Results tagged ‘ Hall of Fame ’

From Hip-Hop to Defunct

No matter what your opinions may be regarding Carter IV, there’s certainly no disputing the fact that Lil Wayne remains one of the most influential hip-hop stars in the world.

And, last week, this taste-maker par excellence was spotted wearing the following ballcap:

Yes, that would be an Omaha Storm Chasers “O-Bolt” away cap! Wayne is clearly a big fan of manager Mike Jirschele and his PCL-championship winning squad, and it’s only a matter of time before he starts dropping Storm Chasers references into his raps.

Maybe something like “Put away the uzi, cuz, my lumber’s what weighs a ton/They call me Batman, Clint Robinson

(See, the Public Enemy reference doubles as an analogy to heavy lumber, leading to interpretation of “Batman” as someone swinging a powerful stick. This would certainly include Storm Chasers heavy hitter Clint Robinson, whose name doubles as “Robin, son” ie Batman’s sidekick).

And as if a Lil Wayne endorsement wasn’t enough, the Storm Chasers once again capitalized on their meteorological nomenclature and made a live appearance on the Weather Channel. On Thursday morning, assistant G.M. Rob Crain appeared live in order to promote the following deal: if temperatures hit 60 degrees that day, then the team would offer 60 season tickets at a 60% discount.

Indeed, this is just what happened.

Let’s move from 60% back into the world of hip-hop: 50 Cent, specifically.

Did you know that in recent video for “Wait Until Tonight”, Fiddy is wearing an Idaho Falls Chukars cap? This is the best picture I could find:

So we’ve got Lil Wayne reppin’ Omaha, 50 Cent reppin’ Idaho Falls. Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to the next rapper to give an unexpected endorsement to an MiLB team, but Snoop and the Charleston RiverDoggs seems like an obvious choice.

Finally, congratulations to Barry Larkin on being elected to the Hall of Fame. The star shortstop only played 175 games in the Minors before getting the call-up to the Reds; 72 with the ’85 Vermont Reds and 103 with ’86 Denver Zepyhrs.

Courtesy of Wikipedia, here’s the Vermont logo:

Larkin was MVP of that ’86 Zephyrs squad, who played within the cozy confines of Denver’s Mile High Stadium. While I could not locate an image of the logo, here’s a look at the iconic train that the team could was named for.

You’ll note that it says “Burlington Route” in the center of the train, which is appropriate. The Vermont Reds were based out of Burlington, so that is indeed the route that brought Larkin to Denver.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Balls to Bring in Beaucoup Bucks

The Stockton Ports announced their “Legends of Baseball Memorabilia Raffle” on Tuesday, a charitable initiative with prizes that are nothing short of spectacular.

The raffle begins on Monday, and continues all the way through August 19. Tickets are expensive at $20 a pop, but this seemingly exorbitant price tag is merely a reflection of the prizes the club is offering.

raffi.JPG

That’s the grand prize right there — a display featuring autographed baseballs from the top 10 home run hitters in Major League history (the photo shows just nine balls, I’m sure the 10th is just resting in a climate-controlled, hermetically sealed vault). Four other prizes are being offered in the raffle, all proud members of the signed ball family. These include a sphere autographed by eight members of the 3000 Hit Club, an orb with the John Hancock of five members of the 500 Home Run Club, a globule inked with the autos of Willie, Mick, and The Duke, and a cowhide pellet inscribed by Joltin Joe D.

Proceeds benefit a range of charities, including the Ports’ Anchor Fund. Furthermore, the team has opened up the raffle to the rest of the California League. Clubs may purchase tickets from the Ports on consignment, with the remainder of the proceeds going to the charitable organization of their choice.

To summarize: Given the quality of the prizes, the length of the raffle, and the league-wide scope, this raffle has the capability to raise a LOT of money. It will interesting to see just how much.

Odds, Ends, Sods, Scraps, Assorted Minutiae

ernie.jpg— The big story in baseball this week has been the passing of legendary announcer Ernie Harwell. He has been eulogized far and wide, and will be missed. The Eugene Emeralds sent out a press release reminding fans of Harwell’s connection to the Ems, which ties into the oft-told anecdote regarding how the broadcaster was once traded in exchange for a catcher.

– Earlier this week, I posted a video in which the West Michigan Whitecaps promoted their “Salute to Sweatpants Night”. Well, the team is at it again. Brandon Inge Bobblehead Night is tomorrow, prompting an elaborate contest amongst staffers to see who is the most Inge-like.

– Finally, I would like to suggest that more Minor League players adopt the look currently sported by Orioles farmhand Ryan Berry. With that combination of mustache, glasses, and hairstyle, it’s going to be tough for him to get through the Minors without a Ryan Berry Look-A-Like Night staged in his honor (I’m looking at you, Bowie Baysox).

berry.JPG
(photo: Tom Priddy/MLB.com)

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

Totally Dawson

dawson.jpgApologies for my lack of a post yesterday, as I was caught up in Hall of Fame-related matters. Specifically, I attended Andre Dawson’s press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom (a step down from MiLB.com’s swanky offices, but adequate for the purpose).

