Results tagged ‘ Brooklyn Cyclones ’

(Not) On the Road: Rained Out In the Playground of the World

aerial.jpgI live in NYC, and this week the thought occurred to me that I should patronize the ballparks that exist within city limits: MCU Park in Brooklyn and Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island. 

While I semi-regularly attend these facilities as a fan, I wanted to give them the “On the Road” treatment that I have been able to lavish upon a dozen ballparks thus far this season (with more to come!)

But you know what they say about plans, even those of the best-laid variety: They often go awry. For I went to MCU Park on Tuesday, only to discover that the evening’s game had been rained out. Even more frustratingly, Staten Island played that evening. The situation then reversed itself on Wednesday, with the game on in Brooklyn and canceled in SI (still feeling wary, I stayed in the office and watched Jeopardy! on mute). 

So all that I have at this juncture is pictures of a rainy night with no baseball in Coney Island. What follows is my attempt to make some sweet, sweet, lemonade.

One can take the subway to MCU Park, on the D, N, F, or Q lines. Coney Island is the last stop, at which point I was all by my lonesome. I should have taken this as a sign that it wasn’t going to be a good night for baseball:

BrooklynRain_emptysubway.JPG 

Upon exiting the station, one is greeted with one of the most iconic sights in New York: The original Nathan’s Hot Dogs:

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The stadium light towers are visible in the above picture, ringed with florescent circles. Here’s a somewhat closer look:

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To get there, one must resist the lure of equally florescent confections:

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As well as clams, oysters, and all manner of food on a stick:

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Upon passing this devastating 1-2 of fine comestibles, I was met by the disconcerting sight of Cyclones fans walking away from the ballpark.

“Something is wrong here!,” I muttered into a walkie-talkie that was in fact just my clenched fist. But doggedly I soldiered on.

In front of the ticket window was a queue of fans. Utilizing the fine reportorial skill of “eavesdropping”, I learned that the game had in fact been canceled. These individuals were exchanging their ducats, hoping to come again on a less precipitous evening:

BrooklynRain_ticketwindow.JPG

The front entrance, filled with aimlessly wandering fans attempting to salvage their evening plans:

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This woman was sporting the t-shirt given away as part of the team’s “Jersey? Sure!” extravaganza. She looks to be explaining the concept of a rainout to that dog, who was no doubt dismayed that he would not be able to participate in that evening’s scheduled “Bark in the Park” festivities:

BrooklynRain_JerseyShore.JPG

Brooklyn baseball legends Pee-Wee and Jackie, their countenances unchanged despite the foul weather:

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Also immortalized are those who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11:

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A bit further down, one could find the team bus of the visiting Hudson Valley Renegades. The rainout afforded an early exit from Brooklyn, and the players were piling in with pizza in hand:

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The “back” of the stadium (ie, the outfield) juts up against the Coney boardwalk. Here’s the view through a hole in a locked fence (who else provides this kind of access?):

BrooklynRain_lookingin.JPG 

I kept havi
ng to remind myself it was still August, as Coney Island on this particular evening had a thoroughly autumnal vibe, melancholy and somnambulant.

The Parachute Jump ride, which hasn’t been in operation since 1968:

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Tumbleweed not pictured:

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The only areas that seemed to possess any life at all were the business located alongside the stadium:

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And, of course, Nathan’s.

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All told, I actually enjoyed my unsuccessful trip to MCU Park. Visiting Coney Island is always memorable, no matter what the circumstances, and the long subway rides provide plenty of time to read (the theological musings of C.S. Lewis, in this particular case).

So, yeah, I’ll be back.

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It just might be a while:

BrooklynRain_hotdogcountdown.JPG

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

Head Over Heels And Other Anomalies

caught.jpgAt this moment in space and time I am more or less “caught up” in my blogging duties. This is a good thing, but I can’t shake the nagging suspicion that I’m missing something.

Because there’s always something, isn’t there?

