The new logo train keeps right on a rollin’ — and this time the train’s running Express.
The Round Rock Express, who are entering their first season as a Texas Rangers affiliate after 11 years with Houston, unveiled new logos today. Those who have been following my logo-related blog posts over the past month should be able to tell that this is a Studio Simon creation all the way:
The above mark is the primary one, incorporating a cattle catcher and the Texas State flag. The team also notes that there will be new secondary marks, new colors and new uniforms. While blue and red continue as the Express colors, they now are in line with the Texas Rangers colors; the blue is a brighter royal blue, while the red remains unchanged. The new marks incorporate traditional Express elements, including a “train” theme and the Texas flag. The interlocking R logo remains as is save color alteration.
Here’s the “interlocking R logo”, alteRRed:
The “E-Train” cap logo, described by the club as a metallic E concaved upward with a cattle catcher at the bottom.
During this slow time of year, you better believe that if a new logo comes my way I’m going to lead with it.
Today, that new logo is this:
The above mark will serve serve as the official logo for the 2011 California/Carolina League All-Star Game, which you now know will be taking place in Modesto.
Some background info, from the press release:
The logo pays homage to the annual Graffiti month held every June in Modesto in honor of the classic film American Graffiti by filmmaker and Modesto native George Lucas. The logo features the Nuts mascots, Al the Almond and Wally the Walnut, in a classic car reminiscent of the 1950s.
Ah, yes, The Modesto Nuts and American Graffiti. I believe I wrote about that once. It is also worth noting that the Nuts’ commitment to the films of George Lucas has extended to the Sci-Fi franchise for which he is best known. Observe:
And since we’re talking about 2011 events, yesterday I was heartened to see one of the first promotional announcements of the upcoming season: The Great Lakes Loons will be staging six nights in honor of the Detroit Red Wings.
The series, a fresh spin on the Loons successful Tigers Legends Series, will include six Loons home games paying tribute to former Red Wings greats. Three of the games will include a visit from Detroit Red Wings greats and three games will include a commemorative bobblehead of Red Wings legends.
Sounds like a excellent idea, although one question remains: What’s the difference between a “great” and a “legend”?
Such questions can be put on ice, however, for there are currently far more pressing concerns in the world of sports. Questions such as: Where I am going to watch the World Series?
Fans of the Round Rock Express needn’t worry. In honor of their big league affiliate Rangers making it to the Fall Classic, the Express are inviting fans to watch the game in style.
Sez the team:
The Express will be hosting a Watch Party for every game of the Fall Classic in the Intel Club at the Dell Diamond. Our luxury, VIP club spans nearly 4,000 square feet and offers more than 22,000 square inches of flat-panel TV screens,
making it the perfect spot to witness Rangers’ history!
Sounds like a pretty great Watch Party, if you ask me. I’m sure it will be better than the last one I went to, as I was pressured into a buying a counterfeit Rolex that broke four days later.
Minor League ballparks are hospitable places, rolling out the red carpet for sitcom stars, sexagenarian wrestlers and eccentric hurlers alike.
Today’s edition of “Promo Year in Review” features my top six celebrity appearances of the year, highlighting a half-dozen bold-faced names who graced the ballpark with their presence. But, as always, I need YOU to tell me who I’ve missed. Get in touch via email or Twitter and let me know, as suggestions for this and previous categories will be accepted through 10 a.m. Monday.
My six nominees, in ever-so-sensible alphabetical order. Click on each individual’s name to see how his ballpark visit was originally covered (and, yes, they are all men. Don’t shoot the messenger).
Fresno Grizzlies — Alfonso “Carlton” Ribiero (as part of “Mad Tight ’90s Night”)
Lakewood BlueClaws — Jeff “Chunk” Cohen (as part of “Goonies Night”)
Oklahoma City RedHawks — Peter Mayhew (aka “Chewbacca”)
Reading Phillies — Dennis “Mr. Belding” Haskins
Round Rock Express — Rojo Johnson (aka Will Ferrell)
Vermont Lake Monsters — Bill “Spaceman” Lee/Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd (on the same night!)
