Tagged: promos

Free Admissions

Earlier this month I posted a, uh, post that included one item of recent vintage and one left over from the 2014 season. This endeavor received a rapturous response, as most of my endeavors do, so once again I’m going to utilize this format. We’ll start with something new. It’s more of an update, really, regarding the New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ “Fan Photo Contest.” The team’s pitch was as follows:

Want to see your photo on a Season Ticket? Post your favorite Fisher Cats-themed photo on our Facebook page, and it could be featured on a 2015 Season Ticket.

Well, the results are in. Fisher Cat fans such as these will be showcased on season tickets in 2015:

Joseph from Barnstead, who is ready to catch the first pitch:

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A triumphant Maureen from Manchester

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Ian from Manchester honors America

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And so on and so forth. To see all of the winners, go to the Fisher Cats’ Facebook page. I had never seen such a thing done before in the world of Minor League Baseball — correct me if I have overlooked a similar endeavor — and think that it’s a great idea.

Speaking of great ideas… 

The Dunedin Blue Jays are located one rung below the Fisher Cats on the Toronto Blue Jays’ organizational ladder. And, this past July, they made baseball history. Therefore, if you care about baseball, history and the intersection of the two, then you will be fascinated by this. I guarantee it:

DUNEDIN, FL –This past Saturday, July 19th, 2014, was a historic day for baseball, as a baseball “first” took place at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Florida. The Dunedin Blue Jays defeated the Jupiter Hammerheads 12-7 in front of an announced crowd of 1,098. But the story actually begins almost two weeks earlier and about 58 miles to the east.

On Sunday, July 6th, the Lakeland Flying Tigers were set to host the Daytona Cubs. The Flying Tigers were looking to bounce back after losing the night before at Joker Marchant Stadium. On this Sunday, though, the Flying Tigers weren’t able to get back on the winning side of things.

Because on Sunday, July 6th, in Lakeland, Florida, it rained.

A ticket from that Cubs/Flying Tigers game was redeemed at the box office here in Dunedin, marking the first time in baseball that a fan has made use of the “Universal Rain Check” policy. This policy was created at the beginning of the 2014 season by the Dunedin Blue Jays, and they are the first and only team in Minor League Baseball to offer this unique rainout program.

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The program is set up so that fans from all over Minor League Baseball are able to use a rain check from any MiLB game for admission to a D-Jays game. While the promotion is open to teams from all across the minors, as expected, the first redemption came from a fellow Florida State League game.

“I think it’s awesome that someone made use of it,” said Nate Kurant, the D-Jays director of marketing and social media. “I’m grateful that our GM, Shelby Nelson, allowed us to try something unique and I’m glad that it paid off for at least one fan. Hopefully it gains a little more momentum and more fans take advantage of it, especially here in the FSL.”

Longtime Ben’s Biz Blog readers, of which there are several, will recall that the Universal Rain Check idea can at least partially be attributed to reader Peter Golkin. In 2012, Golkin wrote a guest post in which he advocated for the implementation of the Universal Rain Check throughout Minor League Baseball. This post inspired one of the most robust comments section that this blog has ever seen, an occurrence that always does my heart good.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

A Cultural Collision in Downtown Durham

Today’s post will, yet again, function as an exhumation of various endeavors that I didn’t get around to covering at the moment in time when they were actually taking place. And what I’d like to focus on today is an endeavor that very much appeals to me, given my background as college radio DJ/nerd turned Minor League Baseball writer/nerd.

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On Thursday, July 18, the Durham Bulls teamed with locally-based/internationally-known indie label Merge Records for an evening of baseball and music. The label , which was founded in 1989 by Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance, curated  the Bulls’ walk-up music throughout the ballgame. Here’s the list of tunes that were heard that evening at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which the Bulls have made available as a Spotify playlist.

