Results tagged ‘ Charlotte Knights ’
Over the last four months there has been plenty of content on this ol’ blog, from road trip retrospectives to Promo Seminar and Winter Meetings recaps to Job Seeker Journals to personal numerical milestones to re-branding round-ups to guest posts on attendance, Google stadium tours, and theoretical sports leagues. Just scroll through the archives! That, and much more, is all there for the (re)visiting.
But while I’ve continued to deliver the varied and indispensable content that one would expect from the Greatest Minor League Baseball Blog of All-Time (TM), one word has been missing from the conversation for nearly four months now. It is a word that is very dear to me, seeing as how it connotates an endlessly malleable approach to both topic and presentation.
Yep, today’s post is gonna be a bouillabaisse, a hodgepodge of Minor League news and notes that have been simmering together for quite some time on the pilot light that is my “blog topics” notebook page. As always, let’s hope that the sum is greater than its parts and, more importantly, that the remainder of this post (#1034 in Ben’s Biz history, for those keeping track at home) is less meandering and inconsequential than the intro. Not likely!
Let’s start at the top of the alphabet, as the always-reliable Altoona Curve have become the latest team to turn the oft-lackluster slugfest that is the All-Star Game Home Run Derby into something else entirely (see Quad Cities River Bandits, Reading Phillies, Charleston RiverDogs). Last month, the team announced “The Ghost Man Games Challenge.”
Ask almost anyone from any generation about a “ghost man” and it will conjure up childhood memories of playing baseball with imaginary base runners. The Altoona Curve (AA, Pirates) plan on bringing those ghost men to life as part of the 2014Eastern League All-Star Stop in Curve, Pa. on Tuesday, July 15. “The Curve, Pa. Ghost Man Games and Hitting Challenge” will cap an evening’s worth of activities at Peoples Natural Gas Field the day before the league’s annual All-Star Game.
Each division (Eastern vs. Western) will receive six ghost men and have the opportunity to earn up to 15 extra ghost men in five games leading up to the hitting challenge. The games include: Bubble Gum Blowing Challenge, Closest-to-the-Pin Flying Disc Toss, Mascot Mouth Accuracy Challenge, T-Shirt Cannon Catch, and Mascot Dodgeball Challenge. Each game will have three ghost men up for grabs.
Following the five, fast-paced games, three hitters for each division will take their hacks trying to hit home runs and doubles (anything that reaches the warning track on the fly). The trick will be how each division employs their ghost men ahead of home runs or doubles hit by the sluggers in order to score the most runs. Each hitter will get five outs before their turn or “inning” is finished. The divisions will take turns and play a three-inning contest.
You know what the above picture means? No segue!
Let’s move straight to the next item, which is this: the Nashville Sounds are playing their final season at Greer Stadium in 2014, and are commemorating it with this nifty logo:
It should read “37 seasons of hits,” if you want to get technical about it, but still: a cool logo. (And, with any luck, I’m hoping that 1978-2014 are not the dates that end up on my tombstone. Fingers crossed).
Meanwhile, on the other end of the birth-death continuum upon which we all reside, 2014 marks the Charlotte Knights’ first season in a brand-new downtown facility. This, too, has been commemorated in logo form, and it looks great. Joust great.
The Omaha Storm Chasers already have three mascots, a fact that, in the past, has been known to rile up ornery snarkhounds. Well, those of the curmudgeonly persuasion are going to go full-bore apoplectic once they hear of the team’s latest endeavor, as the Storm Chasers are adding three more mascots to the fold for 2014. These mascots are currently only identified via their silhouettes, such as this guy (who, if you read his character description, is clearly a piece of corn).
Each of these three characters needs a name, so click on the above link if you want to register your opinion. My three choices are Kernel Cobb, Cap-Tin, and Tony Bone.
A number of Minor League entities have dance teams that perform routines between innings, but this is even better: in 2014, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are going to have a drumline. It’s about time!
This 15-member drumline will be a featured act at 15 home games throughout the season. The Designated Hitters will welcome crowds in the parking lot at Coca-Cola Park before games, participate in player introductions and perform Drum Battles atop the dugouts after select innings later this season.
