Results tagged ‘ Altoona Curve ’
There’s just a little more than a month to go before Opening Day. Truly, the clock is ticking on the offseason:
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, “The Offseason” has officially come to an end. The Timber Rattlers unveiled the last episode of their weekly series today, and it’s a doozy. In addition to skillfully referencing a recent hit comedy (“Brat Tub Time Machine”), it explains mascot Fang’s strange anatomy AND features a character who happens to go by the name of “Ben Hill.” What an honor:
Over on MiLB.com, “Offseasoning” has come to an end. This was a bi-weekly column profiling players’ offseason jobs and activities, and the final installment features current free agent, Twitter champion, and all-around nice guy Michael Schlact.
I’m hoping to soon do a few articles in the “Offseasoning” mode, but this time featuring Spring Training. Let me know if you are aware of any interesting stories taking place in Minor League camp.
But while some things are coming to an end, others are just beginning (sunrise, sunset, etc etc). This is the case in Pawtucket, as the Red Sox have just unleashed a whodunit “Scavenger Hunt” onto the world.
Yes, the villain in this adventure is a gorilla wearing a Yankees hat. The Paw Sox will release clues each week that will guide fans toward a “Golden Soft Toss” ball redeemable for team-related prizes.
Earlier this week I noted some of the interesting giveaways the Altoona Curve have on tap for this season. There’s more where that came from, as yesterday the team released their Theme Night schedule. The highlight is “What We’re Watching Wednesdays,” explained as such in the press release.
The first “What We’re Watching Wednesday” will take place on May 4 vs. Akron and lampoon the now retired ABC phenomenon “LOST”. The team’s working title of “LOST – Locke & Locke” plays off of 2010 Curve pitcher Jeff Locke, who actually was a huge fan of the cult series, and the mysterious character John Locke from the show itself.
After attempting to decipher the mysteries of the island, the Curve will try their hand at crime solving on June 8 vs. Erie with “NCIS/CSI: Curve, Pa. – Law & Order SVU” night. Other “What We’re Watching Wednesdays” include “How I Met Your Mascot” on June 15 vs. New Britain, “Glenn’s Kitchen” (which will place Curve Manager of Concessions Glenn McComas in the role of Chef Gordon Ramsay) on June 29 vs. Reading, “Lawn Stars” (starring Head Groundskeeper Brian Soukup) on August 17 vs. New Hampshire and “Only in Curve, Pa. with Bill the Comic Guy” on August 24 vs. Richmond. That should “Git ‘R Done” for the WWWW theme series.
There might be remarkable parity in Major League Baseball these days, but no one tops the Minors when it comes to parody.
One of the 2010’s most memorable Minor League giveaway items was the Reading Phillies’ Ryan Howard Garden Gnome.
This bearded base-stander garnered a lot of attention, not all of it positive, but it was a bona fide hit with the fanbase. And when something’s a hit, a sequel usually results.
“Ryan Howard Garden Gnome — Version #2,” will be given away as part of the R-Phils’ big Opening Night ceremonies on April 14. Here’s a glimpse:
will receive a free entry form, and one lucky fan will take home this one-of-a kind Life-Size Ryan Howard Garden Gnome estimated to be 550 pounds!
Pictures of this quarter-ton woodlands slugger are not yet available, but I promise that Ben’s Biz Blog will have them as soon as they are available. My livelihood depends on being able to make such promises.
It’s mightily hard to follow news of a 550-pound gnome giveaway, but something’s got to. Staying within the confines of the Keystone State, the Altoona Curve have finally bequeathed a name upon their new engineer mascot:
This chiseled tracksman will henceforth be known as “Tenacious Casey” (aka Tenacious C), making him the first mascot with a name influenced by a comedic rock and roll duo. The Curve do not acknowledge Jack Black specifically, however. Sez the team:
The name pairs the adjective, tenacious, used to describe someone who ispersistent in maintaining, adhering to or seeking something valued or desired, with Casey. Casey pays homage to Casey Jones, who was legendarily one of the most tenacious engineers in American railroad history.
Either way, it seems that a “Family Guy” cameo is in Mr. C’s future:
Tomorrow’s post will be the last of 2010, and dedicated to holiday content. But that’s in the future. What’s in the present is the year’s final blog bouillabaisse — time to throw it all in a pot and stir it up real good!
To begin, I’d like to highlight an intriguing job opportunity: The Tulsa Drillers are currently searching for a full-time Mascot Coordinator and Performer. Do you have what it takes to be the next Hornsby?
The Drillers are currently in the process of revamping Hornsby, and have hired “mascot doctor” Dave Raymond (the original Phillie Phanatic) to assist with the process. And while the club is listing the mascot coordinator position as an internship, they are also making it clear that the potential for full-time salaried employment exists for 2012.
It’s good to see mascots get this kind of respect. Having a talented and dedicated performer in the furry suit can help a team’s marketing efforts immeasurably and lead to far greater visibility within the community.
