Of course, the Yankees are seeking to capitalize on their fans’ emotional attachment to the 85-year-old facility by selling every possible stadium relic that they possibly can, for as much money as they possibly can. This predatory approach may be a fine example of cold-blooded capitalism, but it shows a blatant disregard for the average fan who can’t afford to pay $1000+ for a pair of seats.
Fortunately, as is so often the case, the Minor Leagues offer a comforting counterpoint to this sort of lunacy. 2008 marked the Winston-Salem Warthogs‘ last season at Ernie Shore Field, and last weekend the club held an “everything must go” auction of stadium supplies and memorabilia. Since Ernie Shore Field is the future home of Wake Forest Baseball, the “everything” that went didn’t include the stadium fixtures. But it included just about everything else.
From the press release:
“Among the numerous items available for auction
include: all turf equipment (John Deere Gator and John Deere mower),
picnic tables, tents, cubicle systems, desks and file cabinets. All
components of three fully furnished restaurants including walk in
freezer, grills, warmers, fryers, refrigerator units and ice machines
will also be auctioned off.
signage including the entrance marquis and thousands of other
collectibles such as souvenirs and gift shop items will also be
Journalist Kim Underwood wrote an article for the “Winston-Salem Journal” that details many of the deals that were to be had last weekend. Many of the bargain hunters were there for purely practical purposes, while others were more interested in preserving ballpark memories. Absurdity abounds, due to the fact that many of the items were sold as package deals. So, the man who bought the team’s radar gun ended up with a giant inflatable helmet as well, while a picnic table also included a miniature golf putting green. Hey, why not?
The lesson here is that it is much more cost-effective to establish an emotional connection to a Minor League ballpark than a Major League one. Nostalgia is increasingly seen as a marketable commodity these days, so buyers may as well align themselves with the entities that are going to give them the most bang for the buck.
As regular readers of this exemplary blog are aware, Fresno’s Drag Kings are Minor League Baseball’s premier infield-dragging dance crew. But they are not the only game in town when it comes to novelty groundskeeping.
For once a year, male employees of the Winston-Salem Warthogs front office don women’s clothing and tend to the infield dirt. Like many other humiliating promotional endeavors undergone by Minor League Baseball employees, the reason they do this is simple: It’s for charity.
This year’s “Drag in Drag” event raised $3,000 for a local chapter of the Special Olympics. How it works is simple. In the two weeks leading up to the big day (which occurred on July 5th), fans were asked to donate money to the front office member who they would most like to see “Drag in Drag”. Let’s take a look at the “winners”.
Trey has his face covered in hair, but that outfit leaves little else to the imagination:
David nails the crazy old lady at the bus stop style that has been all the rage these days:
And Cass exudes a George Washington-at-the-beach summertime vibe:
Upon the conclusion of their cross-dressing infield escapades, these four titans of gender subversion met up with an actual woman for a novelty check photo-op:
There are some big doings afoot in Winston-Salem!
First of all, the 2007 campaign will be the club’s last at venerable Ernie Shore Field. The 52-year-old facility will be left behind in favor of a new downtown stadium, which is currently being constructed.
And with the new digs will come a new team name! After receiving over 3000 submissions from the Winston-Salem community, the club has narrowed it down to five choices. Let’s check them out, shall we?
With the exception of “Wallbangers”, all of these names have a connection to the history and culture of Winston-Salem. Namely, that time when a rhino pilot won a plane race against hip-hop mogul Damon Dash.
In a shocking departure from the usual Minor League protocol, the club is not pitting these five choices against one another in a fan vote. Rather, “artists renderings of potential logos are being considered, as is input
from leading professional mascot consultant and creator of the famed
Philly Phanatic Dave Raymond.”
Which leads me to my next, and final point: Wally Warthog’s days as the team’s mascot are numbered. Hopefully he is taking his built-in obsolescence in stride, because a bitter and rage-filled wild pig is something that no one wants to deal with. Trust me, I’ve been there.