And for an example of even more unorthodox between-inning entertainment, please consider this from the IronPigs’ fellow PA denizens the Erie SeaWolves:
It might be cold out, but the Retirement Village People always keep it hot! Coming to a dugout top near you soon! pic.twitter.com/APcnk5U6Ck
— Erie SeaWolves (@erie_seawolves) January 6, 2014
The 2013 Minor League season is dead. Long live the 2013 Minor League season.
What that sentiment in mind, today’s post will yet again feature interesting in-season content that I wasn’t able to get to during the season itself. And, more specifically, today’s post will begin with the Charlotte Knights. As you are probably aware the 2013 campaign was a significant one for the Knights, as it marked their last in Knights Stadium (also known as “The Castle”) before moving into a new stadium in downtown Charlotte proper.
But historic final season or not, there was still plenty of time for the bullpen to antagonize the team’s ATV-adept mascot, Homer. The following slew of photos – yes, a slew! — should make that clear. In fact, this photo slew is so good that it should be made into a flipbook giveaway item for 2014.
So, to recap: I, an ostensibly grown man, am posting pictures of grown men who make a living playing a child’s game acting like children by dousing a grown man in a dragon suit with water and baby powder.
So, with that said, let’s move on to more of the same: more Charlotte Knights’ tomfoolery. On June 15 the team staged a “Dairy Night” promotion, and the highlight (?) of this endeavor was an on-field milking contest between Jhan Carlos Marinez and Jason Berken. Click HERE for a full photo gallery, but in the meantime here’s a representative picture.
But, of course, cow milking contests take place at all levels of the Minors — from Triple-A to Rookie ball. For an example of the latter, there’s this from Elizabethton.
That picture features second baseman Brian Dozier, who is now on the Minnesota Twins, so something tells me that that photo might be a few years old. But, whatever, the team sent it along with their press release so that makes it new enough for me. And wouldn’t it be great if the above photo featured a male cow? Then I could have captioned it “bull, Dozier,” and accolades would have ensued.
Speaking of animals on the ball field — Rosenblatt Stadium, the long time home of both the Omaha Royals and College World Series, is now the home of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. The zoo has incorporated elements of the old ball field into its design, and all in all it looks pretty cool.
And that’s all there ever was, is, or will be from this particular dispatch. Thanks for reading.
Have you ever tried to monitor the actions of 160 entities on a daily basis? That’s basically what my job is here at MiLB.com, and please believe me when I say that it can be overwhelming! Keeping track of a such a vast industry exacerbates my already quite pronounced OCD-tendencies, and leads to notebook pages such as the following:
All of this is to say — it’s time to turn the page! But before doing so, please enjoy this bouillabaisse blog post consisting entirely of news items seen on the above notebook page. Y’know, topics that I’ve kept meaning to get around to but never did (or at least never did outside of the Twitter realm).
So here you go — no segues, just news news news!
Would you believe that the Hudson Valley Renegades have not one but TWO former MLB pitchers on their front office staff? Joe Ausiano (1994-95 Yankees) has long been with the team, and he has now been joined by Rob Bell (who played for four teams over seven big league seasons). Bell, now 36, will serve as a sales account executive.
Hudson Valley: home of Minor League Baseball’s best front office softball team?
The Iowa Cubs have long prided themselves on conducting the most irreverent website polls in MiLB, but decided not to continue with the practice after their site underwent an extensive re-design (as nearly all team sites have done of late, courtesy of the tech wizards here at MLBAM).
But, rest assured, they went out on top of their poll game!
You may recall my recent post on Minor League Front Office Cliches, in which one of the cliches mentioned was “We wear a lot of hats.” This prompted @Interstate19Cap to reply, via Twitter: “I wear a lot of hats. Haha! I should work in MiLB.”
He also attached a picture of his formidable hat wall. Not quite at a St. Pete level, but close!
You may or may not be aware of my most recent “Ben’s Bookshelf” column, which had a Black History Month angle.
