Results tagged ‘ Lake County Captains ’

From Boats to Floats

It’s a strange state of affairs when Major League logo unveilings are outpacing those from the far more pliable Minors, but what is life if not strange?

For in the past week we’ve seen new looks for the San Diego Padres and (more significantly) the Miami Marlins, while the only fresh identity to be unleashed in the Minors for 2012 remains the defiantly exuberant surfin’ Cubs of Daytona. This will soon change, as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos are scheduled to emerge from the tropical depths this Friday (for more on Pensacola, check out my MiLB.com piece that ran on Friday).

For now, however, those needing a Minor League logo fix will have to make due with this Lake County Captains 10-Year Anniversary insignia:

The press release announcing the new mark notes that The logo will be featured on limited edition merchandise available at the Cargo Hold gift store at Classic Park as well as on-line at http://www.CaptainsBaseball.com. Merchandise featuring the special logo is currently arriving now in time for the holiday shopping season. The logo will also be seen on all team-issued print materials produced for the 2012 season.

And, as you may recall, it was just last season that the Captains unveiled their new primary logo.  That came amidst a month which I now refer to as Logo-vember 2010, as it also included unveilings from Asheville, Kinston, Wisconsin, Omaha, New Hampshire, Kannapolis, and Altoona (among others).  What a memorable — nay, magical! — time that was.

But even pre-existing logos need publicity, and the Carolina Mudcats got a nice boost last week when a new character on the Fox show Bones sported a team cap. Apparently this fella was named “Finn.”

Another team due for some increased exposure via the star-making machinations of the entertainment industry are the Fresno Grizzlies. This past August scenes from an upcoming Billy Crystal vehicle entitled “Parental Guidance” were shot at Chukchansi Park.  And apparently the filmmakers were so enraptured with mascot Parker that he was recently flown down to Atlanta in order to do some follow-up shots. For more, check out this interview with Parker in the team’s “Yardwork” blog.

The Talent (Photo: Cody Turner)

But a mascot’s true place is close to home, of course, especially with the holiday season approaching. This is a most busy time of year, as amply illustrated by today’s announcement by the Delmarva Shorebirds that Sherman will be appearing in a whopping SIX parades. Can anyone top that?

And in perhaps even more exhilarating mascot parade news, the R-Phils mascot band has announced their first “in-motion” gig: atop a float at the Reading Christmas parade.

Quack the Duck is psyched:

I have no doubt that he’ll be the top “billed” performer.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Musing Mascots in Costumed Contemplation

For mascots, there’s no escaping the spotlight. These mute yet endlessly expressive characters are  the center of attention everywhere they go, and as a result they always need to be “on.”  Pictures are requested, high fives demanded, and antics expected. It’s an exhilarating existence, to be sure, but not at all conducive to moments of quiet reflection and self-analysis.

Yet such moments, while rare, do occur. To capture them on camera is an exhilarating feeling, akin to a landlocked bird watcher getting an glimpse of the elusive Red Phalarope. This is how I felt during a June trip to Lake County, when I was able to capture Captains mascot Skipper in a moment of introspection.

Feeling inspired by this rare bit of photographic luck, I asked readers to please send in introspective mascot photos of their own. This request was met with an enthusiastic response, and the results are contained in this post.

What follows is the most impressive collection of introspective mascot photos that the world has ever seen.

The above individual is Louie of the Great Lakes Loons, whose powers of introspection are far greater than the average bird. Soon after abandoning his dugout perch, he went into the stands and got the fans to join him in a moment of quiet contemplation.

Another city boasting thoughtful birds amongst its citizenry is Toledo. Muddy the Mud Hen is a voracious reader, and can sometimes be spotted at the local library with his beak buried in a good book.

Muddy’s literary endeavors have increased his powers of imagination. Back at the ballpark, he sometimes gets lost in thought while resting his left arm on a railing that doesn’t even exist.

