Late, Better Than Never
I apologize for the lack of fresh blog content this week. The reasons for this are varied, ranging from a brief jury duty stint to an all-consuming desire to spend my time memorizing the Nicki Minaj verse in “Monster.”
But I’m going to end the week on a high note, speeding into the weekend with grace and aplomb. Who wants to ride with me? I’ve got plenty of room in the jalopy!
In this week’s previous post, I wrote about the Trenton Thunder’s 1-obsessed ticket offer. Clearly, they are serious about promoting this, as evidenced by today’s announcement that they have re-signed the inimitable Bobby Baseball as internet spokesman.
Here’s a new and mature Bobby, seemingly ready to disavow his frenetic past.
And since we’re on the subject of ticket offers, it’s worth noting that the Bakersfield Blaze are currently running a “season tickets for life” promotion. As explained in the shortest press release of all time: The Bakersfield Blaze are giving one lucky fan FREE SEASON TICKETS FOR LIFE! All you have to do is purchase a ticket plan by January 31st and you will automatically be entered into the drawing.
And since we were on the subject of videos, take a gander at the latest episode of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers “Offseason” series. This is imperative viewing for those who have never seen a mascot go through airport security before. It’s a very labor intensive process.
And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the latest video series out of Montgomery is most flattering indeed.
I’m pretty sure that this recent Vancouver Canadians video is a total original, as discovering that familial ties exist between front office members must be an exceedingly rare occurrence.
To paraphrase Nat King Cole, the Reading Phillies latest video is “Unembeddable.” But it’s well worth watching, seeing as how it’s a detailed look at the NFL playoff picks of Reading Phillies players. Click HERE to see the rampant prognosticating, all the more amazing due to the fact that the video must have been filmed some four months ago.
Having exceeded my video quota for the day, allow me to transition to one of many favorite Minor League news sub-genres — Mascot Feats of Endurance On Behalf of Charity.
From the Akron Aeros:
Akron Aeros mascot, Orbit, will be participating in this year’s “Tackle the Tower” event. The annual event benefits Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. On Saturday, February 5th, Orbit will climb 38 flights of stairs at the Tower at Erieview in downtown Cleveland. Orbit’s personal goal is to raise $1,500.
Orbit is up for it.
And — hey! — I almost forgot that it’s “Gratuitous Video Friday” (so forget what I said about having exceeded my video quota). Today’s selection is a touching duet featuring Bobby Bare and his son Bobby Jr. The song was written by Shel Silverstein.
Context Clues, Crooners, Cruises, and Daring To Be Stupid
The previous post on this blog featured the following photo from the Trenton Thunder’s “NFL Kickoff Night.” It is quite possibly my favorite pic to emanate from a Minor League stadium this year:
So what, exactly, was going on here? Thunder director of public relations Bill Cook explains:
The kid signing for the cheerleaders was probably one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year. The cheerleaders threw out first pitches and then went over to the wall to sign for fans. After a couple of minutes that kid came down and said “Hey ladies, how’d ya like my autograph?”. The girls laughed and didn’t really know what to say, but since they were still holding the balls from their pitches the kid reached over, took one, and started signing it. As he handed it back, he said, “So, can I have your number?” The girls were speechless.
Truly, this kid is a role model. He carries himself with confidence and humor, and from here on out I will do my best to emulate his carefree approach to unorthodox social situations.
Also taking a carefree approach to unorthodox social situations are Peoria Chiefs players, who have recently been included in a remarkable trifecta of videos. First came the “Chiefstreet Boys”, then a rollicking Motown homage, and now this:
And it just keeps getting more ridiculous, as I just stumbled upon this:
Clearly, these guys are up for just about anything. Also up for anything are the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, who seem to specialize in unique ballpark innovations. The team is currently staging the “Battlefield Challenge” at Coca-Cola Park, a game-within-the-game that presents the tantalizing possibility of discounted concession stand items.