I recommend all six of the titles shown above (read the article, linked to above), but there’s far more where that came from. Check out this bookshelf pic, sent to me via Twitter by @BeesGal_SLC, and marvel at its thoroughness.
That reminds me — I really should read Curt Flood’s book!
On the promotion front — this, from the Altoona Curve, is worthy of attention. April 11 will be BOpening Night, a tribute to batboy Bo Forney who passed away earlier this month at the age of 21.
From the team:
Bo has been an inspiration to many with the way he lived,” said Curve General Manager Rob Egan. “He had the rare ability to make anybody who came in contact with him feel better. Bo was such a positive person, loved life, and truly enjoyed people. We miss him deeply and look forward to celebrating his life on ‘BOpening Night’ and throughout the season.”
A silent auction will take place during BOpening Night with all proceeds from the auction benefitting the American Heart Association. The auction will consist of game-used items from the Pirates-Curve Exhibition game and will include, in addition to other items, 14-game used jerseys that have been signed by former Curve players /current Pirates players.
To commemorate the life of Forney, a patch with Bo’s cartoon likeness will be affixed to all bat boys uniforms throughout the 2013 season. The Forney family will also be in attendance for BOpening Night and will throw out ceremonial first pitches prior to the game. A moment of silence will be held in Bo’s honor prior to the game as well.
This reminds me of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who last season held a ballpark service for vendor Brock Calmes. Events like these help to illustrate the deep bonds that form within Minor League Baseball ballparks, and just how meaningful the presence of Minor League Baseball within a community can be.
Last week, the Tacoma Rainiers let it be known that anyone willing to purchase 350 Opening Weekend ticket deals would receive this pyramid of Dustin Ackley bobbleheads. I don’t think that anyone took them up on it.
Next I’d like to give a shoutout to Spikes, intrepid mascot for your (or at least someone’s) Rochester Red Wings. He joins Rocky of the Wilmington Blue Rocks as the only mascots (that I am aware of) to take part in a Polar Plunge for charity.
During all 10 of their Friday night home games this season, the Charlotte Knights will be wearing 1990 throwback uniforms. Luxuriate in this image!
This initiative was inspired by the fact that 2013 will be the team’s last at Knights Stadium. 1990 was the first. Sez the team:
The jerseys, which were worn by the inaugural Knights Stadium Team in 1990, will now be worn by the current Knights team during the new “Flashback Fridays” series, which is set to commemorate 24 years of history at Knights Stadium.
To return to philanthropic endeavors, the Erie SeaWolves are now at the tail end of their “Drive to Five” initiative.
The most pertinent of the details:
Through February 28, the Erie SeaWolves will donate $25 to United Way for each new full-season ticket package purchased. If 100 new season ticket packages are purchased, the SeaWolves will double the contribution – raising $5,000 to help United Way achieve its goal to reduce poverty in our region.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys detailed analysis of industry-wide attendance figures, then you’re going to love the Number Tamer. Nobody does it better! (Or, if someone does, I’m certainly not aware of it).
As you may be aware, one of this year’s most ill-fated sporting ventures occurred in Williamsport, PA. The Federal Hockey League’s Outlaw franchise set up shop at outdoor Bowman Field (longtime home of the Crosscutters), an idea that may sound cool in theory but turned out to be a unmitigated financial disaster. The team pulled the plug on the season mid-way through, leaving everyone in the lurch, and once this happened the Crosscutters offered a quick response via this local newspaper ad:
This seems like a disaster waiting to happen, but nonetheless I encourage you like Lancaster JetHawks mascot KaBoom on Facebook. Here’s why:
Speaking of inadvisable mascot feats, here’s a picture of Lake County’s Skipper, immediately after “Tackling the Tower.”
“Tackling the Tower” isn’t some sort of euphemism, but an annual stair-climbing event with (of course) philanthropic intent. Good work, Skipper!
And, my goodness, this notebook page still has a lot of stuff on it. This post is gonna be a two-parter.
Everything I do, I do it for you.
Monday marked the first work day in which MiLB.com headquarters (located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood) was back up and running after the superstorm, and it took me not having access to this place to realize just how much I missed it.
All of my friends are okay.
