Results tagged ‘ Corpus Christi Hooks ’

On the Road: Whatanight in Corpus Christi

In keeping with the theme of this Texas-sized road trip, I arrived in Corpus Christi shortly before the game began and didn’t really have any time to get the lay of the land. But my first impression of Corpus Christi was that it was a pretty swanky place, at least in the waterfront area where my hotel was located. On these trips I am used to staying in nondescript establishments located within  homogeneous swaths of depressingly generic chain establishments. But the Corpus Christi Holiday Inn was 20-something stories tall and located right on the water, definitely not a typical Minor League hotel!

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The view from my room:

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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to access the balcony. How’s this for some strangely-worded hotel room signage?

“We would like to make you aware”?

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This grandiose sense of scale carried over to the ballpark itself, which opened in 2005. Welcome to Whataburger Field, home of the Corpus Christi Hooks.

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This statue, sporting the disappointingly generic title of “For the Love of the Game,” is 22 feet tall. Is it the biggest statue in all of Minor League Baseball? I don’t know, you tell me.

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I wrote about this statue, and many other aspects of the Hooks experience, over at MiLB.com. Please read it, as I am going to do my best not to be redundant when it comes to what I cover here in this blog post.

As you’ll see in this photo, and throughout the post, the landscape surrounding Whataburger Field is rather cluttered. There are cranes, ships, bridges, train tracks, wind turbines (and more). Much of this industrial activity is affiliated with the Port of Corpus Christi, which, per Wikipedia, is the sixth largest port in the United States as regards cargo volume.

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The wood beams incorporated into the stadium’s facade (as well as the corrugated steel paneling along the upper suite level)  are architectural nods to the cotton warehouses that used to permeate the region.

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During the days when cotton reigned, baseball in Corpus Christi was more apt to resemble this.

The AutoNation Club group seating area features this view of Harbor Bridge (it’s much prettier at night, as you shall soon see).

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There are a lot of Minor League groundskeepers out there would will kill (with their bare hands, if necessary) for storage space like this.

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Another perk of groundskeeping in Corpus Christi, as detailed in my MiLB.com piece:

Over the course of their existence, the Hooks have only had five of their home games affected by the weather. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that the Corpus Christi region doesn’t receive much rainfall, but what Hooks senior director of communications Matt Rogers calls “an incredibly effective drainage system” plays a major role as well. There are six inches of sand beneath the playing surface, and six inches of gravel below that. In between the sand and the gravel is a conduit that transports water out of the ballpark and directly into the shipping channel. 

Tanks, a lot:

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Cotton presses, still standing in their original location, flank each side of the (brand-new) scoreboard. The “Bam Bam” sign below the window commemorates a batting practice home run hit by Hunter “Bam Bam” Pence while he was with the Hooks.

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The boilers that once drove the presses now serve as the backdrop for an outfield basketball court.

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Beyond the boilers one finds this youth field, which has games taking place at 5:45 most days of the week. On the day I attended, the Challenger League was in action.

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And here we have a rock wall, which has not yet achieved sentience.

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The view from the 407 Club, so named because it sits just beyond the deepest part of the ballpark.

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Even deeper, but not part of the ballpark proper:

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The Hooks’ Splash Zone is a bit more modest than the water park seen above.

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The view from the right field entrance.

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After taking this lap of the surroundings (thanks to Matt Rogers for the tour), I went down to the playing field for a pre-game interview with Hooks broadcaster Chris Blake.

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No pictures of this interview exist, but rest assured that I was charming and witty and incredibly knowledgeable. That’s Chris there on the left, and that guy on the right is wearing a poncho in celebration of Cinco De Mayo. This photo also provides a good view of the cotton press as well as the team’s new scoreboard.

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The dugouts are sponsored by the Downtown Marina Holiday Inn, who would like to make you aware that the balconies are not accessible.

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A pre-game autograph session featuring both players and mascots.

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I’m not sure if Sammy the Seagull is signing the baseball or eating it. Maybe a little of both. 124

And, yes, that is an anthropomorphic hook wearing a poncho. I don’t think that I had ever seen that before.

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As the game began, I was in a storage area among “Only in Minor League Baseball” accoutrements such as a super-sized order of Whataburger Fries.

