Results tagged ‘ Bowling Green Hot Rods ’

Flipping the Script

The use of Native American imagery within the world of sports is a controversial topic, as teams like the Cleveland Indians and (especially) the Washington Redskins are under increasing pressure to abandon names and/or logos seen as culturally insensitive. But the Spokane Indians have found a way around this problem, collaborating with the local Spokane tribe to adopt a look that celebrates, rather than denigrates, the people it purports to represent.

This season, the club will wear a jersey in which “Spokane” is written in Salish script.

salish

The collaboration between the Spokane Indians and the Salish tribe is nothing new, but the above jersey represents a significant development. In fact, this partnership will be the topic of my next Minoring in Business article, running on MiLB.com tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Speaking of teams sporting a name inspired by their region’s Native American population, the Syracuse Chiefs recently unveiled this:

But that’s not the only interesting historical sporting overview that I’ve recently found via Twitter. Behold:

But as much as some things change, others remain constant. On 3/14 the Bowling Green Hot Rods held a “Pi Day” promo, in which tickets were sold for $3.14 for three hours and 14 minutes, beginning at 3:14 p.m. (And, as an added bonus,  fans who bought the tickets in person were offered free slices of pizza “pi”.)

I was curious as to how this promotion was received, and Hot Rods assistant general manager Ben Hemmen satiated my curiosity thusly.

National “Pi” Day was a BIG hit in Bowling Green. In just three hours and fourteen minutes (3.14), we sold over 600 tickets at the box office or over the phone to games for this upcoming summer. The Power of “Pi” will definitely be something that we look at using next season to tie in a promotional opportunity for our fans.

Among the many items on team to-do lists at this time of year is adding new situationally appropriate song selections to the music database. For help with this endeavor, one enterprising rookie-level P.A. announcer took to Reddit. The resulting discussion is well worth reading.

This blog is also well worth reading, in my less-than-humble opinion, and I thank you for having Reddit.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Return to the Road: Nashville, Bowling Green, and Points In-Between

With quasi-arbitrary personal and professional milestones firmly in the rear view mirror, it’s now time to move confidently into the future by dwelling in the past. In other words, it’s time to Return to the Road! Some of you may be familiar with the “Return to the Road” concept, but for those who aren’t:

Each season I go on several Minor League Baseball road trips, documenting the ballpark experience as thoroughly as I am able. But, of course, part of the beauty of this sort of road trip is that it gives gives one the opportunity to explore not just the ballpark but the city itself. And that’s simply what these posts are — an offseason opportunity for me to re-visit my 2013 road trips by highlighting that which was seen and experienced outside of the ballpark. (Even if it wasn’t much — I’m on a tight schedule!)

2013’s slate of peregrinations began with May’s Southern Swing trip, with stop #1 being in Bowling Green. I attended May 8’s Hot Rods game, and the next morning, after recording the first of what would become several dozen “Road Trip Hotel Room Reviews,” I was able to explore Bowling Green’s downtown area (located the proverbial “hop, skip, and a jump” away from the stadium). The focal point of downtown is “Fountain Square Park,” which is ripped straight out of Norman Rockwell’s America.

243

Per the Bowling Green Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:

Restored facades of 19th-century buildings, a renovated Art Deco movie theater, thriving businesses and bustling professionals surround the park’s historic fountain, statues, flowers, shrubs, mature trees and benches. Once the site of prohibitionist marches, trolleys, livestock trades and scrap drives, today it is the host of summer concerts, parades, arts and crafts shows and many other festivals and events throughout the year.

Here’s what I saw on a sleepy afternoon in early May, beginning with the titular fountain:

003

007

008

018

But not all of downtown Bowling Green was as genteel as the images seen above. Here’s Rocky’s Bar, located at 322 E. Main Street.

016

Inebriates in the know know to order Gorilla’s Blood.

Unfortunately, that little spot of downtown wandering was about all that I had time for whilst in Bowling Green. I was listening to local country radio as I drove out of the city, and would you believe that Lee Greenwood was playing at the exact moment at which I passed the Greenwood Mall? It’s true. My notes also indicate that I heard George Strait and Alan Jackson’s “Murder on Music Row” as well, and that this song is “a much-needed corrective to condescending schlock.”

