Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Return to the Road: A Little Time in the Big Easy

Return to the Road 2015: Trip IV, Chapter I

Things are getting busy here at MiLB.com HQ, as the season is now only five weeks away. Therefore, while I still have the sliver of opportunity, I am return to my ongoing “Return to the Road” series of blog posts.

Today marks the first installment in a series of posts that will cover my late July/early August trip through the South. The journey began in New Orleans on July 27th and ended in Nashville on August 6th.

road_trip_shucking_6le23wlkI arrived in New Orleans on July 27th, a day before I was to see the New Orleans Zephyrs. So, I had a little free time. A mini-vacation, if you will. I got a cheap hotel room at the Hotel Royal in the French Quarter (it was a last-minute booking for a Monday night in late July, a great time to get affordable lodging in New Orleans).

The room itself was unremarkable, but the courtyard was great.

IMG_0011I didn’t see any ghosts while I was in New Orleans, but I could occasionally feel them whispering veiled allusions into my subconscious. The whole city is haunted, apparently, to the point where real estate signage actually makes it a selling point.

IMG_0008I don’t think that this waving figure was a ghost, but she definitely wasn’t alive.

IMG_0006I am saddened and embarrassed to report that I didn’t make the most of my “off” night in New Orleans. I was kinda stressed about the trip, and had many logistics to coordinate and writing to get caught up on. When not in the hotel room I just kinda wandered around, including a depressing 90 -minute jaunt amid the claustrophobic clamor of the Bourbon Street tourist traps. I sulked about, hand grenade in hand (drink, not weapon), and soon called it a night.

The next afternoon was better, as I spent a couple of hours with my friends Rachel and D.J. (who live in the city and — hey! — just had a baby. Congrats). They live in Uptown, on a street boasting “only in New Orleans” parking signage.

IMG_0018

Rachel and D.J. took me to Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, a New Orleans institution.

IMG_0017Hansen’s Sno-Bliz sells sno-balls, a New Orleans specialty. They are basically high-quality snow cones, in which flavored syrups are poured atop soft mounds of shaved ice. I was overwhelmed by the number of flavors available.

IMG_0015I don’t remember what I ordered, but it was some sort of combo and Satsuma was involved. It was delicious.

IMG_0016The evening of July 28th was spent with the New Orleans Zephyrs, who are actually located in nearby Metairie. A dedicated “Return to the Road” reader has since informed me that Gram Parsons is buried in Metairie. (The legendary country-rocker died in Joshua Tree, and getting his body back home was, to put it mildly, a complicated situation.)

R.I.P. Gram.

Photo Nov 12 2 18 43 PMMy final act in New Orleans was to have lunch at the Camelia Grill with Rachel and D.J. Behind the stately exterior lies a beloved greasy spoon diner known for its bow-tied wait staff and cramped, communal counter seating.

IMG_0030Thus concludes one of the most ramshackle and arbitrary New Orleans write-ups that has ever graced the internet, as I was soon on to Biloxi. Please, stay tuned. There will be more where this came from, all the way until there isn’t.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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RoughRiders Lazy River to be Reality

Last month, the Frisco RoughRiders received a tidal wave of publicity after floating the idea that maybe, just maybe, they would construct a ballpark “lazy river.” This proposed aquatic paradise was to be located beyond the outfield of the team’s home of Dr. Pepper Ballpark, replacing a comparatively nondescript swimming pool.

Today, it was announced that the lazy river will indeed be a reality. In 2016, fans will be able to watch (or ignore) the ballgame while lounging in an inner tube amid a 3000-square foot aquatic wonderland.  Talk about a liquid asset:

choctaw

Officially, this is the “Choctaw Lazy River” (Choctaw being a local casino). It is 174 feet long — almost as long as a professional hockey rink and bigger than an Olympic-sized pool. Additionally, and this is per the press release:

Filled with 68,023 gallons of water, the Choctaw Lazy River will have nine times more swimming area than each of the end zone pools at EverBank Field in Jacksonville (home of the Jaguars), and will be eight times larger than the Arizona Diamondbacks’ famous outfield pool at Chase Field, which contains a mere 8,500 gallons by comparison. The RoughRiders’ water volume is so vast that it would take 1,267,973 baseballs and 1,088,368 cups of nacho cheese to fill.