129 I wasn’t participating in any spud-related activity, however. My task was to compete in a between-inning tricycle race.

IMG_1333 During most of the game I hung out with on-field emcee Charlie Kovar — aka “Ballpark Chuck.” He was rooting for me to succeed.

I started off strong, but at some point during the race my foot slipped off of the pedal and I never regained my speed. I finished in second (of three).

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Many of our adventures together throughout the evening were chronicled on the videboard, but the video I obtained lacked audio and I have decided not to use it. Hopefully these pictures will suffice, please send any complaints regarding my subpar content to benjamin.hill@mlb.com 

Ballpark Chuck and I then adjourned to the outfield for the “Whataburger Fry Shuffle” contest. (Similar to a cap shuffle or what have you). For participating in this contest, I received an oversized Whataburger t-shirt. Please, pay no attention to my emerging manboobs.

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Our ballpark journeys now segued into a now common segment of the Ben’s Biz Blog “On the Road” experience. It was time to meet my designated eater (you know, the individual recruited to eat the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits).

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Say hello to Javi Rodriguez, a middle school math teacher and high school baseball coach in Corpus Christi. Javi was at the ballpark with his wife, Megan (also a teacher), father Jaime and son James (that James and Jaime in the background).

“I just love Minor League Baseball, and reading the different blogs,” said Javi. As for his designated eating duties, he remarked that “My wife couldn’t believe it, but she said ‘If if it’s going to be anyone, I guess that it’d be you.”

Yes, “The Babe.” Created last season in response to MiLB.com’s “Food Fight” competition, “The Babe” is cheddarwurst wrapped in hamburger wrapped in bacon.

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“The cheddarwurst makes it so it’s not as dry as you would think,” said Javi. “And anything wrapped in bacon is a can’t miss. This is Texas, so when you put those meats together it’s good stuff.”

Next up was the Taco Dog — a hot dog in a crispy corn taco shell in a soft flour tortilla, topped with ground beef and pico de gallo.

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Javi simply remarked that this was a “good doubledecker, there’s a lot going on.” We then moved on to the mac and cheese dog, which I failed to take a good picture of.

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“This is good, but it could use a little ketchup,” said Javi. “Some people say that’s sacrilegious, to put ketchup on a hot dog.

At one point Javi attempted to enlist 14-month-old  James as a designated eater, which would have made him the youngest designated eater in the history of designated eating. James was having none of it, though.

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Ive Got You, Babe

Thanks to Javi and his family for taking the time to do some designated eating! When I asked if it was embarrassing to sit at a table and have someone take pictures of him eating, he said “Nah, I’m a teacher. You have to embarrass yourself in the classroom every day.”

That’s the spirit!

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For the record, Whataburger Field has its own Whataburger (which the locals pronounce “Waterburger.”)  The fast food franchise began in Corpus Christi, and still has its headquarters there.

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Enshrouded in the shadows, one can also find Nolan Ryan’s “Smoke 5714″ BBQ stand. (The Hooks were originally owned by Ryan-Sanders. Nolan Ryan struck out 5714 batters over the course of his 63-season career.)

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And don’t forget. There was a game going on! There is always a game going on.

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As alluded to previously, the Harbor Bridge is beautiful at night.

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Ballpark Chuck and I had made our way back down to the playing field so that I could emcee a “Finish the Lyrics” competition. Madalee and McKayla ably finished the lyrics (of a pop song I can no longer recall); fun was had by all.

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I then emceed a Dizzy Bat Race, because why not? I wish I had proper video of this, as my comedic chops were on point for a change.

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Taking a phone call while the contestants spin.

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After the Dizzy Bat Race, I interviewed Hooks super-fan Tammy Tucker about the myriad ways in which she supports the team. You can read that interview HERE.

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You don’t need a fancy lens to get a good picture of Harbor Bridge.

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With the game just about over, I made a pit stop at the press box. Like seemingly everywhere else at Whataburger Field, there is plenty of room to move.

