Results tagged ‘ bobbleheads ’

Big-Headed Politicians

Those who like to bet on horses are accustomed to seeing racing mares, but it took the Tri-City ValleyCats to bring racing mayors to the masses.

Perhaps inspired by the Washington Nationals’ popular Racing Presidents, the ValleyCats have recently initiated a nightly competition between a triumvirate of municipal government leaders. Each racer represents one of the Tri-Cities, naturally: Albany mayor Jerry Jennings, Troy mayor Harry Tutunjian, and Schnectady mayor Brian Stratton. While not on the field, the three are apparently quite friendly with one another:

Racing Mayors 1.jpg 
(The above picture, as well as those to come, were lifted from the excellent blog of ValleyCats’ assistant gm Vic Christopher).

Racing Mayors 2.jpg

The racing mayors have all been endorsed by their real-life counterparts. Here, Jennings and Jennings get to know each other.

But which is which?

albany.jpg

Schmoozing has its place, but these guys are all business once the “Tri-City Hall Mayoral Race” begins:

Racing Mayors 3.jpg

This isn’t the first time that the ValleyCats have tied the mayors of the Tri-Cities into their promotional efforts. In 2008, each of the three politicians was honored with his own bobblehead.

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And speaking of bobbleheads, allow me to close this post with an exceedingly vertical picture of a fine specimen that is being given away in Round Rock on Wednesday.

rojo bobble.jpg 

Rojo!

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

A Young Fan Enjoys His Golden Years

Thumbnail image for baysox.jpgBeing handed a bobblehead upon entering a stadium is all well and good, but such a means of acquisition is hardly challenging.

In recent years, more ambitious fans have taken part in team-run bobblehead scavenger hunts. These competitions require skill, cunning, and commitment, requiring participants to decipher website clues and then travel to a specific location in order to track down a hidden bobblehead.

The Bowie Baysox have been pioneers in this emerging field, regularly stashing “golden bobbleheads” in well-concealed public locations. The first fan to find it receives an array of prizes, including team merchandise, game tickets, and the opportunity to throw out a first pitch. Their most recent contest featured the “Golden Matusz“:

Golden.jpg

The individual who discovered this coveted bobble was young Ben Griffith (posing here with his father, Clif):

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Ben is a bobblehead scavenger hunt prodigy, as he also discovered the “Golden Louie” in 2008. In order to shine some light on what it takes to advance to the top of the field, he took the time to answer a few questions via email. 

Ben’s Biz Blog: First the Golden Louie, now the Golden Matusz.
What led to this desire
louie.jpg to locate hidden bobbleheads, and how did you become so
good at it?

Ben Griffith: Well, my dad saw the Golden
Louie on the website and located the clues. Then we worked very hard and found
the Louie. I thought it would be exciting to get the opportunity to have all
the rewards and throw out the first pitch.

BBB: Are there any specific strategies or preparation
techniques you use when it comes to these scavenger hunts?

BG: My Dad says it’s important to find the clues as soon as they come out.

BBB: For those who have not been fortunate to find a
golden bobblehead, can you explain how it is different from a normal one? Is it
made of real gold?

BG: It’s not real gold
but it looks similar to real gold but not as shiny. It’s different because it’s
one of a kind…and it’s gold.

BBB: Have you made any friends (or rivals) while
looking for the bobbleheads? Do fans recognize you at the ballpark now?

BG: Yes. We’ve met Mr. Tom (Sedlacek,
Communications Manager for the Baysox) a couple times and he’s been very nice
to us. Some of the workers remember me from when I found the Golden Louie.
 
BBB: Any plans to retire, or will you be participating in the team’s next contest?

BG: My Dad says we should retire but I want
to keep going.
 
matt golden.jpegBBB: You must be a baseball fan in addition to an excellent scavenger hunter. Who
are your favorite team and players? Do you play baseball?

BG: My favorite team is the Orioles. A lot
of my favorite players used to play for the Baysox, Matt Weiters, Nolan
Reimold, Brad Bergensen, Lou Montanez, Jason Berken, Chris Tillman and of
course Brian Matusz. My most favorite is Brian Roberts. I do play baseball.
I’ve been playing since I was 5. This is my second year playing for 2 teams at
the same time. I play on a select team where I am the only 9 year old and all
my teammates are 10. When I grow up I want to be a Major League Baseball
player.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Bringing It To You Straight, No Taser

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Altoona_Curve.gifOn-field fan incidents have been a big topic of conversation ever since the controversial tasering of a fan at a Phillies game earlier this month.