Before getting weighed down by the contemplation of such abstract notions, I wanted to share some odds, ends, bits, pieces, and nuggets that I have accumulated in recent days. Oh, there’s some ephemera in here too. Can’t forget the ephemera.

Let’s start off with something visually striking.

IKE.JPG
 
The above item, designed by the bobble visionaries at Coyote Promotions, is being given away by the Brooklyn Cyclones on August 2. As you may have noticed, it is upside down. Therefore, it is Ike’s legs that bobble while his head remains stationary.

This object is also unique in that it commemorates a player’s Major League feat (Ike’s dazzling trifecta of foul territory catches) while said player is in a Minor League uniform (the Cyclones, whom Ike played for in 2008). The Cyclones are literally re-writing history, then, putting the events of 2010 within a 2008 context. This bit of space-time continuum trickery results in cognitive disconnect, a common ailment in the world of Minor League Baseball promotions.

For instance, the Binghamton Mets are staging a “Big Lebowski” promo next week. But playing the role of Jesus Quintana is none other than Bingo the Bee.

Deal with it:
 

Meanwhile, in Lake County, the Captains held their annual star-studded “Cleveland Sports History Night.” As this video shows, the team was actually able to find a sponsor for a re-enactment of one of the worst moments in the city’s long and sad sports history.
 

I was going to expound further about the above video, but my Google image search for “Art Modell” also turned up naked “art models” and I fear that I will soon be fired as a result of this inadvertent breach of internet usage policy.

Let’s quickly proceed to Trenton then, as last night the Thunder staged “Irish Heritage Night” AND a “Mustache Bash.”

On the Irish side of the equation:
 
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The mustache side:

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And the combination thereof:

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Incidentally, may I please suggest that teams staging a Mustache promotion utilize THIS SONG?

And, please, don’t forget that an epic milestone will be occurring TONIGHT on the West Coast: the 40,000th game in California League history. As for which game will receive the honor, that’s yet to be determined. Five games will be running concurrently this evening, and it all depends on the finishing times.

But it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. There’s no better proof of that saying than active Minormike.jpg League home run leader Mike Hessman, who received a call-up yesterday to the New York Mets. The 32-year-old had hit 18 home runs this season to run up his Minor League total to 329; he certainly has nothing left to prove in the International League.

And I, meanwhile, have nothing left to write.

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

Bringing It To You Straight, No Taser

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

Perhaps this explains why the Altoona Curve have made national headlines today, after a bizarre incident at Blair County Ballpark last night. After sneaking into the stadium via a parking garage, an intoxicated homeless man wandered across the outfield during the bottom of the ninth inning of a contest between the Curve and Akron Aeros.

The man, who lacked identification but gave his name as “Tyrone R. Squires”, was detained by Curve security without incident and then turned over to Altoona police. A detailed write-up of Squires’ misadventures appeared in today’s edition of The Altoona Mirror, and this account served as the basis of an Associated Press article that has been picked up by The New York Times among other outlets.

Curve media relations director Dan Zangrilli said the team was a bit perplexed over the national attention.

“It wasn’t that big a deal, quite honestly. It was just a guy who decided to take a little cruise along the warning track,” he said. “The whole thing was uneventful, and posed no threat to players or fans. That said, we do take this kind of thing seriously. Trespassing is a serious offense, and we turned him over to the authorities.”

But right now the team has bigger issues on its mind: preserved meat products. Tonight’sBraunschweiger.jpg Wacky Wednesday promotion at Blair County Ballpark is “Livin La Vida Lunch Meat”, a comprehensive salute to all things meaty that received a write-up in the most recent edition of “Promotion Preview.”

“It’s all about the Braunschweiger, baby,” said Zangrilli.

– I hope to continue yesterday’s classification-based post in the near future, but for now I’ll dispense with such formalities in order to share a couple of most-interesting Minor League developments.