I can’t tell you where I was, exactly, but about an hour or so later I drove by this establishment and immediately did a u-turn so that I could photograph it. This, to me, is beauty incarnate:

019Long may you run:

020

Of course, one of the best things about trips such as these is stopping at kitschy rest stops for gas/food/totally unnecessary and irredeemably tacky but nonetheless irresistible souvenirs.

021

At Sad Sam’s, one is greeted by this statue. It is as vividly rendered as it is culturally insensitive.

024

This guy is a behemoth!

023

I limited myself to three items while at Sad Sam’s: An “anti-snoring” contraption consisting of a small clothespin in a wooden box (sadly not pictured), a can of boiled peanuts and the bizarrely wax-like peanut patty.

022

Out in the parking lot of Sad Sam’s an older gentlemen with greased-hair and a pack of Pall Malls in his breast pocket struck up a conversation with me. He was curious as to whether I liked the Kia I was driving (my rental car), and when I replied that it was adequate but unremarkable he told me that he bought an “alien green” Kia for his wife.

“She likes it, but I’m a retired auto worker,” he told me. “If I drove it to our union meetings everyone would make fun of me.”

And with that, it was on to Nashville. En route to Greer Stadium, home of the Sounds, I was able to make a brief detour at Grimey’s. Behind this humble domestic facade lurks one of the best-regarded record stores in the city.

027

026

025

I enjoyed browsing the stacks — both at Grimey’s and its next-door “Grimey’s Too” location — and ended up purchasing three new 7″ records (two of which were on Nashville’s Third Man record label), a couple of used LPs, and the awesome issue of Juxtapoz that was dedicated to the visual aesthetic of the Beastie Boys.  My notes also indicate that the Fiery Furnaces cover of “Single Again” was playing in the store and that I “should get that.”

Grimey’s Too:

030

Grimey’s was very close to Greer Stadium, and my next stop was even closer: Fort Negley, a Union fortification built during the Civil War, is located adjacent to the ballpark.

031

Greer Stadium is actually visible from the base of Fort Negley.

032

I’m going to go out on a limb and declare this to be the only guitar-shaped scoreboard that is visible from a National Historic Landmark.

033I wandered about the fort for a half hour or so, but unfortunately these are the only photos that have survived my travails.

034

035

And from there, it was off to the ballgame. As I noted at the time, the Sounds were expecting me.

1261

You can read all about my night with the Sounds by clicking HERE, but as for this particular post this is all I’ve got. I’ll close by noting that I have a pork cracklin addiction, and had to ration myself to one bag for every day that I was on this road trip. Nothing like pulling a blogging all-nighter in a hotel while eating a bag of Golden Flakes and drinking Mello-Yello!

239

Thanks for “returning to the road” with me. Post #1001 is now complete.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

On the Road: Get Your Motor Running in Bowling Green

While 2009 included a couple of incidental dilly-dallies, these “On the Road” blog installments began in earnest in 2010. 2013, then, marks the fourth season of this on-going adventure, in which I visit Minor League stadiums nationwide and deliver the results of said explorations to you, a reader both discerning and loyal and very attractive.

All of this is to say: “Yes, I am on the road again” (quotes utilized because I said this out loud while typing). And this year’s travels began in Bowling Green.

(NOTE: For more crucial Bowling Green “On the Hot Road” content, please read this MiLB.com story. As I have said time and time again, largely to no avail: I am not just a blogger!)

Bowling Green is the home of the Hot Rods, and the Hot Rods play in Bowling Green Ballpark.

118

Like many Minor League stadiums that have come before, Bowling Green Ballpark is being utilized as the centerpiece of a downtown revitalization project. It opened in 2009 — marking the first time that Bowling Green had had professional baseball since 1942 — and four years later new retail, restaurant and residential buildings are springing up around it.