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* Arcade Fire – “Wake Up”

*   Bob Mould – “Silver Age”

*   Divine Fits – “Would That Not Be Nice”

*   Hospitality – “Friends of Friends”

*   Imperial Teen – “Runaway”

*   The Love Language – “Brittany’s Back”

*   M. Ward – “Requiem”

*   Mikal Cronin – “Change”

*   Mount Moriah – “Bright Light”

*   The Mountain Goats – “The Diaz Brothers”

*   Polvo – “Heavy Detour”

*   Redd Kross – “Researching the Blues”

*   Shout Out Louds – “14th of July”

*   Spoon – “The Underdog”

*   Superchunk – “FOH”

*   Telekinesis – “Wires”

*   Wild Flag – “Romance”

*   Wye Oak – “Civilian”

I was disappointed to see that Eleanor Friedberger was left off the play list — Personal Record is a great LP! — but beyond that I thought this was really innovative partnership and the sort of thing it’d be great to see more of throughout Minor League Baseball. The Bulls’ “Merge Night” went on to serve as the centerpiece of a long Spin magazine feature on the evolution of downtown Durham, and hopefully it will serve as the impetus for a Mountain Goats song about the life of a Minor League mascot.

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Maybe next time?

The evening was also chronicled as part of the season-long “Bull City Summer” project, and in that piece Bulls’ director of marketing Scott Carter explains the rationale behind it thusly:

I consider music the lifeblood of the ballpark experience: it is incredibly important to the atmosphere. But I also believe that if you can mix in some new music that may not be as mainstream, like that which Merge produces, you can make your ballpark into a place where people feel cool. That’s huge. You want people to feel like coming to a game is cool. And we’re lucky to be in a market like this one where indie music is so widely appreciated. So it’s not as out of the norm to hear some of these artists at the DBAP as it may be in some other minor league towns.

I couldn’t have said it better myself (I mean, really, I couldn’t have). While I totally understand that a lot of music on smaller labels isn’t accessible enough for the “all family-friendly entertainment, all the time” atmosphere of Minor League Baseball, the opportunities are out there (though Austin-based Matador records co-founder Gerard Cosloy quickly shot down my idea of a potential collaboration with the Round Rock Express).

So — what are some prominent (or at least semi-prominent) record labels that operate in Minor League cities? And, speaking more broadly, what are some other ways that Minor League teams could partner with the local music scene in their community? An idea that I have bandied about for the last couple of years is a concourse record fair, held in conjunction with local record stores and/or labels and/or community and college radio stations. Get in touch if you have any suggestions or feedback, as this is a topic I plan on returning to as time and inspiration allows.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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Show, Meet Road. Road, Meet Show.

A very short time ago, within the same galaxy that I am currently communicating from, I wrote about the Tri-City ValleyCats’ exemplary “Show on the Road” promotion. Read all about it simply by clicking on the link provided, but if time and/or battery life and/or attention span is at a premium and you are unable to do then here’s a synopsis:

For “Show on the Road,” the ValleyCats brought their Minor League game day experience to a local youth field, complete with on-field introductions, mascot races, between-inning contests, and, of course, more.  Commence image placement:

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Soon after I my post about “Show on the Road” I received the following email from Round Rock Express director of communications Jill Cacic (because remember, you can’t spell “director of communications” without “Cacic”):

We actually put on a very similar event this year in a partnership with RBI [Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities] Austin called “Triple-A for a Day.”  We brought out our entire promotional crew, mascot, PA announcer, [on-field emcee] Ballpark Rob, the grounds crew and the hot dog vendor (can’t leave Dell Diamond without him!) down to Downs Mabson Field for the RBI Austin Kid Pitch Championship to turn their field into Dell Diamond. Former MLB pitcher and University of Texas legend Greg Swindell threw out the ceremonial first pitch….It was a really great event and made these kids’ year. There were over 200 people in the stands to watch this game when they said they normally have maybe 30-35. It’s an event that we’re looking to turn into a yearly partnership with RBI Austin.

