Yesterday’s bouillabaisse blog post focused exclusively on anniversary logos. Today, the bouillabaisse returns for the more wide-ranging grab bag of the Minor League odds, sods, bits, scraps, leftovers, debris and remnants that you (may) have come to love. If you’re a fan of divers and sundry, then you’re definitely in the right place.
Let’s begin by returning to yesterday’s topic, as I neglected to include the Lancaster JetHawks’ 20th anniversary logo.
The JetHawks will be celebrating this Diamond milestone throughout the season, perhaps most noticeably with their “20th Anniversary Mondays” promo (in which ticket prices are rolled back to what they were in 1996). May I suggest a promotion in which they ask fans to submit their best Lancaster-area dust storm photos from the last 20 years? This could be called “Show Us Your Haboobs.”
Yesterday (or Wednesday, for those keeping score at home), the Columbia Fireflies unveiled their uniforms. The Fireflies are the Mets’ Class A affiliate, replacing the Savannah Sand Gnats.
Interestingly, the Fireflies’ press release does not include the phrase “glow in the dark.” But, yes, portions of this uniform will indeed glow in the dark. Entities across the internet were quick to celebrate this fact.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) January 27, 2016
— Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) January 27, 2016
Question: Are the Fireflies the first Minor League team to have uniforms that incorporate glow-in-the-dark elements?
Last week the Omaha Storm Chasers announced the winners of their annual bookmark design contest, which the teams says is “the highlight” of their “Hit the Books” literacy program. I am including this photo of the winning designs because the overall winner’s name is “Brooklyn Bratetic” and that has to be one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard.
You may also recall (but more likely you never even knew) that January 21 was “Squirrel Appreciation Day.” The World’s Fastest Squirrel, long a part of the Lake Elsinore Storm’s usual gang of idiots, was one of the prime recipients of this nationwide outpouring of appreciation.
— Lake Elsinore Storm (@Storm_Baseball) January 21, 2016
Oh, and wouldn’t you know it? I have just been reminded of another anniversary logo that I forgot to include in my previous post: The Tri-City ValleyCats are celebrating their 15th season. If my calculations are correct, each white star in the logo equals one season, while each red star equals four seasons.
Now that this post is properly bookended, I’ll bring this latest (and therefore greatest) bouillabaisse session. Stay tuned for more, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Have you ever tried to monitor the actions of 160 entities on a daily basis? That’s basically what my job is here at MiLB.com, and please believe me when I say that it can be overwhelming! Keeping track of a such a vast industry exacerbates my already quite pronounced OCD-tendencies, and leads to notebook pages such as the following:
All of this is to say — it’s time to turn the page! But before doing so, please enjoy this bouillabaisse blog post consisting entirely of news items seen on the above notebook page. Y’know, topics that I’ve kept meaning to get around to but never did (or at least never did outside of the Twitter realm).
So here you go — no segues, just news news news!
Would you believe that the Hudson Valley Renegades have not one but TWO former MLB pitchers on their front office staff? Joe Ausiano (1994-95 Yankees) has long been with the team, and he has now been joined by Rob Bell (who played for four teams over seven big league seasons). Bell, now 36, will serve as a sales account executive.
Hudson Valley: home of Minor League Baseball’s best front office softball team?
The Iowa Cubs have long prided themselves on conducting the most irreverent website polls in MiLB, but decided not to continue with the practice after their site underwent an extensive re-design (as nearly all team sites have done of late, courtesy of the tech wizards here at MLBAM).
But, rest assured, they went out on top of their poll game!
You may recall my recent post on Minor League Front Office Cliches, in which one of the cliches mentioned was “We wear a lot of hats.” This prompted @Interstate19Cap to reply, via Twitter: “I wear a lot of hats. Haha! I should work in MiLB.”
He also attached a picture of his formidable hat wall. Not quite at a St. Pete level, but close!
You may or may not be aware of my most recent “Ben’s Bookshelf” column, which had a Black History Month angle.
I recommend all six of the titles shown above (read the article, linked to above), but there’s far more where that came from. Check out this bookshelf pic, sent to me via Twitter by @BeesGal_SLC, and marvel at its thoroughness.