The resultant landscape is very much a work in progress —  the new mixed with the old, 21st century innovation blended with industrial-era decay. A few views from the second level:

123

130

A short walk down the street seen below leads to Bowling Green’s downtown square, a truly picturesque and tranquil old-fashioned retail hub that I visited the next day.

124

I’ll have more on Bowling Green’s downtown area in a future “Return to the Road” post, but here’s a glimpse of its beauty:

013

But back to the ballpark — more vantage points!

132

And is that what I think it is? The answer to this question, due to the fact that I know what I’m thinking, is a resounding yes: train tracks! And trains!

Bowling Green may be an automotive town (the Hot Rods are named, in part, due to the presence of a Corvette factory), but the train survives:

133

Speaking of vantage points, the Hot Rods broadcast booth offers a unique one. The “Stadium Club” bar and restaurant area for season ticket holders is located on the second level behind home plate, meaning that those calling the action have been shunted off to the side. Here’s that view:

119

Broadcaster Hank Fuerst seemed at peace with this set-up, utilizing everyone’s favorite tautology: “It is what it is.”

122

Are there other stadiums which position the broadcasters in such a fashion, in favor of giving season ticket holders the best views? The only one I can think of off-hand is Harrisburg, post-renovation. Here’s a look at that, from my trip in 2010: 

hburg

The Stadium Club and its view:

126

125

We’ll return to the Stadium Club in a bit, but for now let’s descend to sea level. The pre-game sights were similar to that which you’ll find at MiLB parks all over the country.

I get lost in your eyes…

134

Larry Parrish, big league slugger turned manager of the visiting West Michigan Whitecaps, signing a few autographs.

136

Bowling Green, as you may know, is located fairly close to the natural wonder that is Mammoth Caves. Such topography extends to the city as well, which is a Karst landscape (I learned this term from Fuerst). What this means, in essence, is that stadium construction couldn’t extend far into the ground because of the instability of the earth below. This is why clubhouses and batting cages and storage areas and such are located beyond the outfield.

(This is a very poor explanation, and as my Dad is a geologist I am now expecting him to chime in via the comments section.)

I had been tapped to throw a first pitch, and while waiting for this honor to occur I wandered around the perimeter of the playing field.

137

138

140

Hank Fuerst, looking sad in this non-representative still, doing the pre-game show on the rather impressive videoboard.

141

Notice that the pre-game show is called “The Tune-Up.” Other team name tie-ins to be found around the stadium include the “Turbo Times” game program and “Body Shop” team store.

Finally — the first pitch, as overseen by promotions manager Jennifer Johnson. I have delivered quite a few first pitches over the years, but this marked the first occasion in which I was asked to introduce myself (usually, the intros are done over the PA in hyperbolic fashion). While I now wish I had taken the opportunity to tell the crowd that Sparks is the most underrated band of all time, I simply said “Ben Hill, from MinorLeagueBaseball.com” in a tone most stentorian.

144

And, well, let’s just say that it  wasn’t one of my better offerings.

145

But mascot love is unconditional, and despite my mechanical failures Axle and Roscoe were their to buoy my spirits.

146

Nonetheless, I thought it would be best to lay low for a bit so I proceeded to the right field corner for the national anthem.

149

151

Oh say can you see?

153

And, well, alright! The game was finally underway, and it took me less than 900 words to get to this point in the narrative. Still out in right field, I recorded a Vine video in order to provide a little game day ambiance.

I am new to Vine, and Vine is new to the world, so there are kinks to be worked out on all sides. However — it is a fun and easy to use app that I plan on incorporating into my content from now on, and I hope that MLBlogs will soon allow its users to embed these looping six second videos on the blog. In the meantime I will link to them when applicable, and if you follow me on Twitter — @BensBiz — then you’ll have immediate real-time access.

It was a Wednesday night ballgame, the first of the homestand, and the crowd was about par for the course for a mid-week ballgame played during the school year. To use a car analogy, since car talk so prevalent here in Bowling Green: the  team’s return home represents turning the ignition, and then each game of the homestand represents shifting into a higher gear, and, therefore, this game was first gear and…okay, that’s terrible. Just look at some pictures. That’s all anyone cares about, right?

Pictures.

