Results tagged ‘ Lehigh Valley IronPigs ’

A Compelling Compendium

It’s the first Friday of 2012, and what better way to celebrate than by doing the same sort of thing I’ve always done? That’s right — it’s time for another rollicking blog bouillabaisse! This particular bouillabaisse will take the form of the third edition of the Ben’s Biz Twitter Top 10!

The purpose of such an endeavor is to provide a compendium of the most intriguing @BensBiz tweets and re-tweets of the past week (or three weeks, in this case). The tweets, as they appeared on Twitter, are italicized. Let’s do this!

Follow this guy on Twitter: @BensBiz

10. Gum included

For those living in NYC, let it be known that @EconomyCandy in Lower East Side sells wax packs of ’87 and ’89 Topps for .75 cents.

My ’87 Topps-themed post from earlier this week was met with much enthusiasm, and I was very gratified to read the various emails, Tweets, and Facebook and blog comments that were issued in response. If the post got you feeling nostalgic for that era of baseball cards AND you live in NYC, then head over to Economy Candy in the Lower East Side. It is a truly wonderful establishment.

9. And speaking of ’87 Topps and how it relates to Minor League Baseball…

RT @blueclaws: @bensbiz did feature on ’87 Topps set (25th anniversary) – Claws gave out these replicas in 2010: http://twitpic.com/83hxkk

8. Offseason drama

One of my favorite Tweets from a Minor League player, ever.

RT @murraywatts: Hey lady down the street yelling at me to get out of her yard…it’s cool, I brought a bag for the dog poop

Watts to lady: "It's cool."

7. They’ve got the Clapp!

Fans of Canadian baseball icons with hilarious names rejoice: Stubby Clapp returns as @ValleyCats mgr in 2012 http://bit.ly/AwtqiT

Hopefully, Stubby will find something to get riled up about during the 2012 season. This, from last year, was classic:

6. Dance Dance Revolution

Overlooked logo sub-genre! RT @shorebirds: Check out the new Shorebirds Dance Team Logo! http://twitpic.com/832cga

Yes, check it out:

5. The Original Odd Couple

The @RPhils Opening Day bobblehead features Ryan Howard and his best friend the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor: http://bit.ly/vZPr7y

4. What to wear while Googling “Santorum”

Tis the Season! NH @FisherCats offering “New Hampshire Primaries” merch http://bit.ly/zyUNnQ (“Primaries” was team’s original name)

3. A Most A-peel-ing Individual

This year’s best Hot Stove Banquet guest? @Crosscutters welcoming Dave “The Great Potato Caper” Bresnahan http://bit.ly/Ar5Ult

If you don’t know anything about the “Great Potato Caper,” then it’s really time to educate yourself. Click on the above link to start…

2. Christmas in July, in January

On 7/27, @LCCaptains staging 3rd annual “Christmas Story”-themed giveaway. Meet “The Pink Nightmare” http://yfrog.com/h4vd4cdj

 1. Local Hero
Speaking strictly as a fan, it’s likely that @IronPigs Jamie Moyer bobblehead (wearing HS uni) will be my favorite giveaway of 2012.
True story: Jamie Moyer’s sister was my fourth and fifth grade music teacher at Shady Grove Elementary. In fifth grade she kicked me out of chorus for chronic misbehavior, and I would now like to apologize: Ms. Moyer, I’m sorry.
benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Operation Shutdown

This post, the 748th in the the history of this blog, will be the last you ever hear from me…

until 2012!

But, of course, I will be back. For if there is someone out there who can resist the siren call of writing about the same subject in perpetuity at levels of increasing stagnation, that person is not I.  With that being the case, let’s end the year on a high note….

It’s time for the second edition of the Ben’s Biz Twitter Top Ten! The purpose of such an endeavor is to provide a compendium of the most intriguing @BensBiz tweets and re-tweets of the past week (or three weeks, in this case). The tweets, as they appeared on Twitter, are italicized. Let’s get to it!