That reminds me — I really should read Curt Flood’s book!
On the promotion front — this, from the Altoona Curve, is worthy of attention. April 11 will be BOpening Night, a tribute to batboy Bo Forney who passed away earlier this month at the age of 21.
From the team:
Bo has been an inspiration to many with the way he lived,” said Curve General Manager Rob Egan. “He had the rare ability to make anybody who came in contact with him feel better. Bo was such a positive person, loved life, and truly enjoyed people. We miss him deeply and look forward to celebrating his life on ‘BOpening Night’ and throughout the season.”
A silent auction will take place during BOpening Night with all proceeds from the auction benefitting the American Heart Association. The auction will consist of game-used items from the Pirates-Curve Exhibition game and will include, in addition to other items, 14-game used jerseys that have been signed by former Curve players /current Pirates players.
To commemorate the life of Forney, a patch with Bo’s cartoon likeness will be affixed to all bat boys uniforms throughout the 2013 season. The Forney family will also be in attendance for BOpening Night and will throw out ceremonial first pitches prior to the game. A moment of silence will be held in Bo’s honor prior to the game as well.
This reminds me of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who last season held a ballpark service for vendor Brock Calmes. Events like these help to illustrate the deep bonds that form within Minor League Baseball ballparks, and just how meaningful the presence of Minor League Baseball within a community can be.
Last week, the Tacoma Rainiers let it be known that anyone willing to purchase 350 Opening Weekend ticket deals would receive this pyramid of Dustin Ackley bobbleheads. I don’t think that anyone took them up on it.
Next I’d like to give a shoutout to Spikes, intrepid mascot for your (or at least someone’s) Rochester Red Wings. He joins Rocky of the Wilmington Blue Rocks as the only mascots (that I am aware of) to take part in a Polar Plunge for charity.
During all 10 of their Friday night home games this season, the Charlotte Knights will be wearing 1990 throwback uniforms. Luxuriate in this image!
This initiative was inspired by the fact that 2013 will be the team’s last at Knights Stadium. 1990 was the first. Sez the team:
The jerseys, which were worn by the inaugural Knights Stadium Team in 1990, will now be worn by the current Knights team during the new “Flashback Fridays” series, which is set to commemorate 24 years of history at Knights Stadium.
To return to philanthropic endeavors, the Erie SeaWolves are now at the tail end of their “Drive to Five” initiative.
The most pertinent of the details:
Through February 28, the Erie SeaWolves will donate $25 to United Way for each new full-season ticket package purchased. If 100 new season ticket packages are purchased, the SeaWolves will double the contribution – raising $5,000 to help United Way achieve its goal to reduce poverty in our region.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys detailed analysis of industry-wide attendance figures, then you’re going to love the Number Tamer. Nobody does it better! (Or, if someone does, I’m certainly not aware of it).
As you may be aware, one of this year’s most ill-fated sporting ventures occurred in Williamsport, PA. The Federal Hockey League’s Outlaw franchise set up shop at outdoor Bowman Field (longtime home of the Crosscutters), an idea that may sound cool in theory but turned out to be a unmitigated financial disaster. The team pulled the plug on the season mid-way through, leaving everyone in the lurch, and once this happened the Crosscutters offered a quick response via this local newspaper ad:
This seems like a disaster waiting to happen, but nonetheless I encourage you like Lancaster JetHawks mascot KaBoom on Facebook. Here’s why:
Speaking of inadvisable mascot feats, here’s a picture of Lake County’s Skipper, immediately after “Tackling the Tower.”
“Tackling the Tower” isn’t some sort of euphemism, but an annual stair-climbing event with (of course) philanthropic intent. Good work, Skipper!
And, my goodness, this notebook page still has a lot of stuff on it. This post is gonna be a two-parter.
Everything I do, I do it for you.
I’m posting this on a Friday afternoon, and on a Friday afternoon there’s only one way to do things: Bouillabaisse style!
So let’s do it! I’ve got lots to share with you, starting with a new logo straight from the heart of Appalachia.
