Results tagged ‘ Charleston RiverDogs ’
The West Michigan Whitecaps have been a major player on the concessions scene in recent years, unleashing colossal monstrosities such as the Fifth Third Burger and the Declaration of Indigestion upon the world.
So when the team held its annual fan vote to determine 2011’s new food item, it seemed a safe assumption that the winner would be something meaty and/or massive. Walking Spaghetti, perhaps? Meat Salad and the Bologna Lollipop also appeared to be strong contenders.
But…no. In a stunning repudiation of all that the Minor Leagues have come to stand for, the winner was none other than the irreverently-named “Chicks With Sticks.”
More specifically, Chicks With Sticks is a healthy option consisting of fresh sliced vegetables with a hummus (made from “Chick” peas) or optional ranch dipping sauce.
While I’m surprised that this won a fan vote, healthy eating options at the ballpark are nothing new. Even the Akron Aeros, best known for their new line of meaty behemoths, recently announced their “Farmer’s Market” concession stand, featuring veggie burgers, turkey hot dogs, hummus and chips, fruit platters, veggie platters and salads.
A quote from Aeros food and beverage director Jason Kerton sums up the strategy here:
“The Akron Aeros will offer a caloric counter-balance to our “extreme” menu items and full lineup of innovative carnivorous creations, with offerings of a lighter fare.”
Nonetheless, recent news out of Durham is more in line with what we’ve come to expect from the Minors. The Bulls will be serving “The Bulldog” in 2011, an all-beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and cheese and blanketed in soft pretzel dough.
Along much more ridiculous lines, Charleston RiverDogs announcer Danny Reed has, uh, announced that he will be attempting the “Slammer Pizza Challenge”. This endeavor is described as a gluttonous pizza quest featuring a team of two people attempting to polish off a 28-inch Gilroy’s pizza with five toppings of the team’s choosing, which can weigh in excess of seven pounds.
And, guess what? He needs a partner! Those interested in joining Mr. Reed’s noble pursuit have until May 23 to apply.
I’m pretty sure that Gwinnett Braves mascot Chopper would be up to the challenge, but right now he has bigger concerns. Nudity alert!
And — hey! — it’s Friday. That means its time for me to end the blogging week with a gratuitous video of my choosing.
And what I choose is this:
It’s early Friday afternoon as I type this, a time in which my readership is likely to be particularly wary of too many words. Who wants to be burdened with the onerous task of reading when the weekend is so near?
So let’s go to the videos! I’ve come across quite a few over the past several days, and would love nothing more than to share them with you, the world-weary word-wary reader:
The State College Spikes have been innovators in the field of mystery-themed promotions, making GM Jason Dambach’s total lack of deductive reasoning skills all the more surprising.
I love videos like that: set-up, punchline, and done in under a minute. Or done in under 30 seconds, in the case of the Tennessee Smokies. This one features a guy who really knows how to make an impression.
And the brevity continues, this time courtesy of the Charleston RiverDogs. Yesterday, the team released their own version of “Cannibal, the Movie”. This one is not for the faint of heart:
The mascot angst continues in Omaha, where Stormy the would-be Storm Chaser has suffered yet another indignity.
Similar feelings of rejection have recently been felt by Wilmington’s Rocky the Blue Moose, who has had difficulty updating his look:
I’ll close things out with what is only a somewhat gratuitous video. The Baseball Project’s excellent second album was released last week, and I highly recommend picking it up. The combination of accomplished rock n roll chops and literate, passionate baseball writing is truly something to behold. Here’s the band playing on Letterman around the time their first album was released:
All of a sudden it feels like the season again, with news and notes coming in from left and right and everywhere in between. It’s time to start posting, because the content levels are rising and soon I might drown — alone and forgotten in a remote corner of MiLB.com HQ.
To the Bullet Points!
— The New York-Penn League may not start play for another three months, but that didn’t stop the Brooklyn Cyclones from releasing a picture of their Angel Pagan bobblehead. I’m glad that they took his first name literally as opposed to the surname, because a bobblehead depicting the ballplayer as a hedonistic polytheist probably wouldn’t go over too well.
— Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s NYPL rivals the Lowell Spinners announced the follow-up to last year’s celebration of Bubblewrap.The team will stage a “Flossing World Record Attempt” on June 29, a promotion recommended by four out of five dentists. My extensive research into this most crucial of topics revealed that previous attempts have involved a huge single strand of custom-made floss.
I’m not sure if this will be the case in Lowell, but either way I recommend that this product serve as the official sponsor.