10. Please re-frame in the form of a question

Indeed, the @AbqTopes were referenced on Jeopardy! last night http://youtu.be/Bz2iho2ggVE

Here’s how it went down:

9. You be the judge

Harry Potter’s “Ministry of Magic” and @MemphisRedbirds — separated at birth? http://yfrog.com/ntczkhuj

8. Just sayin’ is all

Mike Cameron signs w/ @Nationals, but he’s no stranger to the area. Spent ’94 w/Prince William Cannons, where 17 of 116 hits were triples!

If he had maintained that triples rate in his Major League career, he’d currently have amassed 250 (good enough for fourth all time, just two behind Honus Wagner).

7. I really would frame this

Suitable for framing RT @EverettAquaSox: Check out this awesome holiday drawing we just got! http://twitpic.com/7vxc29

6. This was in response to the question of “What MiLB theme nights would you like to see?”

Lehigh Valley IronWarPigs! RT @andyshal: Black Sabbath night in Allentown! Bill Ward as home plate ump. Ozzy on PA. Concert after the game.

“IronManPigs” would also be acceptable.

5. Another One Rides Waits For the Bus

Great idea: seats from Indianapolis’ Bush Stadium installed at city bus stops: http://indy.st/selEY9

Photo: Indystar.com

4. Someone out there needs to stage “Free Eye Pad” night, advertising it heavily on the radio.

That’s the MiLB spirit! RT @WSDashBaseball: A team could do [Free iPad Night] if they were creative enough: http://twitpic.com/7shvkc

3. Use your doppel radar

Received an email from @GreatLakesLoons alleging that fan on left is a mulleted @BensBiz doppelganger http://yfrog.com/h465jscj Agree?

Well, do you?

2. What does it mean?

Magic in Rancho Cucamonga RT @Quakes_Baseball: Check out the Double Rainbow over the Quakes Epicenter Stadium! http://bit.ly/uxsLAa

1. Effect and Cause

This picture of @TulsaDrillers Tim Wheeler is on MiLB.com: http://yfrog.com/nxrugktj Here’s why he’s so scared: http://yfrog.com/h41s4hzj

I hope you enjoyed this most recent edition of the @BensBiz Twitter Top 10. I’m almost out of 2011 material, but not quite yet….

For what better way would there be to end the year than with a video of a mascot tackling a Christmas tree?

Actually, there’s one better way. For nothing says “holiday season” like a team-produced “Twas the Night Before Christmas” parody.

And that, as they say, will be that. Thanks for sticking with me throughout a (generally) action-packed 2011, and here’s to an ennui-free 2012!

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Rabble Rousing for Ryno

Have you ever read an old hardcover book in which the first word of each chapter is capitalized with an oversized and ornately furbished letter? Such an approach always appealed to me aesthetically; let’s see if it works well on the blog.

 

 

llentown, PA is just one of many American burgs in which populist discontent is on the rise, with average citizens banding together in order to fight for the causes they believe in. And what cause is more vital to a healthy society than Triple-A managerial intrigue?

In 2011, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs enjoyed their first winning season in franchise history while playing under the watchful eye of Hall of Fame Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg. But Sandberg’s name is currently being bandied about as a Major League managerial candidate (including St. Louis, of all places), leading to fears that he will soon abandon the Lehigh Valley faithful.

Lehigh Valley fans have a bone to pick with Ryno

Therefore, mascots Ferrous and FeFe have launched the “Occupy Ryno” campaign:

In an effort to retain Ryne Sandberg as manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2012, IronPigs mascots FeRROUS and FeFe are offering a year’s supply of free pork to Sandberg should he return for a second season as the IronPigs’ skipper. The mascots also launched an “Occupy Ryno” campaign on Facebook and Twitter issuing fans with the following question: What would you give up to keep Ryne Sandberg as IronPigs manager?

The IronPigs Facebook page is awash in fan comments regarding what they would give up in order to keep Ryno, and the level of self-sacrifice on display is truly stunning. My favorite:

I would give up my coupon for a free roast beef and cheese that I received 2 years ago when Andy Tracy was the RBI guy of the game.

But even better than the fan comments are the (possibly photoshopped) “Occupy Ryno” protest posters. A smattering, which in this case means “two.”

