Results tagged ‘ Bowie Baysox ’

2013 Promotions: 10 Alliterative Bobblehead Giveaways

There are few, if any, things that I like more in this world than the sound repetition device that is alliteration. Examples of it abound here on (ahem) Ben’s Biz Blog, perhaps my favorite being a post titled “Charlie Crist Cancellation Causes Costumed Crustacean Candidacy.” I should have retired immediately after writing that.

But, no, here I remain. My personal predilection for alliteration has led me to peruse 2013 promo schedules for examples of it in bobblehead form, because what better way could an able-bodied 34-year-old man possibly make use of his time?

1. Bowie Baysox — Jim Johnson, July 22

The Bowie Baysox have the honor of leading this post, for they are the only alliteratively-named team giving away an alliterative bobblehead. Their honoree is Bowie-turned-Baltimore pitcher Jim Johnson, who was born in June in the town of Johnson City.

And would you believe in that in addition to the Jim Johnson bobblehead, July 22nd is also “Mutt Monday” at the ballpark? And that the Baysox are playing the Akron Aeros? It’s almost too much too take.

mutt

 

The Gwinnett Braves also get a very special mention in this post, as they are the only team with TWO alliterative bobbleheads on the promo calendar.

2. Gwinnett Braves — Brandon Beachy (April 6) and Freddie Freeman (May 18)

Yes, a Brandon Beachy Braves Bobblehead! It boggles the brain!

And now the rest!

3. Richmond Flying Squirrels — Brandons Bobblehead (Belt and Crawford), April 5

belt

 

This bobblehead is doubly alliterative in that not only is it a Brandon Bobblehead, but one of the Brandons is Brandon Belt. A Brandon Beachy Braves Bobblehead followed by Brandon Belt, right here on Ben’s Biz Blog. My life’s work is nearly complete.

4. Rome Braves — Henry the Hot Dog, April 20

Will Henry come covered in condiments?

5. Frederick Keys — Manny Machado, May 11

manny215_vsaowp3q

This May a multitude of Manny fans, many men and maybe many more women, will flock to Frederick in order celebrate Monsieur Machado’s manifold splendor.

6. Reno Aces — Brett Butler, May 25

bb

 

A bounteous booty of Brett Butler bobbleheads bestowed upon Reno’s resplendent residents as a means of creative championship commemoration.

7. Sacramento RiverCats —  Chris Carter, June 23

Chris Carter, a Californian, consecrated by the ‘Cats. Cool.

8. Harrisburg Senators —  Stephen Strasburg, July 15

It’s Military Monday and the bobblehead is mini. Stephen Strasburg’s scintillating skill set stays sky-high.

9. Clinton LumberKings — Mitch Moreland, August 3

Mitch Moreland matriculated at Mississippi.

10. Memphis Rebirds — BBQ Bobblehead, August 16

Memphis is mum regarding the scintillating specifics of this “BBQ Bobblehead,” but what we do know is that it is taking place during a “Fred’s Family Friday” promotion.

My work here is done.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

The Harlem Shake: A Minor Overview

Introductory paragraphs within this blog forum can sometimes be needlessly circuitous, steeped as they are in obscure references and acute self-consciousness. But not today. Today, we cut to the chase:

What follows is a comprehensive round-up of Harlem Shake videos produced by Minor League teams. 

Yes, you’re probably sick of the Harlem Shake at this point. I am too. But let’s take the long view, as historians with an interest in baseball history, viral fads and the intersection of the two will no doubt delight in stumbling upon this post at some at some unknown moment in the distant future. I am doing this for you, future historians! I always am. For it is you who will ensure my legacy.

Plus, you’ve gotta admit — Minor League teams, with their easy access to supply closets full of banana suits and inflatable ponies, make better Harlem Shake videos than most. So here we go! In no particular order, here are two dozen Harlem Shake videos produced by professional baseball teams in possession of a formal affiliation with a Major League club.

Frederick Keys — Apparently a big-headed reincarnation of Francis Scott Key regularly sits in on front office meetings:

Columbus Clippers — Warning! Includes bear-on-frankfurter violence that may be unsettling to younger viewers:

Bowie Baysox — A toothbrush can’t dance? I bristle at such a notion:

Lexington Legends — Mister would you please stop punching that pony? WATCH ON FACEBOOK.

