Tagged: Promotion of the Year

It’s A Wrap

In the past I’ve mentioned my desire to focus on the future, but at present I’d like to focus on the past.

All of this is to say is that my various season retrospectives (“look-backs,” as we call ’em in the biz), have culminated with this: the naming of the Dallas Braden Bobblebelly as 2011’s best promotion.

Art Imitates Life: the Dallas Braden Bobblebelly juxtaposed with the moment that inspired it.

I’ve written about the Bobblebelly plenty already, from this blog post all the way through the article linked to above, and I have no desire to rehash that which has already been hashed. But what I want to elaborate on is just how the Ports’ obtained this honor, as it was certainly no accident. “Promotion of the Year” is determined through fan voting, and from the start the Ports prepared their fan base to be active in this regard. Images of the bobblebelly were first made available through Facebook and Twitter, and on the evening of the promotion itself a #promooftheyear Twitter hashtag was unveiled on the videoboard. From there onward, the bobblebelly was promoted aggressively through social media as the year’s best.

Art imitates life imitates art: Braden posing with fans on the day of the promotion

In other words, the Ports wanted this from the start. The driving force behind the campaign was director of marketing Jeremy Neisser, who came to Stockton from the Arkansas Travelers. The Travs were runner-up’s in last year’s Promo of the Year voting, with their pre-game “Jose Canseco vs. Local Sexagenarian” boxing match losing to the Birmingham Baron’s annual “Rickwood Classic.” Clearly, Neisser wanted to avoid such a fate this time around.

The lesson here is that, like with anything in else in life, “if you want it, it’s yours for the taking.” And this season, the Ports simply wanted it the most.

And to that I say this: “Thanks for caring!”

"I'd love to have my own bobblebelly one day," says one Ports player to another.

The final thing I’d like to mention about the 2011 Promo of the Year voting was that five of the 10 promotions nominated in the “Giveaway of the Year” category (including the Braden Bobblebelly) were created by NYC-based Coyote Promotions.

That could be a coincidence, but it seems to me that when teams venture into uncharted bobble-waters they are more apt to go with Coyote. And such items, owing in no small part to their originality, are more apt to be nominated for post-season accolades. Agree? Disagree?

And speaking of post-season accolades, this blog is done with ’em. Congrats once again to the Ports’ for emerging victorious, and thanks to everyone who took the time to vote.

Now what?



Don’t Know Where We’re Going, But Blog Knows Where We’ve Been

I usually wouldn’t put up a new post on a Friday, but this is no ordinary Friday.

For starters, I am writing to you live and direct from Myrtle Beach, SC, home of the 2011 Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar. Here’s the view from the hotel room, just so you know where I’m coming from:

I took this photo about 10 minutes ago, as a means to express how limited one’s view of a city can be if you only experience it from a hotel room. But this pessimistic take on the situation was immediately superseded, as I noticed that there was an honest-to-God rainbow amidst the dreary late September afternoon (it’s there, I swear).

So now all that I want to express is that there’s beauty everywhere, even (and especially) if you’re not looking for it.

In a nutshell, the Promotional Seminar is an annual industry gathering dedicated to — drumroll, please — promotions. One of the great things about this business is that affiliated teams do not compete directly against one another; they all have their own designated geographical area in which to operate. Therefore, everyone is more than willing to share their best ideas and practices — what’s good for one is good for all! The seminar is a good occasion for everyone to congregate, collaborate, and start laying the groundwork for the season to follow.

Trust me, it is NEVER too early to start thinking about next season.

But, right now, my mind is on the season that just transpired. Just a few short hours ago, the annual “MiLBY Award” ballots went live on MiLB.com.

There are a plethora of categories, but of course what I would like to highlight is my annual promotion round-up.  I have divided the year’s promotional endeavors into four categories — giveaways, theme nights, celebrity appearances and the unfortunately-named but eminently worthwhile “miscellaneous” — and chosen 10 nominees for each category. The voting runs all the way through October 13 (vote early and vote often), at which point the four winners will vie for “Promotion of the Year.”

I hope this all makes sense, feel free to email me if you need clarification or have comments, complaints, commendations or concerns.

MiLB.com’s “Promotion of the Year” has a long and illustrious history, one that dates all the way back to those halcyon days of 2007. The winner’s circle is as follows:

2010: Birmingham Barons — “Rickwood Classic.”

An annual contest played at America's oldest professional ballpark

2009: Bowling Green Hot Rods — “What Could’ve Been Night.”

What if the Hot Rods had instead been known as the "Bowling Green Cave Shrimp"?

2008: Fresno Grizzlies — “Mascot Showdown”

An evening-long battle between Parker and visiting superstar the Phillie Phanatic

2007: Fort Myers Miracle — “Billy Donovan Night”

What I like most about the above four promotions is that they have absolutely nothing in common with one another, thereby demonstrating Minor League Baseball’s ability to do just about anything and to do it well. What’s next?



Happenings in the 209, 301, and 419

My latest (and therefore greatest) Minor League road trip begins tomorrow — cue the anxiety attack! It goes without saying, then, that the blog will be dominated by “on-location” content for quite some time.  But not yet! Today, let’s take our customary look at noteworthy happenings from around the Minors.

We’ll start in Stockton, as the Ports’ held-their much anticipated “Dallas Braden Bobblebelly” giveaway on Saturday. As you’ll recall, the item features the A’s pitcher (and Stockton native) simultaneously expressing his hometown pride and exposing his abdomen.