— In other follow-up news, the Lake County Captains are continuing with the Christmas Story themed giveaways that started with last season’s “Skipper Leg Lamp.” On July 23, fans will receive a bobble doll in which Skipper’s nose is stuck to a foul pole. I haven’t obtained a picture yet, but this item is of course a reference to this:
— Another notable jersey hailing from the preeminent Midwest is that which the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will be wearing during Sunday home games. This one is like an undersized fish — total throwback.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Ever since the invention of the Turducken, mankind has wondered “When will we see a similar product in hot dog form?”
That day has arrived.
The finished product:
“This is a food item that’s going to generate a lot of fan interest and a lot of full stomachs,” said Aeros assistant GM Dan Foust. “We’re planning a healthy choice concession stand in 2011, but the Three Dog Night isn’t going to come anywhere near that stand.”
Foust notes that the team is offering a ticket plan based around this triumvirate of meat. Fans can select 10 games on the schedule, and for each game they will receive a voucher good for a “Three Dog Night.”
“So, it’s conceivable that we’ll have fans who eat at least 10 of these next season,” said Fouts. “And if they want to eat more, then more power to them.”
Just think, this could be you:
Followers of the Minor League frankfurter scene won’t be surprised to learn that the mastermind behind the Three Dog Night is Jason Kerton, who previously performed food and beverage duties for the Charleston RiverDogs.
While in Charleston, Kerton teamed up with Goldklang Group concession guru John Schumacher on items such as the
“I’m a culinary school graduate, and a huge fan of Turducken,” explained Kerton. “As I was driving [to Akron] in the middle of the night, I started to wonder if I could do the same thing with sausage.”
This mental breakthrough led to a process of trial and error, as Kerton experimented with a variety of combinations.
“I tried it with a one pound hot dog as the main part, but that was just too salty,” he said. “The kielbasa has a smoky flavor and a really snappy casing, so from there I just needed something that was a little softer….I wanted to use a brat because of the German influence in the Cleveland area, and the hot dog is a ballpark staple.”
The Aeros will be releasing a new food item every month leading up to Opening Day, making them a team to watch on the creative concessions front. And, with the Three Dog Night, they are doing nothing less than staking a claim for Minor League hot dog supremacy.
“We’re competing with the RiverDogs on the national level, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing from them soon,” said Kerton. “It’s time for a head-to-head hot dog battle.”
The Aeros have already fired three shots.
Remaining your number one news source for concessions-based signs of the apocalypse,
I’ll call this Quick Hits! Surely no one in the history of blogging has ever done such a thing before.
(Note: Quick Hits! is a trademark of BensBizBlogCo LLC, 2010 All Rights Reserved All Wrongs Avenged)
Quick Hit! #1 — New Column Begins!
Last week marked the first edition of “Offseasoning”, an MiLB.com feature chronicling the offseason lives of Minor League players. The inaugural column focused on right-hander Terry Doyle, whose non-baseball job is a relatively common one: substitute teacher. If YOU are (or are aware of) a player engaged in an interesting offseason endeavor then by all means get in touch.
Quick Hit! #2 — Comic Strip Returns!
The Altoona Curve found great success last year with their “Curve, PA” comic strip, which ran in the local Altoona Mirror. This unique marketing tool will be featured on the team’s Facebook page during the offseason, starting today. The strip featured today would have been far creepier had it explored the concept of a “trophy wife.”
Quick Hit! #3 — Ticket Package Offered!
The Charleston RiverDogs are a Yankees affiliate, but today they revealed a ticket package designed to appeal to the Braves fans in their midst. It’s called “Braves Rome to Charleston,” and includes “two tickets to the nearly-sold out 7th Annual Hot Stove Banquet on Jan. 28 that features recently-retired Braves’ skipper Bobby Cox…In addition, the RiverDogs will throw in two lower level box seat tickets to either the Sat., April 16 game or Sat., June 4 contest against the Rome Braves.”
The Omaha Royals played their last game at Rosenblatt Stadium this season, truly the end of an era. But Rosenblatt lives on at Cooperstown, as the Baseball Hall of Fame is currently displaying mementos from the final contest. Here’s a picture that includes Rosenblatt’s home plate (more pictures can be found on the the O-Royals’ Facebook page):
Quick Hit! #5 — Vacation Awarded!
For the 21st consecutive year, the Pawtucket Red Sox have provided a pair of local Boys and Girls Club members with an all-expenses paid trip to the World Series.The winners, selected in August, received tickets to Games 3-5 in in Arlington as well as yesterday’s Cowboys game.
Quick Hit! #6 — Teams Ranked!
According to a new study released by sportsfangraphs.com, the Toledo Mud Hens lead all of Minor League Baseball in combined Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Check out the Mud Hens’ release HERE, and the full list HERE.
Quick Hit! #7 — Countdown Continues!
