Solution: Take a cue from inspiration-starved writers everywhere, and simply cobble together a piece detailing the things I am thankful for.
So without further ado, here are some things that occurred within the the Ben’s Biz Blog universe over the past year for which I am grateful:
Attending the Winter Meetings in Nashville and the Promotional Seminar in Austin — I may cover an industry that encompasses the entire country, but I nonetheless spend the majority of my professional life cooped up in the dank recesses of MLB Advanced Media headquarters. This is most frustrating.
But my overlords displayed a benevolent streak this year, in that I was permitted to attend both the Baseball Winter Meetings and the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar. These experiences were invaluable, primarily because they gave me an opportunity to meet so many of the people who work in this great industry. So, if we met in Nashville or Austin over the past year — the pleasure was all mine.
Sweet, Sweet Freedom — By necessity, the articles I write for MiLB.com are straightforward and relatively humorless. But this blog gives me the opportunity to make any joke I want, no matter how unfunny or obscure. And there is a certain joy in being able to frequently drop subtle references to song lyrics and tv show quotes. The likes of Ween, the Frogs, the Fugs, Weird Al and many others were referred to within posts over the past year, and whenever a reader picks up on this sort of thing I am most grateful. At the same time, however, I never want to be alienating or overly reliant on in-jokes. Like so many other things in this life, it’s a fine balance.
Boomer — Boomer was introduced to the world this past March, and quickly became my favorite mascot in the Minors. There are no other costumed characters who pull off the “disshelved woods creature” look so well, and the Williamsport CrossCutters are lucky to have him.
Swag — Sometimes, teams and companies feel compelled to send me samplings of their fine promotional items. Keep it coming! The most aesthetically-pleasing such items (such as a bobblehead doll of the aforementioned Boomer) recieve prime real estate within the cramped and cluttered confines of my workspace.
Mascot Races — Whether it’s Pork Roll vs. Egg vs. Cheese in Lakewood, or Vancouver’s nightly Sushi Race, Mascot races are one of the most entertaining between-innings spectacles around. A special nod goes out to the Binghamton Mets, whose took things to a higher level with their nightly “Spiedie Race.”
The Frequency With Which Teams Sent Me Promo Recaps — As mentioned before, I am rarely present at the Minor League promotions that I write about it. One day, this will change. But, until it does, it is crucial that I am able to supplement my own speculations with actual eyewitness accounts. And last season, this blog became a place for teams to get the word out about successful/crazy/memorable promotions that they held. Thanks to the Stockton Ports, Vero Beach Devil Rays, Lancaster JetHawks, Fresno Grizzlies, Everett AquaSox, Tulsa Drillers, Auburn Doubledays, Jamestown Jammers and the many other teams that got in touch.
Videos — It’s still a struggle, but I finally learned how to post videos on this fine blog. So far, just one of the 200+ total posts have contained video, but it’s a start. After all, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.
And, finally, let me conclude this post by highlighting the one thing I am thankful for above all else: