A common water cooler topic amongst baseball fans with access to water
coolers and the inclination to use them is this:
“If you were a
professional baseball player, what would your walk-up music be?”
Tulsa Drillers recently put that question to members of their own front
office, resulting in a quick and funny YouTube video:
A good friend of mine, whose name rhymes with “Chess Varese”, will explain things from here:
Now through the end of March, we’re giving you the chance to win
$1,000 by correctly guessing which Smokies will be starting on Opening
Night…April 14. You will only need
to guess which nine players will be starting in the field (and which
position in the field you think they will be starting at); you do not
have to also guess where these nine players will be batting…Now we know that our 2010 24-man roster won’t be announced until early
April. So a little research may be involved on your end to come up with
the nine Smokies players you think will be starting on Opening Night.
This contest works for three reasons:
1. It involves the promise of cold, hard cash.
2. The promise of such cash will spur fans to familiarize themselves with this year’s crop of players.
3. This desire to learn about the players will serve as an incentive for fans to check out the team’s web, Facebook, and Twitter pages for more information about what’s been going on in Spring Training.
It’s a chain reaction of positive publicity that once again proves that money is the be all and end all.
— I apologize. Here it is this late in the post and I haven’t written anything about food. Let me rectify this grave oversight by mentioning that the Toledo Mud Hens unveiled their new 2010 food items yesterday. This highlight of this array of culinary delights is the Fifth Third Fanatic Freeze, consisting of 15 scoops of ice cream and an array of toppings.
This massive concoction will be served at a concession stand with the peculiar name of Casey’s Creamery/Taco Hut. In my humble opinion, this establishment needs to start serving THIS immediately.
You don’t even need to click on the above link to know what it will be. It’s Taco In A Helmet. I always link to Taco In A Helmet. It’s just what I do. And — look! — here it is yet again:
There is no escape from Taco In A Helmet.
As of this writing (6:33 p.m. EST), over 11,000 unique visitors have stopped by and had a look, and I sincerely hope that at least a few of these individuals become repeat “customers”. The reason for this dramatic uptick is my recent post on West Michigan’s mammoth 1.6 pound hamburger. CNBC’s Darren Rovell picked up the story and was kind enough to give me a “shout out”, and since then the post has been linked to by a dizzying array of blogs and message boards.
I have thought long and hard about how to capitalize on my fleeting, jumbo burger-related “fame”, and here’s the plan that I have come up with:
1. Give the people (more of) what they want.
2. Follow up by giving the people something they didn’t even know that they wanted.
Part Two is coming tomorrow, and it’s a doozy. But, for now, I will simply display the holy trinity of Minor League concession items. (Yes, this is gratuitous, and yes, I am pandering).
I use this image as part of my daily meditation practices, concentrating on it in order to give myself access to deep inner mental states. This is not a joke.
This is to a normal hot dog what a normal hot dog is to one those little pig-in-a-blanket mini-weiners. I did the math.
#3 Fifth Third Burger (West Michigan Whitecaps)
Whether it’s a concession stand item or a double-overtime hockey game, five thirds is always a lot.
Once again: tomorrow’s post is going to be a good one, so please check back. And, please, get in touch at any time about anything. Reader correspondence is absolutely crucial to this operation.
So, I’ll do what everyone else is doing and make my Super Bowl prediction:
Steelers 16, Cardinals 14
Having lived in Pittsburgh for five years, I must admit that my pick is a biased one. It is a truly phenomenal city, with personality to spare. Sometimes, when NYC starts to feel too overbearing and relentless, I think about moving back to Pittsburgh. The people are friendly, the beer is cheap, and the record stores are phenomenal. If you’ve never been there, I’d highly recommend that you rectify that situation as soon as possible.
But, no matter who you’re rooting for in the Super Bowl, your choice of snack for the big game should be an obvious one. Just modify this slightly to fit the football theme, and you’re good to go:
Just last week, I mentioned the fact that the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL were going to be staging “Blagojevich Night”. As part of this promotion, the team will take to the ice wearing prison uniforms, and an open seat between the player’s benches shall be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Upon mentioning this item, I lamented the fact that such an imminently promotion-worthy scandal had occurred in the baseball offseason. Because what’s the point of scandal if it can’t be capitalized on by a Minor League Baseball team?
Fortunately, the Quad Cities River Bandits have stepped in to fill the void. Yesterday, the club publicly endorsed Director of Baseball Operations Bob Evans for Illinois’ still-vacant Senate seat. Whether they were moved to take this action as a result of my blog post is beside the point, because I’m just going to assume that they were. Why else would I have gotten into the blogging game anyway, if not to erroneously validate and promote my power and influence within the industry?
I’m sure not doing it for the money, as my paycheck currently comes in the form of concession stand vouchers and discontinued team merchandise.
Anyhow, forgive me these moments of self-indulgence. The 2008 blogging year is reaching its end, and I am finding it hard to say goodbye. So to return to the River Bandits, here are some samplings from yesterday’s press release:
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;}
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;}
The team is offering the Governor quite a bounty for the
vacant Senate seat, including four club season tickets – featuring private wait
staff delivering food and beverage orders directly to fans’ seats – as well as
two nights in a luxury suite at Modern Woodmen Park, and advertising for the
State of Illinois on the brand new LED ribbon board that will be installed this
“I feel honored that the River Bandits have selected me as
their choice for United States Senator and am confident that I will be a great
asset to the state government,” said Evans, 65, as he spoke from his Moline
home. “As an usher, greeter, concession stand worker, salesman and little
league coach, I’ve worked with Illinois
baseball fans for decades. I know what people want. Also, I’ve worked with a
lot of umpires here at Modern
and I know I make better calls than most of them.