Here, take a look:

In case you didn’t watch the video, here are some more key stats:

— A 113-foot front wall, featuring a waterfall dropping eight feet.

— Twin 23-foot color lit water curtain structures, with 20-foot waterfalls.

— Two cabanas with food and drink service.

The Lazy River is an “all-inclusive gameday experience”, available to groups of 200 or more. However, on Thursdays, a $39 “Thursday Night Pool Party” ticket is available, with “singles and millennials alike” being the key demographic. Construction is already underway; and a live construction stream can be found within the aforementioned press release. Here’s a screenshot, taken on Thursday afternoon at 12:15 ET.

camThe Choctaw Lazy River, which will cost over $1.5 million to build, is a privately funded endeavor. The RoughRiders note that “a portion of the cost [will] be reimbursed by the Frisco Community Development Corporation.”

In the meantime, the RoughRiders would like to remind you that Opening Day is imminent.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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Sensible Dining Options Courtesy of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Do you like baseball? Do you like healthy and sensibly-portioned Minor League Baseball food offerings? Then you’ll what love the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have been up to recently. The Rattlers, based in the fine city of Appleton, are really on a roll.

Last week, executive chef Tim Hansen (what, don’t all Class A baseball teams have executive chefs?) announced two additions to the team’s lineup of assuredly gargantuan and borderline Brobdingnagian sandwiches. Here’s a photo of Tim, taken during my 2013 visit to Appleton. All acclaim and approbation should be directed toward him. I’m just the messenger.

1072This is the Grilled Cheese Venom Cheeseburger. An entire grilled cheese sandwich is utilized as both the top and bottom bun; the “venom” in question is Sriacha sauce (which is surely more potent than the venom routinely emitted by ineffectual Timber Rattlers “evil mascot” Gnaf T. Rattler).

Hansen, whose creations will make you go “MMMBurp”, also unveiled the “Meatlover’s Pizza Burger.”

Pizza, topped with sausage, pepperoni and bacon, is used as the bun. Upon consuming it, self-loathing is optional.

The above two items are already on the menu. But, of course, there will be more. On Tuesday, the Timber Rattlers announced that their 2016 “Food Fight” is down to five finalists.

2_23_FoodFightVoteUsing my vast network of journalistic connections, I was able to obtain visual accompaniments for all five items (all of which were fan submitted).

All photos were taken by Timber Rattlers creative director Ann Mollica, who, in 2013, obtained legendary status after snapping a photo of the ultra-elusive and until then apocryphal Whitewall Ninja. All food descriptions are courtesy of a press release disseminated by Timber Rattlers announcer Chris Mehring, who in 2013 reaffirmed his legendary status after dropping an apropos Sledgehammer reference at the close of an interview.

The Cheesehead: A juicy quarter pound burger topped with crispy bacon, mac n cheese and melted smoked cheddar served on a freshly baked split-top bun.

cheese

Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Glazed Donut Burger: A traditional glazed donut is grilled, giving off a sweet aroma of sugar and adding a juicy quarter pound burger, crispy bacon, onions, fresh lettuce and Wisconsin-made cheddar make this a burger to remember.

donut

Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Grilled Cheese Chicken Sandwich: This sandwich places golden brown chicken tenders and crispy bacon between melted American cheese and grilled to perfection. It also comes with lettuce, tomato and onion and is served with a side of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce.

grilled

Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Loaded Tater Tot Nachos: Don’t let the word ‘nachos’ deceive you. These tater tots combine everything you would expect. Golden brown tater tots and combining them with warm taco beef, nacho cheese, shredded Wisconsin cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion and jalapeno’s. [sic]

tater

Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Pork Donut: Using a Bismarck donut as a bun, this item is filled with pulled pork allowing the sweet and salty flavors to come alive and is served with a side of house-made coleslaw.

Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

For the record, the man who submitted the above item into the Food Fight contest is named “Art Creation James.”

