Results tagged ‘ Lowell Spinners ’

Promotions: Canonical, Comical, and Climatological

2011 promotional schedules are being released at a rapid clip these days, with highlights aplenty.

But few things in this world are as exciting as unprecedented onfield aerial acrobatics, making THIS Lowell Spinners promo an (exceedingly) early “Promo of the Year” frontrunner.


A “Human Home Run” is exactly what you would think it is. Say the Spinners:

spinners.jpg[T]he human cannonball, David Smith, Jr., will be shot from a cannon at home plate over the outfield wall following the conclusion of the Spinners game.

“When it comes to human cannonballs, David Smith is the best of the best,” said Spinners Vice President Jon Goode. “This is an idea we discussed years ago and he saved it for the Lowell Spinners. Five years in the making, this is going to be a night you will not want to miss.”

Human Cannonball-ing runs in the Smith family, as David Sr. currently holds the world record for “farthest cannonball flight” for his 185 ft. shot in 1998. Unless the Spinners move the fences WAY in, Jr’s home run flight at LeLacheur Park will far surpass this.

Regardless, I plan to cover this promotion with the same fervor I devote to human fireballs. Stay tuned.

In Other Promo News:

Yesterday the Reading Phillies announced the latter half of their “Top 20 2011 Promotions.

The team is once again staging a “Tribute to the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor“, and this time one lucky fan will win a 550-pound life-size replica of the man himself. For those keeping track at home, this is the second 550-pound life-size replica giveaway that the R-Phils have announced. Will there be more to come?

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— The Lancaster JetHawks have announced a “Stadium Dust Globe” giveaway, in honor of their oft-stormy ballpark weather conditions. I hail them for their creativity, snow doubt this’ll rain supreme in 2011’s giveaway pantheon.

— And speaking of Stormy, the anemometer-ically correct Omaha Storm Chasers mascot is now the star of a new video series. Find out why it’s not easy being green.

Finally, TWO teams have recently asked fans to submit potential 2011 theme songs — the Huntsville Stars and Durham Bulls. I am always happy to feature franchise-specific tunes on this blog. Send ’em on over, please.

A New First-Round Draft Pick

twitbird.pngI was on Twitter yesterday, minding my own business, when I came across the following 140-character missive from Iowa Cubs’ director of logistics Scott Sailor:

Coming to Principal Park: Bottoms Up Beer Dispensers. Fills #beer from the bottom of the cup — in one second!

The tweet contained a link to the home page of GrinOn Industries, makers of the “Bottoms Up” beer dispenser. Said page contains a video of one man filling up 44 pints over the course of a minute. Meanwhile, on YouTube, this video of “Bottoms Up” in action has garnered over three million views:

My interest piqued, I re-tweeted Sailor’s tweet and that in turn was picked up by CNBC sports business (and Twitter) guru Darren Rovell. As a result, I gained quite a few new followers as well as the knowledge that people are very interested in bottom-filling beer cups.

But the I-Cubs are the first Minor League team I’ve come across who will utilize this amazing technology (which, for the record, is heavily dependent on magnets). Are there any others out there? I’d like to hear some bottom-filling beer cup anecdotes.

It’s a non-sequitur kind of day, so I’m going to transition without comment to the funniest Minor League video I’ve seen in at least 22 hours. If you’ve ever wanted to know what a baseball zamboni is, or even if you haven’t, the Gwinnett Braves are here to fill you in.

I really am a fan of the above video, as it so ably utilizes the classic “set-up/punchline” format. That’s all that’s ever needed.

Seeking to zig where others zag, I’ll close today’s post with information about a toothbrush bobblehead. Bet you didn’t see this one coming:


The individual seen above is “Bristles”, an up-and-comer within the Lowell Spinners’ ever-expanding pantheon of ballpark characters. The team is distributing just 200 Bristles bobbleheads, available only to “Grand Slam” members of the “Thread Sox Nation” fan club.

Talk about a brush with greatness!

Bottoms-up beer dispensing? Check. Zamboni-themed team produced video? Check. Oral hygiene giveaway item? Check. Puns that inspire anger in the reader and self-loathing in the writer? Check. 

