Results tagged ‘ Myrtle Beach Pelicans ’
It can be tough to stand out within this oversaturated media landscape that we all find ourselves immersed in, but Minor League teams have become particularly adept at doing just this via the tried and true tradition of riffing on newsworthy events. In this post, please find a few offseason examples of relatively recent vintage.
Inland Empire 66ers — Farewell to Twinkies Night
In the wake of the news that Hostess was shutting down its operations, the 66ers leaped into action and secured 1000 Twinkies before they disappeared from the shelves. With snack cakes secured, they then announced that April 5 will be “Farewell to Twinkies Night.” Per the team:
The first 999 fans in attendance will receive a free Twinkie; however there will be a silent auction for the final Twinkie to be awarded during the seventh inning stretch with proceeds going to charity.
But, of course, that’s not all:
The organization has also extended an offer to actor Woody Harrelson, who in 2009, starred as the Twinkie obsessed Tallahassee in the zombie comedy, Zombieland, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Beyond the invitation to Harrelson, the 66ers have also contacted Hostess about featuring Twinkie the Kid, Hostess’s well known mascot, in the Mascot Dash vs. the team’s own Bernie.
Hickory Crawdads — The Mayans Got It Wrong
In the wake of the world continuing on as usual post 12/21/12, the Crawdads decided that a ticket-related celebration was in order. Explained the team:
Being as we’re jubilant with relief that the earth is still spinning, the ‘Dads are offering all fans FREE Grandstand Tickets for The Mayans Got it Wrong Night on April 8.
“As part of last year’s May Mayan Mayhem promotion, we were prepared to give everyone a free season ticket for life if the world did end today,” said Crawdads Director of Promotions Jared Weymier. “But we think free tickets on April 8 AND the world not ending is a pretty good combination!”
The Crawdads are also to be commended for this out-of-left-field press release, issued in the wake of the news that New York Jets superfan Fireman Ed was retiring from going to games.
In light of former New York Jets Superfan Ed “Fireman Ed” Anzalone declaring this week that he will retire from going to Jets games, the Hickory Crawdads are formally inviting him to become the new Official Superfan of the Crawdads.
Fireman Ed cited increasing confrontations with other Jets fans at Metlife Stadium as the reason why he is retiring from attending Jets games and leading their faithful in his renowned “J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets” chant. With the family-friendly atmosphere at Crawdads games, as well as the ‘Dads long-standing appreciation of firemen and all emergency responders, L.P. Frans Stadium is the perfect location for Ed to retire.
As part of becoming the Official Superfan of the Crawdads, the ‘Dads are offering Fireman Ed a free season ticket and parking pass for life, a customized Crawdads fireman’s hat and a personalized Crawdads jersey that no one will ever negatively confront him for wearing. Fireman Ed will have free reign to lead Crawdads fans in whatever chant he chooses – after all, “D-A-D-S, Dads Dads Dads” has a good ring to it!
Finally, we have this press release masterpiece from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, in which they wax indignant about New Orleans’ basketball team “copying” their name.
I’m just going to go ahead and drop a massive chunk of cut and pasted text right here. Myrtle Beach earned it with this one:
Inspired by the mind-numbing creativity shown by the NBA’s New Orleans franchise in recently announcing a surprise and out-of-left field (pun intended) name change from Hornets to Pelicans, Minor League Baseball’s Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Pelicans, the Advanced Class-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, are asking their fans to consider a sweeping re-branding and promotional effort, effective for the 2013 Carolina League season.
The re-branding and promotional plan would not only pay homage to everything New Orleans, but would provide Minor League Baseball fans from the Grand Strand an opportunity not extended to basketball fans in Louisiana — participating in selecting the team’s new nickname. Using the same level of out-of-the-box thinking used by the Hornets, nickname choices have been narrowed to Saints, Hornets, Jazz, Bayou Bengals, Ragin’ Cajuns and Voodoo, along with any other current or former sports nickname the club could poach from the Bayou State.
The re-branding plan has already affected the team’s organizational structure. Current General Manager Scott Brown, the reigning Carolina League Executive of the Year, is so inspired by the idea that he has decided to re-trace the Hornets past history and move he and his family to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he will become the General Manager of that city’s Triple-A franchise. The Hornets called Charlotte home from 1988-2002.