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The Hooks do not acknowledge the existence of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

A unique aspect of Whataburger Field is this radio studio, located on the ground floor of the stadium and visible to fans. Here, outfielder Mark Wik does a post game interview with Chris Blake after homering in his Corpus Christi debut. I’m not sure of the machinations that led to Wik being in Corpus Christi, but he came straight from extended Spring Training, played two games with the Hooks, and then went to Class A Advanced Lancaster and played two games there. He is now back in extended Spring Training (I think), and will most likely appear again with Class A Short Season Tri-Cities once their season begins. What a life.

177 As I observed this interview, a man I had met previously in the evening, one Douglas Calhoun, tapped on the window and waved a ball and pen at me. I assumed he wanted me to get Wik to autograph the ball, but he wanted my autograph (!!!) I was happy to oblige.

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If you would like me to sign an autograph for you, then get in touch. I am a very accessible celebrity.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

The Harlem Shake: A Minor Overview

Introductory paragraphs within this blog forum can sometimes be needlessly circuitous, steeped as they are in obscure references and acute self-consciousness. But not today. Today, we cut to the chase:

What follows is a comprehensive round-up of Harlem Shake videos produced by Minor League teams. 

Yes, you’re probably sick of the Harlem Shake at this point. I am too. But let’s take the long view, as historians with an interest in baseball history, viral fads and the intersection of the two will no doubt delight in stumbling upon this post at some at some unknown moment in the distant future. I am doing this for you, future historians! I always am. For it is you who will ensure my legacy.

Plus, you’ve gotta admit — Minor League teams, with their easy access to supply closets full of banana suits and inflatable ponies, make better Harlem Shake videos than most. So here we go! In no particular order, here are two dozen Harlem Shake videos produced by professional baseball teams in possession of a formal affiliation with a Major League club.

Frederick Keys — Apparently a big-headed reincarnation of Francis Scott Key regularly sits in on front office meetings:

Columbus Clippers — Warning! Includes bear-on-frankfurter violence that may be unsettling to younger viewers:

Bowie Baysox — A toothbrush can’t dance? I bristle at such a notion:

Lexington Legends — Mister would you please stop punching that pony? WATCH ON FACEBOOK.

Vancouver Canadians — As if any proof was needed that this was an international phenomenon:

Fort Wayne Tincaps — A solitary pothead gives way to a banana who loves the queen of hearts.

Lake Elsinore Storm — Yes that is an upside-down squirrel hanging from the dugout, and yes he is happy to see you:

Corpus Christi Hooks — Can’t a man bike through the office in peace? WATCH ON MILB.COM

Tulsa Drillers — Hey, no dogs in the swimming pool!

Gwinnett Braves — Team store? More like surreal fever dream store!

New Hampshire Fisher Cats — Fungo and friends “rose” to the occasion:

Lehigh Valley IronPigs — Give peas a chance. WATCH ON MILB.COM

Buffalo Bisons — Vest-wearing gentleman on the right is my favorite individual to appear in any Harlem Shake video:

Charlotte Stone Crabs – What’s to stop the Incredible Hulk from wearing a sombrero?

Fresno Grizzlies — Forget this faddish viral bastardization. Parker knows how to do the REAL Harlem Shake. WATCH ON VINE. 

Louisville Bats — This takes place in multiple dimensions simultaneously. It will blow your mind.

Bowling Green Hot Rods — I guess you could say that Axle rose to the occasion.

Delmarva Shorebirds — The Shake so nice they did it twice.

Springfield Cardinals — You know what? This is probably the  best one out of all of ‘em.

Round Rock Express — All bobblehead version!

Connecticut Tigers — Shout it from the rooftop!

And, finally, there are the State College Spikes. The first Minor League team to post a Harlem Shake video, and the last to be featured in this post:

EDIT! 

Two latecomers have entered the fray!

Orem Owlz — Holly, the Owlz pregnant mascot, wisely sat this one out.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans — Fans of multi-colored crustacean triumvirates rejoice!

And that’s all she wrote, folks. “She” being me, of course. I am a man. A 34-year-old man. A man who is perhaps too old to be providing you with diversions such as the above. But yet I do, and yet I did.

Do not forsake me, future historians! I do not want to believe that this has all been in vain.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

A Day In the Life

tomorrow.jpgTomorrow, as it’s been said, is only a day away. And tomorrow’s tomorrow, when it becomes the present, presents a bountiful array of enticing presents to fans gracing Minor League ballparks with their presence.