I don’t have a picture from this picture, but here are their respective Wikipedia photos:
Duty compels me to once again mention that I need your input. What celebrities caused a sensation at YOUR Minor League ballpark this year. And — hey! — I know you’re reading. There’s no escape. Get in touch. Are you going to let my complete neglect of sexagenarian wrestlers go uncriticized?
As you’ll no doubt recall, a mustachoied, jewlery-wearing, beer-swilling pitcher by the name of Biilly Ray “Rojo” Johnson took the mound for the Round Rock Express. This mysterious individual precipitated a brawl with just one pitch, and then vanished from the scene just as quickly as he came.
Rojo, of course, was Will Ferrell.
The comedian’s memorable foray into the Minors has been commemorated with what is destined to be one of the most sought-after cards of 2010. Behold:
The card is part of the Pacific Coast League’s “Top Prospects” set, which, in addition to Rojo, includes 35 of the circuit’s most promising players. 3892 of these cardboard beauties were produced; here’s the breakdown:
sets belonging to the 16 PCL teams/league office
cards belonging to the Cancer for College charity
170 uncut press
sheets belonging to the 16 PCL teams/league office
Who knows what will become of the cards belonging to Mr. Ferrell? Like the hair residing above Rojo’s upper lip, that’s his personal stash.
This has been Ben’s Biz Blog post #500. Thank you for your continued patronage.
Earlier this week, the Round Rock Express announced that they acquired a right-handed hurler with an exceedingly unorthodox back story: Billy Ray “Rojo” Johnson.
Biographical details are scant, but here’s what we do know:
I am a big fan of late night TV in general and Conan O’Brien in particular, and as this Tonight Show imbroglio has steamrolled into a bigger and bigger story one thought kept lodging itself into my brain: When is a Minor League team going to offer Conan a job?
This sort of publicity stunt is certainly not without precedent. In recent years the Huntsville Stars courted Roger Clemens, the Augusta GreenJackets went after Brett Favre, and the Toledo Mud Hens set their sights on A-Rod. Granted, Conan is not from the world of sports, but on multiple occasions he has mentioned the tongue-in-cheek job offers he has received. On national TV! Look! If a morning radio show in Fargo, ND could get a mention, then why not a Minor League team?
Well, I am glad to report that the Round Rock Express have come through. In a video posted on their website and Facebook page, the team tries to convince Conan that he would excel at a wide variety of game-day positions. Here’s hoping it catches on.
In other news, the slow but steady release of 2010 promotional schedules has been a most heartening development. The Bowling Green Hot Rods announced theirs yesterday, eager to defend their 2009 MiLB.com Promotion of the Year title. I am happy to report that What Could’ve Been Night will return, and this year’s version includes a Cave Shrimp bobbletail giveaway. Check it out.
Likewise, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs unveiled their promo slate. As has become the club’s habit, the press release features a ridiculous, pun-heavy quote from GM Kurt Landes.
“We’re the IronPigs — and no team exhibits more zeal to make their fans squeal,” he said.
This quote is excellent, and I’d encourage more GMs to talk in such a manner. Am I naive in assuming that all quotes had to have actually been spoken aloud in order to make it into a press release?
I’d also like to mention an excellent contest being staged by the indomitable Brooklyn Cyclones — The “You”niform. Here’s a summary:
“The Brooklyn Cyclones are inviting young fans to participate in a
unique art contest, with the winning jersey design to be worn by the
team as a special, limited-edition YOUniform, and auctioned off after the game to support Camp Brooklyn.”
Finally, how can a week go by without a mention of the Lakewood BlueClaws? Answer, it can’t. Today, the team announced that seven types of hot dogs have been added to the concession menu, each one named after a Hall of Famer.
This leads to a fun comedy-writing exercise: what hot dogs would YOU like to see named after a Hall of Famer, and why?
I am ready to embrace the offseason. I really and truly am. But if I come up with a blog post idea that will let me re-visit a time when Minor League Baseball was actually played every day, then you best believe I’m gonna do it.