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’sBraunschweiger.jpg 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:

ikers.jpg

     
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.

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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:

chdv.jpg

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Freedom of Choice

Thumbnail image for Lowell-Logo.gif2009 saw a glut of politically-themed bobbleheads, from Obama in Brooklyn to Robert Byrd in West Virginia to Hilary Clinton in Quad Cities to Joe Biden in Delaware.

Well, now the Lowell Spinners are getting in on the act. The team announced today (via Twitter) that TWO bobbling politicos will be featured on the 2010 promotional calendar: Massachusetts senior Senator John Kerry and junior Senator Scott Brown. Photos of these sure-to-be coveted items have not yet been released, but if you close your eyes and think real hard I’m sure you can conjure up a fairly accurate image in your mind.

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And, no, this is not just a belated April Fool’s joke.

Democrat vs. Republican often feels like a choice between Vampire vs. Werewolf, which conveniently leads me to my next item:

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Fans can now VOTE (via Facebook) on which of the above jerseys they’d like to see the Fresno Grizzlies wear on Twilight Night, which will be taking place on June 26th. The jerseys will be auctioned off for charity after the game, with proceeds benefiting the Central California Blood Center.

Right now Team Jacob is enjoying a 30-vote lead, but this thing is far from over. My guess is that Edward comes out on top, simply because anything involving a “count” naturally favors vampires.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

A Full Slate of News

Got a couple of very interesting and completely unexpected news items to share with you today, so let’s dispense with the small talk and get right to it.

Let’s start in Lowell, MA, as the Spinners have announced a baffling new series of bobblehead giveaways. The Red Sox affiliate, usually known for their vociferously Anti-Yankee stance, will be honoring legendary Bronx Bombers throughout the season:

yankeegreats.jpg

The press release announcing this stunning (albeit promotionally savvy) about-face reads in part:

The Spinners, known for their anti-Yankee approach to promotions, are
turning the tables on their popular Yankee Elimination Promotion to
honor great moments in the Red Sox arch-rival’s history.

jetercatch.jpg

“Over the past decade we’ve done bobble heads of everyone from
Pesky to Williams to Papelbon and Youkilis,” said Spinners Vice
President of Communications Jon Goode. “We’ve exhausted all of our
alumni currently playing for the Red Sox, so after years of contentious
phone calls and e-mails in response to our Yankee Elimination Promotion,
we opted to stay the baseball route with great Yankees moments.

“We are excited to honor the greatest rivalry in all of sports.”

The Spinners will salute baseball’s greatest winner, Derek Jeter,
July 1, when the first 1,000 fans will receive a bobble head
commemorating Jeter’s memorable catch made the same date in 2004, as
Jeter sacrificed his body diving headfirst into the stands to snare a
pop fly against the Red Sox.

“It is one of the all-time memorable plays in the Red Sox/Yankee
rivalry,” said Goode. “Add in the respect we have for Jeter and this was
a no-brainer.”

buycky.jpg

The Spinners will next turn to July 8 when the hero of the
Yankees 1978 one-game playoff, Bucky Dent, is honored with a pinstriped
bobble.

The series will continue with back-to-back bobble heads July 31,
as the Spinners remember the 2003 trading deadline acquisition for the
Yankees of Aaron Boone, and August 1, as we look back at Thurman Munson
on the anniversary of his epic fight with Carlton Fisk.

“We hope our great fans will show appreciation for these great
moments in baseball history,” said Goode. “We know our fans treasure
each bobble head and we hope these are no different.”

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– Meanwhile, in Eugene, the Emeralds have announced that suspended University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli will be “keeping his arm fresh” by pitching for the team this season. 

More info on this unorthodox acquisition once again comes courtesy of the press release:

Masoli recently plead guilty March 12 to a misdemeanor burglary charge involving a theft at a campus fraternity house in January. He was then suspended for the entire 2010 season.

Masoli, while in suspension, while still need to keep his throwing arm active for his reunion with the Ducks in 2011 — and with the Ems’ move from Civic Stadium to the University of Oregon’s PK Park, the opportunity seemed obvious.