Wishing to continue my reign as a preeminent prescient promotional prognosticator, I now present this truncated list of just what, exactly, is taking place tomorrow. Taken in toto, it serves to illuminate the the voluminous vitality of the Minor League landscape.

I know many of you would like to punch me in the face after reading the above two paragraphs, but you can’t. I’m light years away, and ensconced in bubble wrap. 

To the list!

Hank Conger Bobblehead Giveaway (Arkansas Travelers) — In honor of the switch-hitting backstop who suited up for the team in ’08 and ’09.

William Seward Bobblehead Giveaway (Auburn Doubledays) — In honor of NewThumbnail image for seward.jpg Yorkstate’s 12tgh governor, who suited up for the commonwealth from 1839-1842. He later served as Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln. Now he’s a bobblehead.

Three World Record Attempts (Bowie Baysox) — As detailed in this week’s “Promotion Preview” column, the Baysox are attempting to reach new heights in the categories of “Most People Sitting on a Whoopee Cushion”, “Most People Doing ‘The Twist'”, and “Most People Engaged in Simultaneous Air Guitar.”

Farmer Axle Bobblehead (Bowling Green Hot Rods) — It’s “Agriculture Night” in Bowling Green, hence a giveaway featuring a tractor-driving mascot.

Lumberstock (Clinton LumberKings) — An all-day festival featuring live music, cornhole tournaments, and plenty of food and drink. “Wood”n’t you like to go?

hooks.jpgRetro Jersey Giveaway (Corpus Christi Hooks) — An inimitable item mimicking the ’80s incarnation of parent club the Houston Astros.

Ryan Dempster Theme Jersey Auction (Daytona Cubs) — Proceeds benefit the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation.

Buster Posey Bobblehead (Fresno Grizzlies) — If you want one of these then you better Buster move to Chukchansi Park.

Jimmy Hart Appearance (Lexington Legends) — The “Mouth of the South” attempts to devour Applebee’s Park.

Ladies Night w/ Rafe Hernandez (Mahoning Valley Scrappers) — The “Days of Our Lives”rafe.jpg star visits Eastman Field, delighting fans with hourglass figures.

Jacoby Ellsbury Bobblehead (Pawtucket Red Sox) — Free to the first 4000 fans age 14 and under. Or at least those, like Ellsbury, who can pass for 14.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jerry Lawler Appearance (Richmond Flying Squirrels) — Because two legendary grapplers are always better than one, unless they gang up on you.

A few odds and ends before closing up shop:

– A new “Farm’s Almanac” feature is up now, about the Frederick Keys’ “Volt Night” and executive chefs in Minor League Baseball. “Volt Night”, in which Top Chef’s Bryan Voltaggio manned a concession stand, was a huge hit in Frederick (attracting a near-sellout crowd on a Tuesday night). The Baltimore Sun ran an excellent recap and photo gallery of the event.

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– For sheer wordplay lunacy, it will be hard to top the Huntsville Stars’ September 6 promotion. The game will be preceded by the “Okra Win-Free Labor Day Marathon”. 103 people will split the duties of running the race (no one will “win”, see?) and okra will be a side dish in the steak dinner following the race. Plus, an invitation has been extended to Oprah Winfrey, who once ran a marathon. The entire event should be soundtracked by THIS.

– Finally, from the “Why Didn’t I Think of That” department, the Lancaster JetHawks have passed along word that they’re planning a “90210 Night” promotion for September 2. Get it? 9/02/10. It’s been right there in front of us, all along.

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

The Offseason is On

onoff.jpgPerceptive readers of this blog may have picked up on the fact that I have come down with a case of the “Offseason Blues.” This ailment is not recognized by the mainstream medical community, so it has been hard for obtain the treatment I deserve.

But soldier on I must, so soldier on I shall. Today, I seek to derive strength and inspiration by conveying the following smorgasbord of Minor League news to you, the reader.

Dare to Be Stupid — Teams across the country are currently taking advantage of October down time in order to plan their 2010 promotional schedule. At least two of these clubs are actively soliciting fan suggestions: the Great Lakes Loons and the Bowie Baysox.

