Results tagged ‘ Lake County Captains ’
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.
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
Fresno Grizzlies — Twilight Night
Lake County Captains — Please Stay LeBron Night
Reading Phillies — Salute to the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor
Trenton Thunder — World Cup Night (with on-field baby race)
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.
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
Charleston RiverDogs — Chia Head of groundskeeper Mike Williams
Iowa Cubs — Player To Be Named Later Bobblehead
Lake County Captains — Skipper Leg Lamp
Orem Owlz — Torii Hunter Bobble Arm
Portland Beavers — Viewmaster (with 10 slides featuring Beavers baseball and local military units)
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.
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:
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”:
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:
You drive me crazy, Minor League Baseball season. But I’ll miss you when you’re gone.
The West Michigan Whitecaps staged the first “Star Wars Night” in 2007, and since then the promotion has spread throughout the Minor League galaxy. And for good reason — it brings large groups of hardcore sci-fi enthusiasts to the ballpark (many who would not attend a game otherwise) while still remaining plenty accessible to the average fan.
The Omaha Royals staged their own version of “Star Wars Night” on Friday, significantly upping Midwest midichlorian levels. Thanks to my unceasing reportorial drive (read: ability to receive emails) I am now able to share some pictures and video.
Here, the evening’s roster of special guests make their way onto the field:
But first, Darth was tasked with throwing out the first pitch. The O-Royals player tasked with catching it was pitcher Louis Coleman, who must have felt light years away from Kansas City at that particular moment.
Another first pitch was tossed by Phil, who was there on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. His wish was to attend National Star Wars Convention in Orlando, and the O-Royals’ promo doubled as a special send-off.
Soon after the first pitch, a most unexpected announcement appeared on the videoboard.
And sure enough, Jason the stormtrooper was down on one knee:
The rest of the evening was perhaps not quite so dramatic, but there was nonetheless a lot going on.
Makin’ Wookiee on the Scoreboard:
A “Where’s Yoda” contest was staged, featuring the renowned Jedi master in a variety of ballpark locations:
Leia and Han go back-to-back:
There were no back-to-back home runs in the ballgame, but Portland’s Sean “Chewbacca” Kazmar (see above) did honor Han with a Solo shot in the third.
Thanks to O-Royals director of creative services Eldon Lindsay for sending the pictures along. If YOU have photos of a Minor League promotion then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Or, just make like the Lake County Captains and assert your promotional supremacy over the stadium PA:
If you disagree with this assertion, then you know where to find me.
An abundance of blog-worthy items have arrived in my inbox over the past several days, causing my notebook to look like the pen and paper equivalent of a 42-car pile-up.
This, then, is an attempt to clear away the debris so that we may all arrive safely at our respective destinations.
For (fire)starters, I must mention what is scheduled to take place in Savannah on August 14. This:
The above individual is Ted Batchelor, who holds the world record for “Longest Full-Body Burn Without Supplied Oxygen.” As a prelude to Saturday’s fireworks show, he’ll be set aflame by “one lucky fan” and then circle the bases. Rest assured that I’ll have more on this in the coming days.
Another illustrious figure set to grace a South Atlantic League ballpark with his presence is stand-up comedian Gallagher, performing a post-game show at Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley Ballpark on August 18.
Fans of the outrageous performer are
encouraged to get seats up close to the action as Gallagher and his “Gallagear”
always gets the audience involved in the act. Be a front row fan, but
“BYOP”, Bring Your Own Poncho, because the Master of Melon is sure to have a
messy trick or two up his striped sleeve.
The RiverDogs have actually already staged a “Watermelon Night’ promotion this season, an evening that included this iconic scoreboard image of clubhouse manager “Rally Vinnie”:
The Lake County Captains recently staged a Watermelon Night of their own, resulting in adorable images such as the following:
Fans who participated in between-inning contests received specially-baked watermelon cupcakes, although the opportunity to squash a watermelon is its own reward:
The Captains staged a more ambitious (and gut-wrenching) food-related promo just last night: The Competitive Eating Olympics. Following a format first used by the Williamsport Crosscutters in their annual “Belly Buster” competitions, contestants had to consume one item per inning.
Winner Mark Ogrize celebrates his accomplishment:
A crowd gathers to watch the riveting final round, pitting Ogrize against runner-up George Lianopolous:
This promotion was featured on Deadspin this morning, so congrats to the Captains for the national publicity. But for Minor League teams, Deadspin is like a rich bachelor uncle who sporadically drops in before turning his attention back to more titillating pursuits. I, however, am the doting mother: there for you through thick and thin, easy to take for granted, and prone to insufferable bouts of extended and unnecessary martyrdom.
Because there’s always something, isn’t there?
Before getting weighed down by the contemplation of such abstract notions, I wanted to share some odds, ends, bits, pieces, and nuggets that I have accumulated in recent days. Oh, there’s some ephemera in here too. Can’t forget the ephemera.
Let’s start off with something visually striking.
The above item, designed by the bobble visionaries at Coyote Promotions, is being given away by the Brooklyn Cyclones on August 2. As you may have noticed, it is upside down. Therefore, it is Ike’s legs that bobble while his head remains stationary.
