Results tagged ‘ New Hampshire Fisher Cats ’

Turn the Page, Part 2

As you may recall, the last post on this blog was a bountiful bouillabaisse of ripped-straight-from-the-notebook Minor League news items. Well, that’s what this post is gonna be dedicated to as well.

But before we get started with that, please click THIS LINK to read this MiLB.com article detailing my Top 10 favorite Minor League stadiums. Feedback is appreciated and encouraged, and views both complementary and dissenting will be included in a future blog post.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

And now, to the notebook!

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I’ve never been a Jay Leno fan, but nonetheless there’s always been one thing I’ve loved about his show and that’s the weekly “Headlines” segment. And wouldn’t you know it? Last month, none other than the Lehigh Valley IronPigs made an appearance thanks to this newspaper ad:

foamfinger

Watch it HERE, the IronPigs reference is around the 2:30 mark.

I haven’t yet compiled my 2013 Minor League promotions spreadsheet (yes, compiling such a spreadsheet is an annual offseason task), but one giveaway item that has already caught my eye — and you know how painful that can be — comes courtesy of the Lake County Captains:

On Saturday, July 6, a Skipper Rock-N-Bobble doll featuring the Captains mascot paying tribute to Randy Newman, an inductee in this year’s class of Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame musicians, will be given to the first 1,500 fans compliments of Sysco. This year’s doll will also feature a sound clip from Randy Newman’s Burn On, which is synonymous with the Major League movie. 

Yes! A Randy Newman-themed giveaway. And one featuring a song from “Sail Away,” arguably his best-ever album (it’s certainly my favorite). Here’s hoping Randy Newman promos spread through the Minors like a fire on the Cuyahoga. How about “Salute to American Foreign Policy Night”?

It’s pretty much indisputable that the Lexington Legends possess the best team van in Minor League Baseball. Great slogan, horrible pick-up line:

lexxx

photo posted by @Irrational_Fan on Twitter

Remember a few weeks back when I wrote about the Hickory Crawdads’ “Day in the Minors” fan package? This post prompted an email response from New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ media relations manager/broadcaster Tom Gauthier, who wrote:

While we don’t have a program like [the Crawdads], we do offer a program for young kids to experience a day in the life.  We work with Citizens Bank (sponsor love) to open up a handful of jobs for kids ages 6-16.  They shadow with us for an afternoon and then through the game itself. 

To read more about the Fisher Cats’ “Kids Run the Show” promo, click HERE.

kidsrun

A kid, running things

Meanwhile, I’m more than happy to have kids shadow me for a day. As a veteran blogger, I will teach them how to show up to the office late and disheveled, overpay for lunch in lieu of bringing your own, and write jokes on Twitter instead of doing meaningful work.

You may remember my piece last season on the art of scorekeeping. In this piece one of the fans profiled was the pseudonym-ed “Stevo,” and I will now take the opportunity to direct you to his blog “The Baseball Enthusiast.” Stevo has just begun a series of posts entitled “For Those Keeping Score at Home,” featuring “intermediate to advanced” tricks of the trade.

I have a feeling that many readers of this blog will enjoy picking up what he’s putting down.

I’m pretty sure that the Reading Fightin’ Phils are the first team to give away their stadium, even if it is only for a day. Read all about it HERE. Or just look at this visual and wonder.

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I know that snow-covered ballpark photos are so two weeks ago, but here’s a good one courtesy of the New Britain Rock Cats. So soothing!

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In what I believe is a Minor League anomaly, the hair of Wilmington Blue Rocks mascot Rocky is real and actually grows. And once it grows long enough, he’s going to donate to Locks of Love. Click HERE to see his ‘do.

Proving that just about anything can be capitalized on by Minor League Baseball teams, the Mobile BayBears recently opened their arms to distressed travelers after the beleaguered Carnival Triumph finally limped into Mobile.

mobile

Sez the team:

The Mobile BayBears would like to give all passengers aboard the Carnival Triumph cruise ship the opportunity to visit the Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum for free on Thursday and Friday February 14th and 15th.