Needless to say, Ports fans were psyched about this one-of-a-kind giveaway — especially since Braden himself was in attendance.  The line to get into the stadium started forming four hours before game time, quickly growing to epic proportions.

The man himself spent the evening signing the bobblebelly and schmoozing with the fans.

There are still seven weeks left in the season, but the Ports believe that their Bobblebelly giveaway should be MiLB.com’s “Promo of the Year”, and have even launched a #promooftheyear hashtag campaign on Twitter. I’m sure there are plenty of other teams who are going to have something to say about that…

But let’s save that sort of pontificating for later, and instead move across the country to Bowie, MD. The Baysox recently celebrated Festivus, an off-beat December holiday first popularized by an episode of Seinfeld. Communications manager Tom Sedlacek writes that Our Festivus celebration included Festivus poles, Feats of Stregth and the Airing of the Grievances, as well as posters describing the origin of the holiday and its role in pop culture.  The Feats of Strength included arm wrestling with an intern and sumo wrestling, and some Grievances were read over the stadium speakers during the game.

Feats of Strength

Grievances included “You still haven’t ordered my silverware!”  “Stop snoring so loudly.”  “You never hang out with me, you only play Xbox.”

I guess there was a lot of gray area when it came to what constitutes a grievance.

Finally, it’s time for me to feature something that has been sorely lacking on this blog in recent months: centenarians! Last Friday, 101-year-old Freda Sacket joined a local choir in singing the national anthem prior to the evening’s Toledo Mud Hens game.




Totals and a Recap

Bowling Green -- Promo of Year.JPGThis season marks the third in which MiLB.com has held a fan vote in order to determine the Promotion of the Year.

In 2007, it was the Fort Myers Miracle’s “Billy Donovan Night
In 2008, it was the Fresno Grizzlies’ “Mascot Showdown

This season, it’s the Bowling Green Hot Rods’ “What Could’ve Been Night.” I am officially suffering from “What Could’ve Been” fatigue at this juncture, and am therefore unable to recap the specifics of the promotion yet again. My “Promo of the Year” article does an adequate job of that, and to review my copious blog coverage simply click HERE.

The Hot Rods accumulated 11,945 of the 23, 608 total votes cast, accounting for a staggering 51% of the total. The Fresno Grizzlies netted 9,489 votes, a number that looks very impressive considering that the club won in 2008 with “just” 4,739 ballots cast in their favor.

“We’re extremely proud that we’re the only team to have been a finalist in three consecutive seasons. So even though we came up short, just being nominated each of the last several years with other great organizations is a real honor and a testament to the passion and inventiveness of our tremendous staff,” wrote Grizzlies vice president of marketing Scott Carter.

None of the other eight nominated clubs came close to the totals accumulated by Bowling Green and Fresno. For the record, though, here are the final standings:

3. Jake Tyler Chia-Bobble (Toledo)
4. Mega-Candy Drop (Quad Cities)
5. Ballpark Wedding (Lehigh Valley IronPigs)
6. Bellies and Baseball (Brooklyn)
7. Gluttony Night (Reading)
8. Salute to Cows (Wisconsin)
9. Potato Night (Idaho Falls)
10. Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes World Record Attempt (Wilmington)

With this blog post, I believe I have officially exhausted the extent to which I can recap thehaunted-house.png year in Minor League promotions. I’m sorry if my coverage has seemed excessive at times, but the most important thing is that it has made it so I don’t have to write about which teams are staging haunted houses.

I have nothing against Minor League haunted houses. It’s just that, over the years, they have come to represent the overall lack of topics to write about in the month of October. This is my issue, and I am working to overcome it.


Contempt For Offseason Expressed Comedically at Regular Intervals

frez.jpgI really and truly do my best to highlight as many teams as possible on this blog. I really do. The more the merrier, is what I always say. In fact, I just said it, as I typed the previous sentence.

But some teams are bound to receive more coverage than others, because some teams are always coming up with attention-grabbing stunts. One such team is — you guessed it — the Fresno Grizzlies. So here we go again with yet another Fresno Grizzlies’ post.

Yesterday, the club unveiled the premiere episode of “I Hate the Offseason”, a weekly web series that will run throughout this Minor League Baseball-deficient time of year. The show will deal with all aspects of front office life, but it is really about the American city, and about how we live together. It’s
about how institutions have an effect on individuals, and how whether you’re a player, a GM, an umpire, a seasonal employee, a scout or a fan, you are ultimately compromised and must contend with
whatever institution you’ve committed to.

Just kidding. In the above paragraph, I just appropriated a quote from David Simon in whichpark.jpg he talked about his show The Wire. But, if the first episode of “I Hate the Offseason” is any indication, then it will be better than The Wire. None of the characters in that show were mascots.

Watch the first episode at fresnogrizzlies.com — NOW!  And while you’re there, sign up for the club’s “Bear Bytes” newsletter so that future episodes are delivered straight to your inbox. And, now, without further ado, a few more facts I would like to convery:

— The Grizzlies are one of 10 teams who have been nominated for MiLB.com’s “Promotion of the Year.” Vote for your favorite now! Voting ends on Wednesday, at which point I hope at least 10,000 people have made their voices heard. As of Thursday afternoon at 3:47 p.m., the total stands at 2,327. 

— The “Promotion of the Year” article has resulted in a massive spike in traffic here at Ben’s Biz Blog. Yesterday, in fact, was the most successful day in the history of this blog. Thanks for visiting, and please check back each and every day for the rest of your life. Or mine, whichever ends first.  

— Readers, both new and old, are encouraged to get in touch with any and all Minor League news. Contact me at benjamin.hill@mlb.com