Results tagged ‘ Fresno Grizzlies ’
Minor League Baseball promotions are nothing if not timely, and one would be hard-pressed to find one timelier than what’s going down in Fresno tonight.
The Triple-A All-Star Game takes place TONIGHT at Lehigh Valley’s Coca-Cola Park, and the eyes of the baseball world will be fixated on this star-studded exhibition between the Pacific Coast and International Leagues.
The rosters are set and the participants have arrived, so just one thing remains to be determined: Which league has the better dancing grounds crew?
That oft-posited query will finally be answered tonight, as Fresno’s “Drag Kings” and Lehigh Valley’s “Dirt Dudes” are both raking the diamond in separate half-inning breaks.
The Drag Kings are flying in from Fresno for the occasion, and they are ready to assert their supremacy on hostile turf.
“This is a great honor four is and we’re truly appreciative of the opportunity,” said The Kid. “Not only do we get to represent Fresno and the PCL, but we get to show off what makes us the best and most original dancing grounds crew in baseball.”
“It’s often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” added Silkee. “So, we consider ourselves sincerely flattered.”
The Dirt Dudes could not be reached for comment, presumably because they were hard at work on their impeccably choreographed turf-tending routines.
Twilight fever is sweeping Minor League ballparks across the land, as teams from Binghamton to Toledo to St. Lucie to Fresno and beyond salute the 21st-century’s pre-eminent supernatural romance franchise.
The above sentence is not only an example of the sort of hacky ledes I try to stay away from these days. It is also factually inaccurate, as what I really mean to say is this: Twilight fever is sweeping America, and Minor League teams are capitalizing on this melodramatic pandemic by staging theme nights in its honor.
Because Minor League promotions do not create pop culture trends. Rather, they react to them, holding a Fun House mirror up to the zeitgeist. And Twilight is merely the latest phenomenon to get the Minor League treatment, one in an endless line of endlessly exploitable ephemeral diversions. Before long, the industry’s movers and shakers will make like the Foo Fighters and be “done, done, and…on to the next one.”
Alright, that’s enough needless pontificating. I was just trying to justify my existence, because the Fresno Grizzlies have created a video recap of their Twilight promo night that renders me, the blogger, meaningless. Said video provides a thorough and entertaining trip through the evening’s many highlights, leaving me with nothing to explain or contextualize.
I have seen the future, and that is that I no longer have one. Behold a classic in the nascent field of video promo explanation:
And then there’s this, which is just Nuts:
Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to THIS ARTICLE that appeared on MiLB.com yesterday. Jose Canseco will be fighting a 60-year-old man prior to an Arkansas Travelers game.
Well, now the Lowell Spinners are getting in on the act. The team announced today (via Twitter) that TWO bobbling politicos will be featured on the 2010 promotional calendar: Massachusetts senior Senator John Kerry and junior Senator Scott Brown. Photos of these sure-to-be coveted items have not yet been released, but if you close your eyes and think real hard I’m sure you can conjure up a fairly accurate image in your mind.
Democrat vs. Republican often feels like a choice between Vampire vs. Werewolf, which conveniently leads me to my next item:
Fans can now VOTE (via Facebook) on which of the above jerseys they’d like to see the Fresno Grizzlies wear on Twilight Night, which will be taking place on June 26th. The jerseys will be auctioned off for charity after the game, with proceeds benefiting the Central California Blood Center.
Right now Team Jacob is enjoying a 30-vote lead, but this thing is far from over. My guess is that Edward comes out on top, simply because anything involving a “count” naturally favors vampires.
Sorry that it’s been a while since I dropped some bizness knowledge on ya. All I can do at this juncture is to rip a page out of the MTA playbook and “apologize for the unavoidable delay.”
NYC public transit references translate nationwide, right? I sure hope so; otherwise I’ve alienated my audience even faster than usual.
Well, I’ll get you all back in my good graces by once again going over some recently unveiled 2010 promotional schedules.
The Fresno Grizzlies are one of those teams that routinely seek out the national spotlight, staging innovative promotions that often catch on throughout the industry. The club was the first to book the increasingly ubiquitous Mr. Belding (as part of their “Mad Tight 90s Night), and their “As Seen on TV Night” (featuring a Snuggie giveaway) has inspired several teams follow suit.
As for 2010, one of the Grizzlies’ biggest highlights will occur on June 26: Twilight Night.