“We’re just happy to help,” said Emeralds general manager Allan Benavides. “With all the new things happening with the Ems this season, what a way to cap off the excitement with Ducks superstar Jeremiah Masoli pitching for us this season!”

Front office executives expect season ticket sales to soar with the news of the Ems’ new addition. Even with little baseball experience, Masoli holds the keys for the Emeralds in 2010. Coming out of the bullpen, the Ems look to use Masoli’s power arm to shut down opposing Northwest League batters.”

There is sure to be plenty of controversy surrounding today’s announcements, as they both buck conventional wisdom in a major way. Rest assured I’ll be following every twist and turn, in order to deliver it to you straight.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Taking Stock of Quad's Going On

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for curtains.jpg‘Tis the season for promo schedule unveilings, a time of year that ranks very highly in the Ben’s Biz Blog Pantheon of Seasons (an authoritative list I wrote whilst bored during the sleepy winter of 2006).    

According to my calculations, 72 of the 120 full-season affiliated clubs have released their promo schedules, with more being added to the list every day. A few heavy promotional hitters have weighed in over the last 24 hours, whom we shall now pay more attention to:

Stockton PortsLike West Michigan before them, the Ports have jumped into the world of rock ‘n roll theme jerseys. On May 29th, the club will honor a mostly-forgotten act from across the pond who called themselves “The Beatles”. Other highlights include promotional appearances from Brady Bunch-er Christopher Knight (May 21) and legendary hurler Vida Blue (June 14), but what stood out for me the most was this: A Grant Desme bobblehead giveaway on “Faith Night” (as you probably know, Desme announced his retirement in order to join the priesthood. This despite a stellar 2009 campaign in which he was named the Ports Player of the Year).

My first impression was that the bobblehead might feature Desme in a priestly get-up, but Ports media relations manager Kristin Pratt quickly set me straight:

“Grant’s in his home Ports uniform…We had his bobblehead night originally scheduled on July 30th as a stand-alone promotion. However, things got shuffled around, he landed on Faith Night, and we think it’s pretty fitting.”

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Quad Cities River BanditsThis promo schedule goes on for a long time, as close to eternity as one can get without becoming infinite…Salutes to Grilled Cheese, Conspiracy Theories and the ’85 Chicago Bears…Stan Musial and Bert Blyleven Bobbleheads…The return of Tattoo Night and the Mega-Candy Drop…etc, etc, ad nauseam.

But I have to give a special shout out to the “Circle of Life” long weekend, which the team describes accordingly:

For one long weekend, the Bandits will celebrate a quartet of momentous
life occasions…On
oldmanbaby.jpg Friday, May 7th, the River Bandits will
host “Maternity Night”, with all expectant mothers being welcomed with a
free lamaze class, craving stations on the concourse, and a grand prize
of a maternity package, including baby furniture and accessories. On
Saturday, the River Bandits, along with the Quad-City Times and the
Lucier Family, will award the inaugural Keith Lucier Memorial
Scholarship and award one deserving student a free year’s tuition at the
University of Iowa. On Sunday, the team will give away a Bandit
Wedding, with the winner announced on May 9th and the ceremony to be
held at the ballpark on August 20, and on Monday, the River Bandits will
complete the Circle of Life by giving away a free all-expense-paid
funeral!

All of the above promotions have been done before, in one form or another, but this marks the first time I have seen a club make a journey from the cradle to the tomb over the course of four consecutive home games. Bravo, and hopefully an addition to next year’s schedule will be “Mid-Life Crisis Night.” All fans sporting a ponytail and/or driving a convertible get in free, and the individual with the largest age discrepancy between himself and his girlfriend/wife gets to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” while backed up by a Jimmy Buffet cover band (it goes without saying the night would be sponsored by a company within the pharmaceutical industry).

rosenblatt.jpgOmaha Royals2010 will mark the O-Royals 42nd and final season at Rosenblatt Stadium, and their promo schedule is anchored by three significant giveaways that commemorate this bittersweet event. Observe:

– Johnny Rosenblatt Bobblehead, honoring the former Omaha mayor for whom the facility is named (first 1,500 fans, May 22).

– Rosenblatt Stadium Canvas Painting (first 1500 fans, June 13)

– Final Game featuring Replica Wooden Seat Giveaway (first 2,500 fans, September 2). 

I’ve got more. Boy do I ever got more. But more is something I want to leave them wanting, so the words are going to stop now.