If fans select choose to drop the Pelicans name in favor of a New Orleans-themed moniker, the club will institute of a series of NOLA-themed promotions and ballpark changes to complement the club’s new brand:
- The team’s home ballpark would be renamed “TicketReturn.com Field at Preservation Hall”
- Areas of the ballpark would also be re-branded. The pond in the parking lot would be called “Lake Pontchartrain”, while patrons entering ballpark restroom facilities would be taking their personal business to the “French Quarter”
- The club would petition city and county officials to rename streets and landmarks around the area. 21st Avenue North, which runs along the ballpark, would be called “St. Charles Avenue,” Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach’s entertainment hot spot, would become “Bourbon Street,” and, boldy, the team would call its home county “Horry Parrish.”
- The logo of the new team name would include a fleur de lis, much in the same fashion as the current logo, which incorporates a crescent-shaped moon in the background.
- A different NOLA-themed promotion for every day of the week would be incorporated. The lineup would feature Mardi Gras Mondays, Fat Tuesdays, Wet Wednesdays (featuring 1/2 price hurricane drinks), Thirsty Thursday (featuring Creole Bloody Marys), Big Easy Fridays (featuring the music of Al Hirt, Louis Armstrong, Aaron Neville and other New Orleans legends), Sazerac Saturdays and Voodoo Sundays (Details currently under development).
- The team’s game night entertainment would also reflect the newly-created team image. The club’s entertainment staff would be known as the “Promotional Krewe”, jazz music would serve as player at-bat songs, legendary political strategist James Carville would be invited to serve as one of the team’s radio announcers, and the playing of the Smokey and the Bandit theme song during the 7th Inning Stretch would be replaced by “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
- Saints quarterback Drew Brees would be invited to toss out the ceremonial first pitch of the 2013 season and a season-long “Superdome” promotion would be instituted, providing ticket discounts to anyone with a “bald dome.”
- TicketReturn.com Field at Preservation Hall concession stands would offer traditional New Orleans foods such as poboys, crawfish, jambalaya and gumbo with classic side dishes such as red beans and rice.
- Team merchandise would obviously include team beads, as well as NOLA-themed t-shirts, and plush dolls of mascot Splash would be turned into Voodoo dolls
If you are aware of other teams displaying a similarly Peli-can do spirit, then get in touch.
This has been Ben’s Biz Blog post #900 — here’s to more, but hopefully not 900 more. That would be overkill.
Professional baseball bullpens have long been breeding grounds for eccentric behavior and bizarre rituals and, really, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Leave a group of bored young men to their own devices and spitting contests, impenetrable slang words and, yes, even lizard eating will result.
One particular bullpen competition that really seemed to take off this season was the in-game standing contest. The premise is simple: starting with the National Anthem, one (or more) players from each team’s bullpen attempts to stand at attention for the duration of the contest and beyond. This simultaneous exercise in endurance and absurdity was first brought to my attention via an excellent Myrtle Beach Pelicans blog post, and later in the season the Lowell Spinners produced a video that chronicled their standoff versus the State College Spikes.
Yet another standoff occurred on August 25, this time featuring the Lancaster JetHawks and visiting Lake Elsinore Storm. The following day I got an email from JetHawks director of sales and marketing Will Thornhill, who wrote in part:
[F]ollowing the National Anthem last night nobody in either the JetHawks or Storm Bullpen sat down. After a couple innings we figured something was going on. Eventually only one player remained standing in each bullpen and it lasted throughout the ENTIRE game. The Standoff continued 45 minutes after the game and both players were eventually carried out to center field where they negotiated a continuation….By the end of the game all of the fans sitting behind the JetHawks bullpen were standing as well, and when the game ended about 50 fans made their way to the bullpen and stood behind our pitcher.
The last JetHawk standing was Zack Grimmett, who for reasons lost to the annals of time conceded the stand-off during the first inning of the following day’s ballgame. Also lost to time was the name of his Lake Elsinore adversary [this info has since been regained from the annals of time. It was Mark Pope] — this all happened back in August and who among us can remember what happened back in August?
But to the extent that I can record this stand-off for posterity, I will. For while not necessarily of the best quality, some photos eventually emerged and I feel that it is my duty to share them with you. Italicized text is of the descriptive variety, and courtesy of JetHawks sales executive Jenn Adamczyk.
