Results tagged ‘ Dunedin Blue Jays ’

About Last Night: Dunedin Blue Jays, April 13, 2015

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll be writing a short, on-the-spot blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Then, upon my (assuredly)  triumphant return home, I will provide the full, multifaceted, pun-laden blog coverage that you have have come to know and deeply appreciate. So let’s get to it!  

April 13, 2015 — Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, home of the Dunedin Blue Jays (Class A Advanced affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays).

Opponent: Bradenton Marauders, 6:30 p.m. start time

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, from the outside: Located in a residential neighborhood, approximately 600 steps away from salt water.


Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, from within: Intimate!


Culinary Delight: A sampling of meat off the grill.


Waiting for the Punch-Vine (my nightly attempt at telling an “original” ballpark joke in six seconds):

At Random: In case anyone forgot what day it was.


Last Song Played Over the PA: The Jackson Five — “ABC”

Next Up: Jupiter Hammerheads — tonight!

4/15: Jackie Robinson Game at Dodgertown in Vero Beach

4/16: St. Lucie Mets

4/17: Brevard County Manatees

4/18: Jacksonville Suns

Free Admissions

Earlier this month I posted a, uh, post that included one item of recent vintage and one left over from the 2014 season. This endeavor received a rapturous response, as most of my endeavors do, so once again I’m going to utilize this format. We’ll start with something new. It’s more of an update, really, regarding the New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ “Fan Photo Contest.” The team’s pitch was as follows:

Want to see your photo on a Season Ticket? Post your favorite Fisher Cats-themed photo on our Facebook page, and it could be featured on a 2015 Season Ticket.

Well, the results are in. Fisher Cat fans such as these will be showcased on season tickets in 2015:

Joseph from Barnstead, who is ready to catch the first pitch:


A triumphant Maureen from Manchester


Ian from Manchester honors America


And so on and so forth. To see all of the winners, go to the Fisher Cats’ Facebook page. I had never seen such a thing done before in the world of Minor League Baseball — correct me if I have overlooked a similar endeavor — and think that it’s a great idea.

Speaking of great ideas… 

The Dunedin Blue Jays are located one rung below the Fisher Cats on the Toronto Blue Jays’ organizational ladder. And, this past July, they made baseball history. Therefore, if you care about baseball, history and the intersection of the two, then you will be fascinated by this. I guarantee it:

DUNEDIN, FL –This past Saturday, July 19th, 2014, was a historic day for baseball, as a baseball “first” took place at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Florida. The Dunedin Blue Jays defeated the Jupiter Hammerheads 12-7 in front of an announced crowd of 1,098. But the story actually begins almost two weeks earlier and about 58 miles to the east.

On Sunday, July 6th, the Lakeland Flying Tigers were set to host the Daytona Cubs. The Flying Tigers were looking to bounce back after losing the night before at Joker Marchant Stadium. On this Sunday, though, the Flying Tigers weren’t able to get back on the winning side of things.

Because on Sunday, July 6th, in Lakeland, Florida, it rained.

A ticket from that Cubs/Flying Tigers game was redeemed at the box office here in Dunedin, marking the first time in baseball that a fan has made use of the “Universal Rain Check” policy. This policy was created at the beginning of the 2014 season by the Dunedin Blue Jays, and they are the first and only team in Minor League Baseball to offer this unique rainout program.


The program is set up so that fans from all over Minor League Baseball are able to use a rain check from any MiLB game for admission to a D-Jays game. While the promotion is open to teams from all across the minors, as expected, the first redemption came from a fellow Florida State League game.

“I think it’s awesome that someone made use of it,” said Nate Kurant, the D-Jays director of marketing and social media. “I’m grateful that our GM, Shelby Nelson, allowed us to try something unique and I’m glad that it paid off for at least one fan. Hopefully it gains a little more momentum and more fans take advantage of it, especially here in the FSL.”

Longtime Ben’s Biz Blog readers, of which there are several, will recall that the Universal Rain Check idea can at least partially be attributed to reader Peter Golkin. In 2012, Golkin wrote a guest post in which he advocated for the implementation of the Universal Rain Check throughout Minor League Baseball. This post inspired one of the most robust comments section that this blog has ever seen, an occurrence that always does my heart good.