As noted in Friday’s blog, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are releasing a series of videos in anticipation of the team’s November 12 logo unveiling. I particularly enjoyed yesterday’s Halloween video:
Quick Hit! #8 — Baseball Songs Sung!
If you like music and you like baseball, then chances are that you like songs about baseball. If so, you might want to check out “The Greatest Game in the World” by The Thrill Building. This power pop paean to our national pastime features 22 songs over 80 minutes, providing the sort of fuel necessary to make it through the offseason.
Speaking of fuel, let me know what’s going on. I am, once again, out of material.
This is because baseball, quite inconsiderately, doesn’t take a day off. So while I was on the road cranking out articles, blog posts, Promo Preview columns, and frivolous contest introductions, the emails kept coming in alerting me to items that may be worthy of coverage.
Allow me to now present to you, the reader, some of these items. I’ll start with the most narcissistic, a 42-second video commemorating my stint as “The Apprentice…Of the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor.“
With that out of the way, let’s proceed to last night’s promotion in Akron. The Aeros held “Ship Out LeBron Night”, in which fans were asked to donate unwanted LeBron James apparel in exchange for free tickets.
As you can see, quite a few fans took the team up on its offer. As soon as Orbit is done playing around, these items will be donated to an international relief organization.
Another thing you don’t see every day is 3,692 people popping bubble wrap at the same time. It makes a sound quite similar to dessicated locust husks bouncing off the roof of a station wagon.
As part of the promotion, the Spinners rolled out the “Bubblewrap Dance Floor.” To celebrate 50 years of bubblewrap, 50-year-olds were invited onto the field to dance to 50 cent.
An even more Rainman-esque aspect of the promotion was that the 50th fan in attendance would get a year’s supply of popcorn if the 50th out of the game occurred via pop out. It did, and one lucky fan took home a vast collection of kernels (Spinners media relations director Jon Boswell writes that, keeping in the spirit of the promotion, “He’ll have to do the popping himself!”)
Torii Hunter Bobble-Arm in Orem
Skipper Leg Lamp in Lake County
I wish that the above item was being given away as part of a “Salute to Hallucinogenic Fever Dreams” promo, but there’s actually a story behind it. See, the Captains are staging “Christmas In July”, and “A Christmas Story” was filmed in nearby Cleveland. Hence, a giveaway featuring a Minor League twist on one of the movie’s most memorable scenes.
And speaking of the Captains, you may recall that one of the team’s biggest fans comes to nearly every game dressed like Waldo. Recently, this horizontally-striped standout took his act to Cleveland:
Certainly a Waldo this ambitious is worthy of your Facebook fandom. Perhaps I can even score an exclusive interview one of these days.
This year’s contest is shaping up to be the best yet, as teams have mounted homegrown promotional campaigns in support of their players. Here’s one of the best efforts I’ve seen thus far:
Finally, you may have noticed that the Charleston RiverDogs and Hickory Crawdads have recently been the recipients o
f some big-time exposure:
Perhaps I’ll receive some big-time exposure one of these days. Until then, I’ll be staring at a computer screen in search of a clever closing sentence that never comes.
Mr. Colangelo came to my attention thanks to an email from RiverDogs play-by-play man Danny Reed, who wrote that “Vinnie has become well known as one of the best clubbies in the Minors, and he has also grown to be quite popular with the fans.”
This spotless reputation motivated the team to create a “Rally Vinnie” alter-ego for Colangelo. Whenever the RiverDogs need some runs in the late innings of a ballgame, “Rally Vinnie” flashes on the scoreboard. There are many permutations of “Rally Vinnie”, many of which are tied into whatever promotional theme night the RiverDogs happen to be staging.
Let’s take a look:
Reached by phone, “Rally Vinnie” was decidedly nonplussed about this late-inning ballpark development.
Colangelo went on to say that he is occasionally recognized in Charleston as “Rally Vinnie”, but that the demanding nature of his job has kept him from capitalizing on his unique celebrity status.
“The character’s not that big, and I don’t get to go out much [during the season],” he said modestly, perhaps underestimating the appeal of a rally-starting clubhouse manager.
“They’ve put my face on a lot of different things,” said Colangelo. “The Mario one was pretty good, and I liked the Smurf one, too. I guess they’ll just keep on coming up with stuff they think is funny.”
Come to think of it, this could serve as the motto for the entire industry.
Minor League Baseball: Coming Up With Stuff We Think Is Funny Since 1902.
The Charleston RiverDogs already have a reputation as one of the foremost frankfurter purveyors in all of Minor League Baseball.
