An abundance of blog-worthy items have arrived in my inbox over the past several days, causing my notebook to look like the pen and paper equivalent of a 42-car pile-up.
This, then, is an attempt to clear away the debris so that we may all arrive safely at our respective destinations.
For (fire)starters, I must mention what is scheduled to take place in Savannah on August 14. This:
The above individual is Ted Batchelor, who holds the world record for “Longest Full-Body Burn Without Supplied Oxygen.” As a prelude to Saturday’s fireworks show, he’ll be set aflame by “one lucky fan” and then circle the bases. Rest assured that I’ll have more on this in the coming days.
Another illustrious figure set to grace a South Atlantic League ballpark with his presence is stand-up comedian Gallagher, performing a post-game show at Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley Ballpark on August 18.
Fans of the outrageous performer are
encouraged to get seats up close to the action as Gallagher and his “Gallagear”
always gets the audience involved in the act. Be a front row fan, but
“BYOP”, Bring Your Own Poncho, because the Master of Melon is sure to have a
messy trick or two up his striped sleeve.
The RiverDogs have actually already staged a “Watermelon Night’ promotion this season, an evening that included this iconic scoreboard image of clubhouse manager “Rally Vinnie”:
The Lake County Captains recently staged a Watermelon Night of their own, resulting in adorable images such as the following:
Fans who participated in between-inning contests received specially-baked watermelon cupcakes, although the opportunity to squash a watermelon is its own reward:
The Captains staged a more ambitious (and gut-wrenching) food-related promo just last night: The Competitive Eating Olympics. Following a format first used by the Williamsport Crosscutters in their annual “Belly Buster” competitions, contestants had to consume one item per inning.
Winner Mark Ogrize celebrates his accomplishment:
A crowd gathers to watch the riveting final round, pitting Ogrize against runner-up George Lianopolous:
This promotion was featured on Deadspin this morning, so congrats to the Captains for the national publicity. But for Minor League teams, Deadspin is like a rich bachelor uncle who sporadically drops in before turning his attention back to more titillating pursuits. I, however, am the doting mother: there for you through thick and thin, easy to take for granted, and prone to insufferable bouts of extended and unnecessary martyrdom.
One might think that I’ve already fulfilled my Spam Carving blogging quota for the 2010 campaign, and that additional posts on the subject would be gratuitous at best and offensive at worst.
Well, one would be wrong. For I have received a copiously detailed missive from the wilds of Northern California, documenting in painstaking detail the canned-meat sculpting competition that was recently staged by the Modesto Nuts. This momentous event made it clear that Spam Carving can thrive within West Coast ballparks, far removed from its Reading, PA origins.
Nuts’ director of marketing and public relations Christa Parr explains that the competition was comprised of five one-person “teams”, who had “20 toothpicks, a knife, a fork, salt and pepper packets, and 30 minutes to make their greatest Spam carving epiphany a reality.”
This Spam competition, like all others, began with the sound of the preservative-laden product oozing out of its restrictive confines:
And after the 30 minutes of intense artistic concentration were up, here is what had been created.
Team 1: “I’m With the Band”
I call this a “Spamplifier”:
Team 2: “The Party House”
Team 3: “The Mystery (Meat) Machine”
Team 4: “Spam Stonehenge”
Parr relayed an anecdote about how an onlooker criticized Spam Stonehenge, noting that it “had been done to death.” I’d like to think that I contributed to this perception, having featured a “Stonehenge-looking thing” in a previous Spam carving blog post.
Team 5: “Untitled”
I would have voted for “Lobster God” as my favorite, but unfortunately I was not in attendance. As it turned out, The Mystery (Meat) Machine earned top honors, with Party House edging out Spam Stonehenge in a closely-contested race for second.
80% of the competitors, along with 80% of the Spam creations:
That’ll do it for this, my latest round of Spam Carving coverage. I’ve got some excellent, non-Spam content lined up for the next two days, but after that the well is dry. Fill it up!
Friday’s Will Ferrell post was linked widely en route to penetrating the national consciousness, meaning that a whole new audience impatiently scanned my writing in search of entertaining pictures and videos.
What a thrill.