Here are a few choice photos from the team’s Facebook photo album chronicling the event:

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Or, if moving pictures are more your thing, there’s this Reckless-ly enjoyable recap video:

In a similar vein, this past June the Beloit Snappers invited fans out to the ballpark for a “mystery event” at Pohlman Field.

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Per the team:

All those in attendance will get the chance to meet Snappers players and coaches and they’ll receive a free ticket to the Snappers sixth fireworks show of the season on June 29th. A free hot dog and soda will also be given to everyone who shows up for this secretive happening. All other information about the event is considered highly classified.

This “mystery event” turned out to be a flash mob of sorts, as the 200 or so participants headed to a nearby youth field in order to, yes, bring the Minor League game day experience to a non-traditional environment. Once again, a few photos from the team’s Facebook photo album:

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And so it went, and so it goes. I am fully expecting “Show on the Road” style events to proliferate in the year of our Lord 2014. Don’t let me down, industry. Don’t let me down.

Ben’s Biz Blog post #993 shall now cease to function.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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Milking the 2013 Season For All It’s Worth

The 2013 Minor League season is dead. Long live the 2013 Minor League season.

What that sentiment in mind, today’s post will yet again feature interesting in-season content that I wasn’t able to get to during the season itself. And, more specifically, today’s post will begin with the Charlotte Knights. As you are probably aware the 2013 campaign was a significant one for the Knights, as it marked their last in Knights Stadium (also known as “The Castle”) before moving into a new stadium in downtown Charlotte proper.

But historic final season or not, there was still plenty of time for the bullpen to antagonize the team’s ATV-adept mascot, Homer. The following slew of photos  — yes, a slew! — should make that clear. In fact, this photo slew is so good that it should be made into a flipbook giveaway item for 2014.

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So, to recap: I, an ostensibly grown man, am posting pictures of grown men who make a living playing a child’s game acting like children by dousing a grown man in a dragon suit with water and baby powder.

So, with that said, let’s move on to more of the same: more Charlotte Knights’ tomfoolery. On June 15 the team staged a “Dairy Night” promotion, and the highlight (?) of this endeavor was an on-field milking contest between Jhan Carlos Marinez and Jason Berken. Click HERE for a full photo gallery, but in the meantime here’s a representative picture.

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Photo: Erica Caldwell

But, of course, cow milking contests take place at all levels of the Minors — from Triple-A to Rookie ball. For an example of the latter, there’s this from Elizabethton.

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That picture features second baseman Brian Dozier, who is now on the Minnesota Twins, so something tells me that that photo might be a few years old. But, whatever, the team sent it along with their press release so that makes it new enough for me. And wouldn’t it be great if the above photo featured a male cow? Then I could have captioned it “bull, Dozier,” and accolades would have ensued.

Speaking of animals on the ball field — Rosenblatt Stadium, the long time home of both the Omaha Royals and College World Series, is now the home of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. The zoo has incorporated elements of the old ball field into its design, and all in all it looks pretty cool.

And that’s all there ever was, is, or will be from this particular dispatch. Thanks for reading.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Ben’s Biz Backlogged Blog Bonanza, the Sequel!

Hey, remember that thing I did yesterday? Where I wrote a bouillabaisse blog post that included a bunch of Minor League items thrown together in haphazard fashion? Well, that’s happening again, so buckle up the brain belt and drive right in!

After an extended liaison with the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2013 marks the State College Spikes’ return to being a Cardinals affiliate. And, wouldn’t you know it? The team now has a resident cardinal. (They’ve named him Ozzie, as in Smith.)

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Minor League team stadium visitation by a species representing said team’s Major League affiliate are rare, though who among us can forget that time a crusty sailor took up residency at Clinton’s Ashford University Field after the LumberKings became a Mariners affiliate?

I’ll be visiting the West Michigan Whitecaps later this month — June 27th! — and if the ultra-spicy Squeeling Pig is available in gluten-free form then I’m definitely going to give it a try. Either way, it’s the only concession item I am aware of that requires a waiver.

In this video, some intrepid members of the team give it a try. No trips to the disabled list resulted.