[I] first noticed stand-off while waiting for the [mascot] race to start. All but one or two in the JetHawks bullpen were standing. The Storm had one guy still up.
Later in the game — down to one JetHawks player and one Storm player
Post game; fans started crowding around the JetHawks player, cheering him on
Teammates carry both players from the bullpens to center field. At this point the clubbies from both teams brought the players dinner and were feeding them.
Other guys started playing [the card game] War on the field
End of the stand-off, called a truce. Both went home.
Truly, this was a classic moment in California League history. And since I’m still sitting here typing, I may as well take this opportunity to highlight my own moment in baseball stand-off history. Prior to the 2009 season, I traveled to Altoona and took past in the Curve’s “Last Fan Standing” competition. My mission was to keep one hand upon Diesel Dawg at all times.
I lasted 14 hours — good, but not nearly good enough. Story of my life.
When I wrote my celiac disease “coming out” post back in early July, I made clear that I was still ready, willing and able to post any and all Minor League food pictures on this blog. But actions speak louder than words, so let’s kick off today’s post with some deep-fried photography of a decidedly gluten-ous/gluttonous bent.
That would be a fried Snickers bar, just one of many delectable offerings that the Charlotte Knights served as part of a “Fried-day” promotion they ran this summer. The team also served fried Oreos.
And fried S’mores were also on the agenda.
Knights media relations director Tommy Viola reported that the “Fried-day” items “sold like hotcakes,” leading him to then wonder “Hmm, maybe we should try fried hot cakes.”
A decidedly less appetizing and far more ridiculous food-related item emerged in Fort Myers last month, as the Miracle staged a “Salute to Bacon” promotion. As part of the festivities, the balls used for the evening’s ceremonial first pitch looked like this.
When I posted this picture on Twitter, it inspired former Iowa Cubs media relations director/current PR professional Andrea Breen to get in touch. She wanted to let me know that this item was being sold at the Iowa State Fair:
This delectable item was sold by vendor The Bird’s Nest, and described as follows:
The Bacon Wrapped Eggs is muffin-sized and has a layer of pancake batter, crumbled bacon, a cracked egg surrounded by another strip of bacon, then topped with cheese and cooked to perfection. It will be sold for $2.50.
There’s only one possible transition that I can think of at this point, and that is, of course, to write about sports bras. Last month, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans gave them away as part of a “Ladies Night” promotion. Take it away, press release:
Run support won’t be the only thing providing a lift at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark Thursday Night. It’s Ladies’ Night and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans are giving away sports bras, courtesy of Carolina Coastal Plastic Surgery, to the first 200 women 18 and over.
With new sports bras in hand, ladies can then bid on “dates” with eligible members of the Pelicans front office. All proceeds will benefit the Bruce Dal Canton Fund to support students higher education goals in Horry County. Winning bidders can date their staff member for the last few innings of the game and then receive a prize pack including movie tickets for a real date night. Whether or not winners take their Pelicans staff members on those dates is up to them. In the history of Ladies’ Night, no staffer has been lucky enough for a second date.
While I don’t have any photographs of the sports bras that were given away, let it be known that “Bachelor Quattro” was very much in demand.
Okay, that’s it for me today. I wish I could end with a Zinger, something that would make you Snicker, but I just don’t have any S’more.
I’ve got a healthy-sized stash of odds and ends Florida road trip content, and I’ll get to it as soon as I possibly can. But today’s post will be a good ol’ fashioned bouillabaisse (a word that I can no longer spell on the first attempt) featuring a mere fraction of the Minor League happenings that are fit to “print”. I can only do so much.
Let’s start with the Stockton Ports, who last season found success with their Rolling Stones theme jerseys. This year’s honoree was Johnny Cash, and the team wore — what else? — black jerseys.
Rickey Henderson, in town as an Oakland A’s roving instructor, was into it:
James Garner and his Cash tribute band provided the entertainment, and according to Ports director of marketing Jeremy Neisser they were “unbelievably amazing.”
Jerseys were auctioned off after the game, right off of the backs of those who wore them:
And, finally, what would such a promotion be without themed head shots?
