As 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 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.
Happy Fourth of July! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the holiday than by getting this venerable blog back on track after a week in which other obligations left it sad and lonely. All other potential uses of my time seem frivolous in comparison.
Let’s look at a couple of notable Holiday happenings that are taking place in the world of the Minor Leagues. Yes, lets:
Augusta, Georgia, is located some 800 miles away from Coney Island, home of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. In an attempt to bring the fame and glamour that surrounds this event to their hometown, the GreenJackets are staging their very own frankfurter consumption competition.
Over each of the past six Thursday home games, the club has staged a hot dog-eating contest. And tonight, the winners of each of those six contests will battle to become Augusta’s undisputed hot dog champion.
The Championship event will take place upon the conclusion of tonight’s ballgame against the Charleston RiverDogs, and will be immediately followed by a fireworks display. Now here’s where things get really good: the winner will be able to choose between $200 cash or a trip for two to Weiner, AR. I sincerely hope that this latter option is chosen.
As a service to my readers, I have spent the last three hours (give or take two hours and 55 minutes) researching the town of Wiener, Arkansas. According to Wikipedia, this quaint little burgh has a population of just 760 people. It has located in close proximity to many other hilariously-named towns, such as Birdeye, Bono, Cash, Cord, Egypt, and Strawberry. Those Northwest Arkansasians sure know how to give their communities interesting monikers!
Now, of course, hot dog eating may not be the sort of thing you’re into. Perhaps numerical-based promotions are more up your alley. Let’s travel 300 miles away from Wiener, all the way to Pearl, Mississippi. There, the M-Braves have put together the following contest:
If the fourth batter in the Braves’ lineup goes 4-4 (four base hits)
in the game on July 4th, one lucky fan will receive $4,444.00.
If the M-Braves score five runs in the fifth inning on July 5th, one lucky fan will receive $5,555.00.
Finally, if the Braves score six runs in the sixth inning on July 6th, one lucky fan will receive $6,666.00.
That’s a total of $16,665, just waiting to be won by a triumvirate of lucky fans. Here’s hoping that the M-Braves pull off all three of these statistically improbable events over the course of the weekend.