It will be interesting to see if this allegedly mascot-created uprising influences Sandberg’s decision-making process. A year’s supply of pork is a pretty tough thing to turn down, even if it’s a bit disconcerting that pigs are the one making the offer.

But outside of this bit of willing self-cannibalization, things remain pretty slow on the Minor League news front. This is a time of year to recharge and then GET MOTIVATED, making this recent offering from Ballpark Rob and the Round Rock Express especially apropos.

Finally, we are rapidly approaching that magical time of year known as Hot Stove Banquet Season! The RiverDogs announced yesterday that John Smoltz would be their guest of honor. Any teams out there that can match (or top) that level of baseball celebrity?

And keep in mind that yours truly is available for any and all engagements, so long as I am paid in pork.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

All Hallow’s Eve, All the Time

This post is being composed during the afternoon of 10/31/11 — what else can I write about but Halloween? This commemoration of the macabre is being celebrated throughout America, so ipso facto its being celebrated throughout the Minors as well.

The usual array of teams (Williamsport, Lake Elsinore, Bowie, et al) have turned their ballparks into haunted houses, but in some cases such an extensive effort isn’t necessary. As the Great Lakes Loons prove with this video, sometimes all you need is a mascot dressed as a ghost, holding an air gun.

But Halloween isn’t just about cheap thrills. In Lehigh Valley, the IronPigs held their fourth annual “Suites and Treats” event for underprivileged and special needs children. This is a cool concept, and to my knowledge the IronPigs are the only ones who do it. From the team’s website:

The event took place on the Club Level with the support of the IronPigs’ suite holders, who took advantage of the opportunity to decorate their suite so the children could go “door-to-door” for a unique “trick-or-treating” experience. In total, all 20 suites along with the outdoor PenTeleData party porches were decorated for Suites-n-Treats.

A few examples, from the team’s Facebook photo gallery:


One of the benefits of staging in-season promotions dedicated to offseason holidays is that said promotion can result in content that can then be used during the holiday in question. Make sense? No?

That’s okay. All I’m really trying to say is that the Fort Wayne TinCaps staged a Halfway to Halloween promotion and aired the following video during the game. And — bonus! — the video is once again fit for public consumption.

Meanwhile, in Trenton, the team’s concern regarding the dangers of trick-or-treating has manifested itself in a somewhat ridiculous public awareness campaign.

These guys have made a video. Click HERE to watch it.

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have made a new video as well. It’s not related to Halloween in any way, really, but notable nonetheless. Like life itself, this effort is an interactive game of skill:

Nice work on that one by the T-Rattlers. Similar efforts will help prevent offseason mental atrophy, the effects of which have already begun to be felt.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Bone-In Pork Ribs and Other Delights

Yesterday’s post began with a look at the Memphis Redbirds’ highly-touted “Organ Donor” jersey, but it’s important to note that they’re not the only Triple-A club taking an inside-out approach to the theme jersey.

During last week’s “Halloween Night” promotion, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs took the field in these:

That’s manager Ryne Sandberg, who might have had a bone to pick with fans who gave him a good ribbing about his new look.

Ryan Feierabend took the loss, but nonetheless showed a lot of backbone out there on the mound.

Don’t worry, Ryan — to-marrow is a new day!

But we’re here to talk about that greatest era of American history — the exceedingly recent past. For instance, on Wednesday the Jamestown Jammers took the field in these.

Lucille Ball was a native of Jamestown, and this week marks the centennial anniversary of her birth. The town is in the midst of a multi-day “Lucyfest” celebration, with the Jammers’ “Lucy-Desi Night” kicking things off. The Jammers won 6-3; although perhaps it would have been more appropriate if they had been in the midst of a “Lucy” streak. (And taking a look at the box score — it appears tht Brian McConkey had the honor of serving as the team’s “Desi-nated Hitter.”)

The Toledo Mud Hens are another team to have recently honored a hometown hero at the ballpark. On Monday, the team gave away 1000 bobbleheads honoring this man. Guess whose back?

Any idea? Feel feel to argue amongst yourselves, I’m not above taking sides:

Okay — one can discern the surname “Walker” in the first shot and the first name “Moses” in the above.