In advance of last week’s “Think Tank” planning session, the Loons put out a press release asking that fans submit promotional ideas on the Facebook page of mascot Lou E. Loon.

The Baysox, meanwhile, are asking fans to send an email to info@bowiebaysox.comstraight.jpg with the subject line of “CRAZY IDEA.” The caps-lock enamored club takes pains to emphasize that NO IDEA IS TOO CRAZY, so don’t be afraid to really let loose. I just gave myself 30 seconds to brainstorm a crazy idea, and the best I could do was “hermit crab giveaway.” It’s been that kind of day.

A Trip Down Memory Lane — I am in the process of putting together a spreadsheet of offseason Minor League events, so that I can write an offseason version of my “Promotion Preview” column. In the process, I have come across several worthy events that, alas, have already occurred. Such as:

Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown in San Jose — Former big leaguers — including Hall of Famers Gaylord Perry and Rollie Fingers — faced off against players from the California Vintage Baesball Association. The game was played according to the 1886 rulebook, meaning that Perry could finally throw a legal spitball.

Hall of Fame Fight Night in Corpus Christi — Featuring eight bouts and a local Hall of Fame induction ceremony. What more could you ask for on a Saturday night in October at a Double-A ballpark?

Stone Crabs Celebrate Themselves — In Charlotte (Florida), the Stone Crabs celebrated theflacrab.gif opening of stone crab season by offering fans a $50 gift card with the purchase of a season ticket plan.
  
Dave the Horn Guy Update — Every few months, I feel compelled to mention Minor League touring performer Dave the Horn Guy. Rather than question why this is, I instead direct you to THIS LINK. There, you can download Horn Guy ringtones. If you’ve never heard Usher’s “Yeah” played through a chromatically-tuned bulb horn, then you’ve never really lived.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Cinco De Mayo Recapped on Seis De Mayo

Thumbnail image for cch.jpgFor many Americans, the holiday of “Cinco De Mayo” is nothing more than an excuse to go drinking at Mexican restaurants. It’s like St. Patrick’s Day with tequila instead of Guinness. 

That’s all well and good, but what’s well and better is the opportunity to celebrate Cinco De Mayo in a different way. That’s exactly what the Corpus Christi Hooks offered their fans last night, as the club staged a “Mariachi Madness” Cinco De Mayo celebration.

Here’s the rundown, courtesy of Hooks promotions coordinator Seamus Gallivan:

“Our resident mariachi band, Mariachi Espuelas,
will play their regular pre-game set in the concourse, then perform the
National Anthem, then be featured throughout the ballpark as part of in-game
promotions. They’ll play chase music on the field at the finish line of the
Hog Race and serenade couples during the Kiss Cam, all closing out with
their rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” in which they always
finish by shouting, “Viva Los Hooks!”

Here’s a shot of Mariachi Espuelas in action atop the dugout:

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According to Gallivan, the highlight of the night was the band’s rendition of the National Anthem.

“They considered it a real honor to be asked to do it, and came up with an intricate and layered arrangement,” he said. “It was very stirring, creating goosebumps on top of goosebumps…It was the best anthem performance we’ve had this season, and one of the best I’ve ever seen.”

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The evening took on a decidedly goofier turn as the game progressed. Here, mascot Rusty Hook engages in a showdown:

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Finally, there was an appearance by the mischeivious wrestling duo Luchadores de Lucha Libre (in reality, two Hooks interns) Their primary goal was to wreak havoc on the mascot race, but they ended up doing far more.

“They stuck around to throw out t-shirts and do the dizzy bat race, and after the game they were standing by the gates wishing people goodnight,” said Gallivan. “We couldn’t get them out of those costumes.”

And who could blame them?

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So there you have it, folks — Cinco De Mayo done right.

What’s been going on in your neck of the woods? Send me an email, okay?

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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Minor League Ballclubs Court Women, Provide Warmth

barbs.jpgMany Minor League teams offer local youths the opportunity to join a “Kids Club”. For a nominal annual fee, these mascot-sanctioned entities generally provide the child in question with an array of team merchandise, tickets, and in-stadium discounts.

But rare is the team that makes such an offer (adopt suave, bass-inflected voice for these next three words) For the Ladies. 

