Results tagged ‘ Delmarva Shorebirds ’

The Year in Ballpark Food, Part II

Yesterday’s culinary compendium included copious coverage of ballpark food and regional cuisine, focusing on trips I made to Arizona, California, Ohio and Indiana.

The journey continues today, with a heavy emphasis on what may have been my favorite road trip of 2011: the Carolinas. It all started at Joseph P. Riley ballpark, the home of the Charleston RiverDogs. This is a team that has provided me with plenty of food-based news items through the years (Homewreckers! Pickle Dogs! Pig On A Stick!), and I was excited to finally make my first visit.

The team was ready for me.

Back Row: Pickle Dog, Boiled Peanuts, Palmetto Beer, Kitchen Sink Nachos Front Row: Pimento Pickle Burger, RiverDog (topped with cole slaw, mustard-based BBQ sauce, pickled okra), Pig on a Stick (foot-long corn dog wrapped in bacon).

Not the best photo, I know, but hopefully indicative of the RiverDogs’ bountiful array of creative food options. Oh, and a Philly Cheesesteak Brat eventually made an appearance.

Here’s a better view of the top-loaded “Kitchen Sink Nachos,” which are served in a pizza box.

But I focused my efforts primarily on the Pickle Dog, making sure to grip the pickle firmly from the rear so that the hot dog would not slip out.

The next day I drove to Myrtle Beach (home of both the Pelicans and the Mermen),  and en route I stopped for lunch at “Hog Heaven BBQ.” Apparently, what passes for heaven in the mind of a pig is an afterlife of eternal cannibalization.

Dismayed and confused by this concept, I instead opted for some crab.


I was admonished by various quarters for ordering seafood at a BBQ joint, and I understand those criticisms. But here in NYC a platter such as the above is (relatively) hard to come by, and I have no regrets. None!

I stayed with the seafood theme at that night’s Pelicans game, ordering up some fried clams.

The following afternoon, en route to Kinston, I went to a BBQ joint and actually ordered some BBQ. Bart’s was the name.

BBQ pork platter, with hush puppies, french fries, cole slaw and a personal pitcher of sweet tea

At Grainger Stadium that evening, I followed the recommendation of GM Ben Jones and ordered a Philly Cheese Steak, North Carolina style. “Magnifique!” is what I imagine a French fan of Carolina League baseball would say upon biting into the following:

Are there any French fans of Minor League Baseball out there? What a rare subset of fans that must be.

Much less rare is the sight of a Bojangles fried chicken joint in the state of North Carolina. As I was making my way from Kinston to Durham, I patronized the following establishment.

Being a man of perpetual movement, at that night’s Durham Bulls game I ordered a Doritos-brand “Walking Taco.”

That’s nacho typical taco, but it provided all the sustenance I needed until the following morning’s stop at Biscuitville.

Less than two hours later, I patronized another regional fast food chain: Cookout. I’ve since heard from many Cookout aficionados, all of whom insisted that milkshakes should be purchased. Duly noted, but this time around I ended up with a Cheerwine float.

One of the highlights of the following day’s travels was lunch at Zack’s Hot Dogs, a Burlington, N.C. institution.

Since I’m always a proponent of a balanced and healthy diet, the hot dog lunch was followed by a bologna burger at that evening’s Danville Braves game.

The last stop on the Carolina excursion was Winston-Salem. A pre-game meal was obtained a Bibb’s BBQ, located a proverbial hop, skip, and jump away from BB&T Ballpark (domicile of the Dash). And what a meal it was:

That’s about all she wrote from the Carolinas; but fortunately I was able to squeeze one more trip into the 2011 campaign: Maryland, home of the crab pretzel!

More specifically, the home of the cheese and crustacean-laden snack seen above was Aberdeen’s Ripken Stadium.  But perhaps an even more anomalous ballpark treat is that which can be found at Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium: pickled beet eggs!

The Hagerstown Suns experienced some drama this past season, when a light pole fell onto the field during a storm. This is where the light pole used to stand…or is it? Maybe this mark was made by a huge pickled egg!