The Brooklyn Cyclones have released a sketch of what is sure to be one of 2010’s most-sought after bobbleheads: Mets rookie sensation (and former Cyclone) Ike Davis in the midst of one of his now trademark dugout-tumbling snags:

ikers.jpg

     
The giveaway is on August 2, distributed to the first 2500 fans — get your tickets now and arrive early.

In other intriguing bobblehead news, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have announced the finalists for September’s “Fan’s Choice” bobble.

In my mind, the choice that stands out above the rest is “Scooter Vs. the Snowman”, commemorating a particularly memorable moment that occurred during the club’s whitewashed Opening Day.

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Finally, I wanted to share this video I received from the Memphis Redbirds, featuring a Baby T-Rex throwing out the first pitch. It’s going to be a long time before I tire of watching this:

The Baby T-Rex is scheduled to make its next appearance in Reading on May 25, once again throwing out the first pitch and then spending the remainder of the game ambling through the stadium. This will allow fans plenty of time to contemplate the genetic links between dinosaurs and the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor’s loyal ostrich:

chdv.jpg

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

On A Clear Day They Can See 398th Place

doubledays.gifAuburn, NY has many claims to fame, from the Harriet Tubman Home to the Case Research Lab Museum to the fact that America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh was born there.

But one of Auburn’s most recent claims to fame is a distinct negative, an ignominious anti-accomplishment that the city hopes to shed faster than a moulting snake on steroids: in its list of America’s best sports cities, the Sporting News ranked Auburn #399 out of a possible #399.

Dead last.

The New York-Penn League’s Auburn Doubledays aren’t going to take this lack of respect lying down. They’ve stood tall to their nationally distributed oppressor by announcing an essay contest, asking fans to explain (in 500 words or less) why Auburn deserves a higher ranking. The winner of this contest will receive general admission season tickets as well as official recognition during the “399 Classic”.

“What’s the 399 Classic?” I just heard a voice behind me whisper. Well, my reliable companion Press Release has the answer to that:

madseason4.jpg

The Doubledays will face off against Tri City (representing Troy, NY
which was rated #398 on the same list) in a three game series from July
14 – 16 which the Doubledays have dubbed The 399 Classic!

Events surrounding The 399 Classic include a special reward to the 399th
fan through the gates every night, a surprise giveaway of the 399th
best possible giveaway item and a contest to win a “Mad About You:Season
4″ DVD set (399th on Amazon.com’s most popular DVD list).

Anyone have any other ideas how the number “399” could be celebrated? I’m thinking Al Kaline has to be a part of it somehow, seeing as how he retired with 399 home runs. Or how about inviting members of Local 399: the International Union of Operating Engineers? Finally, why not celebrate the works of Chinese poet and historian Yuan Shansong, who died in the year 399 while defending Hudu during the rebellion of Sun En?

– In other news, the Cyclones have announced the winner of their “YOUniform Contest“. Click HERE to check it out.

Minor League Baseball has announced that the 2010 Promotional Seminar will be held in Las Vegas from September 28-October 1. This means that I get to make a return trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame! Who’s going with me? We can ride the bus together.

Thumbnail image for Kannapolis_Intimidators.PNG– Finally, I wanted to note that the Kannapolis Intimidators are offering free admission to all active-duty military personnel throughout the 2010 campaign. As the press release notes:

“Anyone that shows any form of Military ID, active, retired or a family
member ID at the Intimidators Will Call Window will receive two free
tickets to the game. This offer is valid for all 70 home games in the
2010 season.”

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

Relevant Developments

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for cyclones10.JPGWay back on February 1, the Brooklyn Cyclones announced that they would be staging a “YOUniform Contest”. In the highly unlikely event that the details slipped your mind, here’s a brief summary:

“The Brooklyn Cyclones are inviting young fans to participate in a
unique art contest, with the winning jersey design to be worn by the
team as a special, limited-edition YOUniform, and
auctioned off after the game to support Camp Brooklyn.”

