Results tagged ‘ Kannapolis Intimidators ’

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)

cecil-fielder-95

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.
 
Intimidators_dale.JPG

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:

Intimidators_kerry.JPG

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

Intimidators_I.JPG

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.

intimilogo.jpg

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:

madseason4.jpg

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):

Thumbnail image for vermont house.JPG

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 Café 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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