And that’s all I’ve got for you today. Stay tuned for another post tomorrow, when I will resume being the greatest Minor League Baseball blogger of all time.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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On #TacoTuesday, Fresno Grizzlies Taco the Town

Earlier today I wrote a post about how one determined Canadian fan gave the Fresno Grizzlies poutine in exchange for Fresno Tacos paraphernalia. This paraphernalia was the result of 2015’s “Taco Truck Throwdown” promo, in which the Grizzlies (Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros) suited up as, yes, the “Tacos.”

Well, there’s more where that came from. This afternoon — #TacoTuesday for those keeping track at home — the Grizzlies announced that they would be suiting up as the Tacos during each and every Tuesday home game. These jerseys are described as having a “twist of lime.”

tacotuesday In an ultra-exclusive Twitter direct message, the Grizzlies divulged the following:

We’re wearing these babies for Tuesday home games. #TacoTuesday — $2 Tacos, $2 Churros & $2 Sodas, 2-for-1 tickets, and team will play as Fresno Tacos. New Tacos hats, jerseys and march will be available Opening Day. Rotation of local taco trucks at every Tuesday home game!  

Additionally, the Grizzlies Tacos will have these custom foam “Tacos” hats available in the team store. (A Tacos mascot, Tito, will be unveiled at a later date).

Fresno Tacos Foam Taco Hat

Fresno taco culture has always been strong, and it keeps getting stronger. Click HERE to read (and see photos) of my visit to some of the city’s top taco trucks.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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A Cross-Border Culinary Exchange: The Grizzly Details

Receiving email from readers is one of my favorite things about this job. These missives, sent from all over the globe (well, at least some parts of the globe) provide insight on what motivates the readership, help me determine what topics to focus on and, crucially, boost my fragile ego. 

But, best of all, the unsolicited messages that land in my inbox occasionally provide me with inadvertent guest blog posts. This, from Canadian reader Damian Ford, covers all the bases.

And, yes, tacos play a key role. From this point on, until the italicized text reappears, all words in this post are Damian’s. 

tacooo

Hello Ben,

First off, great job on everything you do for Minor League Baseball. I greatly look forward to all your articles and appearances on the MiLB podcasts.  I work for an entertainment group in charge of three sports teams here in Canada, and your articles are a wealth of information as I look for ideas to bring to my organization to increase the entertainment value to our fans at our games. I’m a huge Minor League nerd and appreciate all the exposure you bring to each and every team.

Speaking of promo ideas and teams being awesome, the Fresno Grizzlies and I have a good story for you.

Back in August, as I’m sure you remember, the Grizzlies did their Taco Truck Throwdown night (in which they changed their name to the Fresno Tacos). I loved the idea!  (I neglected to mention that I am also a MiLB hat collector, but I think that’s pretty much a given since I said I was a MiLB nerd). I loved the hats and went online to try and buy one. However, I live in Canada.  Like many Minor League teams, the Grizzlies don’t sell/ship to Canada.  I thought to myself, “There has got to be another way to get a Taco hat!” So, I took to Twitter, basically harassing the Grizzlies with challenges that I could perform in exchange for a Tacos hat.

first tweet2nd tweetI finally got an answer to my tweet when I tweeted them “Okay…. @FresnoGrizzlies I’ll mail you a poutine and you mail me a #tacoshat.” They responded “Deal.”  It was on!

3rd tweetThe next day I went to the grocery store and picked up two potatoes, authentic St. Alberts Cheese Curds, and a packet of Swiss Chalet poutine gravy, put it in a box and sent it off to them. I then typed out very specific instruction on how to properly construct and prepare the poutine for consumption.

La_Banquise_Poutine

Poutine (as depicted on Wikipedia’s poutine page)

Some time passed and I did not receive my hat.  I tweeted at the Grizzlies and wrote a letter to general manager Mr. Derek Franks.  Finally, I received a direct message from the team apologizing for the oversight. They said that the poutine was delicious (I saw online what restaurants are trying to pass as poutine in California and it’s unrecognizable to me). They then asked me not only my hat size, but my jersey size! They ended up sending me a Tacos hat, Tacos jersey and a Grizzlies promotional item.