Well, today the Cyclones announced the five finalists in the contest. Check them out HERE, and vote for your favorite. In my mind, two stand above the rest. This one reminds me of something a Caribbean soccer team might wear, and would also work very well if the team ever staged a “Bi-Polar Disorder Awareness Night”:
youni1.jpg 
As for this one, what’s not to like about the boldly-designed jersey, three-tiered pants, and no-nonsense artist’s note?

youni2.jpg 

 

In further Cyclones jersey news, the team unveiled what it will be wearing during it’s much-hyped “Jersey? Sure! Night”. This:

jerseysurejersey.jpg 

– And, hey, remember when I wrote about the Omaha Royals’ “Mike and Mike Fan Mic”? I hope so, because it was all of three days ago. Well, the team got an effusive shout out on the Mike and Mike show this morning, in which they were repeatedly praised for their efforts. Click HERE, and then scroll down to “Show in Review” and click on “Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic discuss their new favorite team”. That team would be — you guessed it — the Omaha Royals. Their new favorites. 

– Mike and Mike ended the aforementioned segment by mentioned that the O-Royals were “ahead of the curve.” Well, I wonder what the team in Altoona would have to say about that. After all, they ARE the Curve. And one of their latest innovations is something that I’ve never seen before — a twice-weekly comic strip that is running in the local Altoona Mirror. Here’s the most recent installment:
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Is it just me, or is that lawn mover in possession of a face (and therefore, quite possibly, sentient thought)? It’s got a gas cap eye, snout nose, blade mouth, and wheel ears. Coincidentally, all of the above body part descriptions are also public domain country music song titles. It is an amazing world in which we live. A truly amazing world.

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

Mascot Love We Deliver

I stand before you today in order to deliver Minor League mascot Valentine’s Day photos.

The public has demanded them, and I am certainly not one to ignore the pleas of the populace. Therefore, that is precisely what this post shall be dedicated to. But first, a quick request…

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Inspired by the copious snow that has been deposited all over the country as of late, I have decided to do a story on extreme weather and the groundskeeping challenges it presents. In addition to teams that have recently been hit with snow, I’d be interested in speaking with anyone who has had to deal with drought, flooding, hurricanes, and, of course, locust plagues. I’ll most likely have to contact teams individually today and tomorrow, but that’s a hit-or-miss proposition. Consider this post an invitation to get in touch — benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Okay, we now return to regularly-scheduled programming: Minor League mascot Valentine’s Day photos.

Because, as you surely know, there was a lot going on. And how can I lead off with anyone but Boomer, who is surely the suavest mascot in Minor Leage Baseball? Here, Boomer spreads some joy to the youth of Williamsport:

Williamsport -- Boomer V-Day.jpg

Boomer’s not the only mascot named Boomer. There’s also Boomer of the Trenton Thunder, who is not at all terrifying, not the least little bit:

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In Lowell, the Spinners sent out a star-studded caravan to a local elementary school, where Valentine’s Day cards were made. These cards were then delivered to a VA hospital (apparently, Canaligator and crew got hungry along the way):

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In Portland (ME), Slugger made the rounds on behalf of the Sea Dogs:

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The Gwinnett Braves sent out the ever-seductive Chopper, who never fails to impress the ladies:

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Buster “rose” to the occasion in Lakewood:

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Sandy the Seagull swooped into a Brooklyn elementary school:

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A very endearing video of Sandy’s delivery can be viewed HERE.

But how could I close anywhere other than in Reading? As usual, Screwball did his thing:

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But this year, fans had options. For the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor was also pressed into service. Here’s how it went down:
 

Now if that wasn’t romantic, then I don’t know what is. I mean, seriously, I don’t. Can anyone help me out here?

