Results tagged ‘ Bowling Green Hot Rods ’

A Spike in Alternate Realties

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for scspikes.gifThe Bowling Green Hot Rods’ “What Could’ve Been Night” was voted the top promotion in all of Minor League Baseball last season, an honor that thoroughly validated the once-fringe promotional concept of alternate reality celebration.

The Hot Rods’ success has inspired at least four teams to follow suit in 2010: The Quad Cities River Bandits, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Portland Beavers, and State College Spikes. I eagerly await each and every one of these promotions, but for now we shall focus on the goings-on in State College.

For the Spikes’ just released the details of August 27’s “What If Night”, details that I will now share with you.

Ever wish you could go back in time five years? The State College Spikes
are inviting fans to
coaly.jpg do just that by turning back the clock to the
franchise’s 2005 “Name the Team Contest” – the one that ultimately led
to “Spikes” being picked as team nickname – and selecting one of the
runner-up choices to have its moment of glory.

To play up the theme of the day, the team will take the field for that
night’s game against the Batavia Muckdogs as either the Anglers, Coalys,
Furnace or Haymakers, and Spikes fans will again have the power to
decide….The winning nickname will be honored with a logo and specially-designed
jerseys, which will be worn by the players during the August 27 game and
then auctioned off to fans in attendance that night.
 

Further information can be found HERE, and those wishing to vote can do so HERE

This contest really brings me back, as a young Benjamin Hill wrote a news article in November of 2005 detailing the selection of “Spikes” as the team’s name. This was in MiLB.com’s first year of operation, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. In that regard, little has changed.

– But speaking of alternate existences — how bizarre would it be if the universe’s most celebrated Wookie was in actuality a seven-foot tall British thespian prone to making appearances at Minor League ballparks?

That’s the mind-bending reality experienced by Oklahoma City baseball fans last week, as Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew pressed the flesh and smiled for the flash at Bricktown Ballpark.

Here he is with a young Jedi:

Oklahoma City -- Chewy1.jpg

And here he is in the dugout with RedHawks manager Bobby Jones:

Oklahoma City -- Chewy2.jpg

photo credits: Wendy Eagan/MiLB.com

No word yet on what Chewbacca would select as his on-bat music, but while we wait for this crucial information please peruse THIS LIST of personalized player intro tunes provided by the Pacific Coast League’s Reno Aces. 

In an alternate reality, I am a member of the Reno Aces hoping to make it back to the bigs. Each time I come to the plate, the crowd is regaled with 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:

Bowie - Outdoors -- Buck.JPG

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!

bowie -- outdoors -- camo.JPG

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

Skating Through To St. Patty's

To start things off, I would like to post this picture of the skateboard deck that the Bowling Green Hot Rods will be giving away on May 31. I meant to post this yesterday, but ran into inexplicable technical difficulties that ended up ballooning into an anxiety-ridden existential crisis that left me questioning the concrete reality of everything I take for granted on a day-to-day basis. So here goes nothing:

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bored.PNG

Oh, man. I feel so much better now, and can get on with my life. That’s a great giveaway, right? So far as I know, the Hot Rods are the second team to give away a skateboard. The Lancaster JetHawks did so in 2008, resulting in a pre-game line of fans that wrapped around the stadium.

Now that that’s out of the way, I suppose I should mention that today is St. Patrick’s Day and then dutifully provide some suitably Irish content. Consider it done.

I am aware of two teams that have released St. Patty’s apparel: The Orem Owlz and Savannah Sand Gnats (feel free to send me indignant emails that point out other clubs I have omitted, as my goal of total omniscience has not yet been attained).