Or maybe a huge Krumpe’s donut used to lie on that spot! After the game I went to nearby Krumpe’s Do-Nuts (open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.) and picked up a few.

My trip, as well as my season of traveling, ended the next day in Delmarva. Needless to say, I did not leave Arthur W. Perdue Stadium on an empty stomach.

That was dinner, consisting of a “Chessie Dog” (half-pound frank with cheese, onions, peppers), Crab Dip (with three bread dipping sticks), and a Scrapple sandwich. But there’s always room for dessert, especially when it’s as appealing as the concoction known as “Sherman’s Gelati.”

And that, as they say, was that. I hope you enjoyed, or at least tolerated, this trip down recent memory lane. It provided me yet another opportunity to revive a season which is in actuality dead as the proverbial doornail, and for that I am grateful.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

One More From the Road

This season I went on four road trips, and from this quartet of excursions I was able to generate 32 blog posts.

Well, let’s make it 33. That’s a good number, associated as it is with Rolling Rock, the longest professional baseball game ever played, and what will soon be my age (Where does the time go?)

My latest trip, Maryland-centric in nature, unfortunately yielded very little time in which to explore the area. For whatever reason, I was forever playing catch-up. But after attending the Hagerstown Suns game on September 1, I did get the chance to check out a spot recommended by reader Bruce Voge: Krumpe’s Do-Nuts.

This out-of-the-way little spot is only open from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., and is located right off of this most appropriately-named side street.

Inside, there is barely room for more than four customers at a time. The majority of the space is dedicated to donut-making (or do-nut-making, as it were).

And excellent donuts they were, serving as holesome late-night blog and article-writing fuel.

The next day, while driving out of Hagerstown and towards yet another hotel room (this one in Annapolis),  I spotted the following establishment.

Being a Pennsylvania native who grew up relatively close to Dutch country, I couldn’t help but stop in. The place was filled with sights such as the following:

A Dutch Oven

In addition to bread there was a fine assortment of cheeses, meats, pickles, and hand-crafted what-have-yous; it would truly be an asset to live near such an establishment. But I have been spoiled in the past by multiple visits to Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal as well as Allentown’s Farmer’s Market, so my standards for this sort of thing are very high. The strip-mall location and anodyne atmosphere were enough to make this visit a short one, so I picked up some hot garlic pickles and sour cream and onion pretzels and went on my way.

About an hour later, after vigilantly scouring every road sign for establishments that looked independent in nature, I ended up here.

The Barbara Fritchie Restaurant, a most aesthetically appealing eatery named after a Civil War heroine who was immortalized in a rousing poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. The iconic candy stick sign references a bygone confectioner who used to operate in the area, under the name of Barbara Fritchie Chocolates.

My photos of the inside are, unfortunately, not blog quality (and that’s really saying something). But click HERE for more on this establishment.

My 2011 travels ended in Delmarva, and I already wrote a fairly epic blog post about that experience. But before visiting the stadium I was treated to lunch at the unassuming and eminently tasty Back Street Grill.

If you’re ever in Salisbury, MD and are a fan of big sandwiches and excellently-cooked french fries, then by all means stop by. And on your way home, don’t forget to take in the idyllic campus of Salisbury University…

located a proverbial stone’s throw from the #1 team-branded water tower in all of Minor League Baseball.

When it comes to road trip content, that is really and truly all she wrote. Except for some swag pics, of course. There are always swag pics.

But I’ll save those for another day. For it is officially the offseason now, and I need all the content I can get. Please send some my way.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Not On the Road: Self-Esteem, Singing, and Pseudo-Celebs

Well hello everybody and how ya been? It’s Ben’s Biz typing on the keyboard again. I’ve got grace, class, style, finesse and debonair. Writing ’bout MiLB promos and hopin’ folks care.