I’ll refer you now to the expert on this schedule, an individual by the name of “Press Release“:
The Grizzlies will celebrate a pop culture phenomenon by hosting “Twilight
Night” on the evening of a lunar eclipse. At the core of the
Twilight craze is one of the most hotly debated topics in recent memory,
which can be summed up succinctly in one question: Team Edward or Team
Jacob? In advance of the highly anticipated third installment of the
movie series, fans will be able to decide the outcome of that debate by
voting on the team’s Facebook Fan Page between a customized vampire
(Team Edward) or werewolf (Team Jacob) jersey. The winning jersey will
be worn by the Grizzlies during Twilight Night, with proceeds of a
jersey auction aptly benefiting the Central California Blood Center.
Another Grizzlies highlight is “Mad Tight 90s Night: The Remix” on May 20. This year’s special guest is none other than Alfonso Ribeiro, aka Carlton on “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”:
And here’s hoping that the Grizzlies resident front office rappers record their own version of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.
Other nights to circle on the nationwide Minor League promo calendar that I assume hangs prominently in your home office: “You Sing the National Anthem” (July 5), “Man Night” (July 29), and “Mascot Wrestling” (August 14).
Let’s move north, past the California border into Oregon, because the Portland Beavers have released their promo schedule. Traditionally, the team stages one premier bobble giveaway each season (with 2006′s Rodney McCray bobblefence and ’07′s “Bob L. Head” being especially notable), so speculation was rampant over who would get the nod in 2010.
Speculate no more. This year, the prestigious recipients of Beaver bobble fame are these guys:
Lewis and Clark, the most estimable battery of the 19th century, will be rendered in bobble form and distributed to the Portland masses on May 22. The following month, the Beavers will pay tribute to a group of equally accomplished explorers: “Goonies Never Say Die Night” is June 11, and will feature a post-game screening of the 1980s kids classic.
I’ll leave you with this, which will surely stand out as one of 2010′s premier giveaway items. On May 31, the Bowling Green Hot Rods will be distributing skateboard decks to the first 1000 fans in attendance (age 17 and under).
If you actually see a photo underneath this sentence, then it will represent my triumph over one of the greatest blogging adversities I have ever faced. If not, then I have failed. But rest assured, I will not give up. Not now, or ever.
Similar to Wednesday’s post, I am going to spend today’s allotted blogging time on a powerful 1-2 punch of Minor League news.
First up are the Lake Elsinore Storm, who are capitalizing on the Tiger Woods saga by offering up details on a similar, albeit far-more-literal scandal. It seems that the team’s female mascot, Thunderella, has been cheating on her boyfriend, Thunder — with a tiger from the woods.
Let’s go to the press release:
Lake Elsinore Storm female mascot Thunderella admits to allegations of an affair with a famous tiger in the woods. Montecore, an exotic white tiger owned by Siegfried and Roy, met Thunderella earlier in 2009 when the two attended a performance workshop in Los Angeles.
“Tiger has been very troubled
since his attack on Roy,”
says a representative for
Thunderella. “My client reached out to him as a friend
but it soon became more than that. She is sorry for any emotional distress she
has caused Thunder.”
Thunderella has been dating
official Storm mascot Thunder off-and-on for the last nine years. With other
tiger allegations being released, she felt she had to come clean about this
affair. Tiger has been texting and calling Thunderella while Thunder is out on
his many appearances in the Inland Empire.
Longtime friend of Thunder and
Storm Director of Mascot Operations Patrick Gardenier feels terrible for the
big green dog. “I introduced her to Thunder,” said Gardenier. “To find out she
has been unfaithful truly breaks my heart.”
Sources say Thunder confronted
her about the situation last night and she attempted to flee. He chased the car
with his plastic baseball bat but thankfully did no damage to the Ice Cream
No charges have been filed
against Thunderella and her reps say that this situation will be handled
The best part of the press release, however, is this picture. It’s nuts:
At any rate, I offer my customary kudos to the Storm for once again pushing the envelope. This has to be the first case of mascot infidelity on record, and if I am wrong about this then PLEASE get in touch because I really need to know about these things.
My next item involves the Fresno Grizzlies and their “I Hate the Offseason” video series. I feel compelled to post the latest episode for two reasons. One, I am name-dropped in it. But far more important is the fact that it is a parody of NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton”, in which a quartet of front office “rappers” assert the Grizzlies’ creative dominance in a cocksure style.
Behold, the first Minor League diss track:
I sincerely hope that other clubs feel compelled to respond, as it could result in a feud of Jay-Z vs. Nas proportions. Or at least Jay-Z vs. Noel Gallagher.
The next time I post on this blog, I will be writing from my penthouse suite at an undisclosed Indianapolis hotel. If you are going to be at the Winter Meetings, then I look forward to meeting you.
This is the third and final Friday the 13th of 2009, and as (bad) luck would have it none fell during the baseball season. This deprived teams of the chance to stage superstition-themed promos, with ladders on the concourse, broken mirrors in the bathrooms, and black cats darting across the outfield. Or something like that. All of this is to say that the next in-season Friday the 13th will be 8/13/2010, and I fully expect for there to be an abundance of interesting promotions on this day. If YOU, whoever YOU may be, have any Friday the 13th Minor League promo suggestions then please get in touch (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc., all listed below).
Moving on…The Fresno Grizzlies released a “very special” episode of their “I Hate the Offseason” video series today. The episode is entitled “The Swedelot”, so named because it is a “Swede” — a summarized re-creation of a favorite movie (in this case, “The Sandlot”). The Grizzlies entered “The Swedelot” into the “Fresno Swede Fest“, winning awards for both “Best Actor” (thanks to Parker the mascot’s powerhouse performance) and “Best Original Screenplay”.
I know that was a lot to digest, but do your best. Also, watch the episode HERE.
Meanwhile, the upstart O-Royals continue to move in the opposite direction with their “My Offseason Life Is Average” series. The latest episode, minus the opening and closing credits, is about five seconds long.
If I may make an analogy — if these two video series were 1970s English rock bands, “I Hate the Offseason” would be Queen and “My Offseason Life is Average” would be the Sex Pistols. Discuss.
Finally, the blog “A Penny’s Worth” recently featured an interview with Lakeland Flying Tigers general manager Zach Burek. Check it out HERE.
First and foremost, I would like to direct everyone’s attention to the first-ever offseason edition of “Promotion Preview”. This column will run bi-weekly through the end of March, giving me an opportunity to highlight the many events taking place at Minor League stadiums across the country. As always, email me at email@example.com in order to let me know what’s coming up/going on/already occurred (this is part of my long-term strategy to embrace the past, present, and future with equal enthusiasm).
Moving on…it’s taken me a little while to get around to mentioning this, but the Fresno Grizzlies are once again running weekly “I Hate the Offseason” video shorts. The club began doing this in 2008 as a way to engage the fans year-round, and I was certain that other teams would follow suit in ’09. Thus far this has not occurred, marking the first time ever that one of my unsubstantiated assumptions has turned out to be false.
Regardless, each episode of “I Hate the Offseason” revolves around Parker the mascot getting himself into some sort of outlandish situation. This week, Parker goes mutton-busting.
Finally, and apropos of nothing, I would like to point out the existence of a website called Mystery Google (which I came across while perusing a list of websites that for one reason or another have directed people to Ben’s Biz Blog). How it works is simple — you type in a search term, and the site then directs you to what the previous user searched for. For example, I just went to the site and searched for “Taco in a Helmet“, and what came up were the search results for “no not soul mates :(”
This is the kind of thing I could mess around with all day. And since it’s the offseason, that’s exactly what I’ll do (addendum: I did not do this all day, due to some definitively “NSFW” search results. I hope I do not get fired as a result of Mystery Google).
Until tomorrow, I remain, firstname.lastname@example.org
This season, it’s the Bowling Green Hot Rods’ “What Could’ve Been Night.” I am officially suffering from “What Could’ve Been” fatigue at this juncture, and am therefore unable to recap the specifics of the promotion yet again. My “Promo of the Year” article does an adequate job of that, and to review my copious blog coverage simply click HERE.
The Hot Rods accumulated 11,945 of the 23, 608 total votes cast, accounting for a staggering 51% of the total. The Fresno Grizzlies netted 9,489 votes, a number that looks very impressive considering that the club won in 2008 with “just” 4,739 ballots cast in their favor.
“We’re extremely proud that we’re the only team to have been a finalist in three consecutive seasons. So even though we came up short, just being nominated each of the last several years with other great organizations is a real honor and a testament to the passion and inventiveness of our tremendous staff,” wrote Grizzlies vice president of marketing Scott Carter.
None of the other eight nominated clubs came close to the totals accumulated by Bowling Green and Fresno. For the record, though, here are the final standings:
3. Jake Tyler Chia-Bobble (Toledo)
4. Mega-Candy Drop (Quad Cities)
5. Ballpark Wedding (Lehigh Valley IronPigs)
6. Bellies and Baseball (Brooklyn)
7. Gluttony Night (Reading)
8. Salute to Cows (Wisconsin)
9. Potato Night (Idaho Falls)
10. Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes World Record Attempt (Wilmington)
With this blog post, I believe I have officially exhausted the extent to which I can recap the year in Minor League promotions. I’m sorry if my coverage has seemed excessive at times, but the most important thing is that it has made it so I don’t have to write about which teams are staging haunted houses.
I have nothing against Minor League haunted houses. It’s just that, over the years, they have come to represent the overall lack of topics to write about in the month of October. This is my issue, and I am working to overcome it.
My list of “potential blog topics” has become exceedingly unruly, thanks to my tendency to fill every square inch of notebook paper before flipping over to a fresh sheet. The page is so crowded that I can barely read my own writing anymore.
Therefore, time is of the essence. I must share as many of these “potential blog topics” as I can, before they are lost forever due to poor notebook maintenance.
So let’s do this!
Traficant Do It — The Mahoning Valley Scrappers put their name into action when they were forced to scrap September 2′s “Traficant Release Night.” For those who don’t keep up on Ohio’s sordid political scandals, James Traficant is a former congressman currently in jail as a result of a whole slew of felonious offenses related to corruption and general sleaziness. The Scrappers’ promotion was meant to acknowledge (and perhaps satirize) Traficant’s upcoming release from prison, but not everyone in the community was on board with the idea. After receiving a virtual mountain of complaints the team wisely put a kibosh on the whole thing. In its place? “Valley Pride Night” — a celebration of area businesses, attractions, and individuals that is sure to be far less divisive than a corrupt politician with a staggeringly bad toupee.
A Great Need, Fulfilled — The simmering feud between Akronites and Birminghamians will soon get an outlet, as whatifsports.com will be running a simulated seven-game series between the Eastern League Aeros and the Southern League Barons.
The theme song for this promotion should be a parody of Mary Poppins’ “Chim Chim Cher-ee“: Sim Sim Series, Sim Sim Series, Sim Sim Series/A Sweep is as lucky, as lucky as can be.” I didn’t even have to change that second line at all!
Outside of My Jurisdiction — I cover the world of affiliated Minor League Baseball. You know this. But I still receive emails from individuals and organizations within other subsections of the sports marketing landscape, many of whom are staging promotions that could most certainly be described as “Minor League Baseball-esque”. Like this — “Jon and Kate Plus Eight Family Night” at Washington state’s Skagit Speedway:
Skagit Speedway will ensure the ultimate fun for “Jon & Kate Plus 8 Night” families by banning all paparazzi and tabloid reporters from the facility for the evening. Families are encouraged to video their own reality show at the event and upload the experience to YouTube.
I also recently recieved a promotional email from a big league club, something that does not happen very often. So, hey, check it out — everyone who buys a “special event ticket” for the San Francisco Giants’ upcoming “Latino Heritage Night” receives a limited-edition Carlos Santana bobblehead:
This One Blows — I included the Northwest Arkansas Naturals’ “Kazoo World Record Attempt” in the August 11 edition of “Promotion Preview”. The club has since sent out a press release announcing that 3000 fans participated in a group rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, thereby establishing a new world record. While I congratulate the Naturals on their efforts, I wonder if they will be able to have their achievement validated by the Guinness Book of World Records. As I learned while researching this article, breaking a world record is much easier said than done.
Switching Things Up — Ambidextrous pitching prospect Pat Venditte is regularly profiled in the national media, by artisans and hacks alike. The most recent feature aired this Tuesday on ESPN’s E60 program — and included footage of Venditte while he was with the Charleston RiverDogs. This gave the club the opportunity to boast that they would be on national television on back-to-back nights, as on Wednesday the RiverDogs’ Homewrecker Hot Dog appeared on the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food.
The lesson here is simple — ambidextrous pitchers and giant frankfurters never fail to get the national media’s attention. Teams lacking these attributes should rectify the situation immediately.
That will be it for me this week. Thanks, as always, for reading and emailing.