We are in the midst of “Hot Stove Dinner” season, that time of year when teams stage gala banquets featuring distinguished celebrity speakers, memorabilia auctions, and awkward jokes from suit-wearing media relations directors pressed into MC duty.
I’ve already written about these dinners in the past, and an exhaustive rundown of that which has or will take place would exhaust the reader while making me feel run down. But in the interest of stirring up what passes for debate these days, I’d like to remark that the Richmond Flying Squirrels have put together what I believe is this year’s best Hot Stove Dinner line-up:
— Darryl Strawberry
— Billy Wagner
— Tommy John
— Javier Lopez (San Francisco Giants reliever)
— Eddie Kasko (Played for the International League’s Richmond Virginians, 1954-56)
— The entire Flying Squirrels 2011 field staff
— Pat O’Conner, president of Minor League Baseball
Remarkable, no? Would anyone care to dispute my assertion that this is the year’s best Hot Stove line-up? If so, put your disputation into email form and send to firstname.lastname@example.org
But let’s face it, Hot Stove Dinners are little more than a way to pass the time during the interminable offseason void. One indication that said void is on its way out is that teams have begun releasing 2011 promotional schedules. Observe:
— Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (favorite promo: Harry Kalas bobblehead, May 16)
— Lakewood BlueClaws (favorite promo: appearance by tag-team tandem of Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, June 11 )
— Inland Empire 66ers (favorite promo: Lucha Libre Mask Giveaway, July 22)
Also, in the “weekly promo” category, the Lake Elsinore Storm have announced the alliterative beauty that is “Wacky Weenie Wednesday.” All fans receive free hot dogs through the seventh inning.
There will be plenty more where all this came from, but like an opponent of the Iron Sheik or an empty beer keg I’m all tapped out for now. Well, except for this. It’s a video featuring Conrad the easily-distracted costumed crustacean: