Tagged: Vero Beach Devil Rays

On the Road: Here’s to You, Mr. Robinson in Vero Beach

To see all of my posts from this visit to Historic Dodgertown (this is Part Two) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my April 2015 Florida trip, click HERE. To see all of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

I visited eight ballparks on my April 2015 Florida road trip. Of these eight ballparks, 62-year-old Holman Stadium was the most memorable.


Holman Stadium hasn’t hosted a Minor League team since 2008. The annual Jackie Robinson Celebration Game, first implemented in 2014 and on track to be a recurring event for years to come, represents the only chance to witness a professional baseball played at this facility. I wrote all about the Jackie Robinson game over on MiLB.com. A relevant excerpt follows, though I’d ask that you please read the whole thing if time and attention span allow.

Dodgertown, located in Vero Beach, Florida, served as the Dodgers’ Spring Training home from 1948 through 2008. The 80-acre facility, now officially known as “Historic Dodgertown” has since found a second life as a multi-sport training and tournament venue. But, once a year, Dodgertown returns to its professional baseball roots with the Florida State League’s Jackie Robinson Celebration Game.

The 2015 Jackie Robinson Celebration Game took place on Wednesday, April 15, a day on which Robinson’s legacy is celebrated throughout professional baseball. The game’s participants were the Brevard County Manatees and St. Lucie Mets — the Florida State League teams located nearest Vero Beach — and a near-capacity crowd of 5,915 was on hand at Dodgertown’s Holman Stadium to witness it. Holman Stadium, which last hosted a Minor League Baseball team in the form of the FSL’s Vero Beach Devil Rays in 2008, was built on the Dodgertown grounds in 1953. The first player to hit a home run in the stadium was none other than Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson is truly a man worth celebrating…


…and it was a beautiful day for a ballgame.

016This was my first time in Vero Beach, but I’ve been on this beat long enough that I occasionally used to cover the promotions staged by the Vero Beach Devil Rays (the last team to play at Holman Stadium and, also, the last team to use the “Devil Rays” name).

Here, for example, is a guy using a urine cup (distributed as part of an “Anti-Doping Night” promotion) to hold his beer.


And here, mascot Squeeze forces the British to surrender during “Revolutionary War Night.


There would be no such shenanigans on this evening, of course. The Jackie Robinson Celebration Game is a decidedly more straightforward affair.

I arrived before the gates opened, giving me the opportunity to photograph the seats before they were occupied. And what an opportunity it was.

Continue reading

Think Before You Cut

Approximately three weeks ago, I put together a post detailing my experiences at a Vermont Lake Monsters game. At the end of said post, I mentioned that a house across the street from Centennial Field was emblazoned with some Vermont-style revolutionary rhetoric. I also mentioned that I was working on obtaining a photo of this house.

Well, a photo has been obtained. Please observe:

vermont house.JPG

I imagine that it will only be a matter of time before the “Cut Consumption, Not Foreskin” movement goes national. Get on board now or get left behind.

Apologies for the fact that today’s post is so lightweight. In all honesty, I’m having a hard time concentrating right now. I’m going to see Heaven and Hell tonight (Black Sabbath with Dio instead of Ozzy), and I’m really excited about it.

In the meantime, please read the penultimate “Promotion Preview” of the season. Then, get in touch to let me know the ways in which I have failed to make you laugh. Of these, there are many.


There's No Hope In Dope

_vero_beach.gifWhen we last checked in with our friends in Vero Beach, it was to highlight their “Revolutionary War Night” promotion. In that post, it was mentioned that one of the club’s upcoming promos would be “Anti-Doping Night”. This special evening was strategically scheduled two days before “Olympic Night”, and was expressly designed to “promote healthy living and a drug-free lifestyle.”

