Results tagged ‘ Kannapolis Intimidators ’

On the Road: Keeping It Simple In Kannapolis

Did you know? Each one of my road trip blog posts has an accompanying MiLB.com article. Click HERE and HERE to read features from Kannapolis. 

The Kannapolis Intimidators play 25 miles northeast of Charlotte, a major metropolitan area that is expanding to the point to where it may just swallow Kannapolis whole. But despite the proximity of Kannapolis to Charlotte, the Minor League Baseball atmosphere to be found in the two cities could not be any more different.

The Charlotte Knights — Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox — play in a beautiful new uptown stadium featuring the bells and whistles one would expect from a top-level Minor League team playing in a top-level Minor League market. (Click HERE for my blog entry on the Knights.) The Kannapolis Intimidators — Class A affiliate of those same Chicago White Sox — are something else entirely. CMC-Northeast Stadium is a wonderful place to take in a game, charmingly intimate and comparatively quiet. You can hear yourself think here. And while the crowds might be relatively small (especially on the rainy Tuesday evening in which I attended), there is an atmosphere of camaraderie and quirkiness that makes it a quintessential Minor League experience.

Simply put, I enjoyed seeing a game in Kannapolis more than I’ve enjoyed seeing a game in any other stadium during this, the 2014 season.

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Unlike many Minor League parks, CMC Northeast Stadium is not located on a street which reflects the presence of a ballpark. No “Curveball Court” or “Home Run Avenue” or “Defensive Indifference Boulevard” to be found here. Rather,  the 20-year-old facility resides on Moose Road. Once I turned onto Moose Road, I became convinced that I had entered the wrong address into my GPS. It was a most unassuming road, surrounded by trees and devoid of any commercial establishments.

But then — bam — there it was. A huge parking lot, leading to a not-so huge stadium.

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The Intimidators franchise relocated to Kannapolis in 1995 from Spartanburg, South Carolina, beginning life as the Piedmont Phillies. They changed their name to the Boll Weevils the following season (Boll Weevils are an insect possessing an insatiable appetite for cotton, once a major problem in textile towns such as Kannapolis). NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, a Kannapolis native, purchased a share of the team in 2000 and this precipitated a name change to the Kannapolis Intimidators.

Dale Earnhardt was known as “The Intimidator,” of course, but he never got to see the Intimidators play. He was killed in a racing accident in February of 2001, but the Intimidators name still lives on.

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My first view from inside the stadium:

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A penthouse perspective:

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The Intimidators have retired three numbers, only one of which is in honor of a baseball player. #50 is retired throughout the South Atlantic League in honor of John Henry Moss, who served as league president for 50 years. #42 is retired throughout the entirety of professional baseball in honor of Jackie Robinson. And #3 is, or course, Dale Earnhardt.

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One can obtain booze under a canopy.

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The food options are pretty basic, but we’ll get to that later.

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At this juncture of the evening it was probably a pretty good idea to be standing under a nearby canopy. For, once again, I was witness to a pre-game rain delay. (In fact, the only game I saw on this trip that wasn’t affected in any way by rain was the Rome Braves.)

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This certainly wasn’t the first time that the Intimidators front office pulled tarp this season. So, you want to work in Minor League Baseball?

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During the rain delay I hung out in the press box with Intimidators broadcaster Josh Feldman and PA announcer Sean Fox. In Fox’s bio on the team website, it says “Sean has been the primary PA Announcer for Intimidators games since 2010. He wanted to be listed on the website. It was either this, or he’d have fans boo the website the same way he encourages you to boo BINGO numbers on Tuesday nights.”

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It was indeed “BINGO Night” on the night I attended, and booing is indeed a tradition. We’ll get to that later. But first, here’s an exclusive look at Sean’s go-to sound effects. Baseball anthropologists should file this picture away, as it captures the Minor League zeitgeist. 

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And if you’re wondering, the “visitor home run” audio (F8) is Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”

I also spent time perusing through the team’s cd collection, which is no longer used. With a few exceptions, the music on this particular mix is just awful.

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With not much else to do, I simply gazed upon the wonder that is the Intimidators’ eternal press box. These windows go on forever, each one depicting a small glance into an increasingly out of focus alternate Minor League Baseball reality.