The Sun Will Come Out…Eventually

Yesterday was Opening Day, except when it wasn’t.

As is common at this time of year, there were a range of weather woes across the Minor League landscape. Seven of the 58 scheduled games were rained out, with the most dramatic example coming courtesy of the Frisco RoughRiders.

Today isn’t looking much better. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who played in frigid conditions on Thursdays, have already announced a postponement. In Toledo, meanwhile, the visiting Louisville Bats are worried about the viability of their game against the Mud Hens…

And — WHOA! — things are looking severe out by Sevierville. Click on THIS and then come back to me. I’ll be waiting….


Okay, cool, thanks for re-joining me. All of this meteorological mayhem got me thinking about a guest post that ran on this blog last year, in which Pete Golkin advocated for the creation of an industry-wide Universal Rain Check. The idea is simple: when a game gets rained out, the team in question issues a rain check that can be redeemed at any Minor League ballpark. Wrote Golkin at the time:

Remember, we’re talking about Minor League Baseball tickets. They’re not supposed to break the bank or become scarce–which is why you’ll never see a scalper in the parking lots at Danville, Greensboro or Richmond.

To work out the details, I suggest calling in the same accountants who said my old sliced cheese wrapper meant two-for-one admission anywhere on a Tuesday. And if I have to prove I’m an out-of-towner to get a rain check with “range,” I’ll gladly show a driver’s license. Simple stuff.

So on behalf of baseball pilgrims everywhere—at least the ones not bound for Fenway in an SUV limo–give the Universal Rain Check a shot, MiLB. It can only mean more fans up and down the road.

That post was met with one of the most robust comment sections in Ben’s Biz Blog history. But, alas, it was met with silence from those in a position to actually implement the program.


On Tuesday, the Dunedin Blue Jays issued a press release, and the press release contained the following information:

The Dunedin Blue Jays…are proud to announce the Raincheck Baseball Initiative (R.B.I.) program for the 2014 Florida State League season.

This unique program will allow fans to redeem a ticket from any rained out game from another team in Minor League Baseball for a Dunedin Blue Jays game….The R.B.I. program is believed to be the first of its kind in professional baseball.

“Basically, it’s a universal rain check,” said Nate Kurant, the new Director of Marketing and Social Media for the D-Jays. “A friend and I did a baseball road trip across the Southeast last season and each day had at least a 70% chance of rain. If any of those days had been rained out, we never would have made use of a rain check.”

“I know a lot of people love Minor League Baseball and take trips throughout the season to visit different parks. Essentially, I wanted to develop something that would meet a need for MiLB fans and help set us apart in Dunedin,” said Kurant. “It’s a beautiful city and hopefully this will give baseball fans more incentive to visit us throughout the year.”

Fair-weather fans that present a ticket from a different MiLB team’s rained out game not only will receive admission to a D-Jays game, but also take home a “Rainy Day Blue Jays” pack including a Blue Jays rain poncho. They will also have the option to participate in one of the numerous in-game promotions.

“It’s a nationwide, international MiLB promotion that is open to everyone from our fellow Jays affiliate in Vancouver all the way to our Florida State League friends in Palm Beach County.”


“Come see us using a ticket stub from a rained-out Minor League game,” said the Dunedin Blue Jays in unison.

One team down, 159 to go. Do YOU think the universal raincheck is a good/viable idea? Would you take advantage of such a program? Are you tired of me asking obscure questions, as you would rather see a picture of a giant hamburger?

Okay, fine, here you go:

The Offseason is Over, the Season is On

Opening Day is upon us! Long-time readers of this blog know that my sentiments regarding a new baseball season can be summed up in four words.

I’ve got plenty to share with you over the coming weeks — a couple of “Return to the Road” posts, a couple of “Why I Love…” guest posts, and, of course, the reveal of my 2014 road trip itinerary (I’m going on four trips in 2014, with the first one kicking off HERE on April 28).

But it’s Opening Day! What better way to start the season than with a good old fashioned full-to-bursting bouillabaisse post? Doesn’t the mere thought of that make you want to dance?

In Lansing, meanwhile, the Lugnuts are asking  “Guess What Day It Is?” They do not mean Opening Day, however.


