Results tagged ‘ cream sticks ’

2009: The Year in Photos

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

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

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

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

yogi (2).jpg  
(Photo credit: Dano Keeney)

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

Thumbnail image for 102 pitch 1.JPG

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

creamstick 1.JPG


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

dan ready to perform.JPG

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

timber rattlers moo contest.JPG 
 

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

brooklyn baracklyn bobble.JPG

(photo credit: George Napolitano/Brooklyn Cyclones)

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

Idaho Falls -- Spuddy Buddies Go Flying 2.JPG

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

Birmingham -- Mascot Massage 2.JPG

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cream Stick Gets Creamed, Video Gets Posted

sherlock.JPGFriday’s post ended on a note of uncertainty, as I lamented my inability to track down video footage of Vanilla getting knocked out during one of the Akron Aeros’ nightly Cream Stick Races.

Fortunately, I have readers who are more technologically adept than I am. Thanks largely to them, the mystery has been solved. Let me provide you with a brief timeline of what has occurred thus far:

– Friday, September 18: I write an end-of-season update on the Akron Aeros’ Cream Stick Race. The post contains a lengthy email excerpt from Aeros director of corporate and suite sales Calvin Funkhouser, who mentions that Cuyahoga Community College student Danny James possesses video footage of Vanilla getting knocked out. Funkhouser recommends that I and my readers “Facebook bomb” James in order to get him to release the video.

My attempts to find James on Facebook are fruitless, however, a fact I mention within the post. 

– I recieve an email early Saturday evening from “Becca in Boston”, a self-proclaimed “loyal fan” of this blog. Becca explains that I all have to do to locate James is search for his name on Facebook, and then filter the results by school. Who knew? Becca stops short of contacting James herself, however, explaining that “I feel a little sketchy saying ‘Hey, this blogger said this other guy said to contact you about a cream stick video.’”

That’s totally understood, Becca. Totally understood.

– On Sunday evening, commenter “Possum187″ takes things a step further by posting a direct link to James’ Facebook page. “I believe this is the video-hoarding Ohioan you speak of” he writes.

– Using the link provided by Possum187, I contact James directly through Facebook. He responds that the video I seek is “on YouTube under Creamstick Gets Creamed.” This represents a major development in The Case of the Missing Cream Stick Video, and I beat a quick path over to YouTube in order to see if James was indeed telling me the truth.

He was! Observe, the long-awaited video of Vanilla getting knocked out:
  
 

Perhaps the video was a bit anticlimactic, considering the build-up, but I found it quite enjoyable nonetheless. It took a lot of work for me to bring it to you, the reader, and I couldn’t have done it alone. My sincere thanks to Calvin Funkhouser, Danny James, Becca from Boston, and Possum187. This may have been the first time you four have been mentioned within the span of a single sentence, but I sincerely hope it is not the last.

Update! — On September 23, Funkhouser wrote in with the following bit of pertinient info:

“For the record, that
was not staged. [Vanilla] was literally out on his feet and they HAD to help him
off the field. Him trying to get up then face-planting on the infield
dirt is my favorite part.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Cream Stick Conclusions

Thumbnail image for akronaeros.jpgBack in May, I did a post on the Akron Aeros’ rough-and-tumble Cream Stick Mascot Race. In short, this nightly competition featured three costumed characters — Vanilla, Chocolate, and Maple — racing from left field to the first base dugout.

Hilarity, as well as physical injury, often ensued.

Ever since this post ran, I have been deluged by reader emails and phone calls regarding the Cream Stick Race. This email, from “Jason R.” of Palo Alto, CA is representative of what the public has been demanding to know:

Mr. Hill –

I visited your blog after a co-worker of mine sent me a link to your post about that giant Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Fifth Third Burger.JPGhamburger. I loved the photo of the hamburger, and set about scouring your blog for more photos of giant hamburgers. I didn’t find any, and was ready to banish you to the internet netherworld from whence you came when I stumbled upon your post on the Cream Stick Race.

While not nearly as entertaining as a photo of a giant hamburger, the Cream Stick Race piqued my interest to the point where I, a totally not made-up person, am now sending you an email seeking more information. Which Cream Stick won the most races in 2009? And do any impossible-to-access videos exist of Vanilla getting knocked out?

At any rate, here’s hoping that you are one day able to transcend your cultish industry following and become a writer of at least moderate renown.

Sincerely,

Jason R, from whatever town it was that you said I was from

Well, Jason R., you are in luck. For I recently received an email from the best-named front-office employee in all of Minor League Baseball – Akron Aeros director of corporate and suite sales Calvin Funkhouser.

Funkhouser writes:

funk house.jpg

I
know that it’s been a while since my last email, but I wanted to update you on
what was a tumultuous season of Acme Cream Stick races. This season not
only saw its share of grass stains, bruises, and blood, but also ripped pants,
bruised ribs, a nearly broken ankle that required a trip to the ER, and a cream
stick almost getting knocked out on field. 

 

At
the end of the season the three cream sticks were all tied at 22 wins
each. Fortunately the Aeros are in the playoffs which meant a Cream Stick
Championship Race. The course was extended to run around the outfield
portion of the warning track and in the end Chocolate pushed, shoved, and
sprinted his way to the championship.  As you can see in the attached
pictures Chocolate unified the regular season and playoff championships (yes,
those are old school WWF belts). 

And now, the aforementioned attached photos (“attached” presumably meaning that they are in monogamous relationships with other photos):

Akron -- Cream Stick Race 3.JPG

  Akron -- Chocolate Cream Stick Title Belt.JPG

Akron - Three Cream Sticks, Two Title Belts.JPG
The above photos are great, but what I, and Jason R., and many others want to see is this: Vanilla getting knocked out.

Funkhouser provides us only with this tantalizing clue:

If
you want to see the video of Vanilla getting knocked out you’ll need to friend
Danny James from Cuyahoga Community College on Facebook.  He didn’t put
the video on Youtube.  (feel free to print this last line, Dan getting
Facebook bombed would be hilarious).

The plot thickens! Who is this “Danny James” character, and why is he so stingy with his

cuyahoga.jpg

exclusive Cream Stick Race footage? And, incidentally, is the Cuyahoga River still on fire? (despite the fact that I was born in Cleveland, my knowledge of the Cuyahoga begins and ends with Randy Newman).

I, for one, cannot even locate this “Danny James” on Facebook. Is there anyone out there who possesses people-finding skills that are greater than mine? Because I, and my legions of giant hamburger-obsessed readers, will not rest until we live in a world in which Vanilla Cream Stick knock-out videos are readily accessible on YouTube.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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