Results tagged ‘ Bowie Baysox ’

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

The Onus Is On You To Fear the Sea Cow and Let It Snow

evol.jpgOver the past several weeks, I have methodically taken note of all the teams who are planning some sort of Valentine’s Day promotion. My current tally now stands at 33, and I am sure there are some that I am missing.

But, you know what? I’ve written about this kind of thing before, in multiple MiLB.com feature stories (HERE and HERE) and blog posts (HERE and HERE). So at this juncture, I’m just going to make a simple request:

Send me funny photos and videos from your Valentine endeavors, and I will compile a (hopefully) hilarious blog post with the best of what I receive. In the meantime, here’s a video featuring a diaper-wearing mascot playing front office Cupid.

It’s otherwise a pretty slow day here in Minor League Baseball-land, but we’ll get by. We always do.

I do, however, want to highlight an event going on tonight: Minor League Baseball on Ice!

tbl.pngThe NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning will be hosting “Minor League Baseball Night” at the St. Pete Times Forum on Friday. Not much to it, really — a bevy of Florida State League teams will have info booths set up on the concourse, attempting to educate fans on the wonders of Minor League Baseball.

And, according to the Brevard County Manatees website, anyone who visits the team’s booth and utters the words “Fear the Sea Cow!” will receive a special gift.

In my mind, simply having a legitimate reason to say “Fear the Sea Cow” to a total stranger is a gift in and of itself.

Meanwhile, much of the country is still dealing with the after-effects of last week’s blizzard. Instead of stressing out about the situation, the Cedar Rapids have taken a “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach.
    

And since it’s Friday, I’ll close with a video even more gratuitous. Check out who can now add “Children’s Book Author” to his resume:

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

Tis the Season For Blog Posts With Tis In the Title

191.pngWelcome to the 191st, and final, Ben’s Biz Blog installment of 2010. It’s been a year filled with love, laughs, and learning, much better than 2009’s alliterative noun triumvirate of ambiguity, ambivalence, and antipathy.

But now, like a timid jouster, it’s time to go gently into that good Knight. Before doing so, let’s take a metaphorical spin around the proverbial block in order to see how Minor League teams across the country are celebrating the holidays.

We’ll start with some photos from Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field, which is looking rather picturesque this time of year.

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Despite this not being a good time of year for apple-seed dispersal, Johnny seems to be good spirits. Any row he sits in becomes a de facto “tinpan alley.”

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Later, he got all introspective in the home dugout.

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Moving from introspection to Inland Empire, the 66ers have put together a video chronicling their wokplace Secret Santa follies. The lesson here is that traditionally-sized clothing is anathema to the mascot race.

And, by the way, the 66ers have a new blog. Check it out. Perhaps one day the team will reach the blogging heights that have been attained by the Great Lakes Loons, who recently put together a mammoth photo-heavy year-in-review post. THIS is probably the best single post done by a Minor League team this year.

Meanwhile, the Williamsport Crosscutters put together an article in which former players share their Christmas memories.

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The best Christmas recollection comes courtesy of Evan Porter: Last year I was with my family on Christmas morning, when I got a call from former teammates Adam Buschini and Jeremy Barnes. They both just called to say how much they missed me. Made me cry, and then Poppa brought in a baby Golden Retriever puppy.

And it wouldn’t be December in the Minors without a team-produced “Twas the Night Before Christmas” parody. This year, the Bowie Baysox got in on the action. 

If you would like to be wrapped up all cozy like the infantile team employees in the above video, then — guess what? — the Montgomery Biscuits have got you covered.

Naughty, nice, doesn’t matter.

And finally — mercifully — that’s going to put an end to Ben’s Biz Blog 2010. Here’s to a magical, magnanimous, and altogether marvelous 2011.

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

The Envelope, Please

The quest to determine the top Minor League promotion certainly was an arduous process. A series of blog posts led to a field of 32 semi-finalists which, in turn, led to the selection of four finalists.

And of those four finalists, the one that received the most votes was…

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The Rickwood Classic!

Read all about it in my MiLB.com piece, which can be found HERE. And, as you may recall, I was actually in attendance at this game. In addition to the article linked in the preceding paragraph, blog posts on Rickwood can be found HERE and HERE.

Looking back on it, it appears that my coverage of the event turned out pretty well. It is very rare that I ever feel this way about my own writing, but why fight it? Riding this wave of self-confidence, I’ll re-attempt a joke that totally bombed when I tweeted it this morning.

Chili in Minors is today’s number one news story! Click HERE for exclusive info.

Why doesn’t anyone else think this is funny? I’m drowning in virtual flop sweat. And when that’s the case, time to resort to the tried and true: New Logos.