But there the appellation trail goes cold, for this man has a middle name as well. It’s Fleetwood, mac!

Face:

the facts:

What can I say? I’m a big fan of Walker’s. Not only was he the first black player in MLB history, but he was also an inventor, newspaper publisher, social theorist, and entrepreneur. He also had a thirst for the drink, and in 1891 was acquitted of a second-degree murder charge.

Now that’s a life.

Also, this marked the first time a team sent me six high-quality shots of one bobblehead. I figured I may as well do something with it.

Who’s gonna be the first to send me seven?

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

From the Internet to the Ballpark: Celebrities, Jerseys, and Scandals

Road Trip content has dominated these virtual pages over the past week and a half, and I’ve still got a few odds and sods to share from my Ohio excursion.

But that can wait. A formidable blog backlog has been brewing in my content cauldron, which is now threatening to boil over. Time to start ladling out the info before it’s too late!

Let’s start with some significant news out of the Pacific Northwest. The Eugene Emeralds opened up the season last week, and highlighting the Opening Day roster was  Domingo Ayala. This ageless superstar is proprietor of the Domingo Baseball Academy and a YouTube sensation, and received a call-up before even playing a game. Still, he made a mark during his brief time in Eugene.

Says the team:

Domingo Ayala’s visit was short and sweet for the Eugene Emeralds. After suiting up for the Emeralds opening night at PK Park, Ayala put on a hitting clinic in batting practice, showing fans why he is the 5-time homerun champion.  This guy can literally do it all. Not only did he throw out the first pitch, but he also had time to sign autographs mid game, take pictures with fans, and even announce the Boise Hawks lineup.

 Domingo was very laid back when he heard the news from Ems Manager Pat Murphy that he would be moved up from Rookie Ball. “I thought it maybe be a week or maybe two, but it no surprise me that it happen sooner,” Ayala said.

Ayala’s brief appearance captivated the attention of the local media, as evidenced by this story that ran on KEZI News. And with good reason, as this guy is one of the most outsized characters to ever (almost) play in the Northwest League.

And speaking of characters, or in this case the limited use of them, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs paid tribute to Twitter as part of their recent “Social Media Night.” Players wore Twitter-themed jerseys, one of which was signed by the team and auctioned off through the micro-blogging website. Fan tweets were displayed on the videoboard throughout the game, and the elusive “Twitter Bird” was even in attendance.

In the next picture #PIGSAFE would have been a more appropriate hashtag.

Jerseys were auctioned off after the game, with the winning bidders getting to meet the player who had worn it.

And, finally, the elusive Twitter bird.

I”ll close the blogging week by mentioning that the State College Spikes asked fans to submit “Weiner Pics” during Monday’s game.

And, wouldn’t you know it? One fan was brave enough to do so. That’s new frankfurter mascot “Colonel Mustard,” barely visible through the fuzz.

And despite my constant focus on such lowbrow material, I’d like to reiterate once again that I remain committed producing quality articles as well. Please check out this piece on baseball’s longest game, and let me know what you think.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

One Thing, Led, Another

My recent post on the Lake Elsinore Storm experience included many photos, including shots of the team kitchen as well as the easily-angered Grounds Crew Gorilla. But never did it occur to me that I’d soon be posting a photo of the Gorilla in the team kitchen.

And yet here we are:

For reasons unknown and perhaps best left unexplained, the Grounds Crew Gorilla has gotten into the international youth fad known as “planking.” The Storm have posted a photo set on Facebook entitled “Gorilla Planks the Diamond.” Here’s a few more:

The word plank brings to mind nautical discipline which brings to mind John Paul Jones, the “father of the American Navy” but also the name of the bass player in Led Zeppelin.

And here we are. Yesterday was the West Michigan Whitecaps’ second annual “Led Zeppelin Night”, Led Zeppelin II as it were.

And when it came to theme jerseys, the song remained the same. Once again, the team took the field in these:

Note: Not a player

The Whitecaps have also done “Pink Floyd Night”, and other bands that have been celebrated in such a fashion around the Minors include the Grateful Dead, Beatles, and Rolling Stones.