Okay, my work here is done.

Requests, Plugs, Thank Yous, and Spandex

simple.jpgGonna keep things simple today, as Thursday’s retort-a-thon wore me out.

To start with, I’d like to bring your attention to the bi-weekly “Offseasoning” features I’ve been writing for As it’s name would imply, these articles take a look at what a Minor League player is up to in the offseason. Terry Doyle and Wande Olabisi have been profiled thus far, and a piece on Scot Drucker will run next week.

But after that? My supplies are low. So if YOU are aware of any interesting offseason player endeavors then please get in touch with some recommendations. You know where to find me:

Offseason endeavors abound these days, because offseason endeavors are all we’ve got. A particularly interesting one involves Lowell Spinners director of corporate communications Jon Goode, who recently co-authored a book with Glen “Big Baby” Davis of the Boston Celtics.

It’s called “Basketball With Big Baby“, and the cover showcases the title character’s formidable head-swiveling abilities:

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Goode previously authored “Pitching With the Papelbons”, released in 2007.

Moving from an individual endeavor to a group one, the Reading Phillies remain hard at work on their extensive renovations to FirstEnergy Stadium. In this most recent video, the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor shows his gratitude to the hard-working construction crew.

More like “Happy Franks-Giving”, if you ask me.

And — hey! — after a one-week absence, it’s time for Gratuitous Video Friday. I’ve been listening to Guns N’ Roses “Use Your Illusion I” all week long, so today I’m going to have to go with their video for “Live And Let Die.”

This video is a non-stop cavalcade of some of the best rock n’ roll outfits of all time. Nothing can top the policeman’s hat-catcher’s chest protector-kilt combo, although the get-up pictured right there in the screen grab comes pretty close.

Determining the Best Before Heading West

seminar.jpgIn a matter of hours I will be flying into the modern-day Gomorrah that is Las Vegas, with the express purpose of attending the Minor League Baseball Promo Seminar.

The bad news is that, unlike last year, I was not asked to speak at the seminar. Therefore, I won’t have the opportunity to share my (alleged) expertise with a large audience. But the good news is that, unlike last year, I was not asked to speak at the seminar. Therefore, I will not be eaten alive by anxiousness and self-doubt while preparing for an inevitably anti-climactic speech to my peers.

I’ll file a number of stories from Vegas regardless, and if time allows I’ll keep on keeping on with the blog as well. And if you’re going to be there I of course want to meet/re-connect whilst getting the latest scoop on your promotional wheelings and dealings.

And, not coincidentally, the start of the Promo Seminar coincides with my comprehensive “Promo Year in Review”article on Please check it out, and if so inclined link and re-tweet widely. 

That would mean a lot.But I know that, at the end of the day, you are reading this blog for the pictures. I’ll oblige.

I recently received a small stash of photos from the always-reliable Lowell Spinners, who are pioneers in the genre of “Having a bobblehead honoree pose in front of an army of his or her bobbleheads.”

It is a very worthwhile genre.

NESN’s Heidi Watney:


Mike Eruzione (Captain of 1980 U.S. Olympic team)

Senator Scott Brown (an army of one)

And since I’m already featuring a Red Sox affiliate, I’ll close with this truly a-maize-ing shot of a corn labyrinth incorporating Portland Sea Dogs mascot Slugger:
Before shuffling off to Vegas, let me reiterate: Vote for your favorite promotions of the year!
And now it’s time to head to Sin City.

Why Won't It Stop?

ketchup-500.jpgI’ve been playing catch-up this week, hearkening me back to my days as a featured performer at the Condiment Theater.

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.



A mascot doing snow angels atop the discarded apparel of a vilified NBA superstar is definitely something you don’t see every day.

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!”)

The Spinners’ Bubble Wrap extravaganza was in last week’s “Promotion Preview” column. This week’s includes the following two top-quality items.

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.

Also worthy of your Facebook fandom is the fourth annual Minors Moniker Madness, which seeks to determine the best name in the Minors (MMM can also be followed on Twitter).

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.