As evidenced by the picture of Skipper at the top of this post, ballpark tunnels represent a good place for a mascot to temporarily escape from the madding crowd. Here’s Phinley of the Clearwater Threshers, patriotically pontificating.

Meanwhile, in Winston-Salem, Bolt takes a moment to reflect before instigating some between-inning hula-baloo.

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but I was able to get a shot of Bolt during my visit to Winston-Salem this past July. This one is perhaps less “introspective” than “fatigued.”

While in Winston-Salem, I spent time with not one but TWO blog readers who went on to email me introspective mascot photos. Matt “Possum” Campbell solicited this shot of the Danville Braves’ “Blooper,” who does his best thinking with left hand planted firmly on stomach.


Meanwhile, veteran Minor League wanderer Rex Doane sent in pictures from various far-flung locales. Our journey with Rex begins in Norfolk, where Rip Tide sometimes assumes a near-beatific demeanor.

Then we fly over to flyover country, with this behind-the-back view of Swoop of the South Bend Silver Hawks.

And, finally, we arrive in the modest environs of the Modesto Nuts’ dugout. That’s where Al Almond sometimes goes in order to escape from the nuttiness surrounding him.

Another thoughtful dugout denizen is Fort Wayne’s Johnny TinCap, whose demeanor is never crotchety even if his hobbies sometimes are.

Of course, one doesn’t need to be solitary to be introspective. Over the three seasons that the team has been in existence, Chopper of the Gwinnett Braves has established himself as one of the most empathetic woodchucks in the Minors. Here he is having an on-field heart-to-heart.

Chopper’s upright demeanor is in stark contrast to Millie of the Lowell Spinners. On the last day of the season, this canal-dwelling alligator went deep into her own headspace while sitting on a stadium bench.

Allie’s daughter, Millie, simply curled up in the fetal position in order to think long and hard about the season that had just transpired.

With this concept on the verge of collapse, it seems that I’ll have to call it a day. Of course, keeping sending those introspective mascot photos in. I am totally amenable to there being a second, third, fourth, and even fifth installment of this series.

There will be no sixth installment.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

On the Road: Saying “Aye Aye” to the Captains in Lake County

I suppose it should be fairly evident by now (especially after the Fort Wayne post), but when I’m on the road I say “Yes” to anything that the teams might ask me to do. I call it the “participatory approach”, mainly because I like how those words sound together.

And in Lake County, I most definitely took the participatory approach. The team was uber-hospitable to me from the get-go, a welcoming attitude perhaps best embodied by this ego-stroking media credential.

I needed the boost, honestly, as it rained heavily throughout the four-hour drive from Fort Wayne to Lake County (just outside of Cleveland). In fact, this was the scene as I pulled into the stadium.

But this was the last hurrah for inclement conditions, as almost immediately the sun started to shine and the birds began to chirp  One of my first acts of the evening was to “assist” with the tarp pull.

Let me note the following: tarp pulls are hard work! Similar to when I put on a mascot suit last season, I immediately was hit with a newfound respect for how difficult it must be to do on a daily basis.

With the tarp removed, the following realization finally hit home: It’s going to be a great night for baseball, after all.

And do you know what makes a great night for baseball even better?

Beer.

It was “Thirsty Thursday,” and the Captains offer one of the best (and most creative) Minor League drinking bargains around. For one hour prior to game time, the team offers 10-cent beers. These dime brews (Budweisers, all) are sold in five ounce cups and available at Castaways Bar (in left field). Fans may buy up to 10 beer tickets, but may only redeem two at a time.

The 10-cent price is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to one of the most infamous promotions in baseball history: the Cleveland Indians’ “10 Cent Beer Night” in 1974. My favorite sentence from the well-worth-reading Wikipedia entry on the fiascoA large number of intoxicated fans – some armed with knives, chains, and portions of stadium seats that they had torn apart – surged onto the field, and others hurled bottles from the stands.

But unsettling indicators of pervasive post-industrial societal decay were nowhere to be found on this particular evening.