Vancouver Canadians — As if any proof was needed that this was an international phenomenon:

Fort Wayne Tincaps — A solitary pothead gives way to a banana who loves the queen of hearts.

Lake Elsinore Storm — Yes that is an upside-down squirrel hanging from the dugout, and yes he is happy to see you:

Corpus Christi Hooks — Can’t a man bike through the office in peace? WATCH ON MILB.COM

Tulsa Drillers — Hey, no dogs in the swimming pool!

Gwinnett Braves — Team store? More like surreal fever dream store!

New Hampshire Fisher Cats — Fungo and friends “rose” to the occasion:

Lehigh Valley IronPigs — Give peas a chance. WATCH ON MILB.COM

Buffalo Bisons — Vest-wearing gentleman on the right is my favorite individual to appear in any Harlem Shake video:

Charlotte Stone Crabs – What’s to stop the Incredible Hulk from wearing a sombrero?

Fresno Grizzlies — Forget this faddish viral bastardization. Parker knows how to do the REAL Harlem Shake. WATCH ON VINE. 

Louisville Bats — This takes place in multiple dimensions simultaneously. It will blow your mind.

Bowling Green Hot Rods — I guess you could say that Axle rose to the occasion.

Delmarva Shorebirds — The Shake so nice they did it twice.

Springfield Cardinals — You know what? This is probably the  best one out of all of ‘em.

Round Rock Express — All bobblehead version!

Connecticut Tigers — Shout it from the rooftop!

And, finally, there are the State College Spikes. The first Minor League team to post a Harlem Shake video, and the last to be featured in this post:

EDIT! 

Two latecomers have entered the fray!

Orem Owlz — Holly, the Owlz pregnant mascot, wisely sat this one out.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans — Fans of multi-colored crustacean triumvirates rejoice!

And that’s all she wrote, folks. “She” being me, of course. I am a man. A 34-year-old man. A man who is perhaps too old to be providing you with diversions such as the above. But yet I do, and yet I did.

Do not forsake me, future historians! I do not want to believe that this has all been in vain.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Whole Lotta Love b/w Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On

Starting any piece of writing with the formal definition of what will then be discussed is as hackneyed as it gets. But when has an aversion to the hackneyed ever stopped me before?

Hashtag (noun) — The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

While this may be old news to the more social media-adept among us, I included the above definition (taken from the Twitter Help Center) as a way to bring everyone up to speed regarding a technique that I’ve been using more and more as a means to gather news and opinions from the disparate corners of the MiLB universe.

hash

A hashtag, albeit a stylized one

For instance, I established the #MinorLeagueFrontOffice cliche hashtag as a means to collect said cliches, and the result was the “Minor League Front Office Cliche” compendium that you may have read (and may have even enjoyed) last week.

And while I did not originate the #mascotlove hashtag, I suggested to teams that they use it within all of their Valentine’s Day tweets chronicling the amorous travels of their gift-delivering mascots. Searching through tweets with the #mascotlove tag, one can find images such as the following:

@ReadingFightins: Here is a photo of the @CrazyHotDogVendr on one of his many Valentine’s Day deliveries this afternoon. http://ow.ly/i/1wFBI  #mascotlove

chdv

@BowieBaysox Here is a great video compilation from @Branden_Roth of all the Valentine’s deliveries Louie made today #mascotlove http://youtu.be/MId_uKXGw7Y

@DurhamBulls A dapper Wool E. Bull making the rounds today delivering#ValentinesDay Wool E. Grams. #mascotlove pic.twitter.com/gMdqIuBe

wooly3

And on and on the #mascotlove went, but at this point I think you get the general idea.

Meanwhile, the Harlem Shake has been a gargantuan internet trend over the past week. While its power is now waning, mercifully, the #HarlemShake hashtag provides a seemingly infinite list of individuals and institutions who did their own version.

This includes Minor League teams, of course, with the State College Spikes the first out of the gate. The Connecticut Tigers soon followed suit, and other teams to post their own versions include the Columbus Clippers, Vancouver Canadians, Lake Elsinore Storm, Tulsa Drillers, Buffalo Bisons, Round Rock Express, Delmarva Shorebirds, Charlotte Stone Crabs, Gwinnett Braves, Corpus Christi Hooks, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lexington Legends, Bowie Baysox and Frederick Keys.

