Results tagged ‘ Charleston RiverDogs ’
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.
The NFL season began yesterday, so now represents as good a time as any in which to dip into my deep reservoir of blog topics in order to retrieve this:
The Charleston RiverDogs’ “Illegal Use of Your Ed Hochuli Night.”
This bizarrely-named evening of ref-mocking merriment was staged in honor of NFL game arbiter Ed Hochuli, who made several game-changing gaffes last season. He also has a penchant for working out and wearing form-fitting shirts:
“Illegal Use of Your Ed Hochuli Night” took place on August 11. Here’s a look into how it went down.
Before the game, fans were invited onto the field in order to toss the football around (both regulation and foam balls were available for use):
An Ed Hochuli impersonator was on hand, throwing flags around the stands for nonexistent or illogical reasons (ie “Illegal Use of Being a Patriots Fan”):
Here, faux-Hochuli makes a call as part of a between-inning “Guess the Penalty” contest:
Here are the choices the fans were given:
A multi-faceted “Sack the GM” contest also took place, featuring kicking, passing, punting, and tackling. In each category, GM Dave Echols found an underhanded way to defeat his opponent (local radio personality DJ Potter). In the tackling portion of the contest, which naturally included Sumo suits, Echols declined to participate and instead sent out assistant GM Jim Pfander. Here, Pfander tackles Potter:
Prompting faux-Hochuli to call a facemask penalty:
(Thanks to Ashley Stephenson for the info and pictures).
That will do it for me for the week. Thank you for reading, and let me conclude by reminding you to go see a Minor League playoff game this weekend if you have any opportunity to do so. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light….
My list of “potential blog topics” has become exceedingly unruly, thanks to my tendency to fill every square inch of notebook paper before flipping over to a fresh sheet. The page is so crowded that I can barely read my own writing anymore.
Therefore, time is of the essence. I must share as many of these “potential blog topics” as I can, before they are lost forever due to poor notebook maintenance.
So let’s do this!
Traficant Do It — The Mahoning Valley Scrappers put their name into action when they were forced to scrap September 2’s “Traficant Release Night.” For those who don’t keep up on Ohio’s sordid political scandals, James Traficant is a former congressman currently in jail as a result of a whole slew of felonious offenses related to corruption and general sleaziness. The Scrappers’ promotion was meant to acknowledge (and perhaps satirize) Traficant’s upcoming release from prison, but not everyone in the community was on board with the idea. After receiving a virtual mountain of complaints the team wisely put a kibosh on the whole thing. In its place? “Valley Pride Night” — a celebration of area businesses, attractions, and individuals that is sure to be far less divisive than a corrupt politician with a staggeringly bad toupee.
A Great Need, Fulfilled — The simmering feud between Akronites and Birminghamians will soon get an outlet, as whatifsports.com will be running a simulated seven-game series between the Eastern League Aeros and the Southern League Barons.
The theme song for this promotion should be a parody of Mary Poppins’ “Chim Chim Cher-ee“: Sim Sim Series, Sim Sim Series, Sim Sim Series/A Sweep is as lucky, as lucky as can be.” I didn’t even have to change that second line at all!
Outside of My Jurisdiction — I cover the world of affiliated Minor League Baseball. You know this. But I still receive emails from individuals and organizations within other subsections of the sports marketing landscape, many of whom are staging promotions that could most certainly be described as “Minor League Baseball-esque”. Like this — “Jon and Kate Plus Eight Family Night” at Washington state’s Skagit Speedway:
Skagit Speedway will ensure the ultimate fun for “Jon & Kate Plus 8 Night” families by banning all paparazzi and tabloid reporters from the facility for the evening. Families are encouraged to video their own reality show at the event and upload the experience to YouTube.
I also recently recieved a promotional email from a big league club, something that does not happen very often. So, hey, check it out — everyone who buys a “special event ticket” for the San Francisco Giants’ upcoming “Latino Heritage Night” receives a limited-edition Carlos Santana bobblehead:
This One Blows — I included the Northwest Arkansas Naturals’ “Kazoo World Record Attempt” in the August 11 edition of “Promotion Preview”. The club has since sent out a press release announcing that 3000 fans participated in a group rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, thereby establishing a new world record. While I congratulate the Naturals on their efforts, I wonder if they will be able to have their achievement validated by the Guinness Book of World Records. As I learned while researching this article, breaking a world record is much easier said than done.
Switching Things Up — Ambidextrous pitching prospect Pat Venditte is regularly profiled in the national media, by artisans and hacks alike. The most recent feature aired this Tuesday on ESPN’s E60 program — and included footage of Venditte while he was with the Charleston RiverDogs. This gave the club the opportunity to boast that they would be on national television on back-to-back nights, as on Wednesday the RiverDogs’ Homewrecker Hot Dog appeared on the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food.
The lesson here is simple — ambidextrous pitchers and giant frankfurters never fail to get the national media’s attention. Teams lacking these attributes should rectify the situation immediately.
That will be it for me this week. Thanks, as always, for reading and emailing.