Serenity ruled, so I stepped behind the counter and spent a half-hour pouring beers for early-arriving imbibers.

It was a pretty simple operation. Bud was poured from kegs into pitchers, and from pitchers into the 5 ounce cups. From there it was a matter of repeating the simple mantra of “drop two, take two” (drop two beer tickets in the bucket, take two beers).

And, novelty aside, this is still a tremendous bargain — the equivalent of a 20 ounce beer for 40 cents!

I was soon instructed to put down my pitcher so that I could become one. Yes, for the second time on this trip (and fourth overall) I had the honor of throwing out the first pitch. But once arriving on the field there was some time to kill, so groundskeeper Dan Stricko put me to work watering the infield.

I believe that I’m displaying improper technique in the above photo, as the hose should in fact be wrapped around my back. And speaking of improper technique — time for the first pitch.

In this photo, I am patiently waiting for ebullient on-field host Andrew Grover to finish introducing me to the crowd.

Aw, shucks.

It was a strike, I tell you. A strike.

And it was now time to get the game underway.

Hey, watch where you're going!

The evening’s “Play Ball” kid went dead silent when it became time to perform his assigned task of yelling “Play Ball!” After about 15 seconds of silence, Grover adopted a falsetto voice and uttered the game-starting phrase himself.

Ballplayers waiting to play ball.

Number #45 in the above picture is hitting coach Jim Rickon, who I interviewed prior to the game. Rickon is an aspiring inventor, with his latest creation being the Bat Jack. Check it out HERE, and tell them Ben’s Biz Blog sent ya.

Update! Check out this MiLB.com article about Rickon and the soon-to-be mentioned Cole Cook.

A grip trainer would perhaps have been helpful for my next endeavor — participating in a between-inning “Minute To Win It” contest. My task was to extricate every tissue from a box of Kleenex, one at a time and using one hand.

In 60 seconds.

And I did it! With just one second to spare! This was the most challenging and dramatic between-inning contest I’ve ever been a part of, and I’ve been basking in the memory of it ever since.  Update! And now I can re-live it again and again! Here’s the video:

This led to a far less successful endeavor, in which me and three 20-someting male fans (some might call them “bros”) participated in the Team Trax race against a team of interns.

We dubbed ourselves “Team Dime Beer”, then ran like a group that had far too many of them. The guy in the back (not visible in the above pic) immediately steamrolled into the guy in front of him and we went down like dominoes as the interns methodically made their way to an easy victory.

Team Trax are one of the newer offerings from the excellent Gameops.com, and more info on can be found HERE. Company founder Jon Cudo happened to be in attendance at the game; it must have been painful for him to see his creation utilized so poorly. But it’s always good to see Cudo — he contacted me for an interview back in 2007, a key step in my slow realization that I might be able to write about this kind of thing for a living.

Quote from the interview: [B]eing based in NYC I rarely get to see what I’m writing about, which is frustrating and something I hope to change as the years go on.

And now I’m actually getting to participate in what I’m writing about — thank goodness for the inexorable passage of time! Which, on the particular evening, soon brought us to the “Sheetz Hop-A-Long Poniez” race. The team has put the video up on YouTube:

In retrospect, I should have continued with the “sideways hop” strategy. But congrats to the winner, who taunted me repeatedly about it for the rest of the evening. I think he said his name was Jay Milo.

I'll get you next time, Milo, if that is in fact your real name.

In the middle of the fourth inning I ascended atop the third base dugout, and once again felt the unique agony that comes with not being able to aim a t-shirt throw properly. I hammed it up, delayed my throws, picked my target, and…missed. Both times. I’m sorry I let you down, fans I was aiming for.

No pictures of this failed effort exist. Immediately afterward, I was ushered up to the broadcast booth for an inning on the air with announcer Craig Deas. I had already done a pre-game interview with Deas for the “Captains Warm-Up Show”, so this time around I simply provided “color commentary” about a game I hadn’t watched at all up until that point.

