Results tagged ‘ Football ’

An NFL of an Idea

craw2.pngNFL training camp is in session, meaning that baseball’s months-long dominance of the American sports landscape is coming to a close.

But instead of lamenting this fact, Minor League Baseball teams are having fun with it.

On Thursday, the Hickory Crawdads are staging the “Haynesworth Conditioning Challenge” in honor of the fitness test that Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth has been unable to pass.

From the press release:

haynes.jpg

All participants will have to complete the same conditioning test
that Haynesworth has failed multiple times, which is as follows:

1. Twelve consecutive 25-yard dashes (300 total yards) in less than 70 seconds

2. Rest period of 3.5 minutes

3. Twelve more consecutive 25-yard dashes in less than 73 seconds

All participants that successfully complete the challenge in the
allotted time will win two season tickets for the rest of the 2010
season, including all potential playoff games. All participants that
attempt the challenge will receive a free ticket to a future game this
season (excluding Aug. 14). Since Albert’s had multiple shots at it,
any fans that attempt and fail the challenge on Thursday can come back
to L.P. Frans Stadium any time between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. this Friday and
try again.

While this promotion is definitely happening, the same can’t be said for the Fort Myers Miracle’s “Brett Favre Night.” The team may or may not stage a tribute to the Vikings QB on Monday, and their maddeningly indecisive and contradictory press release provides no clear insight whatsoever.  

But who needs football anyways? Those enamored with the out-of-breath exertions of larger-than-average men got more than their fill in Lakewood last week. As part of the BlueClaws’ “Goonies Night” celebration, Jeff “Chunk” Cohen judged a “Truffle Shuffle” contest:

truffleshuffle.jpg

Think that that guy could pass the Haynesworth Conditioning Challenge?

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

In Which Racing Babies Foretell the Future of Sport

boomer with soccer balls 2.jpgThe World Cup has captured the sporting attention of the entire globe, even gaining some traction in the famously soccer-indifferent United States.

And in these United States, the focus is on the countries competing in “Group C”: Algeria, England, Slovenia, and, of course, the U.S.
The Trenton Thunder, cutting-edge prognosticators that they are, held an on-field Baby Race in order to predict the Group C results. The four infant competitors, each representing one of the countries, had to crawl 10 feet toward a wildly gesticulating parent. 
And is it any surprise that Baby USA emerged victorious? USA is the greatest! Join me in jingoistic fervor by watching this riveting video: 

I mean, seriously, it wasn’t even close. But respect to all the other competitors, who continued to race even as Baby USA celebrated his victory by attempting to eat a microphone. 
The final results:
1. USA (Alexander Dowling, 12 months)
2. Slovenia (Logan Mushinski, nine months)
3. Algeria (Kyle O’Donnell, nine months)
4. England (Eva Munoz, nine months)
The Thunder have posted a bevy of pictures on their website. I enjoy this one, as it shows the wide range of objects that can be used to lure racing babies toward an imaginary finish line.
world cup baby race 9.jpg
Baby USA was awarded with a team-autographed soccer ball, but was totally unimpressed: 
world cup baby race 121.jpg
Before wrapping this up, I’d like to mention that “Wingstock” took place at West Michigan’s Fifth Third Ballpark this weekend. The music festival featured the truly unbeatable 1-2 combo of Jackyl and Snoop Dogg. Fans of shirtless chainsaw-wielding should click HERE for a local news report, and those desiring to see Snoop in action can do so via a variety of YouTube videos (search “Wingstock Snoop Dogg”). I’d love to post them here, but they contain objectionable language and as such would contrast with this post’s otherwise family-friendly content.

alice.jpg

And, hey, speaking of concerts at Minor League ballparks — Alice Cooper will be appearing at Classic Park in Lake County on September 3! It would be quite depressing to hear him play “School’s Out” so late in the summer; hopefully he’ll replace that in the set list with some deep cuts off of “DaDa“.
benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

RiverDogs Rough the Ref

The NFL season began yesterday, so now represents as good a time as any in which to dip into my deep reservoir of blog topics in order to retrieve this:

The Charleston RiverDogs’ “Illegal Use of Your Ed Hochuli Night.”

This bizarrely-named evening of ref-mocking merriment was staged in honor of NFL game arbiter Ed Hochuli, who made several game-changing gaffes last season. He also has a penchant for working out and wearing form-fitting shirts:

edhoch.jpg

 “Illegal Use of Your Ed Hochuli Night” took place on August 11. Here’s a look into how it went down.