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Sean utilized his time in a more productive way. Namely, by initiating an impromptu rain delay BINGO game. The prize was a baseball autographed by the 2012 Charleston RiverDogs, which Feldman happened to have sitting on a nearby shelf.

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And here’s Mr. Josh Feldman, the Intimidators announcer. Feldman’s path to his profession is an odd one. After being cut from the USC volleyball team he began calling the team’s games, mostly out of frustration with the fact that no one else seemed to know anything about volleyball. This led to an interest in broadcasting, which led to a stint with an Indy League team which led to his current gig with the Intimidators. You should listen to the dude, he’s erudite.

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The rain, like bull riding or sumo wrestling, was intense but brief. While waiting for the game to begin, I did a little wandering.

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But my wanderings were cut short, as Feldman tracked me down and said that since I was a ceremonial first pitch throwing professional I should throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

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It all happened so fast that I didn’t have time to strap on my recently-acquired GoPro camera.

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I threw a strike. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. And while I neglected to take a picture, the Intimidators give all ceremonial first pitch throwers a team-signed baseball. I gave mine away, but how cool is that? I’d never seen such a thing before.

With the game underway, I spent an inning or two with Debby and Marshall Smith. They are members of the Intimidators Booster Club, and very passionate when it comes to supporting the players (who are mostly in their early 20s and in some cases away from home for the first time).

065My feature on the Smiths and their work with the Intimidators Booster Club can be found HERE.

The Smiths sit in second-row seats located down the third base line, but those seeking more rustic accommodations can certainly find them.

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Walking on the concourse, toward home plate, I stopped and chatted briefly with a couple named Heather and Mike. Mike started following me on Twitter on the spot, which Heather said is an honor because he hardly follows anyone on Twitter. I said that I’d give them a shout-out on the blog, so here you go: Hello, Heather. Hello, Mike.

And hello, Paul Buchanan!

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At the ballpark, very few people know this gentleman as Paul Buchanan. He is the “Uh-Huh Guy,” and he is a real character. I wrote a feature on him, which I’d ask that you take the time to read. If not, here’s an introductory excerpt:

The Uh-Huh Guy wears an “Uh-Huh” hat and an “Uh-Huh” T-shirt (both custom made), and punctuates his ear-splitting ballpark cheers and jeers with his signature phrase of — you guessed it — “Uh-huh!” And throughout the ballgame, it’s not just the Uh-Huh Guy’s voice that travels. He always wears a glove and is always on the move, pacing the concourse in a constant pursuit of foul balls. 

Kannapolis call and response.

After interviewing the Uh-Huh Guy (which,  let me assure you, is no easy task), I was approached by “Raider Rock.”

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Raider Rock wrestles for $5 Wrestling, an organization with the tagline “Wrestling So Bad It’s Good.”  You don’t want to mess with Raider Rock.

Seriously.

Raider Rock could generally be found in close proximity to the Uh-Huh Guy, making for one of the most eccentric ballpark duos I’ve ever seen. I heard him yelling his “Dominate, Terminate and Exterminate” tagline throughout the evening, but to me he said “I’ve heard good things about you, Ben, and if I’ve heard good things you know it’s good.”

Thanks, Raider Rock. Keep doing what you’re doing!

Anyway, time to play some BINGO.

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I even called a few numbers myself, with the help of promotions director Amber Sersen (who has since moved on to a position with the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers . A lot can happen in a month). My selections were indeed met with a smattering of boos, but the crowd seemed to go pretty easy on me.

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The balls I grabbed were white. Here’s a look at the board at the end of the half-inning break.

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I really liked BINGO Night, which  suited the quiet Tuesday night atmosphere. As opposed to frenetic blasts of activity every half-inning, this was a fun, low-key contest that kept the fans engaged throughout the game. Kannapolis was the seventh city (and ninth ballpark) I’d visited in the last seven days, so I was feeling a little burned out and grateful for the change of pace.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same…

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That shadowy figure is Matt Campbell, reprising his role as designated eater (you know, the individual recruited to consume the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits). The previous night in Charlotte, Matt l had enjoyed Queen City Cue and a Carolina Dog. Today, he had the Colossal Dog to contend with.

