Tagged: Missoula Osprey

An Offseason for the Birds in Missoula

The Pioneer League season doesn’t start for another two months, but nonetheless there is plenty of gamesmanship currently taking place at the Missoula Osprey’s home of Ogren Park Allegiance field.

One of the most unique aspects of the Missoula stadium experience is that there is an actual osprey nest located just beyond the center field fence. The Osprey believe that the osprey who live in this nest  are “the only pro sports team mascot living in its natural habitat at the home team’s venue.”

I can’t argue with that? Can you?


But these days in Missoula the status is far from quo, as geese have claimed the osprey nest! This unexpected avian invasion prompted the Osprey (the team, not the birds) to issue a press release last week that explains the situation. Let the short declarative sentences begin!

The geese have been spotted in the nest for the past two weeks.  It appears the geese are nesting.  It is expected that the geese will leave the nest once the nesting season is done which could be as soon as two weeks from now.  The osprey have arrived from their migration from the south and are looking to reclaim the popular nest site.  However, the geese are in the way.  It is hoped that the osprey will return to the nest once the geese leave later this month.  The nest location has been very popular to the osprey as they have returned to the nest every year since the platform was installed. 

Kim Briggeman of the Missoulian describes the osprey who normally inhabit the nest as “amorous,” “upset” and “homeless.” The osprey have repeatedly tried and failed to build nests in alternate locations, and desperately want to get back to their usual spot. But the geese — the headstrong “Clara” and her little-seen mate — refuse to cede their position as they have eggs to tend to.


“Clara” (photo: Michael Gallacher/The Missoulian)

Briggeman’s article — well worth the read! — includes the following quote from Rob Domenech of Missoula’s Raptor View Research Institute.

“We see this annually where the geese set up shop before the osprey come back. It’s my thought, and these are observations we’ve made in the past, that just when you think the osprey is going to run out of time, the (goose) eggs hatch, the geese bail, and (the osprey) can slide in there and do what they need to do.”

Let’s hope that this is the case! Opening Day at Ogren Park Allegiance Field is June 20, and “Missoula Geese” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.



Skating Through To St. Patty's

To start things off, I would like to post this picture of the skateboard deck that the Bowling Green Hot Rods will be giving away on May 31. I meant to post this yesterday, but ran into inexplicable technical difficulties that ended up ballooning into an anxiety-ridden existential crisis that left me questioning the concrete reality of everything I take for granted on a day-to-day basis. So here goes nothing:

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Oh, man. I feel so much better now, and can get on with my life. That’s a great giveaway, right? So far as I know, the Hot Rods are the second team to give away a skateboard. The Lancaster JetHawks did so in 2008, resulting in a pre-game line of fans that wrapped around the stadium.

Now that that’s out of the way, I suppose I should mention that today is St. Patrick’s Day and then dutifully provide some suitably Irish content. Consider it done.

I am aware of two teams that have released St. Patty’s apparel: The Orem Owlz and Savannah Sand Gnats (feel free to send me indignant emails that point out other clubs I have omitted, as my goal of total omniscience has not yet been attained).

The O’Orem O’Owlz:

A Gnatty St. Patty:

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Update: Here’s another one, courtesy of the South Bend Silver Hawks. As you may recall, the Silver Hawks play an annual exhibition game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.


And since I’m on the much-beloved topic of “apparel”, now is as good a time as any to point out that the Tulsa Drillers unveiled their new uniforms earlier this week. Not too drastic a change, but it should be noted that a “rich, royal blue” will now be the primary color:


I’ve got a pair of apparel items for you, as it “terns” out. The Great Lake Loons unveiled a new alternate logo, which will be worn on Sundays. In my mind, this looks like a futuristic hover car, with the driver represented as the two circles within the Loons’ red eye. 


Birds reign supreme in other markets as well, such as Missoula:

It is worth noting that the Osprey front office works out of this house during the offseason:


Either that’s a really wide window or a really narrow door.

To continue on with both the “video” and “bird” theme, the Memphis RedBirds have released a pair of videos that highlight their constant state of baseball readiness.

With all due respect to Three Dog Night’s take on “One”, I would like to suggest that in the future teams opt for the Harry Nilsson version (Incidentally, if any club stages a “Nilsson Night” at the ballpark then I will travel to cover it on my own dime).