12705781_10153918576242812_51348691414252703_n

Damian, giving them something to Taco bout

20160216_153228

Bonus promotional item. Fresknows what it is.

The Grizzlies more than held up their end of the deal, showing me why they are one of the top-run organizations in professional baseball. As a thank you, I tweeted out a photo of me in my Tacos gear eating a taco above Ottawa’s Rideau Canal.

20160209_123945
response

And that’s all from Damian.

You’ve gotta love a story with a happy ending. Or, at least I think it’s a happy ending. Somebody should probably check in with the Grizzlies front office….

food safety

Nah, the Grizzlies are good. In fact, director of marketing Sam Hansen writes that Damian’s poutine package “inspired us to work on our own ‘Growlifornia Poutine Remix’ with queso Oaxaca and Fresno Chili-spiced gravy. Expect to see this make its debut at Chukchansi Park soon.”

Minor League Baseball: Bridging the cultural divide, one Tweetstorm at a time.

— 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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StormChasers’ Four Day Frenzy: Night Three

The Omaha Storm Chasers’ “Four Day Frenzy,” in which the front office staff combined to work 84 straight hours at Werner Park, took place from Monday through Thursday of this week. Throughout the week, StormChasers staffers chronicled their collective “Four Day Frenzy” experience in the form of journal entries on this blog. This is the fifth installment; to read all of the journal entries, click HERE.

Four_Day_Frenzy_ARTICLEToday’s post, covering the Frenzy’s third and final overnight shift (February 17-18), comes courtesy of media relations and website manager Andrew Green.  

Well, this was it. The night I was most anxious about, the so-called “graveyard” shift. At least I can say I’ve had some experience pulling all-nighters: college (of course), a Midnight Madness game several years ago and even the night before Opening Day last year (a game that was rained out, because of course). So I felt up for the challenge. I also considered it a “Spring Training” of sorts for myself, in preparation for the long hours that come with the Minor League Baseball season.

We got started promptly at 9 p.m., working to finish stuffing the remaining full-season ticket packages. An eclectic mix of music was played throughout the evening, ranging from Bone Thugz ‘N’ Harmony to Creedence Clearwater Revival [Editorial note: CCR is the greatest American rock band of all time.] So, clearly, all over the spectrum. We also discussed movies, referencing many of Will Ferrell’s cinematic masterpieces in the process. At one point “Dust In The Wind” came on the Bluetooth speaker and we all thought of  “Blue” Pulaski.

I wish I could say stuffing tickets was a very easy, pleasant experience. However, the dreaded (and painful) paper cuts began to (literally) cut into my work. I’m what you would call a “gamer,” however, and this is the Four Day Frenzy, so there was absolutely NO WAY I was going to let these paper cuts keep me from accomplishing my task. I “played through” my injuries, as tough as they were at times, to help knock out the remaining full-season ticket boxes.

But we were not done there, however, we still had plenty of half-season and mini-plan ticket boxes to stuff and prep. Once again, there was no way I was going to let these paper cuts get in my way. In the words of the great Shane Falco: “Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory…lasts forever”.

We pressed on and finally reached the epic moment that was the final mini-plan package. As I sealed my last envelope I raised my arms to the sky and even let out a “WOO!”…and proceeded to get dunked on by ticket sales executive Andy Baker. He slammed a foam ball into a mini-basketball hoop held above me by senior group sales executive Ryan Worthen. I’ll have to plan my revenge on them soon…

The final task of the evening was filling the Storm Trackers packages, which were completed as our shift came to an end.

Millions around the Midwest were probably waking up around that point, many of whom had one thing on their minds: Today’s the day. Royals pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training TODAY!

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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StormChasers’ Four Day Frenzy: Day Three

The Omaha Storm Chasers’ “Four Day Frenzy,” in which the front office staff combined to work 84 straight hours at Werner Park, took place from Monday through Thursday of this week. Throughout the week, StormChasers staffers chronicled their collective “Four Day Frenzy” experience in the form of journal entries on this blog. This is the fourth installment; to read all of the journal entries, click HERE.