I’ll also be visiting the Wisconsin Timber Rattler later this month — June 21 and 22! Think they’ll give me a ride in this sweet bullpen car?

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I’ve written about Daytona super-fan Front Row Joe on several occasions, but little did I know that there is a Front Row Joe equivalent in good ol’ Curve PA. This Altoona Mirror article profiles Susan Mielnik, who has attended every Altoona Curve game since the franchise’s 1996 inception. Hats off to her!

I wrote about the Fort Wayne TinCaps rather brilliant Social Media Night jerseys in this week’s Promo Preview, which of course you read already. But that’s indicative of the team’s larger approach, as the TinCaps have been taking theme jerseys to new levels of transcendence all season. Just check out these 50’s Night duds:

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TinCaps creative director Tony DesPlaines writes:

Designed in-house and produced by Wilson, these jerseys featured a beautiful green argyle design with a jukebox on one sleeve and the TinCaps logo on the opposite sleeve. The team thought they looked like golfers, but from the stands they looked great.

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Speaking of theme jerseys, check out what the Omaha Storm Chasers wore during their Star Wars promo.

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Force Hat

There’s more to this than meets the eye. Storm Chasers director of marketing and promotions Ben Hemmen explains:

May the FORCE be with you… The Omaha Force that is! It’s the second annual “What If… Night” presented by Autism Action Partnership featuring a unique Jersey auction…. Plus, it’s “Star Wars Night”! Dress up like your favorite Star Wars characters, help us find “Yoda” around the ballpark, hear Princess Leia sing the National Anthem, and meet Darth Vader. The force, Omaha & Jedi will definitely be strong at Werner Park Saturday night so it should not take a Jedi mind trick to tell you not to miss out on this special evening. What If… the Storm Chasers had been renamed the Omaha Force three years ago? Head out to Werner Park to find out!

More where all of this came from? Oh, you better believe it.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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Maker’s Make Their Mark in Fresno

As you may recall, one of my recent Promo Preview columns included the following write-up:

Fresno Grizzlies (Pacific Coast League) Mini-Maker Faire, April 21

Maker Faires, in which creative individuals from a wide variety of disciplines gather to showcase their creative efforts, are described as “part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new.” They are gaining in popularity throughout the country, and on Sunday the Grizzlies will become the first professional sports team to host such an event. The event has been scheduled on a ticket redemption day for members of the Grizzlies “Wild About Reading” program in the hopes that the young fans in attendance will be see the innovation on display and become inspired to become makers themselves.

The inexorable passage of time being what it is, this unprecedented occasion has now occurred. Grizzlies media relations coordinator Chris Kutz sent along a recap and photos documenting the firestorm of creativity and innovation that took place at the park, so from here on out this post is in his hands. Take it away, Chris:

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We had 33 makers and seven local high school robotics teams on hand to take part in Fresno’s greatest show and tell. Makers included blacksmith, 3D printers, woodworkers, “How To Make Beer” station, knitters, painters, and metal workers

There was also two Rube Goldberg machines created by some local students. While one didn’t work, the other one needed a slight push at the end to set it off. The result was the machine throwing a wiffle ball (printed by a 3D printer at the stadium earlier in the day).

We had a crowd of over 9,000 people at the game, with plenty of families who made a point to visit the Mini Maker Faire before the game. As some of the photos show, lots of kids were able to get hands-on with some of the makers’ projects.

We opened at an early time (12 pm, two hours before game time) to allow people to experience the Mini Maker Faire before the game.

The most popular attraction for kids were the robots. These robots threw flying discs and tennis balls into a hoop, similar to their competitions.

We are the first sports team to hold a Mini Maker Faire at a game, while we were also the first Mini Maker Faire in Fresno.

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Ultimately, the event did what we set out to do from the very beginning: for children and adults alike to experience innovation and creativity right here in the Central San Joaquin Valley. These Mini Maker Faires are held worldwide, but we wanted to show our fans that the maker movement is taking place right in our own backyard. 