The O’Orem O’Owlz:
oremstpatty.jpg 

A Gnatty St. Patty:

gnatty st. patty.jpg
Update: Here’s another one, courtesy of the South Bend Silver Hawks. As you may recall, the Silver Hawks play an annual exhibition game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

sbstpatty.JPG 

And since I’m on the much-beloved topic of “apparel”, now is as good a time as any to point out that the Tulsa Drillers unveiled their new uniforms earlier this week. Not too drastic a change, but it should be noted that a “rich, royal blue” will now be the primary color:

drilleruni.jpg

I’ve got a pair of apparel items for you, as it “terns” out. The Great Lake Loons unveiled a new alternate logo, which will be worn on Sundays. In my mind, this looks like a futuristic hover car, with the driver represented as the two circles within the Loons’ red eye. 

loon.jpg 

Birds reign supreme in other markets as well, such as Missoula:

It is worth noting that the Osprey front office works out of this house during the offseason:

ospreyfrontoffice.jpg

Either that’s a really wide window or a really narrow door.

To continue on with both the “video” and “bird” theme, the Memphis RedBirds have released a pair of videos that highlight their constant state of baseball readiness.

With all due respect to Three Dog Night’s take on “One”, I would like to suggest that in the future teams opt for the Harry Nilsson version (Incidentally, if any club stages a “Nilsson Night” at the ballpark then I will travel to cover it on my own dime).

But back to the ‘Birds, who have more up their sleeve when it comes to delusional backstops:
 

That’ll do it for me today. I hope everyone enjoys their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, even if said celebration is simply drinking Mickey’s while watching Leprechaun in the Hood.

(And if that is indeed what you are doing, then I hope you are getting as much out of college as I did).

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

Supernatural Supremacy and Sitcom Stars

Thumbnail image for fresno g.jpgSorry that it’s been a while since I dropped some bizness knowledge on ya. All I can do at this juncture is to rip a page out of the MTA playbook and “apologize for the unavoidable delay.”

NYC public transit references translate nationwide, right? I sure hope so; otherwise I’ve alienated my audience even faster than usual.

Well, I’ll get you all back in my good graces by once again going over some recently unveiled 2010 promotional schedules.

The Fresno Grizzlies are one of those teams that routinely seek out the national spotlight, staging innovative promotions that often catch on throughout the industry. The club was the first to book the increasingly ubiquitous Mr. Belding (as part of their “Mad Tight 90s Night), and their “As Seen on TV Night” (featuring a Snuggie giveaway) has inspired several teams follow suit.

As for 2010, one of the Grizzlies’ biggest highlights will occur on June 26: Twilight Night.

I’ll refer you now to the expert on this schedule, an individual by the name of “Press Release“:

The Grizzlies will celebrate a pop culture phenomenon by hosting “Twilight
Night”
on the evening of a lunar eclipse. At the core of the
Twilight craze is one of the most hotly debated topics in recent memory,
which can be summed up succinctly in one question: Team Edward or Team
Jacob? In advance of the highly anticipated third installment of the
movie series, fans will be able to decide the outcome of that debate by
voting on the team’s Facebook Fan Page between a customized vampire
(Team Edward) or werewolf (Team Jacob) jersey. The winning jersey will
be worn by the Grizzlies during Twilight Night, with proceeds of a
jersey auction aptly benefiting the Central California Blood Center.

grizvampwolf.JPG 
I don’t know enough about Twilight to make an informed choice, but what this debate seems to boil down to on a subconscious level is “Disco or Rock n’ Roll”?

Another Grizzlies highlight is “Mad Tight 90s Night: The Remix” on May 20. This year’s special guest is none other than Alfonso Ribeiro, aka Carlton on “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”:

carlton.jpg  

There is a strong likelihood that Tom Jones will be blasting through the Chukchansi Park speakers on this very special evening. Y’know, because of this:

And here’s hoping that the Grizzlies resident front office rappers record their own version of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song. 

Other nights to circle on the nationwide Minor League promo calendar that I assume hangs prominently in your home office: “You Sing the National Anthem” (July 5), “Man Night” (July 29), and “Mascot Wrestling” (August 14).

Let’s move north, past the California border into Oregon, because the Portland Beavers have released their promo schedule. Traditionally, the team stages one premier bobble giveaway each season (with 2006’s Rodney McCray bobblefence and ’07’s “Bob L. Head” being especially notable), so speculation was rampant over who would get the nod in 2010.