It would be nothing, I tell you. Absolutely nothing.
Meanwhile, in Rochester, there’s a whole lot of something going on. The Red Wings have proclaimed that May is Baseball Month at Frontier Field, and for good reason: 27 games will be played there this month! (Including a sold-out Andy Pettitte rehab start that was moved to Frontier Field from its originally scheduled location of Batavia’s Dwyer Stadium.)
Explains the team:
The Red Wings in 2012 are sharing Frontier Field with the Empire State Yankees while their home of PNC Field in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre undergoes a season-long renovation. A total of 109 games will be played at Frontier Field in 2012.
“The only thing better than baseball is more baseball,” said Red Wings President/CEO Naomi Silver. “This unique season, and month, is one we’ll be taking about for years to come. Everyone will want to say they were a part of it.”
To encourage as many people to take part as possible, the team is incentivizing attendance throughout the month of May (despite spell-check informing me that “incentivizing” is not a word).
Fans attending one game a week during Baseball Month in Rochester will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win the grand prize of a one-year lease on a 2012 Toyota Camry.
Other prizes include lunch with Red Wings coaching staff, spending an inning in the broadcast booth, a team-signed jersey, and much more.
Let’s end with a picture of food! The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are serving “Chicken Bog Balls” at the ballpark this year, which really should be endorsed by legendary poultry consumer Wade Boggs.
Read all about Bog Balls here, and tell ’em Ben’s Biz sent ya. Assuming, that is, that someone asks.
Tuesday’s post began with the Erie SeaWolves and their quest to name a nine-foot tall inflatable fish. But exercises in the assignation of aquatic monikers are certainly not exclusive to remote corners of the Keystone State.
In Pensacola, the fledgling Blue Wahoos are currently staging a “Name the Mascot” contest. I’m not sure if this mascot is himself a fish, but at the very least his silhouette looks a tad platypus-ian.
The six finalists are as follows: The six finalists are: Blu, Capt. Catch, Salty, Sinker, Ono (Hawaiian for Wahoo), Kazoo.
I’d advise against the name Ono, because then the mascot will immediately be blamed if the team stops functioning well as a group. (Although, the team could give away “Plastic Ono” figurines).
Moving on to another news item with aquatic undertones — Did you know that season 3 of the HBO show Eastbound and Down was filmed in Myrtle Beach, with baseball scenes taking place at Pelicans stadium? It’s true, and the Pelicans are capitalizing by selling “Myrtle Beach Mermen” merchandise (or “Mermerch,” as I like to call it).
Officially licensed “Mermerch” is also available at myrtlebeachmermenjerseys.com, a site that gets extra alliteration points for referring to Mr. Powers as “mercurial.” Visitors to the site are greeted with the following image, which looks like a hallucinating sailor’s interpretation of a ’70s era Seattle Mariners logo:
The show wrapped up filming for the third season just last month, and Pelicans broadcaster Joel Godett spent some time on the set as an extra:
Godett thoroughly recapped the experience on his blog, which can be seen HERE.
As you can see, the crowd was really into it:
While MB Mermen gear is all well and good, it’s another piece of MB clothing that really has caught my attention.
The Montgomery Biscuits are now offering this spiffy little number in adult sizes.
People are giving Bill Simmons flak because he didn’t wear a tie when he interviewed Obama, but it is my promise to you that if I ever snag a POTUS exclusive I will show up at the White House wearing the above item (also: a fanny pack, flip flops, Akron Aeros gym shorts, and a Reading Phillies’ Richie Ashburn-style fedora. I’ve got this all planned out).
And since I’m on the “MB” theme (I didn’t plan on this theme, it’s just that my mind cannot be stopped and is in fact threatening to eat me alive as if I was some sort of anthropomorphic biscuit), my latest Minoring in Business article appeared today on MiLB.com.
It’s on the Florida State League and Spring Training, and can be seen HERE.
Next week I plan to get a bit more substantive on the blog — as it’s 2012 planning time! As always, I look forward to your suggestions as to where I should go and why.
But, for now, I’ll close this blogging week by providing an happy update on a tragic situation from a few weeks back.
Reports the team:
Lake Elsinore Storm mascot Thunder is happy to have his quad back but it looks like it will need a little bit of help before he can come roaring out for game day festivities.