 Was this idea “out-of-the-box”? Absolutely. But hopefully, we created an experience everyone will never forget when they look back at attending Grizzlies games.

I am an unabashed fan of such “out-of-the-box” endeavors, and encourage other teams to follow the Grizzlies’ lead. And, of course, if you’d like to see YOUR team featured on this blog in such a manner then get in touch. It really is that simple.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Market Saturation and Wireless Communication

Among this year’s crop of new Minor League logos, surely the most striking was the Lexington Legends’ away cap. It features a mustache, and nothing else. Or, if you prefer images to words, it features this:

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By adopting such a look, the Legends were clearly aiming to make an impact outside of their market. Ty Cobb, the team’s graphic designer, acknowledged as much when I spoke with him at the time of the logo’s unveiling.

“Minor League Baseball is all about the ‘wow’ factor, and we wanted to go beyond the normal stuff you’d see at the ballpark,” said Cobb, whose name is totally unremarkable. “And we wanted to be the team to do this first, to have a mustache on a hat. Our mascot, he actually has a mustache, so we’re not just hopping on a fad. … We’re going to be easily recognizable when on the road. Fans can just look at the mustache.”

As the Legends hoped, many fans have done more than just look at the mustache. They’ve gone out and bought it. As of today, the team has sold the hat in 45 out of 50 states en route to their goal of “mustache domination.” Or, if you prefer images to words:

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For the most part, this is a simple matter of demographics as Alaska, Montana, Maine and Vermont are among the ten least-populated states. But Arkansas? What’s up with that? Nearly three million people live there — including those who are fans of fellow Royals affiliates the Northwest Arkansas Naturals — and yet none have sprung for a hat.

(Perhaps because headwear would only sully their beauty? As I learned last season, Arkansans are nothing if not beautiful. Just scroll through this blog post for proof!)

All of this begs the question — has any team ever sold a particular piece of headwear in all 50 states? Or will the Legends be the first?

Once again it is I, cold and alone, who asks the questions that no one else dares to.

Moving on to other matters, let this be your thrice-monthly reminder that my Promo Preview column runs every Tuesday on MiLB.com. Click HERE to read the latest edition, which is virtually hot off of the virtual presses.

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Included within this week’s column is a write-up on Thursday’s “Manager Cell Phone Night” in Omaha, which pays tribute to emerging dugout-to-bullpen communication technologies. Since the column went to (virtual) press, promotions manager Ben Hemmen (the second-best Ben H. working in Minor League Baseball, after yours truly New York-Penn League president Ben Hayes), sent the following supplemental information. I, for one, love it:

— In honor of all Major League Baseball “Calls to the Bullpen” happening on cell phones this season, the Omaha Storm Chasers are offering anyone who brings in a rotary phone or old cell phone for donation a “buy one box seat, get one box seat for FREE” ticket special.

— All “Calls to the Bullpen” will come with a special surprise from Jirsch [Manager Mike Jirschele]. We will also unveil never before heard or seen manager to manager phone calls, voicemails and texts on the videoboard.

 And since you can do everything on a cell phone these days, other exciting offers, deals, competitions, and games will take place at Thursday’s game:

— There will be a Facebook challenge that night for a FREE night at a future game in the Safeco Insurance/ Manager Mike Jirschele Dugout suite.

— If you e-mail the Team Store at the game that night (stormfront@omahastormchasers.com), you will receive a coupon for a special offer.

— A few lucky fans who use twitter on Thirsty Thursday and hashtag #BudLight or #Pepsi to @omastormchasers at the right time will have enjoy a beverage on the house.

— The person who posts the best picture of Manager Mike Jirschele to Instagram will win an autographed Mike Jirschele cell phone. 

I was going to end this post with a picture of Mr. Jirschele, but in my quest to find a photo of him I inadvertently stumbled upon this shot of Alice Cooper and Mike Moustakas. Love it to death:

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photo: royals.mlblogs.com

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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The Silver Hawks Go Pink

Hey, it’s Opening Day! No fooling!