One More Before Hitting the Road

pa.jpgFirst things first, I am on the cusp of my third road trip of this 2010 season. As a Pennsylvania native who now lives in NYC, this one includes some pretty familiar territory:

July 10 — Lakewood BlueClaws
July 11 — Reading Phillies
July 12 — Williamsport Crosscutters
July 13 — State College Spikes
July 14 — Triple-A All-Star Game @ Coca-Cola Park (home of the Lehigh
Valley IronPigs)
July 15-17 — Attending Keystone Mascot Camp, culminating in performance at Harrisburg Senators game
Juy 18 — Harrisburg Senators (sans mascot costume)

As always, feel free to get in touch with travel recommendations as well as suggestions as to what I should call this trip. The Keystone Krawl? Pennsylvania Perambulations? Northeastern Navigations? I got nothin.’

But it’s not about me, or what I’m doing. At least it shouldn’t be. With that in mind, here’s a formidable array of content that has nothing to do with yours truly.

— The Tennessee Smokies are one of many teams to have staged a Michael Jackson tribute night this season, but theirs stood out for one simple reason: Zombie Dancers!

This is certainly the most painstaking “Thriller” recreation to take place in the Minors this season:



Meanwhile, the Trenton Thunder’s July 4th entertainment consisted of the ultra-American combination of a Strong Man Competition and Apple Pie Eating Contest (in addition to the requisite baseball and fireworks):

The club hosted the final event of the Liberty Strongman Challenge: The Atlas Stones

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And then there was this:

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The Hudson Valley Renegades recently held a “Jim Joyce Redemption” promotion, featuring plenty of fake mustaches, “Whack An Umpire” games (as opposed to the usual “Whack an Intern”), Umpire Impersonation Contests, and Umpire bloopers and arguments displayed on the videoboard.

Portrait of the Umpire As A Young Man:

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The Lowell Spinners recently welcomed a most intriguing between-inning performer: Al Milar the Human Knot. This flexible Australian is like a cross between Rubberboy and Mad Chad.




Spinners director of media relations Jon Boswell reports that the Human Knot is highly entertaining and very affordable. Give Jon a call if you want more info. Twice I tried to embed THIS VIDEO of the Human Knot in this post, and twice it disappeared. I’m giving up.

But not before mentioning that THIS is occurring in Little Rock, as I type this. I wish I was there.

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Okay, I think that’s enough content that has nothing to do with me. Here’s to the negation of the self!

Freedom of Choice

Thumbnail image for Lowell-Logo.gif2009 saw a glut of politically-themed bobbleheads, from Obama in Brooklyn to Robert Byrd in West Virginia to Hilary Clinton in Quad Cities to Joe Biden in Delaware.

Well, now the Lowell Spinners are getting in on the act. The team announced today (via Twitter) that TWO bobbling politicos will be featured on the 2010 promotional calendar: Massachusetts senior Senator John Kerry and junior Senator Scott Brown. Photos of these sure-to-be coveted items have not yet been released, but if you close your eyes and think real hard I’m sure you can conjure up a fairly accurate image in your mind.


And, no, this is not just a belated April Fool’s joke.

Democrat vs. Republican often feels like a choice between Vampire vs. Werewolf, which conveniently leads me to my next item:

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Fans can now VOTE (via Facebook) on which of the above jerseys they’d like to see the Fresno Grizzlies wear on Twilight Night, which will be taking place on June 26th. The jerseys will be auctioned off for charity after the game, with proceeds benefiting the Central California Blood Center.

Right now Team Jacob is enjoying a 30-vote lead, but this thing is far from over. My guess is that Edward comes out on top, simply because anything involving a “count” naturally favors vampires.

April Fool's: The Aftermath

aprilfools.pngJust in case there is still any confusion: The two items detailed in yesterday’s post were both April Fool’s pranks. The Lowell Spinners will NOT be giving away Yankee bobbleheads this season, and suspended University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli will NOT be suiting up for the Eugene Emeralds.

If you were fooled by either of these stories, then take solace in the fact that you are not alone.