With the recent introduction of their BARBS! fan club, the Corpus Christi Hooks have done just this. Press release, I’m going to let you explain things from here:

[D]esigned for female baseball fans between the ages of 16 and 54. BARBS
membership benefits include a pink visor, pink tote bag, two reserved
tickets to three 2009 Hooks home games and a 10 percent discount at
Hook, Line & Sinker.

Now, I know the question on everyone’s mind at this point is this — “Why is this thing callhook.GIF ‘BARBS’?” Fortunately, Hooks president Ken Schrom has an answer:

“The most important part of a hook is the barb, so we feel the name is a natural.”

Thanks, Ken Schrom. Now, all that remains to be seen is whether the Hooks offer will “lure” more female fans to the ballpark.

Talk About Good Timing!

splash_polar_bear_club.jpgAs I was in the midst of composing this blog post (#268, for those keeping track at home), an email from the Lancaster JetHawks landed in my inbox with a portentous thud. This missive, from general manager Larry Thornhill, announced an even more unique Minor League fan club.

Enjoying outdoor activities during the early spring in the Antelope Valley can
be a rather chilly proposition. That is why the Lancaster JetHawks…have come up with a great new way to enjoy
exciting professional baseball while staying warm and comfortable at the
ballpark. The brand new “Polar Bear Club” will give its members access to a
special heated section, as well as hot chocolate and a blanket, along with
ticket discounts for all April home games at Clear Channel Stadium.

The heated section will feature several outdoor space heaters and will be
exclusive to Polar Bear Club members. Along with this special benefit, Polar
Bear Club members will receive a ticket to all 14 JetHawks home games in April. They will receive a specially designed JetHawks Polar Bear Club blanket, as well
as a hot dog and cup of hot chocolate at each game.

lancaster_jethawks_primary_logo_2_3.jpgThe price of the Polar Bear Club is $120 (a scaled down $80 option exists as well). This is a great deal for
those who were already considering attending all or most of the April
games anyway, but is probably too much money to entice the casual fan. Regardless, I love the JetHawks strategy of taking a negative and turning it into a positive by giving people a reason to want to come out and sit in the cold. Every Minor League community has its subset of hardcore, rain-or-shine fans. Why not reward and encourage their masochistic game-attending tendencies by offering something similar to what the JetHawks have done?

And, for some reason, I can’t get it out of my mind that the Polar Bear Club will result in at least one marriage down the line. 14 chilly nights of fleece blanket and hot chocolate-enhanced Minor League Baseball seems like a really good way to get to know someone.

I wonder if the BARBS would agree. 

This Is Ben's Biz Blog

ump.jpgWe’re inching ever-closer toward Opening Day. Press releases touting Hot Stove Dinners have given way to those announcing National Anthem Auditions and Job Fairs. This is the way of things.

As this slow march toward real live baseball progresses, teams must kick their promotional campaigns into overdrive. In addition to TV, radio, billboards, newspaper ads, and other more traditional means of advertising, there is now another way in which to promote the upcoming season.

You may have heard of it. It’s called “the internet“.

Last week, Corpus Christi Hooks promotions coordinator Seamus “Don’t spell it Shamus”cch.jpg Gallivan sent me a link to some of the recent videos his club has produced. Modeled after ESPN’s “Sportcenter” commercials, the “This Is Hooks Baseball” campaign adopts a dry, absurdist tone.

Check them out here.

As we move closer to the season, I’ll make a point to highlight internet ad campaigns throughout the Minor Leagues. Send me an email if you’d like the team you work and/or root for to be featured.

Moving On…And while I’m in solicitation mode, let me mention two other things.

First Thing: Next week, I will be working on a story for MiLB.com about Valentine’s Day in the Minor Leagues. I have come across a half-dozen or so clubs who are doing promotions tied in with the holiday, but there are surely more. Let me know.

Second Thing: Our weekly “At Home With” team profile column will be going on hiatus once the season starts. I still have three or four open spots available. Don’t miss the chance to have your team featured. Send me an email if you’re interested.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com 

One Step Closer To the Inevitable…

golden.jpgLast week I did a post on the innovative season ticket plan launched by the Huntsville Stars and the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, in which each team would honor the other’s Season Ticket Holder cards when they face each other.