Sez the team:
The field at Coca-Cola Park has been divided into six battle zones that each team will attempt to
gain control of in an effort to conquer the entire playing surface.
Each team will have the opportunity to gain control of any
battle zone while they are at-bat. A base hit into any zone will give
the hitting team control of that zone until a base hit from the opposing
team lands in that zone.
And should the IronPigs gain control of all six zones, discounts will go into effect at the concession stands throughout the remainder of the ballgame.
Also, in what I believe is a Minor League first, the IronPigs are offering a week-long fan cruise this off season:
The package includes a souvenir IronPigs gift and exclusive
events (including an autograph session!) with IronPigs All-Star and
2008 World Series Champion Andy Tracy, IronPigs broadcaster Matt
Provence, IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes along with popular
mascots FeRROUS and FeFe!
This seven-night cruise to the Bahamas and Florida
aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel leaves New York City on
November 14 and includes trips to Port Canaveral, Florida, Great Stirrup
Cay (Bahamas) and Nassau (Bahamas). While aboard the ship, enjoy all
included meals and entertainment!
Wow. This is way better than the Ben’s Biz Blog offseason cruise, which consists of ’70s rock singalongs on a leaky dinghy imbued with the scent of rotting seagull.
Finally, I am happy to report that the Orem Owlz recently staged a “Weird Al Night”promotion. The master satirist was recognized in the following ways (thanks to Owlz assistant gm Brett Crane for the report):
Middle of the 3rd: Videoboard Weird Al Lyrics (Fill-in-the-Blank)
[The contestant’s] goals was to fill-in-the-blank for three well-known Weird Al songs: “Like a Surgeon”, “Amish Paradise”, and “Eat It”.
Middle of the 4th and 5th: Weird T’Al’ents Contest
Middle of the 6th – “Eat It” Chocolate Pudding ContestThis was the messiest eating contest of the night and for
the season by far. Two contestants were chosen to compete against each other in
a timed eating contest. Each contestant was given three mini graham cracker
pies filled with chocolate pudding. Whoever finished their set of three first
won the designated prize from one of our sponsors. Of course, not all of
the pies were fully eaten and chocolate was everywhere. (“Eat It” was played
during this promotion).
This is a step in the right direction, but of course the ultimate goal is for all Minor League teams to stage at least one Weird Al promo every season. Please, everyone:
One More Before Hitting the Road
First things first, I am on the cusp of my third road trip of this 2010 season. As a Pennsylvania native who now lives in NYC, this one includes some pretty familiar territory:
July 10 — Lakewood BlueClaws
July 11 — Reading Phillies
July 12 — Williamsport Crosscutters
July 13 — State College Spikes
July 14 — Triple-A All-Star Game @ Coca-Cola Park (home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs)
July 15-17 — Attending Keystone Mascot Camp, culminating in performance at Harrisburg Senators game
Juy 18 — Harrisburg Senators (sans mascot costume)
As always, feel free to get in touch with travel recommendations as well as suggestions as to what I should call this trip. The Keystone Krawl? Pennsylvania Perambulations? Northeastern Navigations? I got nothin.’
But it’s not about me, or what I’m doing. At least it shouldn’t be. With that in mind, here’s a formidable array of content that has nothing to do with yours truly.
— The Tennessee Smokies are one of many teams to have staged a Michael Jackson tribute night this season, but theirs stood out for one simple reason: Zombie Dancers!
This is certainly the most painstaking “Thriller” recreation to take place in the Minors this season:
The club hosted the final event of the Liberty Strongman Challenge: The Atlas Stones
And then there was this:
The Hudson Valley Renegades recently held a “Jim Joyce Redemption” promotion, featuring plenty of fake mustaches, “Whack An Umpire” games (as opposed to the usual “Whack an Intern”), Umpire Impersonation Contests, and Umpire bloopers and arguments displayed on the videoboard.