Also on the Anti-Doping Night agenda was the distribution of 200 urine sample cups, a humorous nod to the standard drug test procedure. D-Rays Communications Manager Christa McElyea reports that not everyone “got it” when it came to the urine sample cups. Take this woman, for example:

Anti-Doping Night 1.jpg

But after conversing with a team employee, and obtaining more information from a passing golf cart, she soon understood what was going on:

Anti-Doping Night 3.jpg

Meanwhile, it didn’t take long for immature (yet creative) fans to start improvising new uses for the cup. This guy found out that it holds beer just as well as it holds urine. Well, let’s hope that’s beer:

Anti-Doping Night 2.jpg
Next up on the D-Rays’ promotional schedule is the 1-2 punch of “Keep Indian River Beautiful Night” and “Bike Night”, on Wednesday and Thursday nights respectively. Urine sample cups will not be included as part of any of these promos, but, nonetheless, you’re in luck if you will be able to attend a game on either of these nights.

Vero Beach Puts the Squeeze on the Redcoats

vbd.gifTwo worlds collided in Vero Beach on July 22nd, as the Devil Rays’ front office staff brought the fine art of historical war re-enactment to the ballpark. As part of “Revolutionary War Night”, crucial moments of our country’s battle for independence were brought to life for the edification and enjoyment of the evening’s game attendees.

Devil Rays communication manager Christa McElyea sent along “Revolutionary War Night” photos, remarking that the night was “epic…Martha Washington narrated the evening and our mascot Squeeze even got in on the battle action.”

It’s about time that anthropomorphic grapefruits were recognized as the staunch defenders of American liberty that they have always been! Let’s take a look at some photographic evidence of this fine event, shall we?

Here’s the evening’s distinguished host, future first First Lady Martha Washington:

VB Devil Rays Rev War Night 3.jpg

The British are coming! The British are coming! (Note that very few people wished to be photographed with these dastardly rapscallions. Vero Beach fans are true patriots!)

VB Devil Rays Rev War Night 4.jpg

But Squeeze and his fellow American soldiers were ready for the British attack (Also worth noting in this shot is the presence of a man wearing a water cooler as a shirt and a plastic bag over his head):

VB Devil Rays Rev War Night 2.jpg

The British troops, despite being equipped with cell phones and walkie-talkies, were soon forced to surrender:

VB Devil Rays Rev War Night 5.jpg

Soon, everyone put aside their differences in order to enjoy a game of jumbo bowling:

VB Devil Rays Rev War Night 6.jpg

Admittedly, I assembled these pictures to create my own narrative, and the night most likely proceeded in a somewhat different fashion. Regardless, Vero Beach has show a penchant for creative and original promotions this season, and they are to be commended for this effort. Next up on the team’s agenda is the 1-2 punch of “Anti-Doping Night” and “Olympic Night.” Free urine sample cups!

Great Moments in Minor League History

vb2.gifYesterday was a momentous and historic day for Squeeze, the young mascot of the Florida State League’s Vero Beach Devil Rays. The anthropomorphic grapefruit made his national TV debut on ESPN’s Mike and Mike In the Morning radio show!

Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that a miniature facsimile of Squeeze made its national television debut. But that’s got to count for something, right?

Right? Who let all these crickets in the room?

Here’s what happened:

“The mascot’s bobblehead likeness was sent to the Mike and Mike show
by longtime Vero Beach stadium announcer Joe Sanchez. The Vero Beach
Devil Rays staff had long discussed the possibility of sending a
Squeeze bobblehead to the Mike and Mike show, but Sanchez made that dream a reality.”

See, its the determination and drive of people like Sanchez that makes America one of the top three dozen or so countries in the world (just kidding, of course…it’s the best). While his colleagues merely bantered about maybe one day sending a televised radio show a bobblehead mascot, Sanchez acted. And here is the result:


See that circle in the bottom right-hand corner? That’s the Squeeze bobblehead. Florida’s favorite citrus mascot has finally arrived, and its all thanks to the diligent work of Joe Sanchez. Squeeze agrees:

“It’s really an honor,” said Squeeze via telephone from his grapefruit
grove home. “I really appreciate the folks at Mike and Mike making the
effort to put my bobblehead doll on their desk to share with the world
during the TV broadcast of their radio show. This is a big day for me,
and I thank the people at Mike and Mike, as well as Joe Sanchez.”