I’m as forward-looking as the next guy (whoever that may be), but nonetheless a longing backward gaze never hurt anyone. Right? RIGHT?
I sure hope so, because recent retrospective tendencies are continuing unabated with this: a look at some of the funniest/strangest/most evocative photos to have appeared on this blog during the 2011 season. It’s a feast for the eyes, so lather up those retinas and dive right in to the unparalleled visual extravaganza that is this post.
And we’ll start with one of my favorite recurring topics: Centenarian Ceremonial First Pitches! On April 7, Violet Smith celebrated her 109th birthday with the Great Lakes Loons. 109! I still can’t get over it. This woman was in high school when the U.S. entered WWI, and has lived long enough to see Franz Ferdinand re-incarnated as a British rock group.
Take Me Out…to the Ballgame!
Segueing once again from centenarians to sky-diving bulls, this picture of the Tulsa Drillers’ Hornsby remains my favorite mascot picture of all time.
The month of May provided what was probably the most famous picture to emanate from the Minor League landscape all year. Mark Gormus of the Richmond-Times Dispatch should be commended for this one, a thrilling snapshot of “Supermom” in action at a Flying Squirrels game.
He’s not on the same level of heroism as “Supermom,” but who can forget Michael Restovich’s stint as “Cupman”?
Meanwhile, in Visalia, the Rawhide established themselves as the Cal League’s preeminent practitioners of age-based beauty contests. The winner of their “Belle of the Ballpark” competition was 96 years young, and very happy to have emerged victorious.
The Rawhide’s Cal League cohorts in Lake Elsinore capitalized on the planking craze in memorable fashion. Here, the inimitable Grounds Crew Gorilla lays it all out atop an oven.
I don’t mean to pry, mate, but how’d you get up there?
Similar posture was utilized by David “The Human Cannonball” Smith when he was shot over the outfield fence at a Lowell Spinners game.
While it would be inconceivable for a player to be shot out of a cannon (at least in affiliated ball), sometimes they do find a way to participate in the promotions. One of the most enthusiastic was Frank Pfister of the Bakersfield Blaze, who gamely chugged away after losing a pre-game “Milk-Off” to members of the aforementioned Visalia Rawhide.
But humor can be milked from any situation. After the Boise Hawks misplaced their helmets prior to a late August ballgame, the team’s hitters were forced to borrow from the opposing Spokane Indians.
I’ll close this post with what may very well be the best photo ever taken of me, the world’s
most self-loathing GREATEST Minor League blogger/itinerant solo traveler. Getting pied in the face atop a dugout while Mexican wrestling-enamored interns look on was a definite career highlight. The experience made me glad to be alive; thanks to the Akron Aeros for making it happen.
Minor League Baseball can be a beautiful thing sometimes.
My recent post on the Lake Elsinore Storm experience included many photos, including shots of the team kitchen as well as the easily-angered Grounds Crew Gorilla. But never did it occur to me that I’d soon be posting a photo of the Gorilla in the team kitchen.
And yet here we are:
For reasons unknown and perhaps best left unexplained, the Grounds Crew Gorilla has gotten into the international youth fad known as “planking.” The Storm have posted a photo set on Facebook entitled “Gorilla Planks the Diamond.” Here’s a few more:
The word plank brings to mind nautical discipline which brings to mind John Paul Jones, the “father of the American Navy” but also the name of the bass player in Led Zeppelin.
And here we are. Yesterday was the West Michigan Whitecaps’ second annual “Led Zeppelin Night”, Led Zeppelin II as it were.
And when it came to theme jerseys, the song remained the same. Once again, the team took the field in these:
The Whitecaps have also done “Pink Floyd Night”, and other bands that have been celebrated in such a fashion around the Minors include the Grateful Dead, Beatles, and Rolling Stones.
This leads me to make the following demand, which like all my demands will be aggressively ignored.
Nonetheless: Do a Creedence Clearwater Revival Night! CCR are easily one of the greatest rock bands of all time and deserve Minor League Ballpark immortalization.
Abbreviations such as “CCR” are prevalent on Twitter, a mode of communication that encourages extreme brevity. And as part of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs “Social Media Night”, the team will be wearing the first Twitter-themed jerseys in Minor League Baseball history.
As part of the promotion, the team is asking fans to change their Twitter and/or Facebook profile pics to the following image:
Those who do so will be eligible to win game tickets and an autographed Ryne Sandberg baseball.
Let me close with a final demand — Read Crooked Numbers!!!
It would mean a lot to me if you did so. I spend way too much time on that column, but it’s a labor of love.