Greeneville’s new look is a response to similar changes made by the parent club and in this regard they are the Bluefield and Dunedin of 2012. (That reference is apropos, but I’m not going to take the time to contextualize it. I have a press release to quote!)
Sez the team:
The new Astros identity features a full star logo with a block letter ‘G’ in the middle of the star. The Astros home caps will feature this logo on a solid blue cap while the road caps will be solid orange.
The G-Stros (does anyone call them that?) change is permanent, so now let’s move on to something of a “one night only” variety. On July 12th, the Erie SeaWolves will be donning these nautical duds:
I realize that this explanation raises more questions than it does answers. In brief: Lake Erie was the site of key 19th-century naval battles, and the Tall Ships festival (which does indeed feature tall ships) commemorates this history. Read more HERE.
Now we must proceed from theme jerseys to alternate ones, as the Mississippi Braves have somehow managed to fit “Mississippi” across the chest of this navy blue number:
I’d link to a press release with more info, but there doesn’t seem to be one. All I can tell you is you can buy these jerseys for $175 at the M-Braves team store. I guess in this case the “M” in “M-Braves” stands for “mum’s the word.”
Transitioning from the occasional to the regular, the new-look Buffalo Bisons recently unveiled their 2013 uniforms.
In the creation of their new uniforms, the Bisons paid special attention to popular team jerseys from the past. The use of a ‘Scarlet Red’ lettering and ‘Reflex Blue’ numbers on the front of the ‘Ice White’ home and gray road uniforms was taken from the jerseys worn by the team in the early years of Coca-Cola Field. A ‘Hitting Buster’ has also returned to the team’s official on-field cap, a look Bisons fans have long enjoyed from those first seasons at the ballpark.
Meanwhile, one of the rarest of logo creatures was released into our midst this past week. A ballpark logo, this one for the Birmingham Barons’ currently under-construction Regions Field. I will refrain from editorializing, because words only get in the way of images.
I’ll close, as I often do, with something out of left-field (not literally, in most cases).
How’s THIS for a staff bio pic?
According to the GreenJackets, Kyle’s shiner was obtained while playing in a staff basketball game. Reminder to all: never play basketball with the staff of the Augusta GreenJackets.
Okay, this post isn’t quite over yet due to my desire to do some ponderous professional pontificating.
And what I have been pondering lately is whether or not to make some changes to this blog in regards to the frequency with which I post. These days I average about three entries a week, with each post (allegedly) having some substance in that it is at least 400 words long and often covers multiple topics.
But perhaps more timely “Quick Hit” or “Short Hop” or “Biz Quick” posts would be a good strategy to utilize as well? The idea here is that whenever some particularly news/buzz-worthy content appears, I would immediately generate a short post. The plus side is timely and engaging material and more of it, but the potential negative is that this approach would cheapen the product and make this blog just another cheap cranker-outer of disposable content.
Does this debate exist strictly in my own head? Probably. Am I talking to myself as I write this? Definitely. I guess the takeaway here is that after 5+ years and 900+ posts I care about this blog more than I’d like to admit, especially in regard to how the content is packaged and presented. So, if you have opinions on this (or any other pertinent matter), please get in touch. If you don’t have any opinions on this, that’s okay too. If I was you then I wouldn’t either.
The Year in Blogging 2013 now commences, with post #899 in Ben’s Biz history. This post shall begin, as they all do, with a far shorter introduction than the over-the-top soul searching that was initially written and then mercifully deleted.
Let’s begin by looking at some new logos that may or may not have slipped through the cracks of your radar (btw, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to employ more mixed metaphors). New logos such as that which will be sported by the St. Lucie Mets in 2013 and beyond:
The above picture is taken from the team’s Facebook page, as a supposed “new uniforms” article on the team’s website simply links to a blank promotion schedule. Fortunately the local TC Palm is there to fill in the information void, as their article included the following quotes from Mets director of Florida operations Paul Taglieiri.
“We wanted to stay with what the big club was doing and also add our own touches to it,” he told the paper. “I love the orange. We moved the black away from the uniform, and it really has a Florida look to it. And I love Florida Mr. Met — it gives us our own identity as our own team.”