Before the game, fans were invited onto the field in order to toss the football around (both regulation and foam balls were available for use):

Charleston -- Pregame Football Catch.JPG

An Ed Hochuli impersonator was on hand, throwing flags around the stands for nonexistent or illogical reasons (ie “Illegal Use of Being a Patriots Fan”):

Charleston -- Hochuli Flexing.JPG

Here, faux-Hochuli makes a call as part of a between-inning “Guess the Penalty” contest:

Charleston -- Hochuli Makes Clipping Call.JPG

Here are the choices the fans were given:

Charleston -- Penalty Choices.JPG

For the record, the answer was “D” (according to my sources, many fans went with “C”).

A multi-faceted “Sack the GM” contest also took place, featuring kicking, passing, punting, and tackling. In each category, GM Dave Echols found an underhanded way to defeat his opponent (local radio personality DJ Potter). In the tackling portion of the contest, which naturally included Sumo suits, Echols declined to participate and instead sent out assistant GM Jim Pfander. Here, Pfander tackles Potter:

Charleston -- Hochuli im tackles potter.JPG

Prompting faux-Hochuli to call a facemask penalty:

Charleston -- Hochuli calls penalty on jim.JPG
 
Upon further review, it was determined that neither competitor was even wearing a face mask…it was just that kind of night.

(Thanks to Ashley Stephenson for the info and pictures).

That will do it for me for the week. Thank you for reading, and let me conclude by reminding you to go see a Minor League playoff game this weekend if you have any opportunity to do so. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light….

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Lions, Tigers Affiliates, and No Bears

football.jpgLate August can be a very difficult time of year for many Minor League front offices. After enjoying a prolonged reign at the forefront of the fans’ sporting consciousness, baseball suffers a precipitous drop in popularity due to the emergence of a sport commonly referred to as “football”.

When it comes to the prominence of the pigskin in the hearts and minds of their constituency, many clubs simply shrug their shoulders and adopt an “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach. Hence, the annual spate of football-related promotions that take place around the Minors each August (including tonight’s “What Would Tim Tebow Do?” spectacle in Fort Myers).

One of the this week’s more interesting football promos is the West MichiganThumbnail image for Whitecaps Primary.JPG Whitecaps’ “Lions Day”. Taking place on August 30, this will be a game-long celebration of a franchise that just happened to go 0-16 in 2008. So, naturally, the Whitecaps couldn’t resist having a little fun at the Lions’ expense. Here are a few highlights:

- Wear Detroit Lions apparel and get $1 off a box or reserved ticket ($1.50 if wearing a Joey Harrington or Charles Rogers jersey).
- Free tickets to those with the first name of “Barry” or last name of “Sanders”.
- Free tickets to those born in 1957 (the last time the Lions won a championship).
- Special appearance by former Lion Cory Schlesinger
- A dunk tank to wash away the memories of last season
- Pre-game punt, pass, and kick competitions
- Footballs used for ceremonial first pitches
- A paper bag mask-making station set up on the concourse.

dunktanks.jpgIf I had known that dunk tanks could be used to wash away memories then I would have spent large chunks of 1988, 2002, and 2008 sitting on a small collapsible wooden slat above a pool of water while taunting the throwing abilities of self-esteem challenged passersby. Live and learn, I guess.

The Whitecaps are advertising their promo by proclaiming “Help Us Break the Curse of Bobby Layne!” I had never heard of Bobby Layne, let alone a curse bearing his name, so I was forced to turn to the lazy journalist’s best friend: Wikipedia.

Here is what I learned:

Bobby_Layne.jpg

In 1958, the Lions traded Layne to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Layne responded to the trade by supposedly saying that the Lions would
“not win for 50 years,” although it has never been officially confirmed.

As of the end of the 2008 season, it has been 50 years since the
trade, and indeed the Lions have not won a championship in that time.
Interestingly, the final season of the curse concluded with the worst
season in Lions’ and NFL history.

If I knew how to edit Wikipedia entries, I’d fix that last sentence. To say the final season “concluded” is redundant, and could perhaps lead to the realization that a self-regulated user-created encyclopedia should not be regarded as a go-to information source

At any rate, kudos to the Whitecaps for putting an interesting spin on their football-related festivities. We’re in the homestretch of the season now, so I’ll utilize any and all opportunities to highlight an upcoming promotion. Because soon enough, all we’ll have are the memories.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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