As for a favorite? Choosing one is a near impossible task. But I’ll go with the Connecticut Tigers, due to their creative use of outdoor environs. Also, the “roar” at the end of the song is very fitting given the team name.

[10 minutes later]

I can’t seem to post this. So watch it HERE.

And as for a video I actually CAN post, how about Round Rock’s bobble-centric version?

If the demand exists, I will follow up this post with a compendium of all MiLB Harlem Shake videos. It won’t be one of the prouder moments of my life.

Finally, there’s this: inspired by the Brooklyn Cyclones’ freewheeling “Ask Me Anything” blog posts, I have instituted an #askbensbizanything hashtag. As the name would imply, feel free to ask me anything (the weirder, the better) but please keep in mind that this is a family publication. Thus far the questions have trickled in at a glacial pace, but when have I ever let a profound disinterest on the part of the reading public ever get in the way of anything?

I look forward to your continued queries, however few and far between they may be.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Thanks for the Memories

Writing a pre-Thanksgiving post on “what I am thankful for” has the whiff of an obligatory elementary school essay assignment, but I want to get something up on this slice of the internet before it all goes (mercifully) dark for the holidays.

And you know what I’m thankful for? That I have a job that puts me in absurd situations on a regular basis. Some highlights from the 2011 season.

Racing as a Taco Bell Hot Sauce packet in Lancaster:

If you can't take the heat...

Winning the “Molar Race” in Inland Empire:

Winning a burrito-eating contest in Fort Wayne:

Emptying an entire Kleenex box in Lake County, in less than a minute:

Pied atop the dugout in Akron:

Exhibiting proper Pickle Dog-eating technique in Charleston:

Manning an HD camera in Durham:

Refereeing a flip cup contest in Williamsport:

Losing a sumo match in Bowie:

And, of course — Rally Banana-ing in Delmarva:

The point of this unbridled exercise in Holiday week narcissism is…well…I guess there is no point. But I do want to issue a sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has supported these absurd endeavors of mine. And it’s never too early to start thinking about the 2012 season — please, get in touch if you have any suggestions regarding Minor League places to go and things to do.  I really do try to say “yes” as much as possible.

Finally, two stories are up today that I’d really appreciate if you checked out. First up is my story on Greg Halman, who was stabbed to death earlier this week. I talked to people who knew him at all stops on his Minor League journey, and did the best I could to write something that went beyond “I’m shocked that his happened” quotes.

Elsewhere, I have a guest column up on Baseball Propectus. It’s a pretty through overview of the Minor League mindset, and I sincerely hope it brings a few new converts into the fold.

Thanks again,

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

On the Road: A Night of Singing and Sumo Wrestling in Bowie

The Bowie Baysox play in an extremely congested area of the country, in terms of both population density and professional baseball franchises. This is a team that plays in the backyard of not one but two Major League franchises (the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals), while also competing with an indy league entity located less than 30 miles away.

The stadium itself is similarly besieged, as it’s located behind a massive shopping center on state route 301. But once one gets beyond these rectangular shrines to rampant consumerism, a much more comforting sight emerges:

The facility is called Prince George’s Stadium because the team plays in Prince George’s County, MD. The Prince George in question was a member of Denmark’s royal family, longtime proponents of the efficacy of the designated hitter rule.

Prince George’s Stadium opened in 1994, after the Baysox had played their inaugural 1993 season in the none-too-intimate confines of Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium.

Fans waiting to get into the park had to pass through one of the narrowest stadium entrance ways I had ever seen, but once on the inside there is plenty of room to move.

And yes, that is a light house you see out there. These are the Baysox, after all, with the body of water in question being the Chesapeake. And whenever a Baysox player hits a home run, the lighthouse lights up (as lighthouses are wont to do) while a foghorn blasts.

And to the right of the lighthouse is a carousel, the centerpiece of an inflatable-laden kids area.

The Baysox’s nautical connections are also emphasized by their new “pitching fish” alternate jersey, worn during Friday home games.

The fish’s name is indeed “Rocko,” the winning entry in a name-the-fish contest.

“[Rocko] is a combination of the Rockfish or Striped Bass and the Oyster Toadfish,” explained the team in a press release. “Those two species were selected because both thrive in a healthy Bay.”