Taglieiri also noted that the Mets considered a total identity overhaul, but decided that a continued alignment with the parent club would be a more prudent course of action.
“We thought about getting away from the Mets and every time we considered something new like the St. Lucie Squid or the Salamanders or the Sand Sharks, we just coming back to the Mets,” Taglieri said. “That’s what Port St. Lucie is. We felt it would have done us an injustice. It made sense to stay with the Mets and change up the look a little bit.
So there you have it.
Another team that changed up their look a little bit was the Peoria Chiefs, a move precipitated by their affiliation switch from Chicago to St. Louis.
The team has issued a press release detailing the triumvirate of new hats and jerseys that shall be sported in 2013. Read it HERE, and check out corresponding PDFs that show both the hats and the jerseys.
And, finally, how about a good old-fashioned anniversary logo? The Frederick Keys would like you to know that they are now old enough to rent a car:
I’ll end this post with one of many videos I somehow didn’t get around to posting during the season. This one, in which a locomotive confirms its Montgomery baseball allegiances, is a 23-second classic that I will have to link to since I am having some embed problems at the moment.
Watch it HERE. I command you.
It is of course not something that I can control, but I’ve received several complaints this offseason regarding the relative paucity of new logo unveilings.
And, indeed, times have been tough (especially when compared to a particularly fertile 2010-11). This year’s crop has been limited to the Daytona Cubs, new franchises in Pensacola and Grand Junction, and two Blue Jays affiliates (Dunedin and Bluefield) who responded to changes made by the parent club. The rest have been anniversary marks, All Star Games logos, and various subtle tweaks.
But if it’s logos you want and logos you demand, I’ll do my best. For example, the Billings Mustangs recently unveiled a logo celebrating 60 seasons of professional baseball.
In honor of the club’s 60th Season, the Mustangs, in association with Studio Simon, have developed a 60th Season commemorative logo, which will be featured on multiple applications and platforms throughout the season. The logo will serve as a sleeve patch for both the home and road jerseys, and it will also be available on team merchandise and souvenirs.
Keep in mind that there have been a few small gaps in Billings’ baseball history, which is probably why the words “Since 1948” don’t appear on the logo. That would be confusing, as would the slogan “Celebrating 60 Mostly Consecutive Years of Baseball Since 1948.”
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes will be sporting new uniforms in 2012, and it’s easy to find “fault” with them. The logo remains the same, but the team is emphasizing its affiliation with the (relatively) nearby Los Angeles Dodgers.
Arguably the most noticeable change will take place on the numbers in the uniform, as the 2012 uniforms will feature the Quakes’ customary “fault line” running through the middle of each digit, giving it a unique and truly “Quake” look.
An addition to the 2012 uniform will feature a red number on the lower left-half on the front of the jersey, which is also a popular feature of the current Dodgers’ uniform.
Quakes’ jerseys will have sleeves in 2012, a change from the sleeveless style worn in years past. The jersey will no doubt be “Dodgerized”, as the left sleeve will feature the traditional “LA” logo.
Missing from the pants this year will be any piping down the sides, as the new pants will be solid white, also emulating that of the Dodgers’ home pants.
I’ve put my weekly Twitter Round-Up on ice for a bit, as I’m not sure if people were getting/enjoying the concept. But I remain committed to that form of social media, and hope that @BensBiz slow march to 1500 followers transitions into a tidal wave to 10 million. I mean, let’s be honest here, I’m worthy of far more followers than I have.
One new Twitter account that should be of interest to readers of this blog is @milbstaffprblms — a compendium of, you guessed it, Minor League staff problems. A few samples:
the shoes under your desk covered in orange clay and the mildewy smell that accompanies them
I would like to note that I am not the one running this account, despite my (subtle) presence in the @milbstaffprblms avatar.
Update! And, wouldn’t you know it, @broadcastrprobs has now emerged. Follow that one too!
Let’s end the week, as we often do, with a video. This one hails from Tennessee, land of the Smokies, and is to be lauded for its commitment to absurdity. (Another Update! Episode Two of the McGinty and Cunningham series is out, and can be viewed HERE.
