Results tagged ‘ Greensboro Grasshoppers ’

Article Addendums Are Inevitable

Thumbnail image for vid.jpgIn case you missed my “Tweet” on the matter, I would like to point out that on Wednesday a very important article appeared on MiLB.com.

This article was important for one simple reason: I wrote it. It dealt with how Minor League Baseball teams are making videos and posting them on the internet, and included a variety of examples. Read it HERE, I beg of you.

And now, just as I had suspected, I am being deluged with emails from teams who were excluded from the article (it is my understanding that any number greater than one represents a “deluge”).

First, I heard from the constantly overachieving Quad Cities River Bandits, who recently debuted a weekly video series entitled “There Is No Offseason” (for those keeping track at home, this joins Fresno’s “I Hate the Offseason” and Omaha’s “My Offseason Life Is Average” in the pantheon of vides with “offseason” in the title). Here’s the debut episode:

Quad Cities’ web site features a well-organized “Bandits: On Demand” Multimedia page in which the discerning browser can peruse a wide variety of team videos. I suggest that you go to there, which is HERE.

But first I must share “I’m On A Berm”, the River Bandits’ parody of Lonely Island’s “I’m On A Boat.”

This is one of two “I’m On A Boat” parodies from the Minor Leagues, with the other being Hudson Valley’s “I’m On A Field”. Which do you like better?

 
The second half of today’s email deluge arrived courtesy of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, who have a weekly offseason video series of their own entitled “It’s Always Hoppin’ Fun With the Grasshoppers”. Witness:

Those seeking more Grasshoppers videos can end their quest simply by clicking HERE. And while I’m on the topic, I’d like to point out that canine mascots Miss Babe Ruth and Master Yogi Berra have been entered in Hallmark’s “Cutest Dog of the Season” contest. I’m voting for Yogi, simply because of THIS.

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

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

Greensboro Goes Off the Griddle

Thumbnail image for Greensboro -- waffle appreciation animated logo.PNGPromotions, like anything else in life, are what you make of them. So while “Waffle Appreciation Day” might not sound like much on paper, in the hands of the breakfast-loving Greensboro Grasshoppers it was transformed into one of the best theme nights of the year.

I first got a sense of the power of the waffle last month, when I contacted Grasshoppers’ director of special events Allison Moore for some information on the promo (which was held on August 24th). This is just some of her reply:

“August 24th is National Waffle Appreciation Day, celebrating the patenting of the waffle iron by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York on August 24, 1869.

We at the Grasshoppers are very fond of the waffle as our fans chant “Waffle Waffle Waffle” and sing along with Parry Gripp’s “Do You Like Waffles” song on a nightly basis. They do so to taunt the “Waffle House Strike Out Victim” of the night, as they all get free waffles if he strikes out.”

The “Waffle Song”:

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Moore went on to explain that Waffle Day would also feature a waffle eating contest, waffle trivia, Waffle House giveaway items (including cozies and hats), and a special appearance by “The Waffle Man” (a spoof of the West Virginia Power’s “Toast Man”, an eccentric fan who throws toast at the crowd when an opposing batter goes down on strikes):

toast man.jpg 

And, of course, waffle player headshots factored into the festivities:

Greensboro -- waffle headshot.PNG

(You know what I heard about Andrelczyk? That he can pitch “butter” than anyone else, and that instead of socks he wears “syrups”. Also, that the “WL” next to his name stands for “Waffle Lover”).

Anyway…it was clear that the Grasshoppers do not mess around when it comes to waffles. Can you see that they are serious?

Greensboro -- Waffle Day Logo.JPG

After the promo took place, Moore checked in to let me know that it was indeed a “success.” The waffle-eating contest stood out as a particular highlight, with the coveted “Waffle Belt” being awarded to group sales associate Travis Kerstetter:

Greensboro -- Waffle Eating Contest Winner Party Boy.JPG

Those interested in how Kerstetter’s victory came to be should check out this video, which shows the eventual champ out-consuming all who opposed him:

Of particular interest to me was the fact that this clip both began and ended with the music of Weird Al Yankovic (the featured songs were “Eat It” and “Waffle King”). I also must give credit to the on-field MC for referring to Kerstetter’s win as a “Travis-ty”.

And let’s not forget the “Waffle Man”, that mustachioed distributor of fine food product:

Greensboro -- Waffle Man.JPG

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this was the best salute to a breakfast food product that occurred in the Minor Leagues in 2009. If you dispute this assertion then please get in touch immediately. I will diligently consider your arguments to the contrary and then weigh in with a fair and well-considered verdict.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Ladies and Gentlemen — "Deuuuuuuuuuce!"

Readers of this blog will no doubt recall the April incident in which Greensboro Grasshoppers’ dog mascot Master Yogi Berra used the playing field as his personal toilet.

Believe it or not, on-field canine mascot defecation has occurred yet again — this time in Myrtle Beach (home of the Pelicans). The culprit was the appropriately-named “Deuce“, who dropped one in the outfield before completing a victory lap around the bases.

Doody compels me to post the video of this occurrence, which is both hilarious and disgusting (kudos to the MC, who came up with some appropriate ad-libs). I promise to be back tomorrow with more high-brow fare, but for now sit back and enjoy this season’s most recent scatological lowlight:
 

Ben’s Biz Blog — Your #2 Source For On-Field Minor League Canine Mascot Defecation since 2009.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Dancin' In the Rain

blueclaw.gifTwo incidents do not a trend make (I’m quoting Shakespeare here), but it is worth pointing out that last weekend’s baseball action included a pair of rain delay dance-offs.