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

From 30 Rock to Round Rock?

coco.jpgI am a big fan of late night TV in general and Conan O’Brien in particular, and as this Tonight Show imbroglio has steamrolled into a bigger and bigger story one thought kept lodging itself into my brain: When is a Minor League team going to offer Conan a job?

This sort of publicity stunt is certainly not without precedent. In recent years the Huntsville Stars courted Roger Clemens, the Augusta GreenJackets went after Brett Favre, and the Toledo Mud Hens set their sights on A-Rod. Granted, Conan is not from the world of sports, but on multiple occasions he has mentioned the tongue-in-cheek job offers he has received. On national TV! Look! If a morning radio show in Fargo, ND could get a mention, then why not a Minor League team?

Well, I am glad to report that the Round Rock Express have come through. In a video posted on their website and Facebook page, the team tries to convince Conan that he would excel at a wide variety of game-day positions. Here’s hoping it catches on. 

In other news, the slow but steady release of 2010 promotional schedules has been a mostThumbnail image for Bowling Green Cave Shrimp.png heartening development. The Bowling Green Hot Rods announced theirs yesterday, eager to defend their 2009 MiLB.com Promotion of the Year title. I am happy to report that What Could’ve Been Night will return, and this year’s version includes a Cave Shrimp bobbletail giveaway. Check it out.  

Likewise, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs unveiled their promo slate. As has become the club’s habit, the press release features a ridiculous, pun-heavy quote from GM Kurt Landes.

“We’re the IronPigs — and no team exhibits more zeal to make their fans squeal,” he said.

This quote is excellent, and I’d encourage more GMs to talk in such a manner. Am I naive in assuming that all quotes had to have actually been spoken aloud in order to make it into a press release?

Thumbnail image for cyclones10.JPGI’d also like to mention an excellent contest being staged by the indomitable Brooklyn Cyclones — The “You”niform. Here’s a summary:

“The Brooklyn Cyclones are inviting young fans to participate in a
unique art contest, with the winning jersey design to be worn by the
team as a special, limited-edition YOUniform, and auctioned off after the game to support Camp Brooklyn.”
 

Finally, how can a week go by without a mention of the Lakewood BlueClaws? Answer, it can’t. Today, the team announced that seven types of hot dogs have been added to the concession menu, each one named after a Hall of Famer.   

This leads to a fun comedy-writing exercise: what hot dogs would YOU like to see named after a Hall of Famer, and why?

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

Observations? I've Got 'Em.

isotoldyouso.jpgIf you’re anything like me, then I feel bad for you.

Also, you would have watched the “Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special: In 3-D! On Ice!” that aired last night on Fox. In said special, there was a brief shot of Isotopes Park, home of the PCL’s Albuquerque Isotopes. The team’s name is inspired by The Simpsons, in particular the episode in which Homer stages a hunger strike in order to protest the Springfield Isotopes’ re-location to Albuquerque.

In my mind, this is the best team name backstory in all of Minor League Baseball. It alsoThumbnail image for simps.jpg provides tremendous fodder for a documentary whose purpose is to explore the cultural impact of The Simpsons. But, alas, all viewers were treated to was one external shot of the stadium. This was disappointing, considering the fact that director Morgan Spurlock and his crew spent an entire August day at the ballpark interviewing fans and players. But that’s just the way these things go. Hopefully the club will get the recognition it deserves in 2020’s 30th Anniversary special.

In the interest of keeping things random, I’ll now move on to an entirely new topic: The Brooklyn Cyclones. The club will be celebrating its 10th season in 2010, and has just released a new logo commemorating this milestone. Observe, if you’re into that sort of thing:

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The Cyclones’ always excellent blog has an interesting write-up on the logo, along with an exclusive look at those which did not make the final cut. 