A highlight of the conversation centered around pitcher Cole Cook, who I had interviewed earlier in the day. Cook’s father Peter MacKenzie is a well-known character actor, and among his many credits is the sitcom Herman’s Head (Cook used to visit his father on set, and during downtime would actually play inside Herman’s head. This is the greatest thing I have ever learned about any ballplayer ever).

  This segued into a conversation about early-90s Fox sitcoms in general, allowing me to make the following plea on-air:

To any Fox executives who may be listening, PLEASE release Get A Life on dvd!

Between that and my Weird Al plug in Fort Wayne, I was very pleased with my on-air performance during this trip (and please email me if you’d like to discuss anything at all related to Get A Life).

The commercial break in the broadcast booth provided a chance for some between-inning sustenance in the form of a hot dog slathered in world-famous Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard. Clevelanders are crazy about this stuff — and for good reason.

Delectable Globules

And — jeez — during the inning break there was a marriage proposal on the dugout! I would have loved to cover that as well but one thing I’ve learned on these road trips is that you can’t do it all. The days are stuffed to the gills.

And speaking of being stuffed to the gills (yeah, I’m just gonna play this segue off like it was an accident), it was soon time for the nightly Fish Race!

I was the blue fish, and eked out a victory over green and red (not pictured) that may or may not have been pre-arranged. Also, the photo above might not be to “scale.”

After changing out of my fish costume, I stuck around the right field area and snapped what I may believe may be the most introspective mascot photo of all time.

But Skipper soon snapped out of his mental reveries. For it was his duty to lead a gaggle of youths across the field as part of a nightly “Fun Run.” I tagged along, but as it turned out the whole thing was a blur.

With the game winding down, I ducked into the team store in order to pick up a Captains shirt.

The change of clothes was necessary, as I was slated to be a special guest in a post-game high school home run derby. Assistant general manager Neil Stein threw me batting practice in the cages located beyond right field, and it’s fortunate no footage exists of this because I started out by whiffing on five straight pitches.

I shagged balls in the outfield while waiting for my turn, watching kids about half my age pummel it out of the park. When it came time for me to bat I performed better than I had in the cage, in that I least made contact with all 10 swings. But it generally wasn’t very solid contact, and the best of the bunch was an opposite field “shot” that traveled an estimated 265 feet.

Scouting Report: "Comparable to Mickey Morandini, minus any discernible baseball skills."

Maybe I needed a Bat Jack?

So, yeah, all this (and more) happened in the span of a little more than three hours. Huge thanks to the entire Captains staff for such an enjoyable and action-packed experience — I only wish that I had had more time to spend there.

But there’s still more to come from “the road.” Stay tuned, and thank you for reading. Please continue to do so, while spreading the Ben’s Biz gospel to any and all interested parties.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/benzbiz

The Sky’s the Limit

To begin today’s post, I’d like to share one of the greatest mascot photos of all time:

That sky-diving bull is Hornsby of the Tulsa Drillers. Jumping out of an airplane (why not?) was one of his last acts before undergoing a thorough overhaul. As part of an effort overseen by Mascot Doctor (and original Phillie Phanatic) Dave Raymond, the Drillers hired a full-time performer and and re-did the costume.

Meet Hornsby 2.0:

I think a good way to publicize the new Hornsby would be to make a video of him in a sushi restaurant eating soup, accompanied by the sounds of 2 Live Crew. The video would be called “Miso Hornsby.”

Never mind, sorry, strike that from the record. It’s just that if you can’t please everyone you’ve got to please yourself. And speaking of guardin’ parties, the 550-pound Ryan Howard Garden Gnome recently presided over the Reading Phillies humdinger of an Opening Night celebration.

A $10 million offseason renovation project always results in an extra-festive atmosphere!

Duck!

Ostriches!

Disco Briscoe!

But for many teams, the pomp and pageantry of Opening Day soon succumbs to cold, hard, reality. Emphasis on the cold. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are snowed out today, and yesterday evening West Michigan Whitecaps played a ballgame despite this being the scene earlier in the day:

But in the team’s own words: “If there’s snow on the field, play ball!”