Last Wednesday, the team filed a police report with the local sheriff’s department that the mascot’s quad had been stolen.
After Director of Mascot Operations Patrick Gardenier retrieved the quad from the Riverside Sheriff’s station on Sunday it was found to be a bit more damaged than expected.
“They painted it all black and walked away with the ignition, the tail light, and the wheels are not aligned properly,” said Gardenier. “I hope we can get it fixed in time for the Major League exhibition game.”
In honor of this positive development, I would suggest that the Storm offer a special four-game “Quad Ticket Pack.” A portion of each sales will go to Thunder’s quad refurbishment.
And with that, another Minor League promo idea disappears into the Biz Blog vortex. Never to be spoken of again.
Yesterday’s culinary compendium included copious coverage of ballpark food and regional cuisine, focusing on trips I made to Arizona, California, Ohio and Indiana.
The journey continues today, with a heavy emphasis on what may have been my favorite road trip of 2011: the Carolinas. It all started at Joseph P. Riley ballpark, the home of the Charleston RiverDogs. This is a team that has provided me with plenty of food-based news items through the years (Homewreckers! Pickle Dogs! Pig On A Stick!), and I was excited to finally make my first visit.
The team was ready for me.
Not the best photo, I know, but hopefully indicative of the RiverDogs’ bountiful array of creative food options. Oh, and a Philly Cheesesteak Brat eventually made an appearance.
Here’s a better view of the top-loaded “Kitchen Sink Nachos,” which are served in a pizza box.
But I focused my efforts primarily on the Pickle Dog, making sure to grip the pickle firmly from the rear so that the hot dog would not slip out.
The next day I drove to Myrtle Beach (home of both the Pelicans and the Mermen), and en route I stopped for lunch at “Hog Heaven BBQ.” Apparently, what passes for heaven in the mind of a pig is an afterlife of eternal cannibalization.
Dismayed and confused by this concept, I instead opted for some crab.
I was admonished by various quarters for ordering seafood at a BBQ joint, and I understand those criticisms. But here in NYC a platter such as the above is (relatively) hard to come by, and I have no regrets. None!
I stayed with the seafood theme at that night’s Pelicans game, ordering up some fried clams.
The following afternoon, en route to Kinston, I went to a BBQ joint and actually ordered some BBQ. Bart’s was the name.
At Grainger Stadium that evening, I followed the recommendation of GM Ben Jones and ordered a Philly Cheese Steak, North Carolina style. “Magnifique!” is what I imagine a French fan of Carolina League baseball would say upon biting into the following:
Are there any French fans of Minor League Baseball out there? What a rare subset of fans that must be.
Much less rare is the sight of a Bojangles fried chicken joint in the state of North Carolina. As I was making my way from Kinston to Durham, I patronized the following establishment.
Being a man of perpetual movement, at that night’s Durham Bulls game I ordered a Doritos-brand “Walking Taco.”
That’s nacho typical taco, but it provided all the sustenance I needed until the following morning’s stop at Biscuitville.
Less than two hours later, I patronized another regional fast food chain: Cookout. I’ve since heard from many Cookout aficionados, all of whom insisted that milkshakes should be purchased. Duly noted, but this time around I ended up with a Cheerwine float.
One of the highlights of the following day’s travels was lunch at Zack’s Hot Dogs, a Burlington, N.C. institution.
Since I’m always a proponent of a balanced and healthy diet, the hot dog lunch was followed by a bologna burger at that evening’s Danville Braves game.
The last stop on the Carolina excursion was Winston-Salem. A pre-game meal was obtained a Bibb’s BBQ, located a proverbial hop, skip, and jump away from BB&T Ballpark (domicile of the Dash). And what a meal it was:
That’s about all she wrote from the Carolinas; but fortunately I was able to squeeze one more trip into the 2011 campaign: Maryland, home of the crab pretzel!
More specifically, the home of the cheese and crustacean-laden snack seen above was Aberdeen’s Ripken Stadium. But perhaps an even more anomalous ballpark treat is that which can be found at Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium: pickled beet eggs!
The Hagerstown Suns experienced some drama this past season, when a light pole fell onto the field during a storm. This is where the light pole used to stand…or is it? Maybe this mark was made by a huge pickled egg!