And speaking of talented performers, check out the latest dispatch from Slugger of the Tennessee Smokies:
But with all due respect to Slugger, others out there are displaying a little more ambition in their offseason endeavors. The Tri-City ValleyCats recently announced their “4 in 24 Project,” in which they’ll renovate four local youth fields in the span of just 24 hours (!!!)
The renovations will take place in early April of 2011, with work scheduled around the clock. In order to bring the selected fields to game ready conditions, each one will have new sod placed in their infield while also seeing their pitchers mound and homeplate areas re-built.
I’ll be keeping my eye on this one like a crossbow hunter keeps his eye on a deer. And — what a coincidence! — that leads me to my next topic: Hawkins Gebbers is the latest player to be featured in the “Offseason With the AquaSox” series. If you’ve never seen a Minor League player exhibit his crossbow skills before…well, that’s about to change:
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!
Last night one had the sense that something big was about to go down in Altoona. Anticipation hung in the air like a thick layer of misty morning fog. And the tension? The tension was palpable.
Palpable, I tell you.
In the month of November, an emphatic OMG! emanating from the inner recesses of a Minor League stadium can only mean one thing.
Yep, you guessed it. A new logo:
Remaining constant, of course, is the team’s adherence to the railroad theme. After all, “Curve” is an homage to the famous 220 degree Horseshoe Curve train track that winds around the summit of the Allegheny Mountains.
The Horseshoe Curve is what inspired this secondary mark:
The team remarks in the press release that “It’s believed the Curve is the first and only professional sports franchise in the commonwealth to use the keystone as part of its primary logo.”
The Pennsylvania keystone gains further prominence with this, a third logo:
As a Pennsylvania native, I’m a big fan of the logo seen above. I think I’ll have to get one of these caps and pretend the “A” represents my hometown of Ambler. Anybody out there have any love for (or at least knowledge of) Ambler?
The uniforms will be revealed early next month, but the Curve do note that “Further honoring the area’s railroad ties is the new color scheme for the team: Railroad Red, Boiler Bronze, Charcoal Gray, and Soot Black.”
The logos were designed by Minor League stalwarts Plan B Branding, always proponents of attention to detail and local emphasis. On the Plan B blog, designer Casey White notes that “there are a ton of hidden symbols infused into this new brand” and that they “contain one of the coolest twists to an official On-Field that we’ve ever created.”
Heady words, those.
Instead of doing investigative reporting, I’ll just solicit feedback from the readership — Anyone see any hidden symbols in the new logos? The latest edition of the team’s “Tuna Vision” web series provides plenty of info on the motivations for the new logo, but precious little on potential hidden symbols.
Finally, the club is currently soliciting names for the engineer featured in the primary logo. Email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll call this Quick Hits! Surely no one in the history of blogging has ever done such a thing before.
(Note: Quick Hits! is a trademark of BensBizBlogCo LLC, 2010 All Rights Reserved All Wrongs Avenged)
Quick Hit! #1 — New Column Begins!
Last week marked the first edition of “Offseasoning”, an MiLB.com feature chronicling the offseason lives of Minor League players. The inaugural column focused on right-hander Terry Doyle, whose non-baseball job is a relatively common one: substitute teacher. If YOU are (or are aware of) a player engaged in an interesting offseason endeavor then by all means get in touch.
Quick Hit! #2 — Comic Strip Returns!
The Altoona Curve found great success last year with their “Curve, PA” comic strip, which ran in the local Altoona Mirror. This unique marketing tool will be featured on the team’s Facebook page during the offseason, starting today. The strip featured today would have been far creepier had it explored the concept of a “trophy wife.”
Quick Hit! #3 — Ticket Package Offered!
The Charleston RiverDogs are a Yankees affiliate, but today they revealed a ticket package designed to appeal to the Braves fans in their midst. It’s called “Braves Rome to Charleston,” and includes “two tickets to the nearly-sold out 7th Annual Hot Stove Banquet on Jan. 28 that features recently-retired Braves’ skipper Bobby Cox…In addition, the RiverDogs will throw in two lower level box seat tickets to either the Sat., April 16 game or Sat., June 4 contest against the Rome Braves.”
The Omaha Royals played their last game at Rosenblatt Stadium this season, truly the end of an era. But Rosenblatt lives on at Cooperstown, as the Baseball Hall of Fame is currently displaying mementos from the final contest. Here’s a picture that includes Rosenblatt’s home plate (more pictures can be found on the the O-Royals’ Facebook page):
Quick Hit! #5 — Vacation Awarded!
For the 21st consecutive year, the Pawtucket Red Sox have provided a pair of local Boys and Girls Club members with an all-expenses paid trip to the World Series.The winners, selected in August, received tickets to Games 3-5 in in Arlington as well as yesterday’s Cowboys game.
Quick Hit! #6 — Teams Ranked!
According to a new study released by sportsfangraphs.com, the Toledo Mud Hens lead all of Minor League Baseball in combined Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Check out the Mud Hens’ release HERE, and the full list HERE.