So here you go. Look at these pictures, while I attempt to rally from yet another bout of writerly self-pity.

155

156

From the bold marketing minds that brought you “College Football Playoffs.”

158

The ice cream immediately melted in Axle’s presence:

154

I must have passed this dude five or six times on the concourse. He was always carrying the compact disc player, always engrossed in the music. I wonder what he was listening to.

160

Off of the concourse and on to the field, here’s Hot Rods manager Jared Sandberg coaching third base:

157

Sandberg, former Tampa Bay Devil Ray and nephew of Ryne, is, so far as I know, the only manager to ever tweet about one of my ballpark visits. 

https://twitter.com/jlsofoly/status/332165602728886272

Why is that tweet not embedding? Why is it a good idea for me to waste 30 minutes on trying to correct this? Point is, Sandberg’s tweet expressed mock frustration because he “missed out on free food and tix” that the Hot Rods were offering to  my designated eater that evening.

Yes! This was the debut of the designated eater, as from here on in I will be recruiting someone at all of my ballpark stops to eat the gluten-free cuisine that I cannot. As I wrote on MiLB.com:

The Hot Rods held a contest on their Facebook page to find Wednesday’s designated eater and selected season-ticket holders Randy and Donna Brown. The Browns have been married for 34 years — he’s a maintenance worker at a local factory and she an office manager at Christian Family Radio — and their relationship dates back to their late teenage years. At that time, Donna worked at Wendy’s and Randy at a steak restaurant.

“It was the best of both worlds, and we haven’t slowed down since!” said Donna of their employment situations at the time.

Clearly, these were the right people for the job. Sitting in the Stadium Club bar and lounge area, located on the second level behind home plate, Randy and Donna were soon presented with BBQ Pork Nachos and, more significantly, the Grand Slam Burger.

Randy, with nachos.

164

Donna, more demure, with the Grand Slam Burger:

163

Clearly, this grand slam burger deserves another look:

162

More from my MiLB.com piece:

[T]he Grand Slam Burger consists of “two grilled hamburgers served with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and spicy BBQ sauce between two glazed doughnuts.”

“It’s delicious — a combination of flavors that is really unique,” said Donna. “It’s a sweet burger, if that makes sense, and strikes a really good balance. I would recommend it!”

The happy couple, post-meal, photo-bombed by Axle and Roscoe:

169

My thanks to the Browns, who were both very good-natured and engaging and got this whole ridiculous “designated eater” concept off to a great start.

At this point, the night was upon us.

170

After a brief stop in the restroom — always wash your hands! — I headed over to the radio booth for an inning with number two broadcaster Chris Kleinhans-Schulz. My puns were quite plentiful, my insight quite lacking.

173

172

Hey, look, you’ve all come to see pictures and instead I’ve written over 1500 words, all of them gratuitous. Time to shut it down, similar to how the Hot Rods were shut down by the visiting Whitecaps.

Ballgame…

175

over.

178

Wednesday night being what it is, I didn’t catch Bowling Green Ballpark in its full splendor. But this is a great front office operating in a great stadium in what seems to be a great town. I certainly enjoyed my time here and, apropos of nothing, on the way out noticed this really awesome looking advertisement.

Aesthetically pleasing!

181

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

I Believe the Children Are Our Future Promoters

edbird.jpgLike any self-obsessed writer, I regularly check to see what websites have recently linked to my blog. Most of the time it’s random message board posters with an affinity for giant hamburgers, but occasionally the results are more interesting.

For example, last week I received several dozen hits from a high school teacher’s sports marketing blog. He asked his students to read my recent post on the Lowell Spinners’ “Human Home Run” stunt, and then write a two paragraph response explaining their thoughts on Minor League promotions as well as what sort of promotions they themselves would stage if put in a position to do so. The students’ answers, in the comments section, were not always feasible but certainly creative. A sampling:

I would bring a monster truck to my stadium/arena and it would go flying off a ramp. It would have to jump 6 school buses lined up next to each other. There would also be a huge ring of fire right in front of the ramp to make everything look crazy. The monster truck would have my team’s logo on it. It would be crazy and the place would be sold out.