The team was indeed wearing these jerseys on the evening I attended, but I failed to get shots that clearly convey this. But I did get some shots from the concourse-level press box, where I watched the game begin.

A bobblehead of mascot Louie keeps a watchful eye over all the denizens of the press box.

But his eye is not quite watchful enough to prevent the occasional foul ball from leaving a mark.

The real Louie could often be found atop the dugout, taking in the action.

It was “Autism Night” at the ballpark, featuring informational displays on the concourse and a special “quiet room” in the suite areas.

One thing that I appreciated (and that I think all teams should d0) was this informative concourse display. Here are all the ballpark food options, laid out simply and clearly.

The Black Angus stand seemed to be the most popular. Looking back on it, how did I not order a “Pickle on a Stix”?

More standard items were located down the first and third base lines:

One of my favorite pieces of outfield signage could be found in left field.

No player has yet managed to “drain” that curiously colored clogged sink, but the team does occasionally stage a between-inning promo in which contestants throw footballs through the toilet seats mounted atop the wall.

A Whoopie Cushion would be a good prize for that particular contest, items which happen to be available in the team store. My guess is that these are leftovers from the annual “Most People Sitting On A Whoopie Cushion” world record attempt.

The Baysox also utilize the outfield in their nightly “Home Run Challenge,” the likes of which I hadn’t seen before. While my pictures are quite indistinct, the object was to hit baseballs off a tee over the right field fence.

That would have definitely been a fun contest to participate in, but I soon had my chance to get in on the between-inning action. During the seventh-inning stretch, I joined on-field host Brandon Kaiser in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Video of this has recently emerged on YouTube. If you have 58 seconds to spare, well, here it is:

But my work wasn’t done. After completing my off-key rendition of baseball’s most beloved song, I was ushered into the front office. This is what awaited me.

It had to happen eventually. In fact, I’m surprised it even took this long.

Meet “BennyHilla,” between-inning sumo wrestler:

You get into these things by lying on your stomach and then shimmying inside. Putting shoes on at that point is impossible; thank goodness for interns. This was all accomplished in plenty of time, fortunately, so I relaxed in the stands while waiting for my moment of on-field glory.

Then this kid came along, and you can just see it in his eyes: he wanted to punch me. So I let him.

My opponent was Communications Manager Tom Sedlacek, aka…man, I’m blanking on his wrestling name. It had something to do with “Minnesota.”

And whatever his name was, Sedlacek beat me easily in the best of three series. My “pedal backwards and then duck” strategy was no match for his sheer brute force.

But even in defeat, I was a star. After the match, Sedlacek and I were asked to sign autographs! This was one of my favorite autograph requests this season, second only to when I dressed as a molar in Inland Empire and signed as “TOOTH.”

And while some kids had wanted to punch me, this one just wanted a hug.

That’s life for ya — sometimes you get punched, sometimes you get hugged. But either way you’re getting something. And on that note of faux-profundity, I bid you a kind adieu.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

So What’d I Miss?

One of the only drawbacks of going on the road is that the abundance of “on-location” content leads to the neglect of the usual Minor League news and notes that this blog is known for.

But the plus side of said neglect is that I always have a lot to write about upon my return. So with the Carolina coverage now in the rear view mirror (for now), let’s take a look at what I missed.

Let’s start with a theme jersey that has already garnered significant attention across the blogosphere: On August 13, the Memphis Redbirds will wear these jerseys in conjunction with “Organ Donor Night.”

An out-of-body experience

The purpose of the evening is to encourage fans to sign up to be organ donors — a worthwhile cause if there ever was one. But this being Minor League Baseball, it doesn’t stop there. A local music store has donated a keyboard organ that will be given away, and heart-healthy food packs will be distributed so that fans can keep that particular organ operating at an optimum level.

I would also suggest that THIS gets played during the game.

And staying with the RedBirds for a moment. You may recall that back in February they hired local psychic Rhonda Manning to predict the team’s “Guaranteed Win Night.” Manning chose August 1, and what a choice it was. The Redbirds overcame a six-run deficit over the game’s final two innings, capped by Shane Robinson’s two-out walk-off grand slam! 

Clearly, this is a team in touch with the supernatural.