As someone who resides in a neighborhood that was marginally affected, I’m only just beginning to process the extent to which Sandy truly devastated the region in which I live and work. I was very fortunate in that I never lost power through it all, and with this being the case I channeled some of my storm anxiety into writing for MiLB.com and this blog as if nothing was wrong. I didn’t know what else to do. (For those interested in how Minor League teams were affected by Sandy, check out this short news piece). I’ll save my musings on storm life lessons and how this can and should spur me to become a more active and engaged member of my community for another day. For now, though, let’s engage in a little bit of good ol’ fashion offseason bouillabaissin.’
In case you didn’t read my MiLB.com dispatches, two teams have recently unveiled a new set of logos.
The Lexington Legends got quite a bit of play for their new look. Not only did mascot Big L unveil the new look after rappelling down the side of a building, but the team’s new road cap features a mustache and nothing else. Crank up Sparks!
The new Legends’ universe:
And then there were the Erie SeaWolves, who kept on keeping on with their canine pirate theme despite Erie’s distinct lack of mammalian buccaneer quadrupeds.
I couldn’t help but notice that the eyepatch is now on the right eye, when it used to be on the left. What does it all mean?!
So, yeah. Logos. Next up on the unveiling front are the Hudson Valley Renegades on November 13th and then, one day later, the Reading Phillies. That latter case should be very interesting, as the R-Phils are changing their name and let’s just say the community isn’t reacting positively to that news in the early-going.
Speaking of the Reading Phillies, their former media relations director Tommy Viola is now with the Charlotte Knights. And last month in Charlotte love was in the air. Ballpark wedding!
But sometimes, one needs to destroy before they can grow. Just a few days later, Knights mascot Homer visited the construction site of the Knights’ new ballpark in order to help out with the construction.
Finally, some dragon-with-a-hammer content on this blog! I knew it would happen one of these days.
When I wrote my celiac disease “coming out” post back in early July, I made clear that I was still ready, willing and able to post any and all Minor League food pictures on this blog. But actions speak louder than words, so let’s kick off today’s post with some deep-fried photography of a decidedly gluten-ous/gluttonous bent.
That would be a fried Snickers bar, just one of many delectable offerings that the Charlotte Knights served as part of a “Fried-day” promotion they ran this summer. The team also served fried Oreos.
And fried S’mores were also on the agenda.
Knights media relations director Tommy Viola reported that the “Fried-day” items “sold like hotcakes,” leading him to then wonder “Hmm, maybe we should try fried hot cakes.”
A decidedly less appetizing and far more ridiculous food-related item emerged in Fort Myers last month, as the Miracle staged a “Salute to Bacon” promotion. As part of the festivities, the balls used for the evening’s ceremonial first pitch looked like this.
When I posted this picture on Twitter, it inspired former Iowa Cubs media relations director/current PR professional Andrea Breen to get in touch. She wanted to let me know that this item was being sold at the Iowa State Fair:
This delectable item was sold by vendor The Bird’s Nest, and described as follows:
The Bacon Wrapped Eggs is muffin-sized and has a layer of pancake batter, crumbled bacon, a cracked egg surrounded by another strip of bacon, then topped with cheese and cooked to perfection. It will be sold for $2.50.
There’s only one possible transition that I can think of at this point, and that is, of course, to write about sports bras. Last month, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans gave them away as part of a “Ladies Night” promotion. Take it away, press release:
Run support won’t be the only thing providing a lift at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark Thursday Night. It’s Ladies’ Night and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans are giving away sports bras, courtesy of Carolina Coastal Plastic Surgery, to the first 200 women 18 and over.
With new sports bras in hand, ladies can then bid on “dates” with eligible members of the Pelicans front office. All proceeds will benefit the Bruce Dal Canton Fund to support students higher education goals in Horry County. Winning bidders can date their staff member for the last few innings of the game and then receive a prize pack including movie tickets for a real date night. Whether or not winners take their Pelicans staff members on those dates is up to them. In the history of Ladies’ Night, no staffer has been lucky enough for a second date.
While I don’t have any photographs of the sports bras that were given away, let it be known that “Bachelor Quattro” was very much in demand.