In a story that got some play around what is sometimes referred to as “the blogosphere”, UConn and South Florida alleviated their rain delay boredom on Friday by engaging in an impromptu dancing competition. Video of that spectacle can be viewed here.

On Saturday, the same thing happened in a game between the Lakewood BlueClaws and the visiting Greensboro Grasshoppers. A ninth inning rain delay resulted in the cancellation of that evening’s fireworks display, causing many of the fans in attendance to head for the exits. Those that remained were treated to this:

According to the BlueClaws Blog, the teams also engaged in the Cupid Shuffle, Cha Cha Slide, Apache, and the Stanky Leg. In fact, video of the Cupid Shuffle can be viewed here.

Thanks to Greg Giombarrese and Tim Slisky for the heads-up on this.

And now, some housekeeping:

— If you haven’t already, please take the time to read the previous post on this blog. It dealsgoodhouse.jpg with my close encounter with a sword swallower on a recent trip to Huntsville, and is a small indication of the sort of stuff I’m hoping to do more and more of. Maybe one day I’ll even find a way to get paid for it.

— A new Promo Preview column is up today. Please check it out. In case it’s not clear, I treat each column as an exercise in joke-writing. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I am always interested in reader feedback.

— Bursting onto the Major League scene with a handlebar mustache and great backstory, Clay Zavada has gotten a lot of attention lately. I did a profile of Zavada last fall, and found him to be one of the most likable athletes I had ever talked to. Check it out here.

— Today is the 50th Anniversary of Harvey Haddix’s 12-inning perfect game (he lost the perfect game bid, and the game itself, in the 13th). This MLB.com story also includes a live performance of the song “Harvey Haddix” by the Baseball Project. It’s excellent stuff.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com    

An Ejection, In More Ways Than One

hoppers.GIFOn Tuesday night in Greensboro, NC, the hometown Grasshoppers lost to the Asheville Tourists by a score of 9-6.

The specifics of this contest will soon fade from memory, but one event from the evening will live forever: Master Yogi Berra, the Grasshoppers canine mascot, was ejected from the game after using the playing field as his personal toilet.

From the press release (yes, there was a press release):

“Battling a stomach virus and fever, Yogi attempted his usual between inning promotion of fetching a ball shot to deep center field. Sprinting back to the home dugout, he inexplicably stopped and let nature take its course. [Home plate umpire Jason] Hutchings immediately tossed him, and in doing so, it is believed that he made Yogi the first dog to ever be ejected from a professional baseball game.”

Being the well-connected individual I am, I have obtained photographic evidence of this momentous event. I have two pictures to share, the second of which may be considered in poor taste. But share it I must. After all, an informed citizenry is the bulwark of democracy.

Here’s the wind-up:

yogi (2).jpg  


And now, the pitch:

yogi_gross.jpg
(Photos by Dano Keeney)

 
And on this, the most dignified moment of my blogging career, I bid you goodnight.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Five Bucks, Four Blogs, and a Pinball Place

footlong.jpgNot surprisingly, the dominant topic in the Minor Leagues this offseason has been the economy and the effect it will have on teams’ ability to make money.

I have weighed in on the issue several times, most notably here and here. What I have heard time and time again from those who work in Minor League front offices is this — while there are significant worries regarding the ability to attract and retain sponsors, attendance figures should remain strong. In fact, some teams are counting on an increase in ’09, due to the fact that Minor League Baseball offers an unparalleled bang for the buck.

Some teams are doing everything they can to drive this point home — teams like, oh, I don’tghop.GIF know, the Greensboro Grasshoppers. On Feb. 28th, the club will be staging “Tickets On Sale Day.” Admittedly, this is probably the most boring name for a promotion that I have ever come across. But the deal being offered is phenomenal — in recognition of the team’s fifth season, ALL seats to ALL games during the 2009 season will be sold for $5 each. Running concurrently with this sale will be the third annual Hoppin’ Fun Yard Sale, featuring all manner of team merchandise as well as vendors from within the community.

The bottom line is that events such as “Tickets On Sale Day” make it startlingly clear that Minor League Baseball is a bargain. $5 is about half the cost of a movie ticket, but it will provide access to so much more. 

sopranos.jpgI am a New York City resident, where $5 bargains are few and far between. The best deal that I am currently aware of is the shot and beer special at Zablozkis in Brooklyn. I like to take advantage of this because the bar has a Sopranos pinball machine in the back, where I can play undisturbed for long periods of time. Yes, I am currently making the most of my life.

Moving On…I am usually wary and vaguely hostile towards new technological innovations, so it was with some trepidation that I signed up for Twitter yesterday. But if this allows me to stay in touch and communicate with readers in a quick and casual fashion, then I’m all for it. Check it out here:

http://twitter.com/bensbiz

In additional “housekeeping” news, I have added four new blogs to the link section. They are:

The Watson FilesNews, notes, and observations from Fort Wayne Tin Caps broadcaster Dan Watson.
Senators Fans UniteHarrisburg fan blog.
Will InmanSan Diego pitching prospect tells some
Shawn HavilandFrom the Ivy Leagues to MLB

Am I missing anything? If so, email benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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