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“It’s a half-pound monster,” said Matt. “The team used to have a stand called Hot Dog Hut, where you could get a wide variety of toppings. But I’d order this again, even if its naked and I have to squeeze the condiments from out of a dispenser.”

Okay! Moving on, we have something a little more unique.

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This is a “Dale’s Mater Sandwich” — tomato, mayo and pepper on white bread. It was a childhood favorite of Dale Earnhardt (hence the name), and, as it turns out, it was a childhood favorite of Matt’s as well.

“I was raised on these,” said Matt. “Like on a Sunday afternoon, you’re with your cousins at the pool and you have a tomato sandwich. This one is pretty good. The tomatoes appear to be relatively fresh.”

And, at $2, this is one of the cheapest sandwich options in Minor League Baseball.

As Matt finished up with his Dale’s Mater, I checked in on Feldman and company in the press box.

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In fact, I even took a little video of Feldman at work. I recorded it in improper vertical fashion, but nonetheless I think this is worth watching. It gives a nice sense of the Kannapolis atmosphere, in which everybody seems to know everybody.

Speaking of everybody knowing everybody — soon after I left the press box I heard a voice behind me. “Hey, Ben.”

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That’s Charlotte Knights general manager Scott Brown. The Knights had played a day game (which I had attended), and Scotty took advantage of his free evening by driving out to Kannapolis.

“I just like to come here, sit down, throw my peanut shells down on the ground, and relax,” he told me. “This is what it’s all about.”

This inspired me. When was the last time that I had actually sat down and watched the game? When had I thrown some peanut shells on the ground?

The time was now.

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South Atlantic League baseball, Tuesday night after a rain delay edition.

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I watched the final two innings with Matt, his father-in-law, and step-daughter. There was some mild ribbing of this guy’s hair.

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And a debate regarding whether anyone could spell this guy’s name correctly on the first attempt.

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The game ended in a frustrating fashion, as an Inimidators rally was snuffed out after an extremely delayed third strike call. It was definitely a deer-in-the-headlights “rookie moment” for the umpire, and helped clinch the first-half division championship (it became official the next day).

To add insult to injury, the tarp was then put on the field as a precaution. Feldman tried to convince me to join in the fun, but I bailed due to a lack of proper tarp-pulling clothing. But, next time, this excuse isn’t going to fly. I have since been informed that the Intimidators have a bin full of so-called “tarp shoes,” ready and waiting for reluctant tarp-pullers such as myself.

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Next time, guys. Next time.

That’ll do it for posts related to my second road trip of the season, but trip number three starts now! Contact me with suggestions of any kind regarding each of the following ballparks. And if you want to be a “Designated Eater” at a park where that honor is available, then get in touch!

July 18: Akron RubberDucks

Designated Eater: Adam Ray, Joe Meadows

July 19: West Virginia Power

(team is recruiting)

July 20: Columbus Clippers

July 21: Indianapolis Indians

Designated Eater: Greg Hotopp

July 22: Louisville Bats

July 23: Lexington Legends

July 24: Dayton Dragons

Designated Eater: George Coleman, Richie Devotie

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Pictures of Food

I’ve recently dedicated a post to showcasing new mascots that can be seen around the Minors; today’s post will focus on that other integral aspect of the Minor League Baseball experience: the food.

Let’s start with the El Paso Chihuahuas, who play their first-ever ballgame at brand-new Southwest University Park on April 28. Concessions at the new facility will be provided by Ovations, who unveiled the ballpark menu last month. Fairly thorough coverage of some of the more unique items can be found HERE and HERE among other places, including an awesome looking beef brisket “Salpicon Salad” that very well may be gluten-free (fingers crossed, I’ll be there on April 29 and 30 and will find out for sure).  I contacted the team in the wake of their concessions unveiling, and Ovations’ Jeff Hanauer responded with the following pictures. And that is what you’re all here for, what you’re always here for: the pictures. Let’s proceed.

The Pico de Gallo will be included with many of the Chihuahuas’ Mexican-themed offerings. It looks outstanding, and this picture is suitable for framing.