Seeing that people will pay to watch risky situations. I would promote a pet skydiving. Idogdive.jpg would let dogs/cats land in the middle of the field before the game. This will honor animal abuse and will also bring fans to the stadium.

My idea would be to have player vs fan game. When the fans buy a ticket for the game they have a chance to enter contests. Then the fans will be picked at random to play a mini game with the players. I think if you give the players a chance to interact with the players it will attract more people.

I think it’s great that teachers are introducing such sports marketing concepts to high school students, as it could potentially get them interested in a Minor League Baseball career. To any high school teachers or college professors who read this blog — I will gladly assist your educational endeavors. Get in touch anytime.

Thumbnail image for milblogo.jpgAnd even more beneficial would be for teams to get involved. Wouldn’t it be great to invite students to the ballpark to take part in the conception and execution of a Minor League promo? While animal skydiving is probably not going to happen any time soon, it would be very interesting to see students’ ideas incorporated into gameday entertainment.

Just a thought. I’ve been known to have those once in a while.

And young promo progenitors would be more likely to come up with social media innovations, such as the Bowling Green Hot Rods’ Facebook Fan Night. This first-of-its kind promo is rolling right along — Facebook fans have selected the game time (6:35) and are now in the midst of picking the uniforms the team will wear that night.

And, predictably, the idea is catching on. Kane County and Stockton have recently announced their own version of the promo. Who’s next?

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

Double Feature! RiverDogs and Hot Rods!

Since I didn’t post yesterday, and because we are entering a particularly “newsy” time of year, today will be devoted to TWO headline-worthy items. Let’s start with — you guessed it – food.

The Charleston RiverDogs have announced 2011’s signature dog — a frank following in the grand tradition of Pickle and Homewrecker. Food and beverage grandmaster John Schumacher writes that “our crack team of concessionaires have been working overtime in the test kitchen and scouring the State Fair Circuit far & wide for ideas.”

The result is “Pig On A Stick” — a foot long corn dog wrapped in bacon:

Riverdogscorndogsbacon.JPG
Unlike more conceptual recent attention-getters such as the Three Dog Night, this one pretty much speaks for itself. And since I have attributed to it the gift of speech, I imagine it is saying “This bacon is suffocating me, it’s salty embrace inescapable.”

Speaking of embraces, the Bowling Green Hot Rods are embracing Facebook at a heretofore unheard of level. May 18 will be “Facebook Fans” night, an evening devoted to the mercurial whims of the team’s passionate social networking partisans.

fbfans.jpg

This one is quite literally a game-changer:

[T]he initial step of the promotion drives the team’s Facebook fans to recruit new members to add to its following…..Until April 18, for every 200 additional fans that ‘Like’ the team on Facebook (up to 10,000), the Hot Rods will reduce ticket prices by 50 cents for all of its Facebook fans on May 18. This means for every 1,000 new fans beyond the current 7,000, box seat ticket prices drop $2.50 from their face value of $10.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BGHRlogo.JPG

Starting next Monday and continuing every week through the beginning of the season, the team begins phase two of the promotion. Each week a new element…will be posted on the team’s Facebook page for fans to vote on. The first element on February 21 will have fans select what time the game starts…Additional elements include which uniforms the Hot Rods will wear and what food and merchandise items will be specially priced for the game…Hot Rods Facebook fans will also be incorporated into several game day activities ranging from on-field promotions, first pitch opportunities, and meetings with Hot Rods players and coaches.

Like a serialized novella, this is going to take a long time to play out. You can count on me for periodic updates and observations, as it should be quite interesting to see this one develop.

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

The One-Der Of It All

jack.jpgHello, and Happy New Year.

I would like to begin 2011 by employing my favorite kind of metaphor — a belabored one. Over the next three months, Minor League Baseball teams will be turning the lever on the jack-in-the-box that is their operation. They will do this, with increasing speed and intensity, until the cadence of the calliope reaches a fever pitch. And then — BAM! — out pops the 2011 season.