Quick Hit! #7 — Countdown Continues!
As noted in Friday’s blog, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are releasing a series of videos in anticipation of the team’s November 12 logo unveiling. I particularly enjoyed yesterday’s Halloween video:
Quick Hit! #8 — Baseball Songs Sung!
If you like music and you like baseball, then chances are that you like songs about baseball. If so, you might want to check out “The Greatest Game in the World” by The Thrill Building. This power pop paean to our national pastime features 22 songs over 80 minutes, providing the sort of fuel necessary to make it through the offseason.
Speaking of fuel, let me know what’s going on. I am, once again, out of material.
Perhaps this explains why the Altoona Curve have made national headlines today, after a bizarre incident at Blair County Ballpark last night. After sneaking into the stadium via a parking garage, an intoxicated homeless man wandered across the outfield during the bottom of the ninth inning of a contest between the Curve and Akron Aeros.
The man, who lacked identification but gave his name as “Tyrone R. Squires”, was detained by Curve security without incident and then turned over to Altoona police. A detailed write-up of Squires’ misadventures appeared in today’s edition of The Altoona Mirror, and this account served as the basis of an Associated Press article that has been picked up by The New York Times among other outlets.
Curve media relations director Dan Zangrilli said the team was a bit perplexed over the national attention.
“It wasn’t that big a deal, quite honestly. It was just a guy who decided to take a little cruise along the warning track,” he said. “The whole thing was uneventful, and posed no threat to players or fans. That said, we do take this kind of thing seriously. Trespassing is a serious offense, and we turned him over to the authorities.”
But right now the team has bigger issues on its mind: preserved meat products. Tonight’s Wacky Wednesday promotion at Blair County Ballpark is “Livin La Vida Lunch Meat”, a comprehensive salute to all things meaty that received a write-up in the most recent edition of “Promotion Preview.”
“It’s all about the Braunschweiger, baby,” said Zangrilli.
— I hope to continue yesterday’s classification-based post in the near future, but for now I’ll dispense with such formalities in order to share a couple of most-interesting Minor League developments.
The Brooklyn Cyclones have released a sketch of what is sure to be one of 2010’s most-sought after bobbleheads: Mets rookie sensation (and former Cyclone) Ike Davis in the midst of one of his now trademark dugout-tumbling snags:
The giveaway is on August 2, distributed to the first 2500 fans — get your tickets now and arrive early.
In other intriguing bobblehead news, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have announced the finalists for September’s “Fan’s Choice” bobble.
In my mind, the choice that stands out above the rest is “Scooter Vs. the Snowman”, commemorating a particularly memorable moment that occurred during the club’s whitewashed Opening Day.
Finally, I wanted to share this video I received from the Memphis Redbirds, featuring a Baby T-Rex throwing out the first pitch. It’s going to be a long time before I tire of watching this:
The Baby T-Rex is scheduled to make its next appearance in Reading on May 25, once again throwing out the first pitch and then spending the remainder of the game ambling through the stadium. This will allow fans plenty of time to contemplate the genetic links between dinosaurs and the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor’s loyal ostrich:
Way back on February 1, the Brooklyn Cyclones announced that they would be staging a “YOUniform Contest”. In the highly unlikely event that the details slipped your mind, here’s a brief summary:
“The Brooklyn Cyclones are inviting young fans to participate in a
unique art contest, with the winning jersey design to be worn by the
team as a special, limited-edition YOUniform, and
auctioned off after the game to support Camp Brooklyn.”
Well, today the Cyclones announced the five finalists in the contest. Check them out HERE, and vote for your favorite. In my mind, two stand above the rest. This one reminds me of something a Caribbean soccer team might wear, and would also work very well if the team ever staged a “Bi-Polar Disorder Awareness Night”:
As for this one, what’s not to like about the boldly-designed jersey, three-tiered pants, and no-nonsense artist’s note?
— And, hey, remember when I wrote about the Omaha Royals’ “Mike and Mike Fan Mic”? I hope so, because it was all of three days ago. Well, the team got an effusive shout out on the Mike and Mike show this morning, in which they were repeatedly praised for their efforts. Click HERE, and then scroll down to “Show in Review” and click on “Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic discuss their new favorite team”. That team would be — you guessed it — the Omaha Royals. Their new favorites.
— Mike and Mike ended the aforementioned segment by mentioned that the O-Royals were “ahead of the curve.” Well, I wonder what the team in Altoona would have to say about that. After all, they ARE the Curve. And one of their latest innovations is something that I’ve never seen before — a twice-weekly comic strip that is running in the local Altoona Mirror. Here’s the most recent installment:
Is it just me, or is that lawn mover in possession of a face (and therefore, quite possibly, sentient thought)? It’s got a gas cap eye, snout nose, blade mouth, and wheel ears. Coincidentally, all of the above body part descriptions are also public domain country music song titles. It is an amazing world in which we live. A truly amazing world.