Such frosty weather can be hazardous to mascots as well, as the Lake County Captains latest “Christmas Story”-themed giveaway dramatically illustrates. On July 23, one year after the “Skipper Leg Lamp“, the team is distributing this:

Keep Your Nose to the Foul Pole

Yes, Skipper’s nose magnetically attaches itself to the foul pole.

That’s all for me today, but before I go let me note that there is a NEW PROMOTION PREVIEW column and that FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED! I want to be the Big Meech of Minor League Baseball writers, but instead feel like Hoover because all of my writing occurs in a vacuum.

I’m sure this has nothing to do with belabored, obscure, and obsessive compulsive wordplay.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

News Explosion!

sloth.jpgThe last couple of weeks were slower than a sloth on a treadmill, but boy oh boy have times changed.

All of a sudden it feels like the season again, with news and notes coming in from left and right and everywhere in between. It’s time to start posting, because the content levels are rising and soon I might drown — alone and forgotten in a remote corner of MiLB.com HQ.

To the Bullet Points!

– The New York-Penn League may not start play for another three months, but that didn’t stop the Brooklyn Cyclones from releasing a picture of their Angel Pagan bobblehead. I’m glad that they took his first name literally as opposed to the surname, because a bobblehead depicting the ballplayer as a hedonistic polytheist probably wouldn’t go over too well.

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 – Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s NYPL rivals the Lowell Spinners announced the follow-up to last year’s celebration of Bubblewrap.The team will stage a “Flossing World Record Attempt” on June 29, a promotion recommended by four out of five dentists. My extensive research into this most crucial of topics revealed that previous attempts have involved a huge single strand of custom-made floss.

I’m not sure if this will be the case in Lowell, but either way I recommend that this product serve as the official sponsor.

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– In other follow-up news, the Lake County Captains are continuing with the Christmas Story themed giveaways that started with last season’s “Skipper Leg Lamp.” On July 23, fans will receive a bobble doll in which Skipper’s nose is stuck to a foul pole. I haven’t obtained a picture yet, but this item is of course a reference to this:

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– Another club to recently unveil their 2011 promo scheduleare the newly-rechristened Omaha Storm Chasers. While other teams honor Jimmy Buffet, the Storm Chasers instead pay homage to Warren. The Omaha billionaire and member of the team’s ownership group gets his own road jersey replica giveaway, taking place April 30. Here’s a pic of this Warren piece of memorabilia:

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– Another notable jersey hailing from the preeminent Midwest is that which the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will be wearing during Sunday home games. This one is like an undersized fish — total throwback.
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– In keeping with the jerseys theme, the Charleston RiverDogs will be giving away Roberto Alomar Charleston Rainbow jerseys on July 23. The newly-minted Hall of Famer suited up for the Rainbows in his first professional season, and while I have yet to obtain photographic evidence here’s my best approximation of what it will look like:

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But no matter what it looks like, this is sure to be one of the best ROYGBIV-aways of the year!If there’s a support group for those with an over-reliance on puns and wordplay in general, then I should probably join it. I’m not even joking, it’s become an obsession and I don’t think it’s healthy.

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

Old Captain! New Captain!

Some big logo news reached these shores today, as the Lake County Captains have unveiled a new identity.

The primary mark is one of the splashiest in years. It’s naut bad at all!

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Sez the team:

The new primary logo solidifies the Captains nautical theme and the organization’s ties to Lake County. The primary colors in the new scheme will be navy blue, light blue, tan, yellow and flesh. The primary logo features a ship wheel with the new “Captains” script font across the center with a baseball below the name coming out of a wave of water. The handles of the ships wheel represent the knobs of baseball bats.

