…And I come to give you more, and I never give you less….Let’s go!
If you “Look At Me Now” you’ll find me in NYC, but at this time tomorrow I’ll be flying the friendly skies, airbound toward the arid. Look for “on location” blog posts, articles, and interviews the rest of this week into next, as I spend time in Tucson, Lancaster, High Desert, Inland Empire, and Lake Elsinore (and maybe more, logistics permitting).
But before all that, a good old-fashioned blog bouillabaisse of relevant Minor League biz-ness news (and, for the record, never have I spelled “bouillabaisse” correctly on the first try).
This week’s “Farm’s Almanac” is on the Minor League response to the Alabama tornadoes, and can be read HERE. Mentioned briefly in the story, and something I’d like to emphasize here, is that the Burlington Bees are raising money for the family of grounds crew intern Cody Wales, whose home was leveled by the tornado.
The team has been raising money at the ballpark, and checks to benefit the Cody Wales Family can be sent to the Bees front office at 2712 Mt. Pleasant Street, P.O. Box 824, Burlington, IA 52601.
It’s Tuesday, meaning a new “Promotion Preview” column is up on MiLB.com. It was an admittedly slow week for promos, and I am heartened by the fact that next week’s column gives me more than twice as much notable stuff to choose from. I once again implore you to keep in touch, with info on upcoming promos as well as recaps of those past. I cannot stress this enough! The current soporific state of my inbox leaves much to be desired.
Highlighted in a previous column was the Richmond Flying Squirrels “High Five World Record Attempt,” in which mascot Nutzy attempted to set a new standard for “most high fives by an individual in an hour.” And indeed he did (though yet to be verified by Guinness), slapping palms with 1620 fans.
Featured in last week’s column — and happening TONIGHT — is the Memphis Redbirds’ 30th Anniversary Salute to Charlie Lea’s No-Hitter (Lea now works as a color commentator for the club). The Redbirds are pulling out all the stops with this one, going so far as to tweak an immensely popular viral video.
An event that should have been included, but was instead egregiously overlooked, was the Durham Bulls’ return to iconic Durham Athletic Park yesterday. This video sums up the evening very well:
The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor wasn’t overlooked, but perhaps should have been. As this video points out, the use of the word “vendor” in his job title is blatantly misleading.
But in the end, Minor League Baseball is more about the overall experience than any specific promotion. The Fort Myers Miracle have put together an ad campaign that emphasizes this point very well. My embedding capabilities are lacking in this case, but they can be viewed HERE. And while you’re at it, check out this local newspaper story about the Miracle Bullpen and its trusty Justin Beiber backpack.
And, yes, the story features a photo of Bruce Pugh heading to the bullpen while wearing the backpack — a triumvirate of BPs, and possibly a foursome if he happened to be heading there after batting practice.
I’m now less than 24 hours from saying goodbye to the East Coast. The next time you’ll hear from me I’ll be writing in an agitated late-night state from some hotel room, binging on Mello Yello and wondering what’s it all for.
To begin today’s post, I’d like to share one of the greatest mascot photos of all time:
That sky-diving bull is Hornsby of the Tulsa Drillers. Jumping out of an airplane (why not?) was one of his last acts before undergoing a thorough overhaul. As part of an effort overseen by Mascot Doctor (and original Phillie Phanatic) Dave Raymond, the Drillers hired a full-time performer and and re-did the costume.
Meet Hornsby 2.0:
I think a good way to publicize the new Hornsby would be to make a video of him in a sushi restaurant eating soup, accompanied by the sounds of 2 Live Crew. The video would be called “Miso Hornsby.”
Never mind, sorry, strike that from the record. It’s just that if you can’t please everyone you’ve got to please yourself. And speaking of guardin’ parties, the 550-pound Ryan Howard Garden Gnome recently presided over the Reading Phillies humdinger of an Opening Night celebration.
A $10 million offseason renovation project always results in an extra-festive atmosphere!
But for many teams, the pomp and pageantry of Opening Day soon succumbs to cold, hard, reality. Emphasis on the cold. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are snowed out today, and yesterday evening West Michigan Whitecaps played a ballgame despite this being the scene earlier in the day:
But in the team’s own words: “If there’s snow on the field, play ball!”
Such frosty weather can be hazardous to mascots as well, as the Lake County Captains latest “Christmas Story”-themed giveaway dramatically illustrates. On July 23, one year after the “Skipper Leg Lamp“, the team is distributing this:
Yes, Skipper’s nose magnetically attaches itself to the foul pole.