This object is also unique in that it commemorates a player’s Major League feat (Ike’s dazzling trifecta of foul territory catches) while said player is in a Minor League uniform (the Cyclones, whom Ike played for in 2008). The Cyclones are literally re-writing history, then, putting the events of 2010 within a 2008 context. This bit of space-time continuum trickery results in cognitive disconnect, a common ailment in the world of Minor League Baseball promotions.
For instance, the Binghamton Mets are staging a “Big Lebowski” promo next week. But playing the role of Jesus Quintana is none other than Bingo the Bee.
Deal with it:
Meanwhile, in Lake County, the Captains held their annual star-studded “Cleveland Sports History Night.” As this video shows, the team was actually able to find a sponsor for a re-enactment of one of the worst moments in the city’s long and sad sports history.
I was going to expound further about the above video, but my Google image search for “Art Modell” also turned up naked “art models” and I fear that I will soon be fired as a result of this inadvertent breach of internet usage policy.
Let’s quickly proceed to Trenton then, as last night the Thunder staged “Irish Heritage Night” AND a “Mustache Bash.”
The mustache side:
Incidentally, may I please suggest that teams staging a Mustache promotion utilize THIS SONG?
And, please, don’t forget that an epic milestone will be occurring TONIGHT on the West Coast: the 40,000th game in California League history. As for which game will receive the honor, that’s yet to be determined. Five games will be running concurrently this evening, and it all depends on the finishing times.
But it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. There’s no better proof of that saying than active Minor League home run leader Mike Hessman, who received a call-up yesterday to the New York Mets. The 32-year-old had hit 18 home runs this season to run up his Minor League total to 329; he certainly has nothing left to prove in the International League.
And I, meanwhile, have nothing left to write.
This is because baseball, quite inconsiderately, doesn’t take a day off. So while I was on the road cranking out articles, blog posts, Promo Preview columns, and frivolous contest introductions, the emails kept coming in alerting me to items that may be worthy of coverage.
Allow me to now present to you, the reader, some of these items. I’ll start with the most narcissistic, a 42-second video commemorating my stint as “The Apprentice…Of the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor.“
With that out of the way, let’s proceed to last night’s promotion in Akron. The Aeros held “Ship Out LeBron Night”, in which fans were asked to donate unwanted LeBron James apparel in exchange for free tickets.
As you can see, quite a few fans took the team up on its offer. As soon as Orbit is done playing around, these items will be donated to an international relief organization.
Another thing you don’t see every day is 3,692 people popping bubble wrap at the same time. It makes a sound quite similar to dessicated locust husks bouncing off the roof of a station wagon.
As part of the promotion, the Spinners rolled out the “Bubblewrap Dance Floor.” To celebrate 50 years of bubblewrap, 50-year-olds were invited onto the field to dance to 50 cent.
An even more Rainman-esque aspect of the promotion was that the 50th fan in attendance would get a year’s supply of popcorn if the 50th out of the game occurred via pop out. It did, and one lucky fan took home a vast collection of kernels (Spinners media relations director Jon Boswell writes that, keeping in the spirit of the promotion, “He’ll have to do the popping himself!”)
Torii Hunter Bobble-Arm in Orem
Skipper Leg Lamp in Lake County
I wish that the above item was being given away as part of a “Salute to Hallucinogenic Fever Dreams” promo, but there’s actually a story behind it. See, the Captains are staging “Christmas In July”, and “A Christmas Story” was filmed in nearby Cleveland. Hence, a giveaway featuring a Minor League twist on one of the movie’s most memorable scenes.
And speaking of the Captains, you may recall that one of the team’s biggest fans comes to nearly every game dressed like Waldo. Recently, this horizontally-striped standout took his act to Cleveland:
Certainly a Waldo this ambitious is worthy of your Facebook fandom. Perhaps I can even score an exclusive interview one of these days.
This year’s contest is shaping up to be the best yet, as teams have mounted homegrown promotional campaigns in support of their players. Here’s one of the best efforts I’ve seen thus far:
Finally, you may have noticed that the Charleston RiverDogs and Hickory Crawdads have recently been the recipients o
f some big-time exposure:
Perhaps I’ll receive some big-time exposure one of these days. Until then, I’ll be staring at a computer screen in search of a clever closing sentence that never comes.
Yesterday the Oklahoma RedHawks generated a fair amount of publicity for themselves by offering an incentive-laden contract to superstar NBA free agent LeBron James.
I just studied Led Zeppelin’s entire discography and yet the only other potential headline I could come up with for this post was “Whole Lotta Glove”. So with wordplay opportunities already exhausted there’s nothing left to do but get to the point.
And the point is that on this special evening the team took the field in Zeppelin-themed jerseys.
Tea For One:
Led Zeppelin IV:
For those scoring at home, this marks the second time in as many seasons that the Whitecaps have enjoyed a walk-off victory on a rock and roll theme jersey night. In 2009, Pink Floyd was the honored group:
Finally, the Lake County Captains are one of two Cleveland-area teams staging a “Please Stay Lebron” Night on July 1. I’ll certainly be providing more info on this in the near future, but among other things the team will be changing its name to “LeLake LeCounty LeCaptains.”
Hopefully the evening will include plenty of James Gang played over the PA.