The Class A Yankees affiliate offers dozens of dogs at Joseph P. Riley Ballpark, from the “Asian Invasion” (soy sauce, wasabi, crunchy chow mein noodles) to the “Dixie Dog” (chili and pimento cheese) to the signature “RiverDog” (cole slaw and pickled okra). And let’s not forget the gargantuan “Homewrecker”, which gained national prominence after “Man vs. Food” host Adam Richman gave it a try.
But yesterday the club announced what is perhaps their most fantastical hot
dog creation yet, an unprecedented concoction that is sure to polarize the American populace.
Your eyes do not deceive you. This is a hot dog with a hollowed-out pickle for a bun, held together by a layer of cole slaw. It will be served at Joseph P. Riley Ballpark in 2010, now destined to go down in history as “the Year of the Pickle Dog”.
The man responsible for this creation is John Schumacher, who oversees the food and beverage departments of the five Minor League teams owned by the Goldklang Group (of which the RiverDogs are one).
Schumacher explained that the Pickle Dog was inspired by the iconic Chicago-style hot dog, which includes pickles among its wide array of toppings.
“We’re always willing to beg, borrow and steal from whatever’s out there; that’s how we generally get our inspiration,” he said.
So if the Chicago Dog could include pickles on a hot dog, why couldn’t the RiverDogs put a hot dog in one? The difference goes far beyond semantics, however.
“We experimented for about a month and a half, and we kept saying ‘We need a bigger pickle'” said Schumacher, noting that pickles of insufficient size led to the hot dog slipping out of its briny bun upon the first bite. “A bigger pickle, that’s the answer to everything.”
An appropriately proportioned dill variety was eventually obtained — jumbo-sized specimens that are cut in half, cored, and slathered in slaw. Schumacher says that this results in a “perfect boat”, with the slaw’s adhesive properties helping to keep the meat in place.
“A secondary benefit of the slaw is that, in an unexplainable twist, people in the south just love cole slaw on their hot dogs. In this town, it’s a perfect fit,” he noted.
The team is happy with the finished product, to the point where RiverDogs’ concession workers will be sporting shirts this season that read “Man Bites Pickle Dog” (an alternate name for the product, the “Dill Dog”, was briefly considered and wisely rejected).
And if Charlestonians pick the pickle at a prodigious pace, more could be in store.
“If the Pickle Dog gets into Phase Two, then we’ll deep fry the whole thing,” said Schumacher, describing a food product that will be heavenly for some, indescribably nightmarish for others.
Either way, the RiverDogs’ craving to create culinary curiosities will continue.
“We’re always looking to try something new, and we’re certainly not going to stop with the pickle,” said Schumacher.
You’ve been warned, America.
In keeping with yesterday’s theme of taking a closer look at just-released promotional schedules, I would like to bring the Charleston RiverDogs to your attention.
The always irreverent South Atlantic League ballclub released their 2010 promo schedule yestereday, and it is filled with many dates worth circling. Or at least potentially worth circling. You see, the RiverDogs are masters of the mysterious, and many of their theme nights sound less like baseball promotions and more like an unpublished Daniel Pinkwater novel. For instance: “What Do You Put On Your Grits?”, “The Holy City Breaks Wind”, and “It’s Raining Relish.” And let’s not forget such potential classics as “MacGruber Does Your Taxes”, “There is no ‘I’ in A-Team”, and “Aaron Radatz Predicts the Final Score.”
And then there’s July 17’s “Lady Liberty Statue Giveaway“, in which fans will receive a mini-replica of Charleston’s proposed “male Statue of Liberty.” The team is having fans vote on which man’s face they would like to see on the giveaway statue, with the choices being Steven Colbert, Andy Dick, Chris Rock, and mascot Charlie T. RiverDog.
I am not making any of this up, and would like to note for the record that Andy Dick on the Statue of Liberty would mark a new low for American civilization. Even lower than THIS. Actually, I take that back. I love Pat Boone’s metal album and would suggest that team’s play it at the stadium. Put THIS on when the opposing team’s closer takes the mound.
— To move on to music of a more durable quality, I’d suggest everyone take a listen to the new Baseball Project track. I’ve written about the Baseball Project before, and had the opportunity to see them in New Orleans while attending the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar. They will worth keeping an eye on in 2010 and beyond.
— Don’t let all this talk of music make you think I am forgetting videos. Far from it. First I would like to share the Bowie Baysox’s new video podcast, which begins with a flurry of Eastern League puns that I found to be delightful:
And here, the Gwinnett Braves show that they’re ready for the season. Perhaps a bit prematurely:
I have fulfilled today’s blogging requirements, and as such may now retire to my country estate for an evening of Port and Sports. It’s what I do every Wednesday, and tonight’s agenda includes women’s volleyball and a bottle of Presidential 20-year Tawny.