Well, this is an idea that is quickly taking on a life of its own, as last week the Stars and D-Jaxx announced that the Mississippi Braves and the Chattanooga Lookouts had entered into the agreement as well. This means that each club’s 70-game season ticket plan now includes 24 additional road games.

You realize what this is all building toward, right? No? Well I’ll tell you — This is all building toward a bold new future in which a Minor League team’s season ticket plan also includes admission to each and every away game. Granted, we’re not there yet, but we are most certainly headed down that path. Prepare yourselves.

On The Topic — Somewhat similar to the new Stars and D-Jaxx ticket plan is the arrangement that exists between the Pacific Coast League’s Round Rock Express and the Texas League’s Corpus Christi Hooks. Both teams are owned and operated by Ryan-Sanders Baseball, and as a result honor the other’s season tickets and also offer team-rate discounts at the team hotel in each city.  (thanks to Hooks’ director of ballpark entertainment Seamus Gallivan for the info)

Off the Topic, But Still Related To One of the Teams in Question — The Stars, a Brewershart.jpg affiliate, are hosting a youth baseball camp on November 8. And this camp is going to be run by none other than Corey Hart. However, the Corey Hart in question is not this Corey Hart, who currently patrols right field for the Brewers. Nor is it this Corey Hart, who scored a pop smash in 1983 with “Sunglasses at Night”. Rather, it is Brewers Minor League hitting instructor Corey Hart, whose eight-year pro playing career came to an end in 2005.

All three of these Corey Harts are worthy of respect and admiration. Just don’t get confused, is all I’m saying.   

Digestible Digressions

journalist.gifGenerally, I do not like to write posts that contain bite-sized morsels of information on disparate topics. As someone who pretends on a daily basis to be a serious and influential journalist, I take great pains to insure that my unsolicited Minor League PR work is detailed and in-depth. How else can I justify to MLB.com that I am “special” to them?  

Not today, however. Not today. There are just too many things to write about, and little time in which to do it. So, without further ado, let’s go to the Bullet Points!

– Last week, I wrote a post on the Quad City River Bandits‘ innovative “You Pick the Improvement” contest. After soliciting suggestions over a three-week period, the club is now having fans vote on which of six improvements they would like to see made to Modern Woodmen Park. I voted for “Permanent Playground for Kids”, largely because the temporary play areas of my youth always resulted in heartbreak and disappointment.

– The Corpus Christi Hooks announced last week that they would be holding their own versionolympics.gif of the Olympics on November 15. The Games will feature 14 events, and scored 10-8-6-4-2 for first through fifth place in each event. Here’s more, from the press release: 

Companies may
enter the Games for a $500 fee and the cost per participant is $10, to
be paid by the company or individual. Each athlete receives a t-shirt,
wristband and coupon for a hot dog and Coke. Spectator admission is $2
and PROCEEDS BENEFIT THE MIRACLE LEAGUE OF CORPUS CHRISTI.

Kudos to the Hooks for coming up with an innovative and charitable way to stay in the public eye during that baseball-deprived time of year.

– I need to give credit where credit where credit is due, as I found the following bit of information in Ballpark Digest: The Durham Bulls (Class AAA; International League)
opened the doors to
Durham
Bulls Athletic Park
to an event, Project
Homeless Contact, designed to bring social
services and the homeless together. Because of its
downtown location,
Durham
bull.jpgBulls Athletic Park was the perfect place to
hold the event, with over 400 homeless people
receiving counseling on a variety of services
meant to bring them to a higher level of
stability, including job counseling and housing
assistance. You probably can’t do this during the
season, but for a single event the ballpark worked
beautifully — and showed us all the power of
thinking outside the box in providing worthwhile
community service.

All that I can add to this is that I would love to see more teams follow the Bulls’ lead. After all, it is better to follow a Bull than have a Bull follow you.

– I have more Minor League news at the ready, but as a staunch proponent of the Rule of Threes I must conclude today’s post. I have to get my affairs in order here in NYC, as I will be spending the rest of the week in beautiful Austin, TX, at the Minor League Promotional Seminar. See you there, industry. Drinks are on you.  

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