Okay, that’s it for me today. I wish I could end with a Zinger, something that would make you Snicker, but I just don’t have any S’more.
I just wrote a big two paragraph introduction that, upon further reflection, was little more than anxiety-ridden self-indulgence. Who needs that noise? Forget all that, and let’s get to the good stuff. We now join this blog post, already in progress.
So many things have happened! Are happening! Will happen! All the time! I don’t know where to begin, but I do know when.
Last month, I gave ample virtual ink to the Stockton Ports’ “Presidential Seat Cushion” giveaway.
As I wrote at the time:
One side of the cushion features presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, while the other is of Democratic incumbent Barack Obama. And the fans are being asked to sit on the face of the candidate that they do not support.
The promotion got a robust media response, and when the gates opened the fans were ready for some face sitting action. This elderly woman was handed her seat cushion by a banana:
On the other side of the age spectrum was this young fella, now traumatized for life due to prolonged exposure to presidential seat cushion caricature.
Meanwhile, this crew was all over the political spectrum.
Another notable June promotion, and one that I also featured prominently in Promo Preview, was the Frederick Keys’ “Six Months to the End of the World Night.” As the name would imply, it was an evening of apocalyptic proportions.
To the images!
Zombies abounded at the ballpark — as promotions manager Brandon Apter noted “We’re going to keep the emphasis on family fun, but that’s not very easy when there’s blood all over your face.”
“Take Me Out to the Ballbrain”
And how’s this for a deliciously morbid between-inning promotion? A “last meal” eating contest.
Apocalyptic imagery has been everywhere in recent weeks. If you haven’t seen this terrifying/hilarious video of a Tennessee Smokies tarp pull gone awry, then it’s well worth the short time it will take to rectify that.
122,000 views and counting for “Tarp-Nami” — and no one got hurt!
And then there was the storm that swept through Yakima on July 8, which wreaked havoc throughout the stadium. Boise Hawks broadcaster Mike Safford was a witness to the carnage, and sent along the following email:
Here is a look at Yakima’s BP cage after it took a wild ride down the street in last night’s thunderstorm…
It was found on Pacific Avenue in Yakima after the storm.
I’m not sure that anyone could have curtailed a calamitous event such as the above — not even Spiderman. Last I saw that guy, he was wandering around the visiting dugout during a Charlotte Knights game.
The Memphis Redbirds “Organ Donor” jerseys” got a lot of attention both here and elsewhere, and for good reason — very few professional baseball teams, if any, have ever taken the field while decked out in innards-exposing uniform tops.
It all went down on Saturday, with the Redbirds earning a 5-2 victory over the far more conservatively-dressed Tucson Padres. Prior to the ballgame, backstop Nick Derba modeled these awareness-raising duds in the dugout.
Credit for each of the next six photos: Allison Rhoades/Memphis Redbirds
Whether on the mound, at the plate, in the field, or in the dugout, the Redbirds really showed a lot of heart.
And at the end of the day, everyone learned a valuable lesson. Whether black or white, bald or hirsute, smiling or grimacing, we’re all the same on the inside.
But in another, far more accurate sense, we are not all the same. Some of us are way better dancers than others, as evidenced by this amazing video featuring touring ballpark performer B-Boy McCoy going toe-to-toe with preternaturally gifted Whitecaps hurler Alex Burgos.
And on the topic of artistically precocious Minor League ballplayers, here’s a clip of Charlotte Knights catcher Adam Ricks shredding his way through the National Anthem prior to last Thursday’s ballgame.
But for every triumphant moment in life, there is one of defeat. This sobering lesson was brought home earlier this week, with the news that Mark Hamburger had been knocked out of this this year’s (still-ongoing) Minors Moniker Madness tournament by none other than Shooter Hunt.
And you know what goes well with a large helping of Hamburger? A side of corn on the cob, that’s what. We’ll end today’s blogging (mis)adventures with Cedar Rapids’ unflinching look at the harrowing aftermath of anthropomorphic vegetable bathroom usage.
Ending on a high note, as always.
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”.