Just like that.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Unorthodox Bobbles, Burgers, and Domiciles

madison.jpgSo here’s a question for you:

What do Playboy model Holly Madison, impressionist Gordie Brown, ventriloquist Terry Fator, and comedians Carrot Top and Rita Rudner all have in common?

I can’t think of a whimsical joke answer, so I’ll just tell it like it is: the Las Vegas 51s will be honoring each of these individuals with their own bobblehead doll this season. Ms. Madison, in fact, will be honored on two separate occasions — in a baseball outfit on April 13, and then in a “Bo Peep” get-up on August 24. This latter wardrobe choice is inspired by the fact that she stars in a Vegas burlesque revue entitled “Peepshow”, but I don’t know anything about that sort of thing. Women are intimidating.   

In fact, all the aforementioned individuals are regular Vegas performers, so kudos to the 51s for finding a way to honor the local talent in a style unique to the “Sin City.”

– Burlington, VT is a long way from Vegas, both geographically and ideologically, so let’s travel there now in order to breathe in a fresh persepctive. 

Astute readers will remember this post from last summer, in which I praised the unique design sensibilities of the house located across the street from Centennial Field (home of the Vermont Lake Monsters):

Thumbnail image for vermont house.JPG

Well, the occupants of said house are looking for a new roommate, and in an ad on Burlington Craigslist they link to my post in order to give interested individuals a glimpse at the house’s exterior (I am very proud of this).

Rent is an eminently reasonable $366 a month, and perks include “vegan common spaces, wood floors, washer/dryer, 2 full
bathrooms, a cat, big woodsy yard with hammock, geodesic dome, and
compost, and a large woods and ravine behind the yard.”

The ad fails to mention the most significant perk: You will get to live in a purple house with pink polka dots that is emblazoned with anti-circumcision rhetoric.

How about it, vegan members of the Vermont Lake Monsters front office? The commuteThumbnail image for vermonsters.jpg between home and office would be nothing more than a walk across the street. You’d be the envy of your peers, and could provide George “The Animal” Steele with a free place to stay the next time he rolls into town for a promotional appearance.

– Finally, in decidedly non-vegan news, the Kannapolis Intimidators announced the three finalists in their Build-A-Burger Contest. Vote for your favorite HERE, and tell them Ben’s Biz Blog sent ya.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz
 

(Not A) Permanent Vacation

Aerosmith_-_Rocks.JPGCue up the Aerosmith, because I’m Back in the Saddle Again!

And then keep playing the Aerosmith, because I’m a Dude Looks Like A Lady as a result of nine months without a haircut. But enough about me, let’s Keep This Train A Rolling by returning to The Same Old Song and Dance.

Minor League “Business” News!

I sure picked a good week to take off, because not all that much happened in this lil corner of the world. I was expecting to be inundated with material but was instead merely nudged.Still, I have enough to comprise yet another “omnibus” post, although this particular vehicle is of the single-decker variety.

– The Bradenton Marauders unveiled their logo several months ago, but last week they took the next step by showing off their team uniforms at a pep rally. The press release is HERE, and the uniforms can be viewed HERE.

In other late-breaking logo news, the Syracuse Chiefs are commemorating 50 years of community ownership in 2010. This is the only logo I have ever seen that features a number wearing a headdress (usually numbers wear berets or visors):

headdress.jpg 
– Hey, have you ever wanted to see a giant gliding rodent affixed to the top of a scoreboard? Me neither! Yet, duty compels me to post this latest image out of Richmond, if only because I am now aware that there are Wawas in Virginia:

scoreboard.jpg

– The Spokane Indians won’t be powered by gliding rodents next season, but they will be fueled by just about everything else. The club announced yesterday that they will be using renewable energy in 2010, including but not limited to wind, geothermal, and biomass. Read all about it HERE. In addition to being good for the environment, this news is a godsend for environmentally conscious hecklers who can now sarcastically thank batters every time there is a swing and miss (because that’s wind power, see?)

– Team promo schedules are being announced at a fast and furious rate, and today’s highlight is a bobblehead that details the growing relationship between Timber Rattlers mascot Fang and Brewers mascot Bernie. Last season, the costumed characters came together as a result of the affiliation agreement between the two clubs:

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In the ensuing year, these two unlikely comrades apparently developed a comfortable rapport. Witness the Timber Rattlers 2010 Opening Day bobblehead, which commemorates the new beach seating area at the Rattlers’ Time Warner Cable Field:

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Yes, Fang is a snake, and, yes, he possesses arms and legs. Far be it for me to reconcile this cognitive disconnect.