The Emeralds’ Masoli prank ignited no small amount of controversy. The team sent its press release out at 10:40 p.m. on March 31st, and all three local newscasts reported the story on their 11 p.m. broadcasts.

This triumvirate of tricked televisors are less than pleased. KEZI currently has a story up on their website with the blunt headline of “Eugene Emeralds Lie About Masoli Playing For the Ems.” From the corresponding story, written by an irrationally furious Michelle Dapper (who goes on to refer to herself in the third  person):

“For obvious reasons, we here at KEZI were skeptical, so KEZI sports director MichelleThumbnail image for eugene.jpg Dapper called and asked it was an April Fool’s joke. The PR spokesperson said no….When we asked the team’s general manager on Thursday why they would lie about an April Fool’s joke when called on it, he said ‘If we had told the truth, it wouldn’t have gotten any play.'”

KMTR took a far more jovial tone, remarking that the Ems’ joke “Swung for the fences and hit a home run.” Meanwhile, the local Register Guard newspaper has written up a thorough postmortem on Masoli-gate, which includes the ominous quote:

“It’s a major breach of trust between local media and a professional
sports team,” KVAL news director Jenny Kuglin said. “I think it will
affect how we treat information we receive from the Ems in the future.”

Regardless of how one feels about the appropriateness of the joke, such reactions might make other teams think twice before pulling such stunts. But for my money, the wisest (and funniest) reaction came from University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who could not have cared less about the Emeralds’ shenanigans:

The above video is part of an entertaining article on the matter that also includes an interview with Ems director of media relations Onalee Carson. Check it out HERE

Thumbnail image for spinners.jpgThe Spinners got their share of attention as well, thanks to the announcement that the notoriously anti-Yankee ballclub would be giving away a series of New York-themed bobbleheads.

Spinners media relations director Jon Boswell had to deal with a large number of aggravated and/or confused fans, writing the following in an email:

“We’ll do just about anything to steal some thunder from our full-season brethren on the eves of their opening days. I received a few angry responses, including one anonymous gentleman who left a voicemail simply stating ‘Bucky bleeping Dent…Take your head out of your bleeping [posterior].'”

Boswell went on write that “aside from the mixed results on Facebook, including one
fan who couldn’t understand why we would select Yankee ‘scrubs who had caused so much pain and suffering to Red Sox fans’…most people found the humor in the promotion.

One entity that found humor in the promotion was the mighty Associated Press, who pickedap.jpg up the story and distributed it nationally. This marks the second time this offseason that the Spinners haven’t gotten play via the AP, showing that the club is well ahead of the curve when it comes to cracking the mystical code that determines what Minor League items get coverage and which don’t.

Regardless, now that April Fool’s is out of the way we can all once again concentrate on serious news. You know, the things that really matter, like pickle dogs, 63-year-old players, and scantily-clad bobbleheads. And thank goodness for that.

A Full Slate of News

Got a couple of very interesting and completely unexpected news items to share with you today, so let’s dispense with the small talk and get right to it.

Let’s start in Lowell, MA, as the Spinners have announced a baffling new series of bobblehead giveaways. The Red Sox affiliate, usually known for their vociferously Anti-Yankee stance, will be honoring legendary Bronx Bombers throughout the season:


The press release announcing this stunning (albeit promotionally savvy) about-face reads in part:

The Spinners, known for their anti-Yankee approach to promotions, are
turning the tables on their popular Yankee Elimination Promotion to
honor great moments in the Red Sox arch-rival’s history.


“Over the past decade we’ve done bobble heads of everyone from
Pesky to Williams to Papelbon and Youkilis,” said Spinners Vice
President of Communications Jon Goode. “We’ve exhausted all of our
alumni currently playing for the Red Sox, so after years of contentious
phone calls and e-mails in response to our Yankee Elimination Promotion,
we opted to stay the baseball route with great Yankees moments.

“We are excited to honor the greatest rivalry in all of sports.”

The Spinners will salute baseball’s greatest winner, Derek Jeter,
July 1, when the first 1,000 fans will receive a bobble head
commemorating Jeter’s memorable catch made the same date in 2004, as
Jeter sacrificed his body diving headfirst into the stands to snare a
pop fly against the Red Sox.

