Results tagged ‘ Myrtle Beach Pelicans ’
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.
Fireworks displays are a tried and true Minor League Baseball entertainment staple and an absolutely crucial component of most promotional schedules. Nonetheless, I don’t write about them often because there quite simply isn’t much to say.
Still, I have to note the following: The Toledo Mud Hens will be staging 31 (!!!) fireworks shows this season — Starting May 6, the team will launch pyrotechnics after every weekend night game as well as a midweek display on June 22.
Can any team top this total? The runner-up, so far as I can tell, is the Reading Phillies with 29 shows.
Keeping with the topic of fireworks, the Kane County Cougars (employers of “Mr. Kaboom”) recently unveiled their Fireworks Theme Night Music for the entire 2011 season. In addition to generic entries such as “patriotic” and “popular”, the team will also be staging explosive tributes to Star Trek, Harry Potter, Wilco, Coldplay, and Star Wars. But my favorite fireworks theme night that I’ve come across hails all the way from Jupiter, as the Hammerheads will be cranking out the AC/DC on July 2. If any other teams have released such info then make sure to send it my way.
And speaking of fire, I’d like to note that stuntman Ted Batchelor will be taking his act to Myrtle Beach on April 9. As you’ll no doubt recall, Batchelor is the peerless individual who ran the bases while on fire in Savannah last season. I have it on good authority that Myrtle Beach won’t be the only ballpark in which he appears this season, but don’t want to steal the thunder from any teams who have yet to announce an imminent Batchelor appearance.
Myrtle Beach has a few other noteworthy promos on the schedule — notably the first-ever “Eastbound and Down” theme night as well as a “Salute to Rec Specs” celebration. Hopefully this image will make its way on to the scoreboard that evening:
When it comes to covering concessions, I make no concessions. I will scour the furthest reaches of the internet in search of Minor League food news, so that you may read about it within the comfort and safety of this blog.
Here are four items of interest, which, taken together, amply illustrate the democratic ideals that are at the heart of the Minor League Baseball experience.
West Michigan Whitecaps Want Ideas! For the second straight year, the Whitecaps are asking fans to suggest new Fifth Third Ballpark menu items.In 2010, this endeavor yielded the Yooper sandiwch as well as the spectacularly-named Declaration of Indigestion:
Sez the team: The food idea submissions will be whittled down to approximately 10 finalists, and starting February 22 fans will be able to vote for their choice on the new 2011 concessions items. Voting will take place on the Whitecaps website, whitecapsbaseball.com, and will end March 4. The winning entry will be on the menu for all fans to enjoy.
Clash of the Concessions in Durham: The Durham Bulls are offering fans the chance to “create, select, and win” a new food item to be served at the ballpark in 2011.
Sez the team: Clash of the Concessions will allow fans to submit their ideas or recipes from now until February 18th for a new food item at the DBAP for the 2011 season. The Bulls will select the three best ideas, then make them available for the fans to sample and vote on at Fanfest on March 4th and 5th at the ballpark. The winning submission will become the new featured item at the ballpark this summer and the person who made the submission will win a season’s worth of the new food item!
The press release doesn’t specify what constitutes a “season’s worth”, however. My guess is that the Bulls will use the highly complex formula of 1×72, in which one represents the food item and 72 represents the number of home games on the schedule.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Want ‘Home Run Recipes: The Pelicans have announced a contest that will be overseen by food and beverage director Brad Leininger, who “is inviting his colleagues to submit recipes that would appeal to
baseball fans. The dishes much be quick and easy to prepare and simple for hungry Pelicans fans to consume while sitting in a stadium seat. Recipes that exhibit regional flair are encouraged.”
Leininger will select five finalists, who will then go head-to-head at a competition held at the stadium. The winner receives Pelicans tickets and merchandise, as well as advertising in prominent local news publications.
My suggestion would be a deep-fried hard-boiled egg:
My guess is that this night will be part of an emerging trend in 2011, one inspired by the Frederick Keys quite amazing “Volt Night” last season.
Got a lead on interesting 2011 concession items? Drop me a virtual line:
The latest edition of my “Promotion Preview” column appeared today, and it will have all the Minor League Valentine’s Day information you could ever hope to see in one place. Consider it my definitive take on the subject, so that we may then move on to bigger and better things.
But before bidding adieu to my V-Day coverage, I must share some videos. First there are the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who recently bid adieu to GM North Johnson in a staggeringly tuneless fashion. Hot on the heels of that masterpiece, they have released this precious jewel of a video:
To reiterate: Leave the ostrich at home, don’t throw the roses, roses don’t need condiments, and foil wrap is for hot dogs. l learned all four of those lessons the hard way, and very much wish that the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor had been around when I was an impressionable youth.