The point of the above Beastie Boy lyric approximation is simply to say that it’s been a while since I was able to kick out a good old-fashioned blog bouillabaisse (and I spelled “bouillabaisse” correctly on the second try, a new record).  I’ve still got some odds and ends from my left coast road trip to share, but today will be all about the here and now in addition to what was recently the here and now but is now then.

For starters, TONIGHT is the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ “Tribute to Bacon” featuring an appearance by Kevin Bacon!

This particular Kevin Bacon has never been immortalized in celluloid, however.

Bacon, a Chesterfield County native for more than 35 years, is currently a detective with the Chesterfield County Police Department….He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice.

So that would be just one degree of Kevin Bacon? Perhaps he’ll obtain a Masters one day. Another Flying Squirrels item of note is that this picture of a “superhero Mom” catching a fly ball went viral.

Credit: Mark Gormus/Richmond Times-Dispatch

Name a media outlet, and chances are they ran something on this. For background on how it all came to be, check out this Richmond Times-Dispatch story. 

The following photos didn’t go viral, but they were sent along to me by the Toledo Mud Hens and are well worth a look. The ol’ “gum on the hat” trick is never not funny. This time around the victim is Michael Restovich of the visiting Charlotte Knights.

Another perennial source of Minor League humor comes in the form of mustaches. One of the most prominent facial follicle initiatives currently taking place is the Delmarva Shorebirds’ “Mustache May.” Members of the team and front office are participating, and fans can donate money toward their favorite.

The current leader is none other than trainer Will Lawhorn.

Not at all creepy

You’ve got to have good self-esteem to grow a mustache like that, which is something that Hickory Crawdads mascot Conrad is currently lacking.

HICKORY, NC -In response to SI.com writer Peter King’s column on Mon., May 16, in which Conrad the Crawdad’s self-esteem was questioned, the Hickory Crawdads are introducing a brand-new promotion and ticket deal for the rest of the 2011 season – Conrad’s Self-Esteem Wednesdays!

For every Wednesday home game…fans can receive a discounted $4 box seat ticket just by mentioning “Conrad’s self-esteem” at the Ticket Office.

The Crawdads will then donate $2 from every $4 ticket to Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare in support of their ongoing mission to provide behavioral health and support services for those in need in the Unifour community.

I’m sure Conrad will rally from the depths of his despair, something that Akron Aeros fans have become quite adept at doing.

And since I always like to end on a high note, how ’bout these Cedar Rapids troubadours?

Contact me with any kernels of info you may have to disseminate. I’ll be here waiting.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Rodents, Rallying, and the Combination Thereof

I ended yesterday’s post with some Quick Hits. In order to hold the attention of an increasingly ADD-addled populace I’ll continue on that front today.

Let’s start with this video out of Portland, ME, featuring an unusual inter-species friendship that has developed out in the Hadlock Field bullpen.

But those in attendance at yesterday’s Sea Dogs game wouldn’t have been able to witness such a serene display of sunflower consumption. Let’s just say that the visibility wasn’t optimal:

But Minor League rodents come in many forms, as evidenced by the recent debut of the Stockton Ports’ “Rally Rat.” The team explains that this critter, originally a sewer dweller, “found himself under the lights of Banner Island Ballpark, surrounded by the roar of Stockton Ports baseball fans, who were hoping to see their team take the win for the night. In his excitement, the rat scurried onto the field and joined in with the cheering. Little did he know, his presence on the field that night would bring a wave of good luck over the team that would help them defeat their opponents.”

An even more mysterious offense igniter is the Delmarva Shorebirds’ “Rally Banana,” credited with spurring a pair of comebacks in the team’s extra-inning win over Savannah on April 26. The time is ripe for this fruitful fellow, whose bid for mass a-peel includes his own Facebook page.

Chiquita him out:


A more comprehensive view of the Minor League experience is currently being provided by the Fort Myers Miracle, who just released episode two of their excellently-produced “Miracle Insider Show.”

And, finally, you may have heard that the city of Altoona is temporarily changing its name to “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, PA” (in conjunction with the release of Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary on corporate product placement). Does this mean that the hometown team will soon become “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold Curve”?