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Alligator bites with jalapeno cornbread (an El Paso specialty?)

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The Chihua Dog, with bacon, beans, and jalapenos:

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The Dudley Dog, a foot long and a half a pound, topped with chile con queso and pico de gallo:

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A few of the many “Juarez Dogs” that will be available:

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This sandwich is called, “From Philly, with Love”.

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The Flamethrower, a half pound burger with ghost peppers, jack cheese, deep fried jalapenos, and chipotle ranch sauce:

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Of course, no discussion of ballpark food is complete without the requisite White Michigan Whitecaps mention. Following in the footsteps of the Fifth Third Burger and the (gluten-free!) Baco, this year’s premier addition is the Auger Dogger. It is a deep-fried hot dog on a stick, surrounded by potato chips. Here’s hoping that this, too is gluten-free:

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More notable concession additions, per the Whitecaps:

Pretzilla Bacon Cheeseburger (a pretzel bun with a one-third pound hamburger patty, bacon and cheese).

Coaches’ Sandwich – In honor of the three Whitecaps coaches, who hail from Australia (Andrew Graham), Texas (Mike Henneman) and Cuba (Nelson Santovenia), this sandwich includes two slices of ham, Hormel barbeque pulled pork, pickle shreddies, Swiss cheese and shrimp served on a sub bun.

Tony Gates Venison Burger – Named after the 97 WLAV local radio personality who is passionate about the outdoors and is an avid hunter, this venison burger on a bun and will be served at the Steak Cart behind home plate.

Over in Kannapolis, the Intimidators have unveiled some notable new additions. This one is self-explanatory, but I’ll explain: a 64 ounce serving of loaded nachos, served in a batting helmet.

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Also of note is the Dale’s Mater sandwich, a favorite of Dale Earnhardt (for whom the Intimidators are named). It is, quite simply, a tomato sandwich with Duke’s mayonnaise.

The Trenton Thunder have unveiled a new signature item, one with a distinctly New Jersey flair. The Thunder Dog is “a jumbo sized Black Bear Franks hot dog wrapped in American cheese and famous Trenton pork roll and served on a torpedo roll.”

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Also new in Trenton is the “Mega Nachos” stand, which can (and should!) be gluten-free. Sez the team:

Another new addition on the first base side is Mega Nachos, where fans can build-their-own nachos from a variety of toppings including: cheese, queso, chili, steak, chicken, pulled pork, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and olives.

The Thunder have long had a Chickie and Pete’s stand at the ballpark, but these Philly-area purveyors of sandwiches and (gluten-free!) crab fries are now in Wilmington as well:

And, hey, for those of you who consider gluttony to be a virtue: the Frederick Keys have recently announced a rather considerable eating challenge. Think you can do it? If so, what’s wrong with you?

Finally, in Fresno, the Grizzlies are now serving a “Grizzly Egg.” Per the Fresno Bee, it’s a “cream cheese-filled deviled egg, wrapped in bacon, baked and drizzled in buffalo sauce.” This thing better be gluten-free, because it looks awesome!

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And that’s all of the food news I have to share with you, at least for the next couple of days. In the meantime, please know that I am writing up a storm over at MiLB.com:

New Promo Preview leads with the Louisville Bats Corky Miller #FeartheStache t-shirt.

New Farm’s Almanac takes a look at team-branded beer throughout the Minors.

And, as always, much more to come! There’s a reason that I say that I am the greatest of all time: because it’s true.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

2013 Promotions: Strange Combinations

Over the past two weeks I have spent a heroic amount of time combing through the promotional schedules of Minor League full season teams, in search of the best, brightest, weirdest and wackiest innovations that will be on offer during the 2013 campaign.

As always, this was a LOT of information to digest, especially since there are many teams that schedule multiple promotions for each and every contest. Such promo overload is the inevitable result of the industry’s never-ending quest to be all things to all people, and as an added bonus it sometimes provides unintentional comedy fodder. (The best example of this comes courtesy of an Eastern League club that shall remain anonymous, who in 2011 scheduled “Tribute to Michael Jackson” on the same evening as “Boy Scout Sleepover Night.”)