Speculate no more. This year, the prestigious recipients of Beaver bobble fame are these guys:

louienclark.jpg

Lewis and Clark, the most estimable battery of the 19th century, will be rendered in bobble form and distributed to the Portland masses on May 22. The following month, the Beavers will pay tribute to a group of equally accomplished explorers: “Goonies Never Say Die Night” is June 11, and will feature a post-game screening of the 1980s kids classic.

I’ll leave you with this, which will surely stand out as one of 2010’s premier giveaway items. On May 31, the Bowling Green Hot Rods will be distributing skateboard decks to the first 1000 fans in attendance (age 17 and under).

If you actually see a photo underneath this sentence, then it will represent my triumph over one of the greatest blogging adversities I have ever faced. If not, then I have failed. But rest assured, I will not give up. Not now, or ever.

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

Bowling Green Sets 'Em Up, Knocks 'Em Down

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BGHRlogo.JPGLess than one hour ago, I received an email which posited the following:

“How many world record attempts have started with a baseball mascot? Especially a bear! Axle the Bear!”

This whimsically-worded missive was sent by Atlee McHeffey, production manager for the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Axle the Bear is the team’s mascot, and the world record attempt that he started was this:

Totals and a Recap

Bowling Green -- Promo of Year.JPGThis season marks the third in which MiLB.com has held a fan vote in order to determine the Promotion of the Year.

In 2007, it was the Fort Myers Miracle’s “Billy Donovan Night
In 2008, it was the Fresno Grizzlies’ “Mascot Showdown

This season, it’s the Bowling Green Hot Rods’ “What Could’ve Been Night.” I am officially suffering from “What Could’ve Been” fatigue at this juncture, and am therefore unable to recap the specifics of the promotion yet again. My “Promo of the Year” article does an adequate job of that, and to review my copious blog coverage simply click HERE.

The Hot Rods accumulated 11,945 of the 23, 608 total votes cast, accounting for a staggering 51% of the total. The Fresno Grizzlies netted 9,489 votes, a number that looks very impressive considering that the club won in 2008 with “just” 4,739 ballots cast in their favor.

“We’re extremely proud that we’re the only team to have been a finalist in three consecutive seasons. So even though we came up short, just being nominated each of the last several years with other great organizations is a real honor and a testament to the passion and inventiveness of our tremendous staff,” wrote Grizzlies vice president of marketing Scott Carter.

None of the other eight nominated clubs came close to the totals accumulated by Bowling Green and Fresno. For the record, though, here are the final standings:

3. Jake Tyler Chia-Bobble (Toledo)
4. Mega-Candy Drop (Quad Cities)
5. Ballpark Wedding (Lehigh Valley IronPigs)
6. Bellies and Baseball (Brooklyn)
7. Gluttony Night (Reading)
8. Salute to Cows (Wisconsin)
9. Potato Night (Idaho Falls)
10. Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes World Record Attempt (Wilmington)

With this blog post, I believe I have officially exhausted the extent to which I can recap thehaunted-house.png year in Minor League promotions. I’m sorry if my coverage has seemed excessive at times, but the most important thing is that it has made it so I don’t have to write about which teams are staging haunted houses.

I have nothing against Minor League haunted houses. It’s just that, over the years, they have come to represent the overall lack of topics to write about in the month of October. This is my issue, and I am working to overcome it.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

What Could've Been Has Been

Thumbnail image for BGHRlogo.JPGAs regular readers of this blog are well aware, I have devoted a fairly substantial amount of virtual ink to the Bowling Green Hot Rods’ “What Could’ve Been Night” (for all the background info you could ever need, click HERE).

Well, “What Could’ve Been Night” came and went, and all we are left with are the memories. That, and copious documentation of the promotion via the Hot Rods’ YouTube channel. And since I have slowly become adept at posting videos on this blog, I will share many of these creations. That’s just the kind of guy I am. The kind that shares videos.

The idea for the promotion first came about when the front office found themselves pondering “What Could’ve Been” had “Cave Shrimp” emerged victorious in the Name the Team contest. But why stop there? This philosophical exercise was soon expanded to include a wide variety of hypothetical scenarios.

Scenarios such as “What if Brooks and Dunn had chosen different singing partners?”
 