And believe it or not, I have even more news related to the always-rich “walk-off grand slam” sub-genre. Ruben Sierra, Jr. hit a game-winning four-bagger for Spokane on July 27 — on “Grand Slam Giveaway Night.” As a result, a lucky fan won a brand-new Ford F-150.

Sierra and the truck-winning fan, getting doused

Keeping within the hospitable confines of Washington state, let’s check out this offering from the so-called “AquaSox Boys,” featuring four footloose and fancy-free members of the Everett ballclub.

The above video is approaching 20,000 views, thanks in no small part to the Backstreet Boys themselves tweeting the link out to their still-formidable fan base.

And since we’re on topic of “aqua,” you might recollect that back in March the Bowie Baysox unveiled an alternate logo that would be worn during Friday home games.

This:

As of last week, this  fish has a name: Rocko. (I don’t know about you, but I’ll finally be able to sleep at night, knowing that this important matter has finally been resolved.) And while no one has opted to have Rocko indelibly inked upon their body as part of the Baysox’s recent “Tattoo Night,” 1000 fans did receive temporary “Rocko” tattoos.

And two fans went ahead and got the Baysox logo permanently affixed to their bodies. Here’s one of them:

Baysox staffers, meanwhile, took a less permanent route.

All fans with visible tattoos received half off admission, and several of these fans competed in body art-related between-inning games and contests. Menacing stares abounded.

I hope that no one was hurt.

That’ll be it for today, but there will be more tomorrow because there’s always tomorrow and there’s always more. In the meantime, please check out the latest and therefore greatest edition of “Crooked Numbers.” It is a labor of love, and each month after it comes out I have delusions of grandeur regarding the amount of people who will read it and show it to all their friends.

And, for more timely Minor League news than this blog is able to provide, follow me on Twitter. It’ll be great!

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Happenings in the 209, 301, and 419

My latest (and therefore greatest) Minor League road trip begins tomorrow — cue the anxiety attack! It goes without saying, then, that the blog will be dominated by “on-location” content for quite some time.  But not yet! Today, let’s take our customary look at noteworthy happenings from around the Minors.

We’ll start in Stockton, as the Ports’ held-their much anticipated “Dallas Braden Bobblebelly” giveaway on Saturday. As you’ll recall, the item features the A’s pitcher (and Stockton native) simultaneously expressing his hometown pride and exposing his abdomen.

Needless to say, Ports fans were psyched about this one-of-a-kind giveaway — especially since Braden himself was in attendance.  The line to get into the stadium started forming four hours before game time, quickly growing to epic proportions.

The man himself spent the evening signing the bobblebelly and schmoozing with the fans.

There are still seven weeks left in the season, but the Ports believe that their Bobblebelly giveaway should be MiLB.com’s “Promo of the Year”, and have even launched a #promooftheyear hashtag campaign on Twitter. I’m sure there are plenty of other teams who are going to have something to say about that…

But let’s save that sort of pontificating for later, and instead move across the country to Bowie, MD. The Baysox recently celebrated Festivus, an off-beat December holiday first popularized by an episode of Seinfeld. Communications manager Tom Sedlacek writes that Our Festivus celebration included Festivus poles, Feats of Stregth and the Airing of the Grievances, as well as posters describing the origin of the holiday and its role in pop culture.  The Feats of Strength included arm wrestling with an intern and sumo wrestling, and some Grievances were read over the stadium speakers during the game.

Feats of Strength

Grievances included “You still haven’t ordered my silverware!”  “Stop snoring so loudly.”  “You never hang out with me, you only play Xbox.”

I guess there was a lot of gray area when it came to what constitutes a grievance.


Finally, it’s time for me to feature something that has been sorely lacking on this blog in recent months: centenarians! Last Friday, 101-year-old Freda Sacket joined a local choir in singing the national anthem prior to the evening’s Toledo Mud Hens game.

101!

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Pickin’ Names and Pitchin’ In

One of the biggest pieces of news from this past offseason was that the city of Pensacola will be hosting a Double-A Southern League team in 2012 (read all about it HERE).

And — surprise! — this team needs a name. Following standard Minor League Baseball operating procedure, a “Name the Team” contest has been devised and today the finalists were announced: Redbones, Loggerheads, Blue Wahoos, Mullets, Aviators, and Salty Dogs.