Minor League Baseball has always been “real”, simply due to the fact that it exists on our level of spatial and temporal awareness. But this week it will somehow become more “real”, due to the fact that not one but TWO reality shows will be visiting Minor League Ballparks.
First up is the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. On Tuesday, this Texas League franchise (which is not located in Texas — discuss) will host the Duggars clan. This gigantic family stars in the TLC program “18 Kids and Counting“. Headed by recidivist baby-makers Jim Bob and Michelle, the Duggars have thus far brought a dozen and a half children into the world. As an added bonus, all of their names start with the letter “J”.
From the Naturals’ press release:
Jim Bob, Michelle, and their 18 children will throw first pitches before the game, and their actions all night will be filmed by the TLC camera crews who will be on-site shooting an episode of the series. The Duggars will participate in the Naturals’ on-field activities during the game in which they will show the television audience their allegiance to the region’s only professional sports franchise.
The other Minor League team set to recieve some nationwide basic cable exposure is the Charleston RiverDogs. The show “Man Vs. Food” will make a pit stop at Joseph P. Riley Ballpark on Tuesday, so that host Adam Richman can take on an item that has been featured on this blog several times in the past: The homewrecker hot dog.
Can just one man make it through this half-pound monstrosity? Perhaps, but it will be interesting to see which toppings Richman elects to adorn his dog with. 25 are currently available, including pimento cheese, okra, jalapeno, and cole slaw.
At any rate, I am a little disturbed by the fact that this show is called “Man vs. Food.” Shouldn’t there be a symbotic relationship between the two? Does this guy have antagonistic feelings toward water and oxygen as well?
Let me know! I don’t have cable.
The email was from the Charleston RiverDogs, one of the teams that I was considering focusing on in today’s post. I do not take new email messages lightly, interpreting each one as a divine riddle to be deciphered by my all-too-human mind. So, the conclusion I have come to is that I must focus on the RiverDogs in this post.
Specifically, I must focus on the RiverDogs’ recently-released promo schedule. Man oh man is it a doozy. It can be read in its entirety here, but allow me to zero in on some highlights.
Salute to Cooterfest (April 15) — On this special day, the club will pay tribute to the Charleston area’s long tradition of turtle raising. Were you expecting something else?
Salary Cap Giveaway (May 2) — I am really curious to see what a literal “salary cap” looks like. Here’s my guess:
Salute to the G-String, June 11 — Apparently, “select” fans will receive a G String upon entering the stadium. Let’s hope this has something to do with guitars.
Here’s To You Mr. Competitive Adult Softball Player Night (June 18) — The RiverDogs’ front office must be big fans of tongue-in-cheek Budweiser ad campaigns.
Nancy Appreciation Night (June 30) — From Drew to Pelosi to Reagan to Grace, the RiverDogs will be paying tribute to notable Nancys. But the best part of the evening is that the RiverDogs will pick one Nancy out of the Charleston phone book; she will then be “lampooned” throughout the ballgame.
Football Night “Ilegal Use of Your Ed Hochuli” (August 11) — Are the RiverDogs implying that “Ed Hochuli” is a body part? I’ve never heard that terminology before, but you learn something new every day.
To conclude this post, I must offer my customary “kudos” to the RiverDogs. Once again, they have shown a willingness to innovate and experiment when it comes to promos. Also, they offer this at the ballpark:
Things are starting to kick into high gear, folks. Therefore, I am occasionally going to have to include multiple topics within the same post. Presented forthwith is a triumvirate of interesting Minor League news items:
#1 — I had always thought a Homewrecker Hot Dog was an adulterous ski instructor, but leave it to the Charleston RiverDogs to show me the error of my ways.
Last week, the club announced a bevy of new season ticket options, one of which immediately caught my eye. Take it away, press release:
[H]ighlighting the new slate for the 2009 season is the Homewrecker Hot Dog Pack. This 10-game flex pack…not only offers fans the choice of two areas of seating, but also includes a Homewrecker Hot Dog Trucker cap and a voucher for a Homewrecker Hot Dog for each game.
Okay, but if not an adulterous ski instructor…what is a Homewrecker Hot Dog?
A Homewrecker is a half-pound of hot dog with a choice of multiple toppings that range from sauerkraut and okra to hot peppers and cole slaw.
And now, in lieu of 1000 words:
(thanks to RiverDogs play-by-play man Danny Reed for the picture. I am grateful that I now have another go-to food item to feature on this blog, in addition to the ubiquitous Taco in a Helmet).
#2 — From the “Hey, Why Not” department: The Charlotte Knights have invited Barack Obama to throw out the first pitch at their home opener. Sure, the chances that #44 attends the game fall somewhere between “slim” and “none”, but there is never any harm in extending the invitation. The Knights rationale for the invitation (as if they needed one): Obama’s favorite team is the White Sox, and the Knights are a Sox affiliate.
(thanks to blogger Jackie Adkins for the heads-up on this).
For whatever reason, I always feel compelled to promote touring performer Dave the Horn Guy on this blog. So I must mention the fact that Dave has just sent out word that 18 free “Horn Guy Ringtones” are now available for free download on his site. My favorite, by a considerable margin, is Usher’s “Yeah”.