What follows is a brief list of absurd and/or incongruous promo combinations scheduled for the 2013 season. Maybe one of them will be incongruously taking place at a ballpark near you! (And, of course, if you have further examples then please send ‘em my way.)

Akron Aeros — International Juggler’s Day/Thirsty Thursday

This can’t end well.

Kannapolis Intimidators — $2 16 oz Budweiser drafts/Operation Family Time (May 17)

Spending time with the family can be stressful, but the Intimidators are offering a way to take the edge off.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans — Hangover Night/Thirsty Thursday (May 23)

Seems like “Hangover Night” would make more sense on May 24th…

Omaha Storm Chasers — Superhero Cape Giveaway/Diaper Derby (June 8)

Perhaps unprepared Diaper Derby participants could just use the cape?

Lakewood BlueClaws — Cecil Fielder Appearance/Wing Fling (June 12)

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While perhaps not quite as rotund as his immodestly-named son, Tigers slugger Prince, there’s no denying that Cecil Fielder was one of the largest individuals to ever don a Major League uniform. He’s scheduled to sign autographs at Lakewood’s FirstEnergy Park on June 12, during which the BlueClaws will also be staging a “Wing Fling.” Local restaurateurs will compete in a “best wing” contest, and it seems to me that Cecil would be the perfect judge. And if he’s moved to participate in the scheduled “wing-eating contest”? Forget about it…

Quad Cities River Bandits — “Ghost Rider” Cowboy Monkeys/John Deere Night (June 15)

The Cowboy Monkeys usually ride border collies, but perhaps on this special evening they could ride a tractor instead.

Frederick Keys — Meet the Team/Pajama Night (June 23)

Finally — a socially acceptable way to mingle with professional athletes in an outdoor setting while wearing a bathrobe.

Frederick Keys — Military and Civilians Night (July 31st)

Or, as I like to call it — “Everybody Night.”

Hickory Crawdads — Kids Run the Show/Unemployment Night (August 7)

Well, yeah — when kids are running the show then the adults are out of a job!

I’ve got plenty more where this came from, and I’m sorry if that sounds like a threat.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

There Is An "I" In This Team

Intimidators_red.JPGThe new logo bandwagon has been trekking across the Minor League landscape as of late, most recently making a pit stop in Kannapolis, NC. 

Kannapolis is home to the Intimidators, a South Atlantic League club named after the late Dale Earnhardt. A Kannapolis native and NASCAR legend who once owned a minority stake in the team, Earnhardt was nicknamed “The Intimidator” in recognition of his aggressive tendencies behind the wheel.

And now, the Intimidators are honoring “The Intimidator” with an alternate logo.
 
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Players will only sport the logo during what the team refers to as “Dale Earnhardt-related occasions”. But given Earnhardt’s legendary status among NASCAR’s huge legion of fans, this is a mark that should resonate far outside of the local market.

“In looking over ways to continue to enhance our partnership
with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, we thought this
new alternate logo was a fitting tribute,” said Intimidators general manager Randy Long in the press release.

Here, Earnhardt’s son Kerry (himself a race car driver) models the new look:

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The team also announced an additional alternate logo, which is like Cyclops and the first Super Bowl in that it consists of one “I”: 

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Unlike every other Minor League logo unveiled this offseason, the Intimidators’ new marks were not designed by either Plan B Branding or Studio Simon (finally!). They were the  work of Phire Branding, an Ann Arbor-based company that has previously designed Earnhardt’s website and NASCAR Hall of Fame logos.

But lest we forget, the Intimidators primary logo isn’t going anywhere.

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And for good reason! This logo is a perennial winner in the “Angriest Letter” category at the annual “Anthropomorphic Awards” (held in my living room each January). It might look a little like a high-heel shoe, but it is a high heel shoe that can and will destroy you. Show some respect.

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

One 20-Inning Ballgame Deserves Another

20.jpgIt’s always impressive when teams engage in timely marketing, tying their promotions into current events.

An excellent example of this is the Fort Myers Miracle’s recent initiative, in which the team offered free tickets to European tourists stranded in southwest Florida due to volcanic ash. Miracle GM Steve Gliner reports 27 individuals took them up on the deal over the past two days.