The logo seen above replaces this, which has been made to walk the plank:

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But don’t worry, the Captain is still represented. Check out this alternate cap logo:

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And this alternate jersey design is nothing if not C-worthy:

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At home or on the road, the players’ caps will feature this well-lit design:

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And, finally, this sleeve emblem is in shipshape condition. Sorry I didn’t get to it schooner:

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The logos were designed by Studio Simon, but no one had to tell me that. This Louisville, KY-based firm has developed a quite recognizable aesthetic, one that can be spotted across the Minor League landscape (including the Eugene Emeralds and Bradenton Marauders as well as logos for the Winter Meetings, Opening Day, and the Professional Baseball Umpires Corporation).

Meanwhile, all this talk of Captains has gotten me thinking about Jack London’s “Sea Wolf.” That book is awesome; you should read it and then email me your opinions.

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

10 From ’10

coffin.jpgThe 2010 Minor League season is now lifeless and entombed, but it is my duty to preserve the corpse so that future generations may gaze upon its sepulchral splendor.

To that end, today’s post features my 10 favorite photographs from the recently deceased campaign. All of these pictures appeared on this blog at some point during the season, and are presented in the order in which they originally appeared.

Remember — it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Let’s all take a look at once was:

Snowpening DayFreezing precipitation prevented the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers from playing their first scheduled home game, causing the players to release their start-of-the-season aggression upon hapless snowmen (note the Rattlers’ scoreboard message, a nice example of thinking ahead).


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When Ya Gotta GoThe Northwest Arkansas Naturals held a nightly “Adoptable Pet of the Game” promotion this season, and on April 11 the evening’s honored canine broke loose from her handlers…
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You can guess what happened next

Catatonic CauliflowerJerry “The King” Lawler visited Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium, leaving no doubt as to his feelings regarding rampaging vegetables.

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Tattooed PerfectionOakland A’s hurler Dallas Braden became a household name upon pitching a perfect game, but soon afterwards returned to Stockton in order to abdominally express his hometown pride.
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(photo credit: George Steckler/Stockton Ports)

Sweets From the Sky: The Visalia Rawhide dropped candy from a helicopter following an afternoon game in May. Idyllic images resulted.
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(photo credit: Chris Henstra)

Guacamole-Topped Vengeance: San Antonio Missions fan Randy Neuenfeldt lost a race to the Puffy Taco in 1992. He wasn’t about to let that happen again.
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A Dignified EveningThis is what happened when Jose Canseco fought a 60-year-old man prior to an Arkansas Travelers game. Your winner, by decision: Gary Hogan!
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ConfidenceWe could all learn something from the preternaturally self-possessed young Trenton Thunder fan.
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Postgame for PyrosStuntman Ted Batchelor ran around the bases following a Savannah Sand Gnats game. He was on fire at the time.
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Spitting ImageThe Lake County Captains saluted the almighty watermelon in August, leading to a snapshot most adorable.
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Of course, feel free to send along your own favorites from the 2010 season. I am, as always, interested in your input.
benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Promo Year in Review, Part Two: Theme Nights

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The Promo Year In Review train is rolling along right on schedule, making a stop today at teeming “Theme Night” station.

It was very difficult for me to narrow this category down to a Top Six, as there were a lot of great contenders. As always, I tried to put a premium on originality, and ample photo and video documentation certainly influenced the decision-making process as well.

Two more finalists will be added to this list based on reader suggestions, so get in touch via email or Twitter regarding YOUR favorite Minor League theme night of the year. Suggestions for all categories will be accepted through 10 a.m. on Monday, September 27.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz
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My six nominees, in sweet, sweet alphabetical order. Click on the Promo name to see how it was originally covered.

Brooklyn Cyclones — Jersey? Sure! Night

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Fresno Grizzlies — Twilight Night

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Lake County Captains — Please Stay LeBron Night

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Lake Elsinore Storm — Obscure Sports Night

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Reading Phillies — Salute to the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor

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Trenton Thunder — World Cup Night (with on-field baby race)

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Omissions, both egregious and understandable, are easily rectified via the power of electronic communication.