This leads me to make the following demand, which like all my demands will be aggressively ignored.

Nonetheless: Do a Creedence Clearwater Revival Night! CCR are easily one of the greatest rock bands of all time and deserve Minor League Ballpark immortalization.

Abbreviations such as “CCR” are prevalent on Twitter, a mode of communication that encourages extreme brevity. And as part of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs “Social Media Night”, the team will be wearing the first Twitter-themed jerseys in Minor League Baseball history.

As part of the promotion, the team is asking fans to change their Twitter and/or Facebook profile pics to the following image:

Those who do so will be eligible to win game tickets and an autographed Ryne Sandberg baseball.

Let me close with a final demand — Read Crooked Numbers!!!

It would mean a lot to me if you did so. I spend way too much time on that column, but it’s a labor of love.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

New Dimensions, Old Obsessions

See that new profile pic over there to your right? Like with most things in life, there’s a story behind it.

Last week the Fort Wayne TinCaps announced that their Opening Day entertainment would include 3D videoboard elements. This was an original idea, so I wrote a story about it. The team, in turn, sent me some TinCaps-branded glasses and 3D photos so that I could experience the phenomenon for myself. And I, in turn, posted a profile picture featuring myself wearing said glasses.

What I’m getting to (outside of another unintentional example of deeply-ingrained sycophancy) is that this has all spurred an idea. If you want your promo to be featured as part of the Ben’s Biz profile pic,  then simply send along something that represents said promo to my NYC headquarters (address available upon request). If enough teams respond to this idea, then the profile pic can serve as an ever-changing representation of the latest in Minor League ridiculousness.  The zeitgeist, if you will.

And the more ridiculous, the better. I’ll pose with just about anything.

To return to more typical content, there are two new prominent food items to share with ya’ll — dinner and dessert, weighing a combined 10.5 pounds. In the former category is the Tacoma Rainiers “Cheney 2×4 Burger”, which could give the legendary Fifth Third a run for its money:

According to the team, the above consists of:  Four 1/2 pound patties stacked double high, eight slices of cheese, eight slices of bacon, eight slices of tomato, and a healthy serving of blue cheese coleslaw on top…all served on a one pound ciabatta loaf.

And for dessert? For that, we’ll return to the team that makes no concession concessions: the Akron Aeros. Today the team unveiled “The Screamer,” which is  built on a one-pound chocolate brownie and includes 21 scoops of hand-dipped ice cream, four bananas, and covered with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and sprinkles, served in a full-size souvenir Aeros replica batting helmet.

Photographic evidence of this behemoth is currently scant, but here’s Aeros food and beverage director Jason Kerton posing with his latest creation. Memories await, indeed!

The shadow knows...

Those who regularly eat such items will soon find themselves needing a bypass, and fortunately Minor League Baseball offers that as well. Both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Richmond Flying Squirrels have recently announced that they will be offering Bypass Lane technology at the ballpark.

Here’s how it works, courtesy of the all-knowing entity that is the press release:

Through Bypass, fans are given the opportunity to view full food and drink menus of select concessions stands in the vicinity of their seats and are able to place orders by paying with a credit card using Bypass’ secure payment platform.  When the order is ready for pickup, a text message is sent to the fan from the nearest Bypass Lane.  Fans can then avoid the line by using the exclusive Bypass Lane at the designated pick-up areas located at the concession stands.

But that is just one of many innovations on offer. I don’t have the time to expand upon them now, but suffice to say I believe that Lehigh Valley is the first team to add whimsical pigtails to their parking spaces:

More like a porking space!

Please get in touch, readers. It’s the only thing that saves me from myself.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Social Media Listmania And More

milblogo.jpgRegularly scheduled programming will appear in a moment, but I’d like to lead things off today with an important advertorial:

Check out MiLB.com’s new and improved “Fans” page! Those looking to connect with Minor League Baseball in a more comprehensive and meaningful way will find the tools to do so, most notably via a pair of excellently-curated lists:

Every Minor League team on Facebook!
Every Minor League team on Twitter!