So congratulations to the River Bandits for getting in on the action, and using the Blagojevich scandal to generate a little bit of Holiday time publicity. Now, it’s my turn to get in on the act, with the just-conceived “Ben’s Biz Blog-ojevich Promotion.”
The first person to bribe me with complimentary words about my blogging skill will, in return, get a free post on this here blog (600 word max). It can be about anything you want, provided it passes muster with both myself and MLBlogs’ draconian Standards and Practices department.
Well, that’s it for me, guys. I truly thank everyone who has made this blog a regular destination over the past year, and I look forward toward bigger and better things in ’09.
And, this holiday season, remember the things in life that are truly important:
Solution: Take a cue from inspiration-starved writers everywhere, and simply cobble together a piece detailing the things I am thankful for.
So without further ado, here are some things that occurred within the the Ben’s Biz Blog universe over the past year for which I am grateful:
Attending the Winter Meetings in Nashville and the Promotional Seminar in Austin — I may cover an industry that encompasses the entire country, but I nonetheless spend the majority of my professional life cooped up in the dank recesses of MLB Advanced Media headquarters. This is most frustrating.
But my overlords displayed a benevolent streak this year, in that I was permitted to attend both the Baseball Winter Meetings and the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar. These experiences were invaluable, primarily because they gave me an opportunity to meet so many of the people who work in this great industry. So, if we met in Nashville or Austin over the past year — the pleasure was all mine.
Sweet, Sweet Freedom — By necessity, the articles I write for MiLB.com are straightforward and relatively humorless. But this blog gives me the opportunity to make any joke I want, no matter how unfunny or obscure. And there is a certain joy in being able to frequently drop subtle references to song lyrics and tv show quotes. The likes of Ween, the Frogs, the Fugs, Weird Al and many others were referred to within posts over the past year, and whenever a reader picks up on this sort of thing I am most grateful. At the same time, however, I never want to be alienating or overly reliant on in-jokes. Like so many other things in this life, it’s a fine balance.
Boomer — Boomer was introduced to the world this past March, and quickly became my favorite mascot in the Minors. There are no other costumed characters who pull off the “disshelved woods creature” look so well, and the Williamsport CrossCutters are lucky to have him.
Swag — Sometimes, teams and companies feel compelled to send me samplings of their fine promotional items. Keep it coming! The most aesthetically-pleasing such items (such as a bobblehead doll of the aforementioned Boomer) recieve prime real estate within the cramped and cluttered confines of my workspace.
Mascot Races — Whether it’s Pork Roll vs. Egg vs. Cheese in Lakewood, or Vancouver’s nightly Sushi Race, Mascot races are one of the most entertaining between-innings spectacles around. A special nod goes out to the Binghamton Mets, whose took things to a higher level with their nightly “Spiedie Race.”
The Frequency With Which Teams Sent Me Promo Recaps — As mentioned before, I am rarely present at the Minor League promotions that I write about it. One day, this will change. But, until it does, it is crucial that I am able to supplement my own speculations with actual eyewitness accounts. And last season, this blog became a place for teams to get the word out about successful/crazy/memorable promotions that they held. Thanks to the Stockton Ports, Vero Beach Devil Rays, Lancaster JetHawks, Fresno Grizzlies, Everett AquaSox, Tulsa Drillers, Auburn Doubledays, Jamestown Jammers and the many other teams that got in touch.
Videos — It’s still a struggle, but I finally learned how to post videos on this fine blog. So far, just one of the 200+ total posts have contained video, but it’s a start. After all, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.
And, finally, let me conclude this post by highlighting the one thing I am thankful for above all else:
These columns highlight the distinct
personalities and operating principles of Minor League teams, and as
such I’d like to think they are a good read. However, our stockpile of
upcoming “At Home With” columns has hit critically low levels, and
needs to be replenished. That’s where YOU come in. Email me if you
would like your team to be featured in an upcoming edition of “At Home
With”, and I’ll do my best to set something up.
jeez, now I feel bad that this post has alienated a substantial portion
of my daily readership. I have combed through my notes, and cannot come
up with anything else to talk about today. In times of crisis like
these, one must revert to the tried and true. Enjoy this classic photo
from the Ben’s Biz vault, and please do your best to enjoy the
remainder of your Friday afternoon.
Considering that the Ben’s Biz Blog sphere of coverage encompasses 160 teams and 14 leagues, there is always something to write about. Too much, in fact. Throughout each and every work day, I stumble upon untold numbers of amazing Minor League news items. Such as these:
24: The masochistic and quite possibly insane Brooklyn Cyclones front office recently played baseball for 24 hours in a row. Contrary to popular (read: my) belief, this was not done in honor of agent Jack Bauer. Instead, it was all for charity, and over $15,000 dollars was raised over the course of the staggering 12 straight games that were played. Cyclones Director of Communications Dave Campanaro has a very funny account of the ordeal here.
A Peanut Farmer in Altoona: None other than former president Jimmy Carter attended Tuesday’s Altoona Curve game. Here he is at Blair County Ballpark, along with his wife Rosalynn:
Charleston Going to the Dogs: A chance visit to the Charleston RiverDogs’ website resulted in me stumbling upon this review of Joseph P. Riley’s stunning concession stand creations. There are many incredible hot dogs contained therein, including the Asian Invasion (a hot dog with soy sauce, wasabi, and crunchy chow mein noodles):
Awesome Video Alert: You may remember Erie’s unnamed racing wienies from this post. Click here to see them shilling for Smith’s Sausage Shack, to the “tune” of a B-52s parody. For an unrelated but equally awesome video, click here.
Finally: I can’t think of a better way to end my blogging week than with this delicacy from the Brevard County Manatees concession stand. It’s Taco in A Helmet!