“It is one of the all-time memorable plays in the Red Sox/Yankee
rivalry,” said Goode. “Add in the respect we have for Jeter and this was
a no-brainer.”


The Spinners will next turn to July 8 when the hero of the
Yankees 1978 one-game playoff, Bucky Dent, is honored with a pinstriped

The series will continue with back-to-back bobble heads July 31,
as the Spinners remember the 2003 trading deadline acquisition for the
Yankees of Aaron Boone, and August 1, as we look back at Thurman Munson
on the anniversary of his epic fight with Carlton Fisk.

“We hope our great fans will show appreciation for these great
moments in baseball history,” said Goode. “We know our fans treasure
each bobble head and we hope these are no different.”


— Meanwhile, in Eugene, the Emeralds have announced that suspended University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli will be “keeping his arm fresh” by pitching for the team this season. 

More info on this unorthodox acquisition once again comes courtesy of the press release:

Masoli recently plead guilty March 12 to a misdemeanor burglary charge involving a theft at a campus fraternity house in January. He was then suspended for the entire 2010 season.

Masoli, while in suspension, while still need to keep his throwing arm active for his reunion with the Ducks in 2011 — and with the Ems’ move from Civic Stadium to the University of Oregon’s PK Park, the opportunity seemed obvious.

“We’re just happy to help,” said Emeralds general manager Allan Benavides. “With all the new things happening with the Ems this season, what a way to cap off the excitement with Ducks superstar Jeremiah Masoli pitching for us this season!”

Front office executives expect season ticket sales to soar with the news of the Ems’ new addition. Even with little baseball experience, Masoli holds the keys for the Emeralds in 2010. Coming out of the bullpen, the Ems look to use Masoli’s power arm to shut down opposing Northwest League batters.”

There is sure to be plenty of controversy surrounding today’s announcements, as they both buck conventional wisdom in a major way. Rest assured I’ll be following every twist and turn, in order to deliver it to you straight.

Mascot Love We Deliver

I stand before you today in order to deliver Minor League mascot Valentine’s Day photos.

The public has demanded them, and I am certainly not one to ignore the pleas of the populace. Therefore, that is precisely what this post shall be dedicated to. But first, a quick request…

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Inspired by the copious snow that has been deposited all over the country as of late, I have decided to do a story on extreme weather and the groundskeeping challenges it presents. In addition to teams that have recently been hit with snow, I’d be interested in speaking with anyone who has had to deal with drought, flooding, hurricanes, and, of course, locust plagues. I’ll most likely have to contact teams individually today and tomorrow, but that’s a hit-or-miss proposition. Consider this post an invitation to get in touch —

Okay, we now return to regularly-scheduled programming: Minor League mascot Valentine’s Day photos.

Because, as you surely know, there was a lot going on. And how can I lead off with anyone but Boomer, who is surely the suavest mascot in Minor Leage Baseball? Here, Boomer spreads some joy to the youth of Williamsport:

Williamsport -- Boomer V-Day.jpg

Boomer’s not the only mascot named Boomer. There’s also Boomer of the Trenton Thunder, who is not at all terrifying, not the least little bit:


In Lowell, the Spinners sent out a star-studded caravan to a local elementary school, where Valentine’s Day cards were made. These cards were then delivered to a VA hospital (apparently, Canaligator and crew got hungry along the way):



In Portland (ME), Slugger made the rounds on behalf of the Sea Dogs:


The Gwinnett Braves sent out the ever-seductive Chopper, who never fails to impress the ladies:

Gwinnett -- ChopperVDay3.JPG

Buster “rose” to the occasion in Lakewood:

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Sandy the Seagull swooped into a Brooklyn elementary school:


A very endearing video of Sandy’s delivery can be viewed HERE.

But how could I close anywhere other than in Reading? As usual, Screwball did his thing:


But this year, fans had options. For the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor was also pressed into service. Here’s how it went down:

Now if that wasn’t romantic, then I don’t know what is. I mean, seriously, I don’t. Can anyone help me out here?


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