From that point forward (assume determined, gravelly tone): It’s On!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The gears are turning rather slowly right now, but as long as they’re moving I’ve got something to write about.

Let’s start with some news that came out of Trenton this morning, as the ever-reliable Thunder have announced a promotion that has an obsessive, Rainman-like numbers fixation.

Take it away, press release.

The calendar will reach 1/11/11 next week and the Trenton Thunder…have taken the lead in the sports world by recognizing the
number one‘s historical day. The team selected their number one value-driven promotional game on the 2011 schedule and will have an early one-day release for individual tickets to that exclusive game.

On Tuesday, January 11th the Thunder will open up 1,111 tickets for their Friday, April 15th game against the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals). On the 15th, for the advanced ticket price of $11, fans can enjoy free Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers throughout the game.

My thoughts, as they often do, turn to music. Songs that should be heard at the ballpark on this special evening include “One” (Metallica gets precedence over U2), “One Is the Loneliest Number” (Nilsson version, please!), and, of course, “What a 1-derful World.”

But the Thunder aren’t the only 1 doing a special 2011-based ticket offer. Down in Fort Myers, the Miracle have their own ideas on how to commemorate time’s inexorable passage.

2011.jpgPress release, I’m looking in your direction:

The Miracle are pleased to present the “Miracle NewYear’s Resolution Pack”.

That’s right, a pack that gets one a free week membership to Fort Myers Fitness, a gift card for your nutritional needs and supplements from Mother Earth Natural Foods,
PLUS a 4-pack of Miracle tickets — all yours for the New Year’s price of $20.11.

It should go without saying, but this stupendous offer is only available through 1/11/11 at 11 a.m. (come on guys, I think you should extend the deadline to 11:11).

Moving on to less numerically-based news, I’d like to focus your attention on a quite-awesome piece of ultra-limited Minor League apparel: The Bowling Green Cave Shrimp Hat, designed by the taste-making impresarios over at Plan B Branding.

caveshrimphat.png
As regular readers of this blog know, this iconic sightless crustacean has already been celebrated in a series of reality-bending game day promotions staged by the Bowling Green Hot Rods. May the power of the cave shrimp only continue to grow.

Okay, I believe that’s enough lever-turning for one day. But, please, this blog needs constant fuel or else it will wither and die. Do your part by contacting me through the following channels:

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

Back To Life, Postponing Reality

abysss.jpegI enjoyed my jaunt out to the Midwest, and am grateful to all who took the time to read about it. It was a suitably jam-packed end to a jam-packed season.

But that’s the real issue here: we’re dealing with the end times.

A handful of teams are currently immersed in the playoffs, but that’s just a postponement of the inevitable. The offseason — that endless abyss! that unfathomable void! — has opened up its voracious maw and will soon consume us all.

But not yet. I’ve got plenty of in-season content left over, carefully pickled and preserved, and I intend to dole it out sparingly.

Starting…now!

Since we’re on the topic of “the end times”, check out the so-called “Aqua-palypse” that recently befell Gwinnett County’s Coolray Field. This was the culmination of a season-long bullpen vs. promo crew battle, and none were spared:

And then there’s this, a kilt-wearing skipper:

haleysquat.jpg
haleygotit.jpg

That’s Mark Haley of the South Bend Silver Hawks, participating in the Ronald McDonald House “Men in Kilts” fundraiser. He wore the outfit during August 27’s ballgame in order to raise money and awareness; further info can be found at meninkilts.org (don’t make the same mistake I did and type in meninkilts.com. This will lead you to a Vancouver-based window and gutter cleaning service).

I’ll leave you with photos of two unique late-season giveaway items. The St. Lucie Mets gave away a custom Banana Phone (inspired by the Raffi song of the same name, an unlikely ballpark standard at St. Lucie’s Digital Domain Park):

BananaPhone.JPG

In Bowling Green, the iconic “What Could’ve Been” Cave Shrimp made a triumphant return in 2010. This time as a stoic figurine:

Bowling Green_cave shrimp figurine.JPG

We live in the age of the mash-up, and if this thoroughly 21st-century concept ever makes its way to the Minor Leagues then I would like to make the following suggestion:

Cave Shrimp Banana Phone Giveaway.