The Delmarva Shorebirds will be hosting the 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star Game, and today they revealed the logo.

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This bird, his bearing upright and exclamations stentorian, was designed by Plan B Branding (who, by the way, maintain an excellent blog). As the logo implies, the game is sponsored by Perdue’s “Strike Out Hunger” campaign. More info can be found HERE.

Finally, in honor of Wednesday the 13th, a scary video courtesy of the Bowie Baysox.

The above video was rated “horror.”

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

A Day In the Life

tomorrow.jpgTomorrow, as it’s been said, is only a day away. And tomorrow’s tomorrow, when it becomes the present, presents a bountiful array of enticing presents to fans gracing Minor League ballparks with their presence.

Wishing to continue my reign as a preeminent prescient promotional prognosticator, I now present this truncated list of just what, exactly, is taking place tomorrow. Taken in toto, it serves to illuminate the the voluminous vitality of the Minor League landscape.

I know many of you would like to punch me in the face after reading the above two paragraphs, but you can’t. I’m light years away, and ensconced in bubble wrap. 

To the list!

Hank Conger Bobblehead Giveaway (Arkansas Travelers) — In honor of the switch-hitting backstop who suited up for the team in ’08 and ’09.

William Seward Bobblehead Giveaway (Auburn Doubledays) — In honor of NewThumbnail image for seward.jpg Yorkstate’s 12tgh governor, who suited up for the commonwealth from 1839-1842. He later served as Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln. Now he’s a bobblehead.

Three World Record Attempts (Bowie Baysox) — As detailed in this week’s “Promotion Preview” column, the Baysox are attempting to reach new heights in the categories of “Most People Sitting on a Whoopee Cushion”, “Most People Doing ‘The Twist'”, and “Most People Engaged in Simultaneous Air Guitar.”

Farmer Axle Bobblehead (Bowling Green Hot Rods) — It’s “Agriculture Night” in Bowling Green, hence a giveaway featuring a tractor-driving mascot.

Lumberstock (Clinton LumberKings) — An all-day festival featuring live music, cornhole tournaments, and plenty of food and drink. “Wood”n’t you like to go?

hooks.jpgRetro Jersey Giveaway (Corpus Christi Hooks) — An inimitable item mimicking the ’80s incarnation of parent club the Houston Astros.

Ryan Dempster Theme Jersey Auction (Daytona Cubs) — Proceeds benefit the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation.

Buster Posey Bobblehead (Fresno Grizzlies) — If you want one of these then you better Buster move to Chukchansi Park.

Jimmy Hart Appearance (Lexington Legends) — The “Mouth of the South” attempts to devour Applebee’s Park.

Ladies Night w/ Rafe Hernandez (Mahoning Valley Scrappers) — The “Days of Our Lives”rafe.jpg star visits Eastman Field, delighting fans with hourglass figures.

Jacoby Ellsbury Bobblehead (Pawtucket Red Sox) — Free to the first 4000 fans age 14 and under. Or at least those, like Ellsbury, who can pass for 14.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jerry Lawler Appearance (Richmond Flying Squirrels) — Because two legendary grapplers are always better than one, unless they gang up on you.

A few odds and ends before closing up shop:

– A new “Farm’s Almanac” feature is up now, about the Frederick Keys’ “Volt Night” and executive chefs in Minor League Baseball. “Volt Night”, in which Top Chef’s Bryan Voltaggio manned a concession stand, was a huge hit in Frederick (attracting a near-sellout crowd on a Tuesday night). The Baltimore Sun ran an excellent recap and photo gallery of the event.

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– For sheer wordplay lunacy, it will be hard to top the Huntsville Stars’ September 6 promotion. The game will be preceded by the “Okra Win-Free Labor Day Marathon”. 103 people will split the duties of running the race (no one will “win”, see?) and okra will be a side dish in the steak dinner following the race. Plus, an invitation has been extended to Oprah Winfrey, who once ran a marathon. The entire event should be soundtracked by THIS.

– Finally, from the “Why Didn’t I Think of That” department, the Lancaster JetHawks have passed along word that they’re planning a “90210 Night” promotion for September 2. Get it? 9/02/10. It’s been right there in front of us, all along.

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

Hair's the Scoop

baysox.jpgThe Bowie Baysox staged “Beard-A-Palooza” this past Monday, and I am fortunate to have attained photos from this hirsute celebration.

The promotion was exactly what its name implied: a celebration of beards. Between-inning games and contests were devoted to this most dignified form of facial hair, and all bearded individuals received discounted admission to the ballpark.