Or maybe a huge Krumpe’s donut used to lie on that spot! After the game I went to nearby Krumpe’s Do-Nuts (open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.) and picked up a few.
My trip, as well as my season of traveling, ended the next day in Delmarva. Needless to say, I did not leave Arthur W. Perdue Stadium on an empty stomach.
That was dinner, consisting of a “Chessie Dog” (half-pound frank with cheese, onions, peppers), Crab Dip (with three bread dipping sticks), and a Scrapple sandwich. But there’s always room for dessert, especially when it’s as appealing as the concoction known as “Sherman’s Gelati.”
And that, as they say, was that. I hope you enjoyed, or at least tolerated, this trip down recent memory lane. It provided me yet another opportunity to revive a season which is in actuality dead as the proverbial doornail, and for that I am grateful.
When I’m on the road visiting Minor League ballparks, time is short and the days are long. I do my best to document as much as I can, but inevitably much of the non-baseball related content gets lost in the shuffle.
But my pledge, as always, is to get to it eventually. After all, one of the joys of going on Minor League road trips is that they provide a reason to explore towns large and small that one otherwise not think to visit. In this regard, Minor League Baseball serves as a portal to a near infinite array of distinctly American experiences. I just wish I could experience more of them!
With all this in mind, here are some leftover observations and images from my recent trip through the Carolinas.
Day One — Charleston
As mentioned in my post on the RiverDogs, I was fortunate enough to fire my first shot of the road trip at Fort Sumter.
I was only able to visit for about 20 minutes, but obviously this a must-see for American history buffs. The first shots of the Civil War were fired on this waterfront locale, by Confederate troops seeking to drive the U.S. army out of the fort.
That was 150 years ago. Here’s what the fort looks like today.
That was all I was able to do when it came to extraneous Charleston excursions. That I night I attended the game, getting stuffed with hot dogs before dressing up as one, and the next day it was off to Myrtle Beach.
For those who have actually explored Charleston — what places would you recommend visiting, and why? Feel free to send pictures, if applicable.
Day Two — En Route to Myrtle Beach
Always in a rush, I am, on these trips, but, regardless, I greatly enjoyed the comparatively leisurely paced drive to Myrtle Beach. As opposed to an efficient but homogeneous interstate route, the trip is made onl Route 17 aka “The Coastal Highway.” The road is awash with basket vendors and BBQ joints, and I stopped for lunch here.
Welcome to Hog Heaven BBQ, possessing an exterior brandished with this unforgettable image.
The restaurant’s motto is “Where it’s not just BBQ”, and I took that to heart. While the $6.95 lunch buffet was reasonably priced and well-stocked, I couldn’t resist the chance for some fresh crab. The meat contained therein tasted heavenly, leading to a level of contentment comparable to that felt by a heavy-lidded pig cannibalizing itself in the afterlife.
But as for Myrtle Beach proper, what I’ve written about the experience is all I’ve got. What’d I miss?
Onward, to North Carolina!
Day Three — En Route to Kinston
Traveling from Myrtle Beach to Kinston meant another strong dose of Route 17. On this leg of the trip, the lunch stop of choice was Bart’s BBQ.
A BBQ pork plate (vinegar based sauce), hush puppies, cole slaw, crinkle cut fries, and a pitcher of tea for under $10. A truly excellent bargain.
While this is all I have from Day 3, things picked up considerably over the following four days. Still to come: two classic stadiums, a baseball museum, fast food joints, a massive low-brow shopping emporium, and various incarnations of Cheerwine soda.
I’ll get to it eventually,
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans do not play in a typical Minor League market. Not by a long shot.
On the plus side, Myrtle Beach is a region inundated with tourists and therefore the team can market themselves to an ever-changing fan base with ample discretionary income. But, conversely, there is a lot of competition for that entertainment dollar (Helicopter Rides! Ripley’s Believe it or Not! The Carolina Opry!)
I mean, there was some sort of amusement park right outside of my hotel.
The Pelicans’ BB&T Coastal Field, built in 1999, fits right into the beachy environs.