No, it doesn’t. Declares the team:

[W]e won’t be changing our name at this point because of the obvious logistical issues involved.  I don’t even know if we could fit that many letters on to a jersey.  We will be participating in [Wednesday]’s City Council proclamation with our main mascot, Steamer, and are pleased that this effort…will benefit the Altoona City Police Department.”

Looks like the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees will be able to retain their “longest team name in the Minor Leagues” title. But for how long?

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Mascot Ostracized, Concessions Of All Size

shore.jpgTime for Ben’s Biz to unleash another bountiful blog bouillabaisse onto the world, and what better place to start than with a most unorthodox piece of mascot news.

Sherman, the feathered mascot of the Delmarva Shorebirds, has been banned from his own stadium! This is a case of benevolent blackmail, as the motivation for his exile is as follows:

[The Shorebirds] have officially banned Sherman the Shorebird from Arthur W. Perdue Stadium until the team collects 500 pounds of canned food items to benefit the “Strike Out Hunger” campaign. All the canned food items will go to the three local food banks on the Eastern Shore. Sherman will not be allowed to attend the April 5 exhibition game or the April 7 home opener unless the team collects at least 500 pounds of canned food items.

sherbanned.jpg

This self-imposed mascot ban is part of the Shorebirds’ “Strike Out Hunger” campaign, an initiative announced in conjunction with the 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star Game (to be held at Perdue Stadium). If the team is really serious about all of this, they should go ahead and also ban the players until their goals are met. I’m sure the Major League affiliates wouldn’t object at all.

From here we move on to that most treasured of topics, ballpark food.

Charleston RiverDogs food and beverage guru John Schumacher has gotten in touch with some of his club’s 2011 menu additions (in addition to the already covered “Pig on a Stick.”

charleston_shirts.JPG

Let’s take a look.

A Signature Nacho Stand is new for 2011, featuring options such as “The Kitchen Sink” and “Facebook BBQ”. I’m really going to have to look into the latter.

Charleston_nacho.JPG

While you were looking at the above picture, I looked into the issue of Facebook BBQ Nachos. Here’s Schumacher’s explanation, a powerful example of social media if there ever was one:

We had BBQ Nachos on the menu for a few years but decided to take them off after the ’09 season as they weren’t selling well and they had a high food cost. During the first homestand of 2010 a few fans started a Facebook page to “Bring Back the BBQ Nachos @ the Joe”. So we decided to let them sweat it out for a few homestands while the Facebook page grew.

We re-introduced them as Facebook BBQ Nachos.

This year’s signature burger is the thoroughly Southern Pickle Pimento.

charleston_pimento.JPG

The Cheesesteak Brat, a brilliant melding of two ballpark favorites, will make a its debut as well.

Charleston_steakbrat.JPG

And, finally, the imminently self-explanatory entity that is the bologna slider.

charleston_bolognaslider.JPG

Meanwhile, Charleston food and beverage ex-pat Jason Kerton continues to make waves with the Akron Aeros. On March 30th, the team will be holding a rather unique media event:

The Akron Aeros will be featuring the newest food sensations at Canal Park with a special “weigh-in” event for the media.  Step on the scale (if you dare!) and then sample one – or all – of our new food offerings.

I have a feeling that some of the media assigned to cover this event will immediately start looking for a “weigh-out.”

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

You Can Get With This, Or You Can Get With That

The greatest hit in Black Sheep’s catalog has been on my mind lately, because it seems that everywhere I turn a Minor League team is saying “The Choice Is Yours.”