The Lugnuts, in their own words:

Every Wednesday home game at Cooley Law School Stadium is Hump Day, with half-off drinks from 7 to 8 p.m. and a special appearance from Humphrey, a live camel!

Humphrey’s night will begin by delivering the first pitch baseballs out to the field. Afterward, he’ll saunter over to the west gate for pictures and petting. Lugnuts fans will also have the opportunity to win a camel-ride.

Other activities include a Hump Day t-shirt toss and a special “On the Hump” trivia segment featuring Lugs pitchers.

Limited-edition Lugnuts Hump Day merchandise is currently available at the Nuts and Bolts store.


I just hope that Humphrey the camel toes the line when he’s on the field. Any untoward protrusions could be embarrassing.

Prior to first pitch deliveries, be they camel-related or otherwise, the playing field will be bustling with batting practice activity. When such activity concludes, time is of the essence. Think any Minor League teams will be able to operate at a greater speed than that displayed by the University of Tennessee?

But, of course, there are going to be times when no games are going on and the playing field is entirely deserted. During these occasions, unwanted nocturnal guests may see fit to make a visit. But not in Fort Wayne, who have a coyote on the case.

Another way to ward of unwanted guests: continuous on-field aerial surveillance!

Ballpark opponents aren’t necessarily unwanted guests, as their presence is a necessary component of the competitive experience. Last season I wrote about the Harrisburg Senators, who allow male fans to express their disdain for the visiting team via the time-honored act of urinating on the logo. I happy to report that, in 2014, the Senators have combined all of their Eastern League opponents, putting them all on blast via one urinal cake.

Pee on them all indiscriminately!

As we embark on yet another Minor League Baseball season, please remember: I remain the greatest of all time.

Occupational Hazards Abound

The previous post to have been published right here on this little slice of the internet that I call my professional home featured a bevy of ostensibly quality videos from the 2013 campaign.

[cue sound of a needle scratching across a record]

What a needlessly convoluted sentence that was! What I meant to say is: let’s start this post with some more videos.

Specifically, I’d like to highlight this A+ effort out of Daytona. The weather in that city can be quite intense, to say the least, turning tarp pulls into a harrowing battle with the elements. This preview is rated MM for “meteorological mayhem:”

The intro to the above video shows clips of several notable “tarpocalypse” videos from seasons past (at least one of which was featured on this blog). Well, this one outta Ogden can now be added to the ranks:

Oh. but calamity can befall ballpark denizens in a multitude of ways. This season Lansing Lugnuts broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler emerged as the nation’s pre-eminent chronicler of press box laptop foul ball casualties. To wit:

Let’s take a closer look. First up is L. Tyler Murray of the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Next, we have a MUST-READ ACCOUNT of foul ball laptop terror (complete with an absolutely uncanny audio clip), courtesy of Winston-Salem’s Brian Boesch.


For the record, Winston-Salem’s  aforementioned “The Dash Board Blog” is easily among the best team blogs in all of Minor League Baseball. Broadcasters looking to raise their writing game would do well to scroll through its ample archives.

And then there’s Goldberg-Strassler’s 2013 broadcast partner, the inimitable and on-the-rise Slavko Bekovic.

And wait, what’s this? Yet another example of foul ball lap top destruction? Yes, it’s true, and this one is live and direct from Great Lakes.

Speaking of Mr. Goldberg-Strassler, during the season he anchored a weekly podcast called “Around the Nest.” In this podcast he talked to every broadcaster within the Blue Jays farm system (himself and Bekovic included), so that they could share their expertise regarding that particular team. The end result was a thorough farm system overview, all in the course of a single broadcast.

A replicable idea, no?

This has been Ben’s Biz Blog post #992. Ben’s Biz over and out.

Wahoo’s On First

Well, the moment you’d (presumably) all been waiting for has arrived:

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the latest and therefore greatest entrant into the venerable Southern League, now possess a visual component. 

Primary Logo

I must admit that I find it amusing that the Wahoo has a hook in his mouth. Wouldn’t that imply that death is imminent, despite the determined demeanor?