The time for fooling was Monday, of course, and as usual there were several Minor League teams who attempted to prank their fans. The Lowell Spinners helped to spread a rumor that, due to concerns about the weather, the Boston Red Sox’s home opener was being moved to LeLacheur Park, while the Bowling Green Hot Rods claimed that the team would take a cue from the 1976 Chicago White Sox and begin wearing shorts on the field. But the day’s winner was the Tennessee Smokies, who were able to convince some of their more gullible Facebook fans that they were re-branding themselves as the “Tennessee Browns.” 

Meanwhile, in South Bend, one of the Silver Hawks’ most recent improvements to Coveleski Stadium only sounds like an April Fool’s prank. But this somewhat emasculating visitor’s locker room is gloriously, hilariously real:

Pink_SilverHawks1When I first heard about this bold stadium “improvement,” I thought it might indeed be a joke. But Silver Hawks president Joe Hart confirmed in an email that “as you can see, they certainly are pink. It is the entire locker room, bathrooms, hallways, showers and even pink urinals and sinks.”

Yes — pink potties!

PinkPotty_SilverHawks1“The idea came from our owner, Andrew Berlin,” Hart went on to write. “[It]  just came from wanting to be a little different and give people something fun to talk about. I know the University of Iowa did it years ago to the visiting locker room for football and we had just never heard of it being done for baseball. We figured if we can get people talking about the Silver Hawks across the country than it is a success.”

Oh, this will get people talking all right. My thoughts immediately turned to the visiting teams themselves — I can see many players and coaches thinking this is absolutely hilarious, but won’t there be some who consider this radical redecoration an affront to their dignity?

“We are not too worried,” wrote Hart of potential negative reactions. “I am sure we will hear some comments but it really is something done in fun.  We just wanted to make sure when the visiting teams remembered their time in South Bend.”

Mission accomplished!

And thus concludes the first post of the 2013 season, the sixth in the history of this blog and my ninth whilst in the employ of MiLB.com.

Minor League Baseball — it is happening again!

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

2013 Promotions: 10 Alliterative Bobblehead Giveaways

There are few, if any, things that I like more in this world than the sound repetition device that is alliteration. Examples of it abound here on (ahem) Ben’s Biz Blog, perhaps my favorite being a post titled “Charlie Crist Cancellation Causes Costumed Crustacean Candidacy.” I should have retired immediately after writing that.

But, no, here I remain. My personal predilection for alliteration has led me to peruse 2013 promo schedules for examples of it in bobblehead form, because what better way could an able-bodied 34-year-old man possibly make use of his time?

1. Bowie Baysox — Jim Johnson, July 22

The Bowie Baysox have the honor of leading this post, for they are the only alliteratively-named team giving away an alliterative bobblehead. Their honoree is Bowie-turned-Baltimore pitcher Jim Johnson, who was born in June in the town of Johnson City.

And would you believe in that in addition to the Jim Johnson bobblehead, July 22nd is also “Mutt Monday” at the ballpark? And that the Baysox are playing the Akron Aeros? It’s almost too much too take.

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The Gwinnett Braves also get a very special mention in this post, as they are the only team with TWO alliterative bobbleheads on the promo calendar.

2. Gwinnett Braves — Brandon Beachy (April 6) and Freddie Freeman (May 18)

Yes, a Brandon Beachy Braves Bobblehead! It boggles the brain!

And now the rest!

3. Richmond Flying Squirrels — Brandons Bobblehead (Belt and Crawford), April 5

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This bobblehead is doubly alliterative in that not only is it a Brandon Bobblehead, but one of the Brandons is Brandon Belt. A Brandon Beachy Braves Bobblehead followed by Brandon Belt, right here on Ben’s Biz Blog. My life’s work is nearly complete.

4. Rome Braves — Henry the Hot Dog, April 20

Will Henry come covered in condiments?