That’s all for me today, but before I go let me note that there is a NEW PROMOTION PREVIEW column and that FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED! I want to be the Big Meech of Minor League Baseball writers, but instead feel like Hoover because all of my writing occurs in a vacuum.
I’m sure this has nothing to do with belabored, obscure, and obsessive compulsive wordplay.
Opening Day in the Minors is here at last, and I think we can all raise a glass to that.
anxiety-reducing celebratory libations can wait until later, for right now there’s business to attend to. For starters, the first “Promotion Preview” column of the season premiered today. Here’s how it looks on the home page of MiLB.com:
As I hope you are aware, “Promotion Preview” is a weekly in-season column that highlights the 10 “best” promotions of the upcoming week. I started writing it in 2006, quite by accident, and it is what has led to this niche that I now call my own. Of course, I implore everyone to get in touch with their best and most creative promotions, so that I may (possibly) include it in the column.
This week includes 3D scoreboards, snowman destruction, DIY bobbleheads, weather-related contests, pigs ON a blanket, and a lot more. Get in touch with what I’ve missed/what you don’t want me to miss.
But with the season starting today, it is even more imperative that once again I draw your attention to “Crooked Numbers.” — a monthly column highlighting the most absurd and unlikely on-field, in-game happenings.
For this I rely greatly on broadcasters and other close observers. Did you see a pitcher notch four strikeouts in consecutive innings? A lumbering catcher hit two triples in a game after not hitting any in his entire career? A journeyman infielder switch teams between games of a doubleheader?
That’s the kind of stuff I’m looking for, the stranger the better but I want it all. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
— And since games are now being played on a nightly basis, it’s worth bringing up a point that I raised on Twitter yesterday. Namely, that teams should have a separate Twitter account for in-game updates and news! This is because there are a lot of fans who are not interested in such minutiae, and will quickly become alienated and agitated by dozens upon dozens of tweets over a short amount of time (I know I am).
This is not just my opinion — I received a lot of feedback on this issue yesterday, with comments ranging from “Even in only 140 characters, you can usually tell it’s different people with different writing styles; there’s no consistency” to “in-game updates become clutter” to simply “with you 100% on that one.”
— I might as well keep this blog’s auto-didacticism feature on for a little while longer. Apologies in advance, but here goes nothing:
I probably spend more time reading Minor League Baseball tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, and press releases than anyone on the planet. Here are a few other recommendations/observations as we begin the 2011 season; sorry if I sound like a jerk.
2. Again for Twitter: Explain what you are linking to, and then link to it with a shortened URL. A tweet consisting simply of a massive URL is unclear, unprofessional and a waste of the precious little space one has on Twitter to communicate.
3. If you are posting on behalf of a team, speak for the entire organization. First-person is confusing and, again, unprofessional (ie TimbuktuTarantulas: I’m hungry good thing our GM buying us pizza 2day!!)
5. Speaking for myself: I’m MUCH more likely to read a press release in which the release is contained in the body of the email itself. Having to open a word document or PDF simply isn’t worth the effort sometimes, especially if its unclear what is contained therein.
6. And use BCC (as opposed to “CC”)! A press release that starts out by displaying 400+ email contacts looks unwieldy and compromises privacy.
The bottom line is that I’m really looking forward to what will transpire this season, and consider it a tremendous privilege to cover such an interesting, creative, and often brazenly ridiculous industry on a daily basis.
Show me what you’ve got!
But I write articles, too, and would like to take advantage of this relaxed Tuesday afternoon by drawing your attention to that which has recently appeared on MiLB.com:
— New Promotion Preview column went “live” today, as is the case each and every Tuesday. I’ve been getting a fair amount of emails from people who have trouble locating the column. If it is no longer on the MiLB.com homepage, click the “News” tab and then the “Promo Preview” dropdown option.
— The first “Crooked Numbers” of the season can be found HERE. This monthly column highlights improbable and absurd on-field happenings, and I am always grateful to those who get in touch with suggestions for the column. With so much going on out there in the Minors, it is a given that there is much I won’t spot on my own.
— Farm’s Almanac appears each Friday. Last week’s feature on scouts got a great response and can be read HERE.
Continuing on the “relaxed Tuesday” theme, I recently received the following promotional video from the West Michigan Whitecaps. Saturday will be “Salute to Sweatpants Night” at Fifth Third Field, and clearly the best way to promote such an endeavor is by releasing a mascot dance audition video that concludes with an emotional home plate embrace of a pants-less pig.
Sweatpants and the Whitecaps seem like a natural fit, as concession stand items such as THESE practically demand an elastic waistband.