Upon arriving at the stadium, I did a few player interviews with my trusty Flipcam. I realize these might not be the best, quality wise, but I do enjoy being able to get a sense of who the players are as people (and hope you do as well). And, almost to a man, they are very friendly and generous with their time. This go-round, I spoke with the uber-convivial trio of Barrett Loux, Jared Hoyer, and Robbie Ross.
And did you know that the Pelicans have three outfielders named Jared on their team? For the sake of obscure baseball fact junkies such as myself, I hope that one day they all play out there together at the same time.
But I digress. After talking to the players, I ran into my good friend Duffman.
Duffman was one of many costumed characters at the ballpark, as part of the Pelicans’ “Superhero” theme night. It was also, appropriately enough, Thirsty Thursday.
While the concourse was empty in the early going, the beer lines were packed.
And for good reason — time was a wastin’!
As part of the pre-game “festivities”, I did both a pre-game radio interview and then an on-field Q&A with Pelicans media relations director/radio announcer Tyler Maun. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — hearing your own voice on a delay over a stadium loudspeaker is a highly disconcerting experience.
Maun and I took turns making ridiculous faces.
The pre-game activities also included Catwoman interviewing a local baseball coach.
While outfielder Travis Adair took it upon himself to learn a new trade. Maybe he had wanted a better view of Catwoman?
Meanwhile, mascot Splash burst onto the field to a roar of applause.
During the exchange of the line-up cards, the umpires moderated a spirited debate between Pelicans manager Jake Wood and Blue Rocks skipper Brian Rupp about the proper way to wear one’s uniform pants.
Incidentally, after making my way back into the stands the mother of field umpire Ben Leake (on right) introduced herself to me and suggested that I do a piece on Minor League umpires. I told her that I already have — here it is, Mrs. Leake.
Once our country had been properly saluted, the game got underway. As I am wont to do in such situations, I commenced to wandering.
Sweet Carolina League All-Star game duds in the team store:
Business was booming at the “Pitcher’s Mound” and the “Bullpen Grille.”
Just past the Grille was this classic bit of Americana, the game within the game:
An ownership group led by Chuck Greenberg bought the Pelicans prior to the 2007 campaign, a transaction that led to a more creative and regionally appropriate ballpark atmosphere. For instance, what had once been bleacher seating down the right field line is now the “Contract Data Beach.”
Bleachers remain in left field, however.
But I’m a man of discerning tastes, disdainful of the hoi polloi. Therefore, I made my way to an ultra-exclusive seating area: the groundskeeper’s balcony perch overlooking right field.
While there, I interviewed noted turf-tender Chris “Butter” Ball. Read it on MiLB.com! Please!
To get to Butter’s lair, one must pass underneath the Pelican bullpen. I did so hastily, wary of the projectiles being endlessly spit forth from that particular area.
Having safely arrived back among the rabble, I ordered my dinner for the evening: a fried clam strip basket. I was told that the team has been offering a lobster sandwich this season, but Thursday was end of an eight-game homestand and they were nowhere to be found.
So fried clams it was.
The fried clam strips were great — perfect breading to clam ratio and possessing an excellent crispness. The fries, however, were a bit on the bland and mushy side.
And speaking of mushy (but never bland), I was then moved to order some boiled peanuts. In a nutshell: I love these things. Absolutely love ’em. When I was in Alabama last year I bought a microwavable pouch of boiled peanuts at a gas station, but in the northeast they’re next to impossible to find.
As I enjoyed the various comestibles, I took in some of the game (for a change).
The Pelicans’ staff did a great job with the Superhero theme throughout — a nice touch was that each home player was assigned a super hero scoreboard graphic and theme song.
While Superman was at-bat, Batman was in the stands and signing autographs galore. His energy never Wayne-d when it came to this task.
My attempts to document the nightly crab race were similarly blurry. My suggestion — add an elderly crab to the race and name him “Grandfather Claws.”
Green Crab did not win, but at least he got some face time with Poison Ivy.
More importantly, the home team ended up with a come-from-behind victory.
But as you are no doubt well aware, the end of a game does not mean the end of the evening. Deuce the canine mascot came out for a “victory lap,” and disappointed me by not even defecating once.
Deuce was followed by the post-game launch-a-ball…
which was followed by fireworks…
which was followed by kids running the bases.
Only then was it time to go home. And home, in this case, was located next to an endlessly pendulating pirate ship.