And today, that idea is this: to present my favorite photos that appeared on this blog during the 2009 season. I did not apply any specific criteria when making these selections, other than to ask myself “Does this photo make my inner-most being cry out in rapturous wonderment?.” If the answer was in the affirmative, then you will see it listed below. Hopefully, your innermost being will respond similarly.
What follows are my top 10 pics of the year, listed in the order in which they appeared on this blog.
Master Yogi Berra Lets Loose — On April 21, Greensboro Grasshoppers canine mascot Master Yogi Berra had a bit of an on-field accident. The following is one of two pictures I obtained of the incident (the “clean version”, if you will):
Ceremonial Centenarian — On April 24, Round Rock Express season-ticket holder Chris Nocera threw out the first pitch. She is 102 years old — and very determined:
Cream Stick Gets Creamed — The Akron Aeros nightly “Cream Stick Race” was, by all accounts, a chaotic free-for-all. Here, Vanilla feigns innocence immediately after pushing Maple to the ground:
A Moo-ving Image — A key component of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ “Salute to Cows” was a mooing contest. The following picture depicts the eventual champion as he readied himself for the moo of his life:
An A-peel-ing Photo — As part of the Idaho Falls Chukars’ “Potato Night”, so-called “Spuddy Buddies” were thrown into the crowd. It was a thing of beauty:
Belly Quickly Busted — This guy couldn’t even make it out of the first round in the Williamsport Crosscutters’ annual “Belly Buster” contest:
If you have any photos from this past se
ason that you think are worthy of inclusion in this blog, then by all means get in touch. I’ll be waiting patiently for your correspondence.
On Sunday afternoon in Boston, the Red Sox made headlines by having 100-year-old Arthur Giddon serve as an honorary batboy.
That’s a great story, but it was trumped by a something that occurred in the Minor Leagues on Friday night: 102-year-old Chris Norcera, a Round Rock Express season-ticket holder, threw out an honorary first pitch at Dell Diamond.
In lieu of making lame age jokes that inevitably find a way to reference Jamie Moyer, I will now defer to the photographic evidence.
And, finally, basks in the happy afterglow of a job well-done:
The Express, no doubt inspired by Nocera’s strike-throwing capabilities, scored six runs in the first inning en route to a 7-4 victory.
If YOU are aware of further centenarian exploits occurring at the Minor League level, then do not hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
And, on another note, let me remind everyone that I am not just a blogger. Here are two MiLB.com articles from last week that are worth sharing (the “special to” byline means that I am not exclusive to MLB.com, by the way).
Last week I did a post on the innovative season ticket plan launched by the Huntsville Stars and the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, in which each team would honor the other’s Season Ticket Holder cards when they face each other.
Well, this is an idea that is quickly taking on a life of its own, as last week the Stars and D-Jaxx announced that the Mississippi Braves and the Chattanooga Lookouts had entered into the agreement as well. This means that each club’s 70-game season ticket plan now includes 24 additional road games.
You realize what this is all building toward, right? No? Well I’ll tell you — This is all building toward a bold new future in which a Minor League team’s season ticket plan also includes admission to each and every away game. Granted, we’re not there yet, but we are most certainly headed down that path. Prepare yourselves.
On The Topic — Somewhat similar to the new Stars and D-Jaxx ticket plan is the arrangement that exists between the Pacific Coast League’s Round Rock Express and the Texas League’s Corpus Christi Hooks. Both teams are owned and operated by Ryan-Sanders Baseball, and as a result honor the other’s season tickets and also offer team-rate discounts at the team hotel in each city. (thanks to Hooks’ director of ballpark entertainment Seamus Gallivan for the info)
Off the Topic, But Still Related To One of the Teams in Question — The Stars, a Brewers affiliate, are hosting a youth baseball camp on November 8. And this camp is going to be run by none other than Corey Hart. However, the Corey Hart in question is not this Corey Hart, who currently patrols right field for the Brewers. Nor is it this Corey Hart, who scored a pop smash in 1983 with “Sunglasses at Night”. Rather, it is Brewers Minor League hitting instructor Corey Hart, whose eight-year pro playing career came to an end in 2005.
All three of these Corey Harts are worthy of respect and admiration. Just don’t get confused, is all I’m saying.