But back to the ‘Birds, who have more up their sleeve when it comes to delusional backstops:

That’ll do it for me today. I hope everyone enjoys their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, even if said celebration is simply drinking Mickey’s while watching Leprechaun in the Hood.

(And if that is indeed what you are doing, then I hope you are getting as much out of college as I did).


Get In, Get Out, Move On

get_hot_keep_moving.jpgTime is short, and topic reserves are low. Yet, my devotion to this blog is such that I feel I must post today. I can’t go on I will go on.

First, thanks to everyone who is now following me on this thing known as “Twitter”. I’ll do my best to stay active, and I welcome feedback and suggestions of all kinds at any time. I somewhat like Twitter’s concept, in which an idea or thought must be conveyed in 140 characters or less. One must get to the point as quickly as possible. Unlike, say, this paragraph.

Moving on, Jonathan Mayo has an interesting “Perspectives” piece on the recent launch of the Israeli Association of Baseball. Mayo notes that the fledgling league will try to follow the successful Minor League Baseball business model, in which promotions are key. As to what promotions might work in Israel, Mayo suggests a Golda Meir bobblehead. That’s pretty good, but if anyone has any other suggestions then please feel free to leave a comment. Me? I got nothin’

Finally, I am pleased to announce that one of the honored guests at the Missoula Osprey’ssummers.jpg Hot Stove Dinner is none other than backstop-turned-knuckleballer Houston Summers. As some of you may know, Houston was the winner of 2007’s inaugural “Minors Moniker Madness” competition. Surely, this was one of the most ridiculous (yet entertaining) features that has found its way onto MiLB.com, and we had a lot of fun putting it together. I would like to think that Houston’s presence at the Hot Stove Dinner is at least somewhat attributable to the notoriety he achieved on our site.

Unlikely, I know…but I must compensate for my own lack of success by taking undeserved credit for the achievements of others. It’s the American way! 

In Lieu of Logos

nologo.jpgI consider logos and uniforms to be part of the Ben’s Biz Blog beat, and when it comes to that area of my expertise there is much to report.

Yet, I keep putting it off. My heart is not into it. It’s sort of like when you listen to the same album over and over, to the point where you get sick of it. Some distance is then needed, so that the album’s pleasures may reveal themselves yet again.

Yes, that’s how I feel about logos right now. Distance is needed. Therefore, I shall instead bring you up to speed on a variety of other important matters. Such as these:

— Via the excellent Gameops.com editor’s blog, I was alerted to the fact that the Las Vegaswranglers.png Wranglers of the East Coast Hockey League are staging Blagojevich Night on January 30th. The details:



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The Wranglers will unveil special new vintage prison uniforms, complete
with horizontal black and white stripes.  Each player will also have his
own prison number assigned to him, and as if all that wasn’t enough, now for
the piece de resistance.

There will be an open seat between the player’s benches that will be
auctioned off to the highest bidder, a la Obama’s vacant seat in the
Senate.  (NBCChicago.com)

Congratulations to the Wranglers for coming up with this, but it always pains me when such promotion-worthy scandals occur in the dead of winter. In order to establish their dominance over the rest of the sporting world, baseball teams should stage “ripped-from-the-headlines” promotions in the offseason as well. When it comes to such gimmickry, the idea results in far more publicity than the execution.   

— My MiLB.com colleague Lisa Winston has an article on the site today that is well worth reading. Entitled “Trying Times”, it hammers home the point that Minor League ballplayers often have to deal with precarious financial situations. Many of the people reading this blog are already aware of this, but its always good to be reminded that the majority of people who play sports for a living are far from wealthy.

Somewhat on topic, I’d highly recommend reading Steve Fireovid’s “The 26th Man” It provides a lot of insight into the day-to-day hardships associated with simultaneously being a Minor Leaguer and a family man. And, please, never hesitate to get in touch with Minor League Baseball book recommendations:



— Finally, many of you may remember this post of just two days ago, in which I went up on my soapbox in order to tout the innovation and resiliency of the Minor Leagues in tough economic times. Well, today this press release caught my eye*, in which the Missoula Osprey mentioned that all season ticket holders will receive a free “popcorn and a pop” at each game. Now, this in and of itself is a very small news item. But, it is indicative of the sort of promotion that will become more and more “pop”ular as teams seek to lure fans through the turnstiles during these tough economic times.

*you know how painful that can be