Want some examples? I’ve got three of ‘em, allowing me to gratuitously use the word “triumvirate.” First up are PA’s premier iron-toed ungulates, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

The team is asking fans to choose 2011’s “Pig Out Menu Item.” The options are as follows:

pigout.gif

  • The “Three Little Pigs” Sandwich – Feast on this: Three different types of meat featuring four strips of
    mouth-watering bacon, over two inches of thick ham and four ounces of succulent pulled pork.  A rich barbeque sauce compliments the meat that is served on a fresh Kaiser bun. 
  • Diggity Dog – The hot dog has been reinvented with Black Angus beef, two slices of hot-off-the-grill bacon and melted American cheese on a hearty steak roll.  Savor the taste with ultimate array of toppings including fried onion straws and barbeque sauce.
  • Double Blast Burger – Imagine the double cheese-burger flipped on its head!  Two, half-pound beef patties, two slices of American cheese, French fries and coleslaw on a fresh Kaiser bun.
  • Loaded Fries – French fries crammed with cheese, pulled pork barbeque, chopped bacon, sour cream, chopped tomato and heart-pounding spicy jalapeno peppers.  Don’t forget to grab some napkins!

Fans can vote on the team’s website, with the winner announced on Valentine’s Day. And since I’m on the topic of the IronPigs, I’d like to note that each individual staff profile on the team’s website contains a smiling or winking animation of said individual. As an example, here’s general manager Kurt Landes:

smilingkurt.gif

It’s hard to move on from that, but move on we must. For in Richmond, the Flying Squirrels are asking fans to “Name the Nut.” The team is adding a “fun-loving” acorn mascot to its roster of ballpark characters, and this festive hard-shelled fruit will go by one of the following five designations:

Cappy/Chippy/Corny/Oakley/Zinger

nutty.jpg

I highly question the wisdom of pairing a squirrel and acorn mascot together. Isn’t that the equivalent of teaming up a wolf with a lamb? A raccoon with a fetid dumpster? A humpback whale with its own fat reserves?

But these are questions for another day. Information of a more pressing nature has just emerged from a team which incorporates a triumvirate of states into its name, as the Delmarva Shorebirds have released their promo schedule into the vastness of the internet:

shorebirdspromos.jpg

The first-ever Manny Machado bobblehead will probably get the most attention, but in keeping with my already-established “The Choice Is Yours Theme” I’d like to highlight September 2’s “NFL Night” giveaway:

The Shorebirds will let the first 1,000 fans choose between a Shorebirds hat in Redskins, Ravens or Eagles colors. Fans are encouraged to choose the colored hat of their favorite team.  

I like the Shorebird’s creativity on this one, but perhaps a more relevant NFL-themed promo would simply be to lock the players out of the stadium?

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

Running on Fumes

mt.jpgI’m not content with the level of content I have to work with right now. It’s dangerously close to nil and that’s a harrowing thought.

Without content, I cease to exist.
But, hey, here’s an idea: Throughout the years, a substantial number of Minor League Hockey employees have gotten touch to say they read this blog and are inspired by the creativity of their baseball brethren. Well, let’s start a mutual appreciation society. If you work in hockey and are staging creative promotions applicable to the world of Minor League Baseball, then get in touch. And, as always, photos and video go a long way.
Of course, I still have some news to share. I always do. Continuing with yesterday’s theme, it should be noted that Ferrous of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs is auctioning off his trick-or-treating services.
ferrous.gif
The bidding has started, and currently sits, at $100. Encourage this costumed pig’s brazen capitalistic impulses by bidding HERE.
Meanwhile, in Delmarva, the Shorebirds have begun their Google Earth-utilizing “Around the  World” contest. Sez the club:

delma.jpg

During the offseason, the Delmarva Shorebirds want to see how far the Delmarva Shorebirds brand extends. Send in pictures of youself, your family, your friends and others in Shorebirds gear.

Just two photos have been submitted thus far, one taken at the Shorebirds’ own stadium. But great things rise from the humblest of origins, and the global (or at least bi-coastal) reach of Shorebird nation shall soon be made evident.

Let us now travel northward to Portland, as the Sea Dogs have announced a new twist on the standard “Kids Club” ticket package: The Crib Club.

crib.jpg

Targeting fans who have not yet reached the stage of self-awareness, the Crib Club offers the following perks:
(perks lost to the vagaries of WordPress)
All of the above can be attained for a mere $20, which even an infant can recognize as an unbeatable deal. And all this begs the question: What team is going to take this a step further and start an “In Utero” fan club?