– Meanwhile, the Reading Phillies will be hearing from my lawyer. Today the team put out a press release listing their “Top 10 Promotions for 2010“, apparently unaware that the words “top”, “10″, or “promotions” cannot appear in the same sentence without the express written consent of Ben’s Biz Enterprises (a subsidiary of Monsanto, fyi).

But I’ll let my legal team handle that breach of protocol, and simply report that one of the aforementioned “Top 10″ is a Tribute to the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor! Behold:

Thumbnail image for reading 3.jpgThe first 2,000 kids who enter the ballpark
for the 6:05 p.m. game will receive a Crazy Hot Dog Vendor look-a-like
t-shirt. Think “tuxedo t-shirt”, but instead each child that wears it
will look just like the beloved Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. In addition, all
Redner’s R-Phils Kids Club members will have the chance to perform on
the field with the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor during a special pre-game
celebration. And to top the tribute off, R-Phils players will actually
wear Crazy Hot Dog Vendor look-a-like team jerseys when they take the
field against the Harrisburg Senators for the game
(ed note: !!!!!!!!)

The next “Ed” note I receive will most likely be from Mr. Begley, in protest of my ill-informed take on renewable energy. Look, man, I’m doing my best.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Lancaster's Seemingly Endless Procession of Undulating Figurines

Thumbnail image for lancaster_jethawks_primary_logo_2_3.jpgMost of my writing as of late as been focused on offseason events and initiatives. This is because it is the offseason.

But what I enjoy more than the offseason is “the season”. This is why I was happy to receive an email from Lancaster JetHawks media manager Will Thornhill, filling me in on the club’s admirably ambitious 2010 bobblehead giveaway schedule. 

Now I, in turn, will fill you in, mainly by copying liberally from the aforementioned email. Here goes:


[W]e have a great promotion going on [in 2010]
and I thought other clubs may be open to
KB.JPG doing the same thing, as it has
garnered us a lot of local press coverage.

Next season will mark our 15th in Lancaster and to celebrate we have named next years’ theme “15 Years
of Hangar Heroes”. As one of the many Hero-themed giveaways we plan
on having, we are going to give away 15 different bobble heads throughout the
course of the season, most of which will be voted on by the fans during the
off-season by going to our website. We have announced that our own
“Jim the Beer Man” who has been pouring fresh brews for fans since
game one at the Hangar and “Dancin’ Darryl”, an usher that frequently
gets the crowed charged up by dancing on top of the dugouts, will be
immortalized next season with their own bobble heads and Dan Uggla was the
first to be voted in by the fans just a few weeks ago.  We also plan to
have all three versions of our mascot KB, a booster club member, and other
players to be later voted on.


Now, 2010 isn’t even in existence yet, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that the JetHawks will be the team to beat when it comes to bobblehead giveaways. One of the reasons I am predicting this is because it will make other teams indignant, resulting in additional emails and, thus, more content for this insatiable, content-devouring blog.


Anyway, more from Thornhill:


We have also adopted a super hero/comic
book theme for all of our direct marketing pieces including postcards and
our ticket guide.  Below is a piece we have been distributing throughout
our community caravan stops.

Lancaster bobble promo.JPG

Now seems a opportune time to note that the JetHawks were responsible for what is quite possibly my favorite bobblehead of all time. In 2007 the club was a Red Sox affiliate, so they decided to simultaneously honor Boston slugger David Ortiz and California’s state flower.

Big Poppy:

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I’ll close with a reminder that I will be in attendance at the Baseball Winter Meetings next week. If you will be there as well we should shake hands and exchange business cards and maybe even commiserate over complimentary plastic cups of domestic draft.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz 

Barack and His Bobble

I attended yesterday’s “Baracklyn Cyclones” promotion at KeySpan Park in Coney Island, and am currently working on an article recapping the evening’s events.

(update: article is here)

But, because it is important for me to remain America’s go-to Minor League promotional guru, I feel compelled to share the following image immediately. It is an all-time classic.

Photo Credit: George Napolitano/Brooklyn Cyclones

brooklyn baracklyn bobble.JPG

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