I would have taken this concept to its most literal extreme, and paired Dunn with a pair of brooks. As in bodies of water. At the very least, their music would always sound “current.”

Moving on to the next concept — What if Roseanne had actually been blessed with a beautiful singing voice?

Moving into an even more absurd realm — What if fainting was a sport?

It’s very easy to engage in “What Could’ve Been” hand-wringing when it comes to the world of sports, and the Hot Rods did not disappoint.

All of the above scenarios may be intriguing, but let us not forget that it was the possibility of being named “Cave Shrimp” that sparked this promotion in the first place. How awesome would it be if there was a team with the logo below? (answer: very)

I would love to see “What Could’ve Been Night” become common around the Minor Leagues — the supply of material is inexhaustible, and each club could expound on themes unique to their particular geographic area. And, most importantly, it would always give me something to blog about. Make it happen, teams. Make it happen.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com 

A Brief Exploration of Life's Infinite Possibilities

BGHRlogo.JPGThis past offseason, the fledgling Bowling Green baseball club staged a “Name the Team” contest (as new franchises are wont to do).

“Hot Rods” ultimately emerged victorious in a hotly contested fan vote, and that is now the moniker that the club now utilizes. So far, it’s been so good.

But…that hasn’t stopped the dreamers in the club’s front office from wondering “What if?”

What if the fans had instead gravitated toward one of the other choices in the “Name That Team” contest? What if they had had a greater tolerance for outside-the-box thinking, and therefore willing to embrace a far less orthodox option? Specifically, what if the chosen name had been “Cave Shrimp”?

Bowling Green Cave Shrimp.png
Cave Shrimp was indeed among the list of contenders. Here’s why:

Mammoth
Cave, located near Bowling Green, is home to the endangered Kentucky
Cave Shrimp, a sightless albino shrimp. The blind cave shrimp has been
registered as an endangered species since 1983.

Apparently, too many fans had reservations when it came to naming their hometown team after a sightless crustacean. History will be the ultimate judge of these anti-shrimp, pro-visibility partisans; to weigh in on the prudence (or lack thereof) of their choice would be premature and needlessly divisive. (My stance on the issue is well documented).

At the very least, the team is giving us all a chance to momentarily revel in a world in whichtheroad.jpg things had turned out differently. August 15 is “What Could’ve Been Night”. From the team’s website:

Remember when someone may have once told you, “If you see a fork in the
road, take it”? What could’ve been had you listened? In Bowling Green
we are going to celebrate “What Could’ve Been” had Cave Shrimp won the
name the team vote. A polarizing name, with people either loving it or
hating it, has inspired the Hot Rods staff to ask you, “What Could’ve
Been?” The first 1,000 fans (13 & up) to the game on August 15 will
get Cave Shrimp t-shirts.

For the record, I wrote a post on January 9 that was remarkably prescient when it comes to the issue of a Cave Shrimp t-shirt giveaway. But enough about me. As part of “What Could’ve Been Night”, the club is soliciting suggestions from fans. More from the Hot Rods’ website:

“What Could’ve Been” if Elvis were still alive? If Columbus didn’t
get on that boat? If baseball had 4 strikes and three balls? If Hot
Rods were Cave Shrimp? Get it? We want to hear from you. This is all in
good natured fun so send us your fun ideas about “What Could’ve Been.”

Send your suggestions to caveshrimp@bghotrods.com

I would suggest that those within my vast cadre of loyal readers take the time to email the team. To get things started, here’s a small list of alternate realities that I would like to see explored:

getalife.jpg

“What If the early-90s Fox sitcom Get A Life had been a surprise hit, and was now entering its 21st season? What sort of plot arcs would have occurred thus far?”

“How would the Pirates’ fortunes would have changed this decade, had Derek Bell emerged as a Triple Crown contender instead of engaging in “Operation Shutdown“?

“What if Kurt Cobain hadn’t done what he did in 1994, and Nirvana was now entering its third decade as a band?”

“What would have happened if the NHL and NBA had merged into one sport, as it is rumored they considered doing in the late 70s?”

“How much fatter would I be if O’Boises hadn’t been discontinued?” (This query led me to this link. Who knew?)