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

Promo Year In Review Part One: The Giveaways

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Throughout the season, I wrote over 100 blog posts, 22 “Promotion Preview” columns, and sundry articles commemorating notable promotions taking place across Minor League Baseball.

Now it’s time to make sense of all that madness, and I need your help.

Starting today (Tuesday), and continuing on throughout the remainder of the week, I’ll be providing my top six promotions of the year in each of four categories: Giveaways, Theme Nights, Celebrity Appearances, and Miscellaneous Events.

The point of sharing these lists is not just to reminisce on the season that was, but for YOU to let me know what I’m missing. Yes, YOU. Whether you’re a fan, team employee, or covert operative existing in a shady nether region between the two entities, I want to hear from YOU.

Two promotions will be added to each list based on your input, setting the stage for next week’s series of “Promotion of the Year” polls on MiLB.com. Apathy is tantamount to treason, so rack your brain and get in touch today.  

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz
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Today we’ll take a brief look at some of the season’s top giveaways, with links to how the items were originally covered in this blog and MiLB.com. My six nominees, in alphabetical order:

Brooklyn Cyclones — Ike Davis Bobble Legs

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Charleston RiverDogs Chia Head of groundskeeper Mike Williams

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Iowa Cubs — Player To Be Named Later Bobblehead

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Lake County Captains — Skipper Leg Lamp

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Orem Owlz — Torii Hunter Bobble Arm

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Portland Beavers — Viewmaster (with 10 slides featuring Beavers baseball and local military units)

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So what am I missing? Let me know YOUR favorite Minor League Giveaway item of the year. I’ll be soliciting emails, tweets, comments, and telegrams throughout the remainder of the week. Silence is deadly, so speak up. 

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

Chooglin’ On Through the Postseason

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for playoff_landing_hdr.jpgIt’s playoff time out here in the MiLB wilderness, and the necessity of cranking out here-today, gone-tomorrow playoff previews and features has led to an unfortunate lull in my blogging output.

But don’t despair. I would never abandon this blog, for it is has become my professional calling card. Without it, I would be alone and forsaken in the dot com universe, with no URL on which to hang my digitally-encoded headpiece.

Thank you to those who have decided to join me here. Since content leads to contentment, I’ll dispense with the chatter and get down to brass tacks.

I barely have anything left from the regular season at this point, but I do have this:

Way back in mid-August, the Lake County Captains staged their first-ever Harry Potter Night. Player headshots were altered accordingly, and Grover the on-field host dressed up as the titular wizard:

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Writes Captains director of promotions Jonathan Levey:

Classic Park sections were split up in to actual “Hogwarts” houses and the loudest and most enthusiastic house
(Hufflepuff 101-105) won prizes at the end of the eighth inning.

Contests were held for “Best Dressed Harry Potter Character” and there was a “Harry Potter Trivia Contest” as an On-Field promotion.

Harry Potter movie clips and music played throughout the game and individual Harry Potter headshots were
made for Captains players.

The winner of the aforementioned Trivia Contest received the “Golden Snitch”:

Potter_Snitch.JPG

Being ignorant of Potter minutiae, I first assumed that the Golden Snitch was something awarded to particularly helpful police informants. But, as is so often the case, one second of internet research was all it took to upend my faulty assumptions. A “snitch” is a walnut-sized ball used in the game of Quidditch.

I don’t really no how to make a smooth transition from the topic of “walnut-sized balls”, so I won’t. I’ll simply post a particularly entertaining Charlotte Stone Crabs commercial:

The club made a whole series of these videos throughout the season, check them all out HERE.

The Stone Crabs were defeated by the Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League finals. But there are still many teams who are currently in the midst of the postseason, with the front offices of these teams doing the best they can to lure fans to the ballpark. And sometimes, one’s best involves gesturing wildly at passing motorists while dressed as a banana.

Kudos to these intrepid Great Lakes Loons employees:

Loons playoffs.jpg

You drive me crazy, Minor League Baseball season. But I’ll miss you when you’re gone.

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

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