Individuals with the motivation to “Friend” and “Follow” every Minor League team out there will find themselves immediately privy to much of the information that I later disseminate via this blog. And you know what that means — I am hastening my own demise, making my obsolescence even more imminent. Oh well, we’ve all got to shuffle off this virtual coil sooner or later.

Until then, I’ll entertain you in the only way I know how: Parody and/or food pictures.

Remember in my previous post, when I asked for for teams to submit theme songs? Well, the Akron Aeros have (finally!) become the first team to hop on the “Black and Yellow” bandwagon. This is “Akron Aeros” by Wiz Orbit-Fa:
    

“Akron Aeros” fits perfectly into the song’s chorus, perhaps better than any other team in the Minors. The only other ones even close are Asheville Tourists, Beloit Snappers, Bowie Baysox, Brooklyn Cyclones, Charlotte Stone Crabs, Dayton Dragons, Erie SeaWolves, Eugene Emeralds, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Fresno Grizzlies, Jackson Generals, Jamestown Jammers, Lakewood BlueClaws, Lansing Lugnuts, Lynchburg Hillcats, Memphis Redbirds, Midland RockHounds, Mobile BayBears, Orem Owlz, Palm Beach Cardinals, Portland Sea Dogs, Reading Phillies, Reno Aces, Salem Red Sox, Springfield Cardinals, Tampa Yankees, Trenton Thunder, Tucson Padres, and Tulsa Drillers.

Moving from four syllables to four comestibles, remember earlier this week when I wrote about the Lehigh Valley IronPigs “Pig Out Menu Items“?

Well, now I have pictures of the four items. Fans, which one would YOU most like to see on a concession menu? 

The “Three Little Pigs” Sandwich

lv_threepigs.JPG

Diggity Dog

lv_diggity.JPG
 

Double Blast Burger

lv_burger.JPG

Loaded Fries

lv_fries.JPG

Currently, the “Three Little Pigs Sandwich” has a commanding lead in the voting.

Moving on from Gratuitous Photos to Gratuitous Video, I’ll close this blogging week with a reminder that dynamite sometimes isn’t the answer.

Remember — remembering what not to do is just as important as remembering what to do.

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

Stone Cold Hot Stove Speculation

tuxtee.jpgWe are in the midst of “Hot Stove Dinner” season, that time of year when teams stage gala banquets featuring distinguished celebrity speakers, memorabilia auctions, and awkward jokes from suit-wearing media relations directors pressed into MC duty.

I’ve already written about these dinners in the past, and an exhaustive rundown of that which has or will take place would exhaust the reader while making me feel run down. But in the interest of stirring up what passes for debate these days, I’d like to remark that the Richmond Flying Squirrels have put together what I believe is this year’s best Hot Stove Dinner line-up:

– Darryl Strawberry
richmond_stove.jpg– Billy Wagner
– Tommy John
– Javier Lopez (San Francisco Giants reliever)
– Eddie Kasko (Played for the International League’s Richmond Virginians, 1954-56)
– The entire Flying Squirrels 2011 field staff
– Pat O’Conner, president of Minor League Baseball

Remarkable, no? Would anyone care to dispute my assertion that this is the year’s best Hot Stove line-up? If so, put your disputation into email form and send to benjamin.hill@mlb.com

But let’s face it, Hot Stove Dinners are little more than a way to pass the time during the interminable offseason void. One indication that said void is on its way out is that teams have begun releasing 2011 promotional schedules. Observe:

sheik.jpgLehigh Valley Iron Pigs (favorite promo: Harry Kalas bobblehead, May 16)
Lakewood BlueClaws (favorite promo: appearance by tag-team tandem of Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, June 11 )
Inland Empire 66ers (favorite promo: Lucha Libre Mask Giveaway, July 22)

Also, in the “weekly promo” category, the Lake Elsinore Storm have announced the alliterative beauty that is “Wacky Weenie Wednesday.” All fans receive free hot dogs through the seventh inning.

There will be plenty more where all this came from, but like an opponent of the Iron Sheik or an empty beer keg I’m all tapped out for now. Well, except for this. It’s a video featuring Conrad the easily-distracted costumed crustacean:

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

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