My mission was to ask Andre a question about his Minor League career, so that I could then base an article around his answer (journalism at its finest!). I succeeded in this quest, but just barely, as mine was the last question granted. It was a very anxiety-inducing experience.

So what sort of masterwork resulted from my Herculean efforts?

THIS.

But enough about me. It is worth noting that Dawson’s election adds a beatific glow to theThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for canadians-logo.jpg 2010 promotional schedules of both the Lakewood Blueclaws and Vancouver Canadians. “The Hawk” is scheduled to swoop into both of these team’s ballparks, gripping a pen in his talons so that he may sign autographs for his assembled prey fans.

The details for Dawson at Lakewood can be found HERE. And for Vancouver, the details can be found HERE.

Dawson at the BlueClaws game has a backstory of sorts, as the Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lakewood.gifclub has made an effort in recent years to bring on-the-cusp HOF candidates to FirstEnergy Park. This came about after the team hosted Goose Gossage and Jim Rice, both of whom were subsequently elected to the Hall of Fame. More about all of this can be found HERE.

And this gives me that most dangerous of notions: an idea.

May I suggest that teams stage a series of autograph signings entitled “You Will Not Be Forgotten”? The guests of honor would be those who fell off the Hall of Fame ballot in their first year of eligbility (this year, that illustrious group consists of Andres Galarraga, Robin Ventura, Eliis Burks, Eric Karros, Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen, David Segui, Mike Jackson, Ray Lankford, Shaun Reynolds, and Todd Zeile).

Any takers? No? Well, at the very least let this blog post serve as proof that such an idea was once documented in writing before being consumed by the eternal void.

And speaking of the eternal void, I am happy to report that MiLB.com’s fledgling series ofroadtrip.jpg “Roadtrip” articles has avoided such an ignominious fate. There has been a good response to these thus far, and I would encourage any teams that are interested in being featured to send me an email (any and all fan suggestions are welcome as well).

The most recent edition of the column, featuring four teams in southern California, can be found HERE.

And this concludes the first blogging week of 2010. Here’s to 49.5 more.

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

Sweet Release

$bag.pngIf there’s one thing that covering the Minor Leagues has taught me, it’s that nearly anything can be turned into a press release.

I mean, why not? The purpose of a press release is to generate publicity for your team. Publicity translates to increased ticket sales, increased ticket sales translates to more money, and more money translates to guaranteed health, happiness, and spiritual contentment. And isn’t that what we’re all after as we navigate through this fleeting enterprise we call “life“?

Today, let’s take a look at two very different, yet equally creative, press releases that have caught my eye this week.

#1 — BlueClaws Invite Potential Hall-Of-Famers to FirstEnergy Park

In this missive, the BlueClaws announce that they have invited Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven,lakewood.gif Lee Smith, Jack Morris, and “any other player looking to enhance their [Hall of Fame] candidacy” to First Energy Stadium.

Why are they doing this?

“The last two induction classes at the National Baseball Hall of Fame
have featured players who had spent a day signing autographs at a
Lakewood BlueClaws game.

Goose Gossage signed in 2005 and was inducted in 2008 while Jim Rice signed in 2008 and will be inducted in July.”

Oh, okay. That makes sense.

There must be something special in the air here at the Jersey Shore,”
said BlueClaws General Manager Geoff Brown of the obvious connection
between signing in Lakewood and subsequent induction. “We’ve had the
magic touch in bringing people here and those players getting elected
to the Hall of Fame. We hope that we can get a few more players to
Cooperstown.”

Now, obviously, the logistics and financial commitment involved in bringing these baseball heavyweights to Lakewood are considerable. But I truly hope the team follows up on this premise, as it is fun, creative, and fraught with prophecy.

Thumbnail image for sjj.jpgAnd why not go a step further and aim to get Pete Rose and, especially, the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson to the ballpark? (Athough the last time we checked in with that restless spirit, he didn’t seem to be doing too well).

I’d also like to see a team launch a “We Still Love You” signing series, featuring players who were knocked off the Hall of Fame ballot after failing to record five percent of the vote. Those who are eligible for this honor include Mark Grace, Matt Williams, Jesse Orosco, Ron Gant, Dan Plesac, and both Mo and Greg Vaughn.

It is absurd that I give these ideas away for free. Take advantage of it now, before I Iaunch a consulting company and start raking in the big bucks.

#2 — Northwest Arkansas Naturals Recover Three Puppies At Arvest Ballpark

This is simple — over the past week, members of the Naturals’ front office have found threenattynice.jpg stray puppies at Arvest Ballpark. The team turned the dogs over to a local animal shelter, which I imagine is what most people would do in that situation. But by putting out a press release announcing this fact, the Naturals accomplished two things: they increased the chance that these Rottweiler mixes would find good homes while also generating a little bit of offseason attention for themselves. It’s a win-win situation.

The Naturals could have also used this opportunity to promote appearances by Jake the Diamond Dog, who will be at Arvest Ballpark on April 16 and 17. Or, they could have chosen to highlight other fun dogs that can be found around the ballpark — namely this unique concoction.

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Ben’s Biz Blog — giving away the milk for free since 2007.   

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