Commitment to absurdity: a Ben’s Biz Blog guiding principle since 2007. Thanks for reading.
I have faith that I can do this, that I will get it right on the first attempt. Here it goes:
Success! Having spelled bouillabaisse correctly, there is nothing left to do but dive right into the bouillabaisse equivalent of a blog post — a little bit of this, a little bit of that, liberal amounts of seasoning, and plenty of time spent simmering.
I’m not sure any of this makes sense.
But who cares? There’s no turning back now! Upward and onward to a new logo!
Like Dunedin, Bluefield’s new look was prompted by parent Toronto’s recent identity overhaul. It’s a sharp and simple sartorial approach, befitting the no-frills Appy League atmosphere in which Bluefield resides.
In further logo news, the Omaha Storm Chasers unveiled an alternate mark yesterday.
In other, non-visual news, the Memphis Redbirds recently became the first MiLB team (that I am aware of) to host a so-called “Twinterview.” Last week, team alumnus and current World Champion Daniel Descalso participated in a Twitter-based Q&A with the team’s fans (who submitted questions through the team’s Twitter account, along with the hashtag #twinterview).
My favorite exchange went as follows:
@memphisredbirds: Tell us one thing about you that the fans don’t already know. #Twinterview
@DanielDescalso: Hmmm…my last name literally means “no shoes” in Italian and Spanish.
Congrats to the Redbirds for coming up with a creative way to engage with the fans during the offseason. The next “Twinterview” takes place tomorrow at 2 p.m. CST. John Jay is serving as the question recipient this time around.
You may remember that in October I devoted a post to the Frederick Keys’ “Volt Night”, a book release party/concert/kickball tournament in honor of a new cookbook being released by local culinary heroes the Voltaggio brothers. As opposed to reading my aforementioned blog, those wishing to see what the night was all about should check out this video:
Finally, let’s close out this latest (and therefore greatest) bouillabaisse with a short and sweet team-produced video. The Tulsa Drillers would like you to know that although you can take the bull out of the ring, you can’t take the ring out of the bull.
Or something like that:
At this time of year I feel like I’m manning the laser cannon in Space Invaders, blasting away at the relentless Minor League news stories falling methodically from the sky like so much alien detritus. No matter how adept my aim, however, I am always destroyed in the end.
But enough with the life metaphors, as Opening Day is approaching and there is simply no room for existentialist fatalism. There’s a new mascot to write about!
The costumed character in question is a relative rarity on the Minor League scene, as he is based on a Key historical figure, one whose martial maritime (mis)adventures inspired our National Anthem. Meet Frank Key of the Frederick Keys, based on Francis Scott Key and sponsored by the Tourism Council of Frederick County:
Frank Key, who joins long-time mascot Keyote at Harry Grove Stadium, will have his own adult fan club. Those who join “Frank Key’s Army” receive perks such as discounted merchandise and concessions, exclusive Q and A’s with staff and players, and the always enticing prospect of “unique fan experiences.”
In other mascot news, Tucson’s recently-unveiled Friar character now has a name: The Kino Bambino.
The team explains this Ruthian character thusly:
The long lost brother of the San Diego Padres’ Swinging Friar roamed the desert and arrived in Tucson for the March 25th Spring Training game. He dazzled the 11,000 fans that day, dancing and waving to screaming fans. The Tucson Padres front office marveled at their luck – the brother of the Swinging Friar showing up just weeks before the season!
Then the only question was – what to call him? After sorting through the hundreds of suggested names, one stood above the rest, the Kino Bambino. His name has a strong connection to the Tucson region, while also honoring the most famous baseball player of all time. The Kino Bambino, and Kino Stadium, are named after Father Eusebio Kino, the man who established 24 missions in the southwestern United States in the late 1600’s.
Quite fitting that a mascot with a religious background would come to the team after wandering in the desert. Kino Bambino is both on and from a mission.
From Keys to Kino to…uniforms? Sure, why not?