I’ll start things off with a 2010 Photo of the Year contender. I like this picture so much because 1) these guys are no johnny-come-latelies to the beard scene and 2) their innate good-naturedness is so immediately apparent:

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The Baysox do not discriminate, and made it clear to their fans that discounted admission would be available to those with beards both real and fake. Clearly, some took advantage of this loophole:

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This between-inning game involved contestants attempting to shave a balloon. I’m truly grateful that I have a job that allows me to regularly write sentences such as the previous:

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I have no idea what’s going on in the next two photos, but this aura of mystery enhances the visual:

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The Baysox aren’t the only team to have recently staged a follicle-related promotion. The Lake County Captains held “Hairstyle Appreciation Night”, which team director of promotions Jonathan Levey described thusly:

Hairstyle
Appreciation Night paid homage to all facets of hair. Barbers were on hand to
cut hair during the game with all tips received contributed to Locks for Love.
The Captains player with the best hairstyle head shot (Casey Frawley) on the
video board had $50 donated to Locks For Love in his name. The Captains hosted
several contests including: Best Hairstyle, Craziest Hairstyle, Best Wig and a
Wig Relay Race. There was also color hair spraying for the kids and many
different movie and photo clips to honor hair throughout the evening. 

Casey Frawley? ‘Fraid I’ve never haird of ‘em: 

Lake County_Frawley_hairheadshot.JPG

Captains staff:

Lake County hair staff.jpg

Multi-Tasking on the Concourse:

lakecounty barber.jpg

One of the evening’s biggest stars:

lake county mohawk.jpg

As much as I love writing about hair-related promotions within the world of Minor League Baseball, allow me to briefly point out that my latest “Farm’s Almanac” feature is a good one. It’s on umpiring in the Minors, and I hope you find it engaging and informative.

Okay, with that plug out of the way, let me return to the Baysox. The following video has nothing to do with hair, however. Rather, it is an amusing look at prospects Zach Britton and Caleb Joseph as they spend an evening at Camden Yards with something less than all-access:

That’s going to do it for me, for this week. In closing, I’ll leave you with yet another “at-bat walk-up” song selection. THIS.

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

Pictures Tell the Story

800px-Photographer.jpgA post earlier this week was dedicated to the preponderance of top-quality videos that had recently arisen from the vast Minor League landscape. But lest anyone think I’m giving short shrift to the still image, today’s entry will feature a few of the many photos I have recently received.

So let’s, as they say, get to it.

Yesterday was Earth Day, spurring teams across the country to spout their environmental bonafides in fortuitously-timed press releases. But only one club is currently featuring both a power-generating hamster as well as a fanatical wearer of an all-encompassing green body suit.

That club would be the Fort Myers Miracle:

hamedit.JPG

Sez the team:

Sparky makes appearances nightly to run in a hamster wheel…for a half-inning the entire ballpark is energized thru his swiftness. If Sparky slows down the lights on the scoreboard may dim.

While Sparky is running to his little heart’s content, the newly introduced “Green Guy” keeps the inside of the stadium clean.

Greeners.JPG

Let’s move from Southwest Florida to South Bend, Indiana. There, the Silver Hawks staged their annual “Halfway to Halloween Night” promotion. The evening featured discounted admission to those in costume, such as these characters:
 
South Bend -- Pirate, Clowns, Zombies.JPG

That Pirate up there on the right was the winner of the costume contest, marking the first time since 1992 that the Pirates were able to win anything. His “booty” was a pair of round-trip airfare tickets, which he gripped with gusto:

South Bend -- Pirate Halloween.JPG 

This youngster was proclaimed the winner in the youth category, and for good reason. This is the embodiment of rock ‘n roll swagger right here:

South Bend -- Elvis Halloween.JPG 

Regular readers of my weekly “Promotion Preview” column (and aren’t you all?) will recall Bowie’s “Outdoorsman Night”, a salute to fresh air recreational activities. Cold weather put somewhat of a damper on the proceedings, but nonetheless the show went on. Here’s a ballpark image you don’t see every day:

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Baysox media relations director Tom Sedlacek, who sent these pictures, writes “I’m not exactly sure what this race was, but contestants had to put on all the camo gear and run.” Sounds reasonable enough to me!

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Sedlacek also wrote that “neither contestant in the duck call competition actually knew how to use the duck call.” There is something about this image that saddens me.

And when I feel down, there’s only one thing that can lift my spirits: baseball-themed adolescent folk art. The Bowling Green Hot Rods staged “Art Night” earlier this month, which was highlighted by a calendar giveaway featuring youthful interpretations of the Bowling Green Baseball experience.

I don’t know what it is, exactly, but this drawing in particular really speaks to me:

Bowling Green -- Art Night.JPG

Kudos to this young artisan, may he (or she) go on to a creative career of colossal consequence.

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

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