, and it is definitely a good one. Focusing on alumni success in the Major Leagues encourages the team’s fans to follow former Cougars as they climb the Minor League ladder. Perhaps more importantly, it drives home the point that fans are watching future Major Leaguers each and every time they attend a Cougars game. Perhaps this is obvious, but it is a distinction that can be lost on casual fans, due to the fact that the level of play at Class A (and lower) often seems worlds away from “The Show”.

In Other News: Congratulations to the Fresno Grizzlies for winning MiLB.com’s “Promotion of the Year” for 2008. The club’s Mascot Showdown netted more than half of the 9,149 total votes cast, while the Lancaster JetHawks came in second with 23% of the vote.

Toothy Whistlepigs in Suburban Atlanta

image001-2.jpgThe Richmond Braves are re-locating to Gwinnett County, GA for the 2009 season. And with the new location comes a new team identity. And with a new team identity comes — you guessed it — a new mascot.

I am now pleased to present the first Ben’s Biz Blog mascot post of the 2008-09 offseason. There will certainly be more where this came from.

The G-Braves mascot is a woodchuck. This choice is a nod to one of the Gwinnett County area’s most famous rodent residents. From the press release:



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“The mascot is inspired by General
Beauregard Lee, Ph.D., star of the Yellow

River Game Ranch in Lilburn. “Beau” is Georgia‘s
Official Weather Prognosticator


and internationally recognized furry forecaster that like the
Braves mascot, will

signal the dawn of spring.”

Following pre-established new mascot protocol, the club held a vote in order to determine what this prognosticating rodent should be named. The three finalists were Chopper, Pop-Up, and Shadow, and after much deliberation and debate by the voting public it was the decided that the mascot’s name would be…


So, there you go. The G-Braves’ new mascot is a woodchuck, and his name is Chopper. He made his public debut at a local elementary school last week, where he recieved a most rapturous reception:


(photo credit: The Gwinnett Daily Post)

In Other News…It took 11 months, one week, and four days, but this esteemed blog has finally reached 200 posts. I believe that this remarkable achievement needs to be celebrated, and thus I will spend the evening playing pinball by myself at a neighborhood bar. Stop by and challenge me to a two-player game.