The Asheville Tourists unveiled their lunar-based logo some time ago, but it wasn’t until last week that the world got a look at the unis.
Click HERE for more pics, but I’ve got no time for such finger-activated endeavors. For the Reno Aces have unveiled some new gear, time to switch to ALL-CAPS:
For all road games, Reno will wear a gray and navy cap, which includes a new logo that features the Reno “R.” The team will debut this new cap during the April 5 exhibition game against the University of Nevada at Aces Ballpark.
Also, the Aces will wear an alternate white cap for select home games this season.
But before you can talk about logos, you have to have a name. Pensacola’s Southern League entry will begin play in 2012 (having re-located from Zebulon, NC), and the team is now accepting submissions in a “Name the Team” contest.
The only thing I can come up with is the “Pensacola Wars” and that’s not even funny. But what else is new?
Derek Jeter’s more-contentious-than-expected contract negotiations have led some to wonder if the unthinkable could happen, with the iconic Bronx superstar signing with another team.
But what if Jeter really wanted to defy conventional wisdom? What if he decided to suit up for a Class A Short Season Astros affiliate?
Well, that would look like this:
The above visual was created by the Tri-City ValleyCats, and inspired by a tongue-in-cheek article in the Albany Times Union.
Why not, right? Stranger things have happened, although at the moment I’m unable to come up with one. What I am able to come up with is information on a completely unrelated topic.
A week after unveiling their new logos, the Altoona Curve have done a further bit of unveiling. This time, the uniforms:
More info, and links to more uniform visuals, can be found HERE.
Meanwhile, I’d like to note that the Great Lakes Loons have produced the offseason’s first “snow-covered field” photo. Over the coming months, there is going to be PLENTY where this came from.
But if it’s plenty you want, it’s plenty I’ve got. Click HERE to listen to Gameops.com’s “Best of 2010” audio roundtable, with myself as one of the distinguished panelists. Joining me in discussion was sports entertainment guru Pat Walker and Minor League front office free agent Scott Carter (the Cliff Lee of this year’s crop).
And thanks to Gameops founder Jon Cudo, who put the whole thing together.
That’ll do it for me today, but I’ve got big plans for tonight: Ozzy at Madison Square Garden!
Three such items indeed went unremarked upon (by me) when they were first announced, but today’s post will set everything right with the world. Here, then, is a round-up of that which I neglected.
Generally Speaking — Last month, it was revealed that the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx would henceforth be known as the Jackson Generals.
The new team is a nod to the region’s rich baseball history. Let us journey now to the press release:
According to Kevin McCann, author of “Jackson Diamonds – Professional Baseball in Jackson, “The name Jackson Generals has a rich history of unusual plays and colorful players. Some of the players who’ve spent time on the diamond in Jackson include Shoeless Joe Jackson, Edd Rousch, John McGraw, Ellis Kinder, Casey Stengel, Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola, Tony Kubek, and many others.”
The team announced the name change immediately following the conclusion of the regular season, an announcement punctuated with some thoughtful nods to the past:
Throwing out the last pitch of the regular season as the Diamond Jaxx was Ms. Jane Des Ormeaux, the 93-year-old fan who doesn’t miss a game. She also is the fan who came up with the name West Tenn Diamond Jaxx. The first pitch as the Jackson Generals was thrown by local businessman Walt Mestan. Mestan, a Chicago native, was one of the leading pitchers for the 1950 and 1951 Jackson Generals.
Miraculous Changes — While not quite as dramatic as a name change, the Fort Myers Miracle will be wearing new uniforms in 2011.
Sez the team: The new uniforms will feature hats that are a lighter shade of navy blue than is currently being worn. The uniforms will also be without pinstripes for the first time since 1993 and feature the current Minnesota Twins logo on the left sleeve.
Addition By Subtraction— On August 31, the West Virginia Power unveiled their new mascot. His name is Chuck, and he replaces the five (!) costumed characters the team had previously employed. No pictures of Chuck seem to exist on the club’s website or Facebook page, but this local newspaper article picks up the slack.
So what else have I missed out on over the last six weeks? Let me know, because my powers of oversight are boundless.