Four_Day_Frenzy_ARTICLEThis post, written by StormChasers multimedia producer Cody Allen, covers Day Three of the Four Day Frenzy. Or, if you want to get technical, hours 48 through 58. 

Hour 48: The sun breaks over Werner Park and it is now Day Three of our Four Day Frenzy — Community Day. As I walk through the back door of our front office I’m greeted by the faint sound of coffee being brewed, as I prepare myself for the trip around Omaha that I would soon be beginning.

Hours 49-51: Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, my first stop of the day. I arrive at the school early, find a parking spot at the end of the lot and proceed to close my eyes for as long as I can. Now, some might think that a 23-year-old man trying to take a nap in his car at an elementary school would be frowned upon. But, for me, after less than five hours of sleep from the night before, I was willing to take my chances.

After failing to gain any extra Zs in my car, I was joined at King Elementary by [team president] Martie [Cordaro] and [community relations manager] Megan [Burdek]. We were ushered to a kindergarten class room and, after waving his wooden bat at the kids, Martie finally settled down and read the children a few stories about baseball.

Hours 52-54: After leaving King Elementary we were quickly on to our second destination of the day: the Open Door Mission. After spending a good amount of time getting lost on the way, I finally found my way to the Open Door Mission’s kitchen. Upon entering, I noticed four Storm Chasers hats (belonging to Martie, Megan, group sales executive Alex Jerden and special events coordinator Shawn Fitzpatrick) as well as a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey (belonging to a Pittsburgh Steelers fan). After scooping up some potatoes and pasta and snapping a few pictures, it was on to our third and final stop: The Ronald McDonald House.

Hour 55: BREAK TIME!!! Before heading out to the Ronald McDonald House it was time to fill up on gas and food. All in all this hour was pretty uneventful. However, to keep with my formatting, I didn’t want anyone to call me out for skipping Hour 55.

Hours 56-58: On my way to the Ronald McDonald House I only got slightly lost, so by the end of the day things seemed to be looking up for old Cody Allen. Once again I was joined by the great Megan Burdek and the head chef for the evening, Jason “Vito” Kinney. We immediately got put to work preparing Baked Lasagna Roll-Ups. Personally I’m more of a fan of Fruit Roll-Ups but I can always go for some Italian food.

Once all the components of the meal were prepped we created an assembly line of noodles, ricotta filling and sauce to begin the roll-up process. Midway through the pasta assembly we gained a few extra helping hands from the full Cordaro clan. Before we knew it, dinner was being served and all that was left to do was wash the dishes and wrap up the leftovers.

RECAP: In all honesty, today was truly a rewarding day. There were times today when I felt joy — like revisiting kindergarten life for a few hours, or helping prepare food for those who don’t have the time or resources. There were also times today when I was humbled, thinking about those who were less fortunate than myself, who struggle to find their next meal. But the one feeling that stayed with me throughout the day was thankfulness.

Not only was I thankful for the things I have in my life, and the things I sometimes take for granted, but I was also thankful for the people who help those less fortunate on a daily basis. For them, every day is Community Day.

More Four Day Frenzy posts are forthcoming. Until then, I remain:

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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Storm Chasers’ Four Day Frenzy: Night Two

The Omaha Storm Chasers’ “Four Day Frenzy,” in which the front-office staff is combining to work 84 straight hours at its Werner Park home, is taking place now. Throughout the week, the Storm Chasers’ front office will be chronicling its collective “Four Day Frenzy” experience. This is the second installment; to read all of the journal entries, click HERE.

Four_Day_Frenzy_ARTICLEThis post, the second of the day, covers the overnight shift as Feb. 16 gave way to the 17th. It was written by Adam McLaughlin, the Storm Chasers’ social media and creative manager. 

We did it. Our group set a Werner Park Four Day Frenzy record by stuffing a total of 93 ticket boxes during our overnight shift, besting the previous record of 86 that was set … the previous night.