5. Frederick Keys — Manny Machado, May 11

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This May a multitude of Manny fans, many men and maybe many more women, will flock to Frederick in order celebrate Monsieur Machado’s manifold splendor.

6. Reno Aces — Brett Butler, May 25

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A bounteous booty of Brett Butler bobbleheads bestowed upon Reno’s resplendent residents as a means of creative championship commemoration.

7. Sacramento RiverCats —  Chris Carter, June 23

Chris Carter, a Californian, consecrated by the ‘Cats. Cool.

8. Harrisburg Senators —  Stephen Strasburg, July 15

It’s Military Monday and the bobblehead is mini. Stephen Strasburg’s scintillating skill set stays sky-high.

9. Clinton LumberKings — Mitch Moreland, August 3

Mitch Moreland matriculated at Mississippi.

10. Memphis Rebirds — BBQ Bobblehead, August 16

Memphis is mum regarding the scintillating specifics of this “BBQ Bobblehead,” but what we do know is that it is taking place during a “Fred’s Family Friday” promotion.

My work here is done.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Running With Weiner Dogs

There are few ironclad truisms here in the cutthroat world of Minor League Baseball blogging, but one of them is this: there’s never a bad time for a bouillabaisse! So here we go with just that — a collection of random ingredients that, once stirred together, combine to make for a hearty virtual meal.

After hours and hours of not looking, let’s start with the biggest piece of news that I can find with no effort: for the first time ever, the results of the Goldklang Group’s bobblection (in which fans express their presidential preferences via bobblehead) did not correspond with the result in the subsequent election.

Romney won the 2012 “Bobblection” by a final tally of 6-4, but, as we all know, he was unable to acquire a similar margin of victory on Tuesday night. I, for one, am shocked — when the distribution of competing ceramic souvenirs at a Minor League Baseball game is unable to foretell the outcome of momentous national events then I think it’s time for all of us to take a long look in the mirror in order to determine what other of our deeply-held assumptions have turned out to be erroneous.

Erroneous assumptions such as this one: mascots don’t have birth certificates.

Upon seeing that Spokane Indians mascot Otto was running for president, I mentioned to the team via Twitter that his candidacy was invalid due to lack of proper documentation.

The Indians hemmed and hawed around the issue, saying that the certificate had been “misplaced” amidst their ongoing stadium renovations. At first I was skeptical that such a certificate had ever existed, but these feelings were partially mitigated by a tweet I soon received from Lexington Legends’ promotions coordinator Lauren Shrader. This tweet (which included the hashtag #theyarepeopletoo) featured photographic proof of mascot Big Elle.’s birth certificate (Big Elle, as you can see, weighed 150 pounds upon emergence from the womb).

At any rate, I fully expect that the forthcoming offspring of Orem mascotz Hootz and Holly will be properly documented. Holly’s pregnancy is progressing along nicely, as evidenced by this sonogram photo that was posted on the team’s website. Per the Owlz:

After a recent checkup at the doctor’s office, we are happy to report the baby and Holly are both healthy and the due date is on schedule for Opening Day! Hootz and Holly have decided to wait and find out if it’s a boy or a girl until after it is born.

And speaking of whatever the he*k it is that I’ve been talking about:

You have almost certainly read my recent MiLB piece on the Lake Elsinore Storm and their surreal stable of on-field costumed characters, as it was the talk of the internet for weeks on end. And, while you were reading said piece, I bet you said to yourself, “I wish that there were more surreal images accompanying this piece, so that I could fully bask in the surreality of it all.”  And, furthermore, you probably then clicked on the photo gallery accompanying the article so that this urge could be satiated.

But just in case none of the above very likely occurrences took place, I now present you with a quartet of my favorite Lake Elsinore mascot images. They are surreal!

Thunder racing a trio of weiner dogs.

The Rally Cop rallies.

The Grounds Crew Gorilla loses a race to Ace the fastest squirrel in the world.

Collage!

What’s that in your pants, gorilla? What’s that in your pants?

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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