An equally timely promotion was staged on Wednesday evening, in a South Atlantic LeagueThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Kannapolis_Intimidators.PNG contest between the Rome Braves and visiting Kannapolis Intimidators. The teams were so inspired by Saturday’s 20-inning game between the Mets and the Cardinals that they played a 20-inning contest of their own!

Despite his fatigue, Intimidators broadcaster Josh Ellis took the time to send in the following information on Wednesday morning. I provide additional observations in italics:

– The game only took 4:41, an amazing 14 minutes and three seconds per full inning. The Mets-Cardinals contest took 6:53 (over twenty minutes per inning).

There were no mid-inning pitching changes.

– There were 31 strikeouts and only seven walks.

rome.gif– Two players went 0-for-8. I’m looking at you, Daniel Wagner. And you, Matt Kramer.

The Intimidators went 0-for-23 from the 13th to the 20th. And they won!

The winning hit came on a 3-0 count. Congratulations, Kyle Colligan.

The Intimidators bullpen has now allowed four earned runs over 55 innings this season, and have gone 21 straight innings without allowing a run.

The teams will play a 1 p.m. game today. The Braves won, 3-1, in a speedy 2:18.

An audio montage of this marathon ballgame can be heard HERE. In closing, I would like to commend both teams for tapping into the 20-inning zeitgeist. And thanks to Ellis, who so ably utilized the communications tools that I make available at the end of every post. You know, these:  

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

On A Clear Day They Can See 398th Place

doubledays.gifAuburn, NY has many claims to fame, from the Harriet Tubman Home to the Case Research Lab Museum to the fact that America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh was born there.

But one of Auburn’s most recent claims to fame is a distinct negative, an ignominious anti-accomplishment that the city hopes to shed faster than a moulting snake on steroids: in its list of America’s best sports cities, the Sporting News ranked Auburn #399 out of a possible #399.

Dead last.

The New York-Penn League’s Auburn Doubledays aren’t going to take this lack of respect lying down. They’ve stood tall to their nationally distributed oppressor by announcing an essay contest, asking fans to explain (in 500 words or less) why Auburn deserves a higher ranking. The winner of this contest will receive general admission season tickets as well as official recognition during the “399 Classic”.

“What’s the 399 Classic?” I just heard a voice behind me whisper. Well, my reliable companion Press Release has the answer to that:

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The Doubledays will face off against Tri City (representing Troy, NY
which was rated #398 on the same list) in a three game series from July
14 – 16 which the Doubledays have dubbed The 399 Classic!

Events surrounding The 399 Classic include a special reward to the 399th
fan through the gates every night, a surprise giveaway of the 399th
best possible giveaway item and a contest to win a “Mad About You:Season
4″ DVD set (399th on Amazon.com’s most popular DVD list).

Anyone have any other ideas how the number “399” could be celebrated? I’m thinking Al Kaline has to be a part of it somehow, seeing as how he retired with 399 home runs. Or how about inviting members of Local 399: the International Union of Operating Engineers? Finally, why not celebrate the works of Chinese poet and historian Yuan Shansong, who died in the year 399 while defending Hudu during the rebellion of Sun En?

– In other news, the Cyclones have announced the winner of their “YOUniform Contest“. Click HERE to check it out.

Minor League Baseball has announced that the 2010 Promotional Seminar will be held in Las Vegas from September 28-October 1. This means that I get to make a return trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame! Who’s going with me? We can ride the bus together.

Thumbnail image for Kannapolis_Intimidators.PNG– Finally, I wanted to note that the Kannapolis Intimidators are offering free admission to all active-duty military personnel throughout the 2010 campaign. As the press release notes:

“Anyone that shows any form of Military ID, active, retired or a family
member ID at the Intimidators Will Call Window will receive two free
tickets to the game. This offer is valid for all 70 home games in the
2010 season.”

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

Unorthodox Bobbles, Burgers, and Domiciles

madison.jpgSo here’s a question for you:

What do Playboy model Holly Madison, impressionist Gordie Brown, ventriloquist Terry Fator, and comedians Carrot Top and Rita Rudner all have in common?