It took a few hours, but I personally consumed two Valentino’s pizza slices and two Mountain Dew Kickstarts. Most everyone in the group had at least one coffee, Red Bull and 5-Hour Energy to keep them going through the night and on into the morning.

Early in the night, some of us shot a new “This is SC” commercial in the style of “This is SportsCenter.” It featured our mascots, Stormy and Casey, “prank calling” our ticket operations manager, Zach Daw. With great work from multimedia producer Cody Allen, we were able to get that out the same night, and it seems to have been received well.

The commercial:

At 1: 45 a.m., we offered a free pair of tickets to our followers on Twitter, available to the first person to stop by the ballpark.

We received quite a few interested parties, which was surprising given that it was 2 a.m. on a Tuesday night. About an hour later, one Joshua Gear arrived and claimed his prize. #StirUptheStorm.

Ticket Giveaway Winner

Ticket operations manager Zach Daw, awarding free tickets to night owl Joshua Gear

Another big highlight from the night: #4DayFrenzy became a “Top Local Trend” on Twitter! This is great news for us, unless there is another Four Day Frenzy event going on in Omaha that we are not aware of.

Top Local Trend Twitter

As the sun began to rise and our shift entered the final stages, it dawned [pun intended?] on all of us that there were now only 50 days until Opening Day at Werner Park. It sounds like plenty of time, but it will surely go by fast and there is still a lot left to do to ensure a successful season. Before you know it, baseball will be back.

Check in throughout the week for more Storm Chasers’ Four Day Frenzy updates. Until then, I remain: 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

Storm Chasers’ Four Day Frenzy: Day One

Only in Minor League Baseball. 

That five-word phrase applies to a lot of the strange things that go on in the industry, and it definitely applies to what the Omaha Storm Chasers are up to this week. “Four Day Frenzy” is taking place now, during which the front office staff is combining to work 84 straight hours at their home of Werner Park (located in the Omaha suburb of Papillion).

Four_Day_Frenzy_ARTICLE

The 84-consecutive hours of work is — what else? — an homage to the .384 average posted by Storm Chasers outfielder Jose Martinez in 2015 (a modern-day Pacific Coast League record). It is also a way for the Storm Chasers (a long-time affiliate of the defending World Champion Kansas City Royals) to capitalize on the excitement surrounding the imminent start of  Spring Training.

The Storm Chasers’ front office has agreed to keep a journal chronicling their collective “Four Day Frenzy” experience, which may very well be a chronicle of their collective descent into madness. Time will tell.

This, the first installment, is courtesy of director of marketing and communications Rob Sternberg. 

Four Day Frenzy: February 15. Day Shift

It’s just before 9 p.m. in the suburbs of Omaha, and the first “overnight team” rolls into the ballpark to chants of “Four Day Frenzy! Four Day Frenzy!” Alex Jerden and Brandon Simmons from our group sales department were on their way in, while mascot coordinator Taylor Edmonds was on his way home. Taylor joined in this impromptu rally cry, along with a few other exhausted staff members. Even after a long day, the enthusiasm was contagious, and for a moment I considered heading back in and joining the first of the three overnight teams. They will be reporting to the Werner Park ticket office to stuff 2016 Storm Tracker Boxes (for 72-game package holders) with tickets and parking passes until 7 a.m.

It is moments like these when I think of how incredible it is to be part of a Minor League Baseball staff. It’s an environment that instills an unmatched work ethic from sports marketers on any level. It’s a platform where you can take an offhand idea, like we did a few months ago, and build a four-day event in the middle of February that garners camaraderie and momentum that will carry our organization through these last dog days of winter and through Opening Day.

That said, in the middle of all that fun, my moment of night shift enthusiasm somehow subsided. There will be other opportunities to join in over the next three days, as each night a different team clocks in. The game we promote is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’ve still got over 70 hours to go.

The “Four Day Frenzy” that inspired the impromptu parking lot chants includes the overnight shifts as well as a multitude of daytime promotions and events at Werner Park. The frenzy will last until Thursday at 8 p.m.; the 84-hour total pays homage to the record-setting .384 batting average of Storm Chasers Outfielder Jose Martinez in 2015. Each day highlights some of the value promotions at Werner Park, including Wiener Wednesday (25-cent full-sized Hebrew National Hot Dogs), Thirsty Thursday and the all-new Tallboy Tuesday.