I’ll cut myself off there. If anyone would like to share their suggestions with me, I’m all ears. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

What Could've Been Will Be

parallel.jpgThere is a no time for me to compose an overly clever, intensely self-aware introductory paragraph for this post. No, none at all. So let’s cut to the chase and take a look at one of the more intriguing promotions that was announced in the past week:

For many of us, “What Could’ve Been Night” is a regular occurrence. I know it is for me, as I paw through the tear-streaked pages of my high school yearbook on a nightly basis.

The Bowling Green Hot Rods are focused full-speed ahead on the future, but they nonetheless understand this tendency to dwell on the past. On June 8, the first-year club will stage “What Could’ve Been Night”, in which they will attempt to bring to life the various realities that could have resulted from last fall’s “Name the Team” contest.

For a refresher course on this contest, click here. The gist of it was that fans could vote forBG Hot Rods.JPG one of seven possible names. Hot Rods, obviously, was the moniker that ultimately emerged triumphant.

The Hot Rods have thus far remained mum on the specific details of “What Could’ve Been Night”, but they have revealed this much — the first 1000 fans will receive a Cave Shrimp t-shirt! Cave Shrimp, as the Hot Rods explain, was a “polarizing yet unsuccessful finalist” in the “Name the Team” contest. I would have used the word “awesome” instead of “polarizing”, but maybe that’s just me.

Hey! Other teams! May I suggest that you stage your own “What Could’ve Been” nights? Obviously, it works for any franchise that has recently staged a “Name the Team” contest, but that represents the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In order to show fans just how different the gameday experience could be, clubs could also unveil rejected mascots, concession stand items, uniforms, p.a. announcers, and myriad other aspects of the ballpark experience that for one reason or another never came to pass. 

Thumbnail image for blindshrimp.gifThe more ambitious of these clubs could go the extra mile (literally), and stage the evening’s game in locations that were once considered for a new stadium. That probably wouldn’t go over well with city bureaucrats and other such killjoys, but sometimes you’ve got to throw caution to the wind and just go for it.

But, regardless, kudos to the Hot Rods for coming up with this idea first. To the victor go the spoils, and all that. And additional kudos to the Hot Rods for the following segue, which occurred in the same press release that announced “What Could’ve Been”:

[T]he Hot Rods will use the “honor system” to grant free admission to
pregnant women on Labor Day (September 7). Fans who aren’t expecting
may enjoy the Hot Rods’ new season-long Thirsty Thursdays promotion.

For the record, “the honor system” is definitely the way to go when it comes to determining if a woman is pregnant or not. Sure, it might result in cash-strapped men dressing in drag and stuffing a pillow under their shirt in order to gain free admission, but that’s just the price you’ve got to pay.  

Internet Radio Killed the Video Star

milbradio.gifIt’s been a busy day for me here at MiLB.com headquarters, but I wanted to take the time to put up a quick little odds and ends post before it got too late.

So, without further ado, here are some odds and ends:

– Tonight I will be a guest on Minor League Baseball Radio. The show begins at 11 p.m., and I believe that I will be up first. So listen in, and call the studio @ 646-652-2962 if you have any pressing questions for yours truly.

– Today my first “Perspectives” piece ran on MiLB.com. Check it out here. Not surprisingly, itjerk_head.jpg focuses on blogging. Please give it a read, and then take my suggestion: start a Minor League blog! Find your niche and get writing.

barackattack.jpg– Also up today on both MiLB.com and Mets.com is a piece on the “Baracklyn Cyclones” promotion. I did a blog post on this two days ago, but now it is been expanded into article form.

– Finally, there is this piece on the Bowling Green Hot Rods and their quest to decorate their team store with license plates. If you think this is the kind of story that would have made a good blog post…well, you’re right. But this is the kind of information that has got to get to the masses as we all work toward saturating the media landscape with information pertaining to the world of the Minor Leagues. That’s what we’re doing, right? Hello?

Okay, hopefully tomorrow will include some original content. Goodbye for now, and apologies for the lack of jokes in this post. It goes against every instinct I have to write a post and not include any horrible puns or plays on words.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 452 other followers