Things have finally returned to normal, signifying that I can once again pander to my base of regular readers. And if there’s one thing I know that base enjoys, it’s this:
The above masterpiece (and that’s not a word I use lightly) emerged as the winner in the Reading Phillies’ third annual Spam Carving Contest. “Screwball’s Spamtastic Opportunity House” was sculpted by emerging artisans Angie O’Hara and Emily McGranahan, who took home a $250 prize for their efforts.
The sculpture’s title references both the R-Phils primary mascot (Screwball) and the charity that benefited from the Spam carving (Opportunity House). The entry fee was $5 per person, with the top entries displayed on the field later in the evening.
The following pictures dramatically illustrate how exposure to the elements will quickly transform Spam’s appealing pink-tinged luster to a distressingly monochrome shade of brown.
The Talent and Their Creations
update: Sue, the mastermind behind the blog “Rants, Raves and Random Thoughts”, wrote in to say that the following pic features her and her daughter (center). Read all about it HERE, as part of an excellent blog post that also advocates for DeWayne Wise neck reduction.
Fade to Brown
credit for the above three photographs: Jessica Kovalcin
Congratulations to all of those skilled in the art of Spam carving, whether they plied their trade on Saturday or in years past. For the record, my all-time favorite Spam sculpture to emanate from Reading is 2009’s “Demon Dog”.
In keeping with this week’s theme of getting right to the point, I now respectfully submit two photos from yesterday’s second annual Spam Carving Competition in Reading. Here, some of the more esteemed competitors stand in front of their creations:
So, from left to right, we have some sort of ramp, a Stonehenge-looking thing, several asymmetrical lumps, a demon dog, and a Phillies “P”. You know what, I’m going to have to zoom in for a closer look:
Mr. Jose Alicea received an award for his creation:
(all photos: Rob Trout)
And now, because additional information is always appreciated, I present to you a sizable portion of Reading’s press release:
sculpture was a living room.
works for Liberty Thrift Home Furnishing in Pottstown
and Collegeville and his work was his inspiration.
House is a multi-service organization that improves the quality of life for
children, families and adults who face various obstacles to independence, and
supports their efforts to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency and well-being.
So, there you go. Spam was carved, money was raised, and everyone went home happy. Well, almost everyone.
You may have already seen this video of the “amazing ballgirl catch”, in which an acrobatic ballgirl makes a spectacular leaping grab of a foul ball hit down the left field line. If you have not yet witnessed this fine display of innate athleticism, check it out immediately:
This video was shot at Chukchansi Park, home of the Ben’s Biz Blog-recommended Fresno Grizzlies. It is also, as you may have already guessed, not “real”. Rather, it was filmed as part of a nationwide ad campaign which has since been scrapped. This is unfortunate, but at least the video is now getting its 15 minutes of internet fame. Grizzlies Director of Media Relations Paul Kennedy reports that the phone has been ringing off the hook since the video first hit YouTube, and club representatives have been fielding requests from the media to shine some light on the details surrounding the video.
The video features the fine play-by-play calling of Grizzlies radio announcer Doug Greenwald, as well as a cameo from Jake Wald as the left fielder. I was particularly interested in Wald’s appearance in the video, as it gives me a chance to mention that he is also 1/2 of “Stache and Hawk”. Widely regarded as the World’s greatest mock-country duo that sings exclusively about professional baseball, Stache and Hawk were recently featured in a Farm’s Almanac feature story on MiLB.com. Check it out, and then pick up the new album on iTunes.
Moving On…This past Friday, the Reading Phillies staged a Spam Carving Competition. Fans were able to purchase a can of Spam for $5, and then were given the opportunity to carve and mold the canned meat product into anything their heart desired. The ace newsteam at WFMZ 69 can fill you in with the rest of the details right here:
I must admit that this video segment frustrated me, however. Why have a kid explain that his Spam sculpture is “sort of like this kind of cubed thing, like one you would find in an illusion book” if you’re not going to show it?
Regardless, congrats to the R-Phils for yet another attention-grabbing promo, and thanks to Director of Communications Rob Hackash for the heads-up.
If anyone among my loyal cadre of readers is aware of any other interesting Minor League videos, then please do not hesitate to get in touch at email@example.com. An example of an interesting Minor League video can be found here.