There are also events like today’s Gameday Staff Job Fair, which featured a celebrity drop-in by Storm Chasers Skipper Brian Poldberg. Over the next three days, Trivia Night, Senior Bingo and a Spring Training Skills Competition for kids ages 5-12 headline the promotions.

4DF Day 1 (2)

A job seeker at the Job Fair

Wednesday will feature the Storm Chasers staff participating in community relations activities like serving lunch at the Open Door Mission and dinner at the Ronald McDonald House. Storm Chasers fearless leader, president Martie Cordaro, will also be reading at a number of elementary schools in the morning.

Day one was a success. The building is still standing, at least as of this writing. We welcomed in a record number of applicants to our annual Job Fair. Our media relations manager Andrew Green scheduled front office staffers to meet with at least five local media outlets interested in seeing what this madness is all about. The Storm Front team store filled up with with fans capitalizing on dynamically priced gear. And the Werner Park ticket office officially welcomed in a still untotaled number of new 2016 Ticket Package holders, who were inspired by the storm that’s been stirred up thus far.

We’ll look to keep the ball rolling through the night and into tomorrow. The social media baton will be passed around as we continue through the week. Follow the updates, posts, tweets, and snaps to see if, and how, we’re surviving.

#StirUptheStorm

Check in throughout the week for more Storm Chasers’ Four Day Frenzy updates. Until then, I remain: 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

Hot Rods Make Their Mark

It’s promo scheduling unveiling season — or p.s.u.s. for the acronymically inclined — meaning that teams across the land are announcing buzzworthy theme nights at a rapid clip.

But the most literally buzzworthy is that which was announced by the Bowling Green Hot Rods on Wednesday.

As a longtime aficionado of whisky, barrels (my Mom’s maiden name is Cooper) and the covert production and distribution of illicit goods, I’m a big fan of the Hot Rods’ “Bootleggers” promo. Especially because there are already visual elements. No one gets excited by text-only promotion announcements, much like no one is excited by reading the words in this blog post that appear between the images.

Images like this. Let there be merch!

In short, “Bowling Green Bootleggers” equal bats, beards, buttons, boots, bourbon and barrels. Just watch what you’re doing with your right hand there, Mr. Moonshiner sir.

For more on “Bootlegger Night,” let’s go to the lazy blogger’s best friend: The press release! (Why do the work when it’s already been done for you?)

An idea brought on by past and present members of the Bowling Green staff, Bootlegger Night will serve as a tribute to the “Hot Rod” aiding the bootlegging industry over a century ago as a way to outrun law enforcement. This rich bourbon heritage has since become synonymous with Kentucky, with over 35 distilleries present throughout the state.

As fans will be greeted by a special “Mason Jar Giveaway” when they enter the gates, the Hot Rods will wear customized hats and specialty jerseys styled after a bourbon barrel….In addition to the customized apparel, fans will also have the opportunity to pre-order two packages featuring personalized memorabilia from the night. 

And here those packages are:

bootlegger

Prior to unveiling this promo yesterday, the Hot Rods tweeted that it would, possibly, be 2016’s best promo.

Time will tell. For now, it’s worth noting that, in their inaugural season of 2009, the Hot Rods won MiLB.com’s “Promo of the Year” for “What Could’ve Been Night.”  On that evening — the first “What Could’ve Been Night” in Minor League Baseball history — the team suited up as the Cave Shrimp.

“Cave Shrimp” was one of the finalists in the Hot Rods’ 2008 “Name the Team” contest. Bootleggers was not. So, in effect, Bootleggers never “could’ve been.” But yet, here we are: Bootleggers soon will be, resulting in the first”What Could’ve Been ‘What Could’ve Been’ Night” in Minor League Baseball history.

Life is weird. Minor League Baseball is weird. I’m weird. You’re weird. Drink whisky.

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benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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