The Pensacola News Journal,  a co-sponsor of the contest, explains: It’s a group of nicknames with ties to the U.S. Navy (Aviators), fishermen (Salty Dogs), Gulf species (Mullet, Blue Wahoo), endangered species (Loggerheads), and hunting dog (Redbone), also the name of a 1970s rock band.

The reference to Redbone being a ’70s rock band seems a little gratuitous, so I’m going to assume that writer Bill Vilona was already a fan. But beyond that this is pretty much par for the course, a consistently irreverent group of choices with ties to local wildlife and industry as well as the parent club (Redbone, natch).

Voting begins tomorrow at the newspaper’s website, and runs through the 15th. The new name will be announced on the 23rd, at which point “a logo, team colors and slogans will be created.”

Not at all surprisingly, Plan B Branding will be doing the creating.  The well-established logo and ideas company has been through this identity-creation rigmarole before, with successful and highly-publicized entities such as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Richmond Flying Squirrels, and Omaha Storm Chasers.

And, apropos of nothing, Pensacola Rigmaroles is a pretty cool-sounding name.

Pensacola will become the Southern League’s second Floridian market, joining the Jacksonville Suns. Yesterday, the team sent out a press release drawing attention the exemplary way in which the team utilized its day off.

The Jacksonville Suns spent their travel day on Tuesday helping victims of last Wednesday’s tornados and severe thunderstorms in Pratt City, Ala., just north of Birmingham.

The Suns volunteered at the American Red Cross’ Pratt City Disaster Resource Center at the Scott School just blocks from where tornados damaged countless numbers of homes. Pratt City lost nearly 1,000 homes due to last Wednesday’s tornado damage.

Photo Credit: Roger Hoover, Jacksonville Suns

Front Row: Jhan Marinez, Luke Montz, Kevin Mattison. Back row L-R: Joey O’Gara, Dan Jennings, Omar Poveda, Benjamin Todd Jealous of NAACP, Peter Andrelczyk, Corey Madden, and Ryan Curry.

Sometimes the segues come easy, and today is one such day. Check out Kevin Mattison in the bottom right hand corner of that picture — clearly he would be right at home at tonight’s “Mustache Mania” promotion. This celebration of upper lip follicle accumulation has been officially endorsed by the esteemed American Mustache Institute.

And speaking of promos, which I am almost always speaking of, we are fast approaching the time of year in which my inbox is inundated with YOUR promo recaps, pictures, and videos. My livelihood depends on just this.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Creating News By Responding To It

Suffice to say that it’s been a momentous couple of days for the United States and the world at large, with the killing of Bin Laden absolutely dominating the conversation. Not surprisingly, Minor League teams across the country found a way to respond to the news. A brief smattering:

The Bowie Baysox issued the following missive on Facebook In response to President Obama’s call of unity and solidarity….the first 300 fans that enter the ballpark receive a mini-American Flag.

– In San Antonio, the Missions wore their camo uniforms as part of an impromptu celebration of the military. It turned out to be quite a game, too, with David Robertson hitting for the cycle as the Missions cruised to a 17-6 victory.

– In an email received just as the blog was going to “press,” the Northwest Akransas Naturals announced that Inspired by the bravery of the Navy Seals in Sunday night’s mission in Pakistan, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals would like to recognize and thank all military members – active and retired – with free tickets to any of the next four home games at Arvest Ballpark, starting Tuesday evening.

– The Altoona Curve offered free tickets to all military members, for games on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Rumors that Steamer was part of the special ops team have not been substantiated.

The team also remarked, facetiously albeit accurately, via Twitter that “In honor of yesterday’s events, July 4th-born Jared Hughes will be tonight’s starting pitcher for the Altoona Curve.” While Hughes only lasted four innings, the Curve rallied for a 10-9 victory over Harrisburg. This put an end to their streak of 19 straight games alternating a win with a loss (!!!)

The aforementioned Harrisburg Senators are more than just the visiting team in this particular narrative. Yesterday the team made its own announcement: In light of the events of the past 48 hours, the Harrisburg Senators want to say thank you to the U.S. Armed Forces for all that they do….Beginning this Friday, May 6th through the end of the 2011 season all active duty and retired military, Air and Army National Guard, and Reservists and their family receive box seats for only $7.50 (normally $9) with their military ID.