And speaking of logo design, I’d like to draw your attention to the just-launched Studo Simon blog. The Kentucky-based brand-identity firm has solidified itself as one of the top logo designers in all of Minor League Baseball, churning out crowd-pleasers such as THIS on a regular basis. 

quimb.gifI shall close with yet one more nugget of random information: Chuck Smith has just been sworn in as mayor of Woodmere, Ohio. Smith pitched in the Minor Leagues for 15 seasons, and in 2008 served as pitching coach for the Lancaster JetHawks (he also spent time with the Florida Marlins in 2000 and 2001). Smith joins Yakima’s Dave Edler as the only mayor I can think of off the top of my head who had previously played professional baseball.

Who am I forgetting?

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

2009: The Year in Photos

cam.jpgI am ready to embrace the offseason. I really and truly am. But if I come up with a blog post idea that will let me re-visit a time when Minor League Baseball was actually played every day, then you best believe I’m gonna do it.

And today, that idea is this: to present my favorite photos that appeared on this blog during the 2009 season. I did not apply any specific criteria when making these selections, other than to ask myself “Does this photo make my inner-most being cry out in rapturous wonderment?.” If the answer was in the affirmative, then you will see it listed below. Hopefully, your innermost being will respond similarly.   

What follows are my top 10 pics of the year, listed in the order in which they appeared on this blog.

Master Yogi Berra Lets LooseOn April 21, Greensboro Grasshoppers canine mascot Master Yogi Berra had a bit of an on-field accident. The following is one of two pictures I obtained of the incident (the “clean version”, if you will):

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(Photo credit: Dano Keeney)

Ceremonial CentenarianOn April 24, Round Rock Express season-ticket holder Chris Nocera threw out the first pitch. She is 102 years old — and very determined:

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Cream Stick Gets CreamedThe Akron Aeros nightly “Cream Stick Race” was, by all accounts, a chaotic free-for-all. Here, Vanilla feigns innocence immediately after pushing Maple to the ground:

creamstick 1.JPG


Ready, Set, SwallowSword swallower extraordinaire Dan Meyer prepares to ply his trade in Huntsville. I was lucky enough to be in attendance for this, a post-rainout performance for an audience of 15.

dan ready to perform.JPG

A Moo-ving ImageA key component of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ “Salute to Cows” was a mooing contest. The following picture depicts the eventual champion as he readied himself for the moo of his life:

timber rattlers moo contest.JPG 
 

Presidential Self-Love The Brookyln Cyclones gave away Obama bobbleheads as part of “Barack-lyn Cyclones” night, and the commander-in-chief went out of his way to let the crowd know that he approved:

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(photo credit: George Napolitano/Brooklyn Cyclones)

An A-peel-ing Photo —  As part of the Idaho Falls Chukars’ “Potato Night”, so-called “Spuddy Buddies” were thrown into the crowd. It was a thing of beauty:

Idaho Falls -- Spuddy Buddies Go Flying 2.JPG

Mascot MassageIn Birmingham, even costumed characters need the occasional rubdown:

Birmingham -- Mascot Massage 2.JPG

Belly Quickly BustedThis guy couldn’t even make it out of the first round in the Williamsport Crosscutters’ annual “Belly Buster” contest:

Thumbnail image for Williamsport -- Belly Buster, hot dog loser.JPG

Owlz Well That Ends Well Hootz and Holly tied the knot in a dramatic post-game ceremony in Orem, resulting in a surreal and oddly touching spectacle:

Thumbnail image for Orem Mascot Wedding Hootz sez I do.jpg

If you have any photos from this past se
ason that you think are worthy of inclusion in this blog, then by all means get in touch. I’ll be waiting patiently for your correspondence.

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

A Post of Presidential Proportions

As part of my new “Don’t Enjoy Life, Just Blog” initiative, I am attempting to post new content as much as possible. So let me take time out on this beautiful afternoon in order to share a photo I have recently obtained.

Let it be known that our current Commander-in-Chief is an ardent supporter of Ben’s Biz Blog:

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This was the second-most notable celebrity spotting of my life. Unfortunately, no photos exist of the time I saw the bad guy from “UHF” in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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