That thing could blow some minds, and if some graphic-design wiz out there could send me a conceptual drawing I’d really appreciate it.

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.

volt.jpg 

– 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

Korn in Nebraska, Super-Mega Prizes in Kentucky

Last week the Omaha Royals utilized the amusing headline of “Korn, Dogs on Tap” in order to promote a night at the ballpark that included cheap frankfurters and a commemorative first pitch by Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis.

The nu-metal impresario did indeed stop by Rosenblatt Stadium yesterday, in advance of that evening’s Korn concert. Here is he throwing out the first pitch, looking for all the world like David Cross in a wig:

Omaha_Korn_firstpitch.JPG 
Davis posing with 0-Royals GM Martie Cordaro, who enjoyed a stint as Drowning Pool’s bass player before embarking on a career within Minor League Baseball (note: not true). Separated at birth?

Omaha_korn_withmartie.JPG 

In the 0-Royals locker room, Davis showed off the team-autographed bat that was presented to him:

Omaha_Korn_bat.JPG 

(all photos: O-Royals creative services manager Eldon Lindsay, who
noted in an email that the team “normally doesn’t serve corn dogs
through our concessions. But tonight we actually had foot-long corn
dogs…Coincidence? I think not.”)

Thumbnail image for BG Hot Rods.JPGMoving on from nu-metal to nu-writing, I would like to make it known that a fresh edition of “Promotion Preview” is now available. Contained therein is some info on the Bowling Green Hot Rods’ “Super-Mega-Prize-A-Thon”, which is taking place on May 30. This is easily the most impressive Thon since Dickie, as throughout the evening fans will have the opportunity to win the following items. Take it away, press release:

- A wedding band featuring 11 Melee diamonds compliments of Morris
Jewelry
– Hissing cockroaches (with feeding instructions) and a Quarterly
Exterior Service thanks to Action Pest Control

- A free night’s stay in the Ambassador Jacuzzi Suite at Baymont Inn
& Suites
– A prize pack from the National Corvette Museum including a family
admission pass
– Free haircuts, hair care products, and two ticket vouchers to the
Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
– A Mickey Mantle replica jersey compliments of Grubbmasters Card Shop
– Four family packs to Dinosaur World
– 467 Hershey’s Kisses compliments of Koch Air, sponsor of the Hot Rods
Kiss Cam
– 100 Kentucky State Fair pins
– A Fulmer Full-Face, DOT-approved motorcycle helmet (valued at $179.95)
courtesy of Lost River Power Sports
– A dozen golf balls thanks to Junior Achievement
– An American flag courtesy of Modern Woodmen of America
– Books, t-shirts and coolers compliments of Baseball America
– Assorted sporting goods, including an NBA basketball, football,
volleyball, and two baseball gloves, thanks to Spalding and Russell
Athletic.
– 12 seat cushions courtesy of Bowling Green Independent Schools
– Bookmarks thanks to the Law Firm of Flora Templeton Stuart
– A set of crutches compliments of Western Kentucky Orthopaedic &
Neurological Associates
– Grocery prize packs from Houchens Markets and Crossroads IGA including
bath tissue, dog treats, cleaning products, and a jumbo bag of suckers
– 100 packets of Biofreeze from Body Works Chiropractic
– 250 popsicles from Purity (all to one recipient; winner cannot use
ballpark freezers)
– Gift certificates to SUBWAY, Olive Garden, Spa Fabulous, and other
Bowling Green area businesses

“Super-Mega-Prize-A-Thon” is the highlight of what is shaping up to be a very impressivecockroach.JPG homestand in Bowling Green. The club is giving away team logo skateboard decks on May 31st, and “community affairs dude” Kyle Hanrahan will camp at the ballpark throughout the 13-day stand in order to raise money and awareness for The Hospitality House charity.

In closing, I just want to note that one of the prizes the Hot Rods are giving away on May 30th is indeed “Hissing Cockroaches with Feeding Instructions.” This, I believe, is a first.

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 444 other followers