Team Logo Ultrasounds!

Finally, after giving it about 12 seconds of thought, I’ve decided I’m going to start an offseason feature on this blog. It’s called “Gratuitous Video Friday”, and is exactly what its name implies. 

Today’s inaugural selection features an immortal song sung by an immortal man. The length of this pride-inducing composition is quite immense, but eminently justifiable and well worth the time investment. If I heard this played at a Minor League ballpark during July 4th fireworks I’d bust out crying for sure. 
benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Updates Schmupdates

linkers.jpgSo earlier today I engaged in that most time-honored of offseason tasks: updating the Ben’s Biz Blog link list.

And by “updating” I mostly mean “deleting”, since many of the blogs listed had unceremoniously fallen by the wayside like so much virtual detritus. Therefore, I am in search of new additions — if there are any Minor League or sports biz blogs you’d like to see listed, then by all means get in touch.

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

And speaking of “offseason” tasks, Friday’s MiLB.com story on offseason work in Minor League Baseball has gotten a robust response thus far. I appreciate this. Along those lines, the Delmarva Shorebirds are currently running a weekly staff profile series that provides insight into the specific tasks associated with various Minor League jobs. Check it out HERE.

And the Lexington Legends made it known that they are currently producing a bi-weekly video series entitled “What the ‘L’ We Do in the Offseason”. I’ll go ahead and post episode one here, a decision that may or may not have been influenced by the Legends’ prominent use of the Benny Hill theme song.

To move on to a bit of breaking news — it appears that the trio of Connecticut Tigers scarecrows that went missing last week (detailed in Friday’s post) have been returned. The team issued a press release today that reads, in part:

The mystery of the stolen scarecrows taken from the Leffingwell House Museum display last Thursday has been solved; partially. The three missing uniforms numbered 57, 58, and 59 have been returned along with two out of the three pairs of uniform pants. The uniforms were found in a pile outside the Dodd Stadium gates during clean-up of the 1st Annual Connecticut Tigers Octoberfest.

And what of the scarecrows themselves? Are they now naked? Clearly, this incident is far from over.

Much closer to “over” are the fundraising attempts of Richmond Flying Squirrels mascot Nutzy. As you may recall, the fearless rodent is hoping to rappel down the side of a building on behalf of the Special Olympics. But he needs help — with less than a week to go, he is still over $500 short of his $1000 goal. Click HERE to donate.

Hope you’re having a “rappel” of a time this offseason, doing whatever it is you’ve been doing.

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

The Envelope, Please

The quest to determine the top Minor League promotion certainly was an arduous process. A series of blog posts led to a field of 32 semi-finalists which, in turn, led to the selection of four finalists.

And of those four finalists, the one that received the most votes was…

classic_firstbatter.JPG

The Rickwood Classic!

Read all about it in my MiLB.com piece, which can be found HERE. And, as you may recall, I was actually in attendance at this game. In addition to the article linked in the preceding paragraph, blog posts on Rickwood can be found HERE and HERE.

Looking back on it, it appears that my coverage of the event turned out pretty well. It is very rare that I ever feel this way about my own writing, but why fight it? Riding this wave of self-confidence, I’ll re-attempt a joke that totally bombed when I tweeted it this morning.

Chili in Minors is today’s number one news story! Click HERE for exclusive info.

Why doesn’t anyone else think this is funny? I’m drowning in virtual flop sweat. And when that’s the case, time to resort to the tried and true: New Logos.

The Delmarva Shorebirds will be hosting the 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star Game, and today they revealed the logo.

asglogoo.JPG

This bird, his bearing upright and exclamations stentorian, was designed by Plan B Branding (who, by the way, maintain an excellent blog). As the logo implies, the game is sponsored by Perdue’s “Strike Out Hunger” campaign. More info can be found HERE.

Finally, in honor of Wednesday the 13th, a scary video courtesy of the Bowie Baysox.

The above video was rated “horror.”

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 474 other followers