I can’t think of a whimsical joke answer, so I’ll just tell it like it is: the Las Vegas 51s will be honoring each of these individuals with their own bobblehead doll this season. Ms. Madison, in fact, will be honored on two separate occasions — in a baseball outfit on April 13, and then in a “Bo Peep” get-up on August 24. This latter wardrobe choice is inspired by the fact that she stars in a Vegas burlesque revue entitled “Peepshow”, but I don’t know anything about that sort of thing. Women are intimidating.   

In fact, all the aforementioned individuals are regular Vegas performers, so kudos to the 51s for finding a way to honor the local talent in a style unique to the “Sin City.”

– Burlington, VT is a long way from Vegas, both geographically and ideologically, so let’s travel there now in order to breathe in a fresh persepctive. 

Astute readers will remember this post from last summer, in which I praised the unique design sensibilities of the house located across the street from Centennial Field (home of the Vermont Lake Monsters):

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Well, the occupants of said house are looking for a new roommate, and in an ad on Burlington Craigslist they link to my post in order to give interested individuals a glimpse at the house’s exterior (I am very proud of this).

Rent is an eminently reasonable $366 a month, and perks include “vegan common spaces, wood floors, washer/dryer, 2 full
bathrooms, a cat, big woodsy yard with hammock, geodesic dome, and
compost, and a large woods and ravine behind the yard.”

The ad fails to mention the most significant perk: You will get to live in a purple house with pink polka dots that is emblazoned with anti-circumcision rhetoric.

How about it, vegan members of the Vermont Lake Monsters front office? The commuteThumbnail image for vermonsters.jpg between home and office would be nothing more than a walk across the street. You’d be the envy of your peers, and could provide George “The Animal” Steele with a free place to stay the next time he rolls into town for a promotional appearance.

– Finally, in decidedly non-vegan news, the Kannapolis Intimidators announced the three finalists in their Build-A-Burger Contest. Vote for your favorite HERE, and tell them Ben’s Biz Blog sent ya.

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

Shamelessness Begets Shamelessness

Kannapolis_Intimidators.PNGDespite my compulsive tendency toward self-deprecation, I am, like most human beings, exceedingly narcissistic. So when the Kannapolis Intimidators recently put together a blog post entitled “Hey Ben Hill“, I couldn’t help but be intrigued.

Here’s how the post begins:

Hey Ben Hill!

Is this a shameless cry for attention? Here at the Kannapolis Intimidators, we just want to feel loved.

I
feel like David Letterman, when he tried tirelessly to have the great
Oprah on his show, but we would love to have Ben Hill of Ben’s Biz
Blog to mention us on his blog, or better yet, visit us in Kannapolis!

Well, Intimidators, consider yourselves mentioned. And I would like to visit, but first I must ensure that you are able to meet my exacting travel specifications. I’ll have my business manager fax over a copy of my rider and we can proceed from there.

But for now, I’ll spend some time writing about the first-rate organization that is the KannapolisDale_Earnhardt_visits_Langley_AFB.jpg Intimidators — the only team in Minor
League Baseball named after a race car driver. Dale “The
Intimidator” Earnhardt purchased a
stake in the team in 2000, one year before his tragic death in the 2001 Daytona 500.

In the Intimidator’s “Hey Ben Hill” blog post, they helpfully provided me with a couple of topics to write about:

The Build-A-Burger Contest: Have you ever wanted to create your own sandwich and have it named
after you? Well, the Kannapolis Intimidators are giving you that chance
with their Build-A-Burger Contest! Fans will be allowed to submit their
ideas for a new hamburger or cheeseburger with the winning entry being
put on the menu of the Double Play Caf for the 2010 season at
Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium. The winner will also receive a prize
package, in-game recognition and 70 games of bragging rights.

My suggestion is the Ben’s Biz Burger: a 1/4 pound of ground beef topped with a fried egg, monterey jack cheese, cole slaw, bacon, fried onions, and jalapenos. Does that sound good? It was an exercise in free association, but now I kind of want one.

Comical Videos: Count the Intimidators as one of many teams that have recently tried their hand at humorous offseason videos. YouTube will never be the same. 

So let this be a lesson to all teams: I am a weak man, and easily bribed.

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

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