One of the few games going on when the news of Bin Laden’s death broke was a tilt in Tucson between the Padres and Colorado Springs — on Military Night, no less. The team made the decision to announce the news over the PA, resulting in a memorable scene.

“We felt [making the announcement] was an important thing to do,” said T-Pads general manager Mike Feder. “We’ve made a major commitment to reach out to the military; we have very large Air Force and intelligence bases located near us, and there’s a huge National Guard presence as well.”

A more localized case of dedicated team and and fan support involves Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giant fan senselessly beaten into a coma on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. His plight has prompted an outpouring of giving, with everyone from Tim Lincecum to Charlie Sheen chipping in with donations to help support Stow and his family during this exceedingly difficult time.

But one of the most substantial and heartfelt fundraising efforts occurred within Minor League Baseball. Stow often worked as a paramedic at San Jose’s Municipal Stadium, and the hometown Giants therefore dedicated the entire month of April to him. Throughout the month the team raised $36,181, and the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies pitched in an additional $7,181 after holding a fundraising night of their own. That’s $43, 362 combined, which was presented to the Stow family prior to Sunday’s ballgame.


– And now, the moment in which none of you were waiting for: me promoting my own material. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!

Today, as with every Tuesday, brings a new “Promotion Preview” column. Super Nintendo, bubble gum, mustaches, formal wear, “Charlie Bit Me”, Tiger Blood cocktails, and more. Always more.

And yesterday saw the 2011 debut of “Crooked Numbers“, a monthly compendium of statistical oddities and curiosities. Or, as I like to call it, “an obsessive-compulsive labor of love that I spend way too much time on even though it gets no feedback from anyone, thereby making an already sensitive writer even more sensitive.” That title was rejected by the MiLB.com higher-ups, probably for good reason.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Riding the Emotional Rollercoaster

Okay, it’s the season now. I have the same feeling as when I returned my favorite Pixar film to the video store: I can’t keep Up!

But I’m going to try my best, disregarding any adverse consequences to mental, physical, and spiritual health. I mean, who needs those things anyway?

Mrs. Violet Smith serves as an appropriate counterbalance to this sort of fatalistic sentiment. Last night, she celebrated her 109th birthday by throwing out a first pitch for the Great Lakes Loons.

109!

DOB: April 7, 1902

According to my records, this is the first centenarian first pitch in Minor League Baseball since the Round Rock Express welcomed 102-year-old Chris Nocera in April of 2009.

And while we’re on the topic of Golden Girls, it is well-worth pointing out that the Bowie Baysox are staging a Tribute to Betty White on April 16 (complete with Florence Dusty’s Muffin Eating Contest in honor of her recent appearance on Saturday Night Live).

The Baysox players are in complete and total support of this promotion, especially Betty White “spitting image” Xavier Avery.

Another team that is truly on top of its game when it comes to videos are the State College Spikes, who have just released a truly excellent preview of their 2011 promotions.  This is the very definition of taking pride in your product — if you’re not excited then who else is going to be?

The Spikes have also recently produced one of the funniest mascot videos I’ve ever seen (“You have not done one push-up yet!”).

Another humorous video of recent vintage comes courtesy of the Inland Empire 66ers, who are proud to able to “Teach Fans How To Snuggie.” Or, more accurately, “Teaching Them How To Fleece Blanket With Sleeves.” Click HERE to check it out on Facebook.

I keep delaying a quite-substantial food post that I’ve been planning, but in honor of the weekend here’s a pic of the Lake Elsinore Storm’s new “Filthy McNasty.”

Cue up the Alan Vega, this is Suicide

The team explains that This unbelievably big burger, which could feed four comfortably, is a two-pound burger stuffed with two hot dogs, bacon and cheese. It is then smothered in chili and topped with crispy onion straws.

But for now, the Storm have more pressing matters to attend to. Just hitting the wires is news regarding their upcoming “Sheen-Co De Mayo” night. According to the Associated Press,  The promotion upset the Inland Empire Council of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Its president, Joe Olague, tells the Riverside Press-Enterprise it diminishes a significant day in Hispanic history.

The news never stops, I tell you.  Never.

So you might as well get in touch with more. I don’t plan on living until 109 anyway.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

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