Portrait of the Umpire As A Young Man:
The Lowell Spinners recently welcomed a most intriguing between-inning performer: Al Milar the Human Knot. This flexible Australian is like a cross between Rubberboy and Mad Chad.
Spinners director of media relations Jon Boswell reports that the Human Knot is highly entertaining and very affordable. Give Jon a call if you want more info. Twice I tried to embed THIS VIDEO of the Human Knot in this post, and twice it disappeared. I’m giving up.
But not before mentioning that THIS is occurring in Little Rock, as I type this. I wish I was there.
Opening Day Harbingers
Could there possibly be a better way to get psyched for the season than by watching a commercial produced by a Double-A team that features a fast-talking, alliteratively-named pitchman?
The answer, my friends, is yes. But I’m going to lead with this anyway:
I’m not sure I like the thought of getting rained on by 22-ounce sodas and “cheeseburgers without cheese”, but I nonetheless must give this commercial an enthusiastic thumbs-up (although THIS remains my favorite food-related Eastern League ad). Two days of free ballpark food really is a tremendous deal, and Bobby conveys his message with a zeal bordering on the messianic.
And since a mention of the Trenton Thunder inevitably makes fellow Jersey-ites the Lakewood BlueClaws jealous, I’ll soothe fragile egos by mentioning this:
The BlueClaws are auctioning off the opportunity to raise the 2009 South Atlantic League championship flag prior to April 16’s game at FirstEnergy Park. Bidding starts at $200, with proceeds benefiting the team’s charitable foundation. This is an excellent idea, though I’d like to see Phillies organizational stalwart (and current BlueClaws hitting coach) Greg Legg do the honors.
Another good idea worth pointing out as we steamroll toward Opening Day comes from down south, as the Gwinnett Braves are asking fans to “change their Facebook, Twitter and MySpace profile pictures to shots
of their favorite G-Braves memories. From shots at Coolray Field to
pictures with Chopper in the community, the team wants fans to show
their G-Braves pride.”
Many of these photos will be utilized as part of an Opening Night slideshow, a multi-media presentation which, in my own mind, will be set to Billy Joel’s “The Time to Remember”. Either that or the Chicken Dance.
It is now time for this post to conclude, and with it the month of March. Opening Day is now so close I can smell it, an aroma best described as a mix of domestic beer and magnetic schedule paint fumes.
Mascot Love We Deliver
I stand before you today in order to deliver Minor League mascot Valentine’s Day photos.
The public has demanded them, and I am certainly not one to ignore the pleas of the populace. Therefore, that is precisely what this post shall be dedicated to. But first, a quick request…
Inspired by the copious snow that has been deposited all over the country as of late, I have decided to do a story on extreme weather and the groundskeeping challenges it presents. In addition to teams that have recently been hit with snow, I’d be interested in speaking with anyone who has had to deal with drought, flooding, hurricanes, and, of course, locust plagues. I’ll most likely have to contact teams individually today and tomorrow, but that’s a hit-or-miss proposition. Consider this post an invitation to get in touch — firstname.lastname@example.org
Okay, we now return to regularly-scheduled programming: Minor League mascot Valentine’s Day photos.
Because, as you surely know, there was a lot going on. And how can I lead off with anyone but Boomer, who is surely the suavest mascot in Minor Leage Baseball? Here, Boomer spreads some joy to the youth of Williamsport:
Boomer’s not the only mascot named Boomer. There’s also Boomer of the Trenton Thunder, who is not at all terrifying, not the least little bit:
In Lowell, the Spinners sent out a star-studded caravan to a local elementary school, where Valentine’s Day cards were made. These cards were then delivered to a VA hospital (apparently, Canaligator and crew got hungry along the way):
Buster “rose” to the occasion in Lakewood:
Sandy the Seagull swooped into a Brooklyn elementary school:
But how could I close anywhere other than in Reading? As usual, Screwball did his thing:
Now if that wasn’t romantic, then I don’t know what is. I mean, seriously, I don’t. Can anyone help me out here?