No! According to the press release, this “tenacious” Blue Wahoo is shown “breaking away from a fisherman’s line.” He has lived to scowl another day.

The cap logo features “a Blue Wahoo circling a baseball bat forming the shape of a ‘P’ for Pensacola.”


The logo’s color scheme is described thusly Neon Red, Gulf Coast Royal, Blue Angel Navy, and Tin Roof Tin make up the club’s official colors, celebrating the textures and colors of the Emerald Coast. The Blue Wahoos are the first sports team to adopt Neon Red, a tribute to the neon signs that illuminate Pensacola’s beachfront establishments.

It seems that quite a few people aren’t buying this “neon red” terminology, however, at least if Facebook and Twitter rumblings are to be believed. Why not call it “Pensacola Pink”?

The team says that “many” alternate logos will be unveiled in the coming months, but at the moment the only one available features the aforementioned hook (presumably after it has broken away from the tenacious Blue Wahoo).

The logo was designed by Plan B Branding Brandiose, that recently re-branded branding company. These guys have to have one of the most bizarre-sounding client lists in all of professional sports: Blue Wahoos, Storm Chasers, IronPigs, Flying Tigers, BayBears, etc. Clearly, Minor League Baseball is a world all of its own.

And in related news, the Blue Wahoos now have an official website as well. A visit to the “Bait and Tackle” team store should satiate all of your fish logo-related needs.

The Blue Wahoos weren’t the only Floridian Minor League team to unveil a new logo on Friday. The  Dunedin Blue Jays did as well,  adapting to changes recently made by the parent club.

Everything old is new again (until it becomes old, at which point it becomes new again).


And apologies for the extreme tonal shift, but obviously the big story in the world of baseball today is the stabbing death of Mariners outfielder Greg Halman. I’m currently working on a story that will feature the thoughts and recollections of those who knew him in the Minors. If you have something you’d like to share then please get in touch ASAP.

In Threes

done eatin'.gifI just cannot resist the impulse to list a triumvirate of noteworthy Minor League news items:

The Florida State League’s Dunedin Blue Jays are doing their part to make sure that area Little League teams get to experience a true professional baseball atmosphere, thanks to their “Jays on the Road” program. From the press release:

“The Dunedin staff will be armed with a high-tech sound system,
microphones, and in-game promotions that are done nightly at Knology
Park. The Jays plan to turn the average little league game into a fun
and exciting professional baseball game!”

“Jays on the Road”, which may or may not have been inspired by this recent stunt, kicks off tonight, and will continue throughout the season.

A Close Shave — Last week, Huntsville Stars General Manager Buck Rogers announced thatshavedhead.jpg if attendance at Friday’s game surpassed 5,000, he would let a lucky (?) fan shave his head at the conclusion of the contest. The night’s attendance turned out to be (drumroll, please) 4,812. Come on Huntsville — if the chance to see a front office executive get a haircut won’t bring you out to the ballpark, then what will?

Dodd Stadium Goes Under the Radar — Last week, the Connecticut Defenders debuted the “General Dynamic Electric Boat Submarine”. This underwater military apparatus/t-shirt cannon will patrol the field at Dodd Stadium every home game, piloted by an honorary t-shirt shooting captain. Of course, the submarine is missing just one thing — another drumroll, please — a name! The sub’s official christening is scheduled to take place on May 9. Until then, the Defenders are running a “Name the Sub” contest at Dodd Stadium.

Promo Of the Day — At the risk of being redundant, I’m going with the Altoona Curve yet again. Tonight is “Salute to Forgotten Presidents”. From the press release (spoiler alert!):

polk.jpg“Fans coming to Blair County Ballpark will be privy to information that nine U.S. Presidents did
not attend college (you’d be shocked at the list of names).  Also being revealed
this evening will be the factoid that James Buchanan was the only
President to originally hail from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the only
unmarried man to occupy the White House.  In addition, the most portly of all
U.S Presidents, and the first to throw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to a
baseball game, William Taft, will make a special appearance during one of
the between-inning contests during the game.”

Additionally, any fan who shares a last name of a U.S. President will get into the ballpark at half-price. It is worth noting that just one player in tonight’s game between the Curve and the Akron Aeros has a presidential last name: Altoona infielder Shelby Ford


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