“We understand travelers have been through a lot in the past few days,” said team spokesman Craig Durham. “In an effort to make their time in Mobile as enjoyable as possible we encourage them to come see one of baseball’s most unique museums and pay tribute to Mobile legend Hank Aaron.”

The museum will be open from 9-5 on Thursday and Friday, and all non-Carnival passengers will be able to visit the museum for the standard price of $5.

NYC still has a long ways to go when it comes to fully recovering from Superstorm Sandy, and the Brooklyn Cyclones are doing their part via their “Meaningful Mondays” initiative. $3 from every ticket sold to every Monday game will go toward a local charity — read about it HERE.

Speaking of meaningful, I’d recommend that you read these most insightful observations from former Durham Bulls staffer Matt DeMargel regarding why employers should look at Minor League Baseball experience in a positive light. 

And now I have reached the end of this notebook page and, therefore, the end of this post. I’ll conclude by sharing this Augusta GreenJackets staff bio. The legend of Dumpster the Stadium Cat continues to grow!

cat

Who is CatDog?

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

The Harlem Shake: A Minor Overview

Introductory paragraphs within this blog forum can sometimes be needlessly circuitous, steeped as they are in obscure references and acute self-consciousness. But not today. Today, we cut to the chase:

What follows is a comprehensive round-up of Harlem Shake videos produced by Minor League teams. 

Yes, you’re probably sick of the Harlem Shake at this point. I am too. But let’s take the long view, as historians with an interest in baseball history, viral fads and the intersection of the two will no doubt delight in stumbling upon this post at some at some unknown moment in the distant future. I am doing this for you, future historians! I always am. For it is you who will ensure my legacy.

Plus, you’ve gotta admit — Minor League teams, with their easy access to supply closets full of banana suits and inflatable ponies, make better Harlem Shake videos than most. So here we go! In no particular order, here are two dozen Harlem Shake videos produced by professional baseball teams in possession of a formal affiliation with a Major League club.

Frederick Keys — Apparently a big-headed reincarnation of Francis Scott Key regularly sits in on front office meetings:

Columbus Clippers — Warning! Includes bear-on-frankfurter violence that may be unsettling to younger viewers:

Bowie Baysox — A toothbrush can’t dance? I bristle at such a notion:

Lexington Legends — Mister would you please stop punching that pony? WATCH ON FACEBOOK.

Vancouver Canadians — As if any proof was needed that this was an international phenomenon:

Fort Wayne Tincaps — A solitary pothead gives way to a banana who loves the queen of hearts.

Lake Elsinore Storm — Yes that is an upside-down squirrel hanging from the dugout, and yes he is happy to see you:

Corpus Christi Hooks — Can’t a man bike through the office in peace? WATCH ON MILB.COM

Tulsa Drillers — Hey, no dogs in the swimming pool!

Gwinnett Braves — Team store? More like surreal fever dream store!

New Hampshire Fisher Cats — Fungo and friends “rose” to the occasion:

Lehigh Valley IronPigs — Give peas a chance. WATCH ON MILB.COM

Buffalo Bisons — Vest-wearing gentleman on the right is my favorite individual to appear in any Harlem Shake video:

Charlotte Stone Crabs – What’s to stop the Incredible Hulk from wearing a sombrero?

Fresno Grizzlies — Forget this faddish viral bastardization. Parker knows how to do the REAL Harlem Shake. WATCH ON VINE. 

Louisville Bats — This takes place in multiple dimensions simultaneously. It will blow your mind.

Bowling Green Hot Rods — I guess you could say that Axle rose to the occasion.

Delmarva Shorebirds — The Shake so nice they did it twice.

Springfield Cardinals — You know what? This is probably the  best one out of all of ‘em.

Round Rock Express — All bobblehead version!

Connecticut Tigers — Shout it from the rooftop!

And, finally, there are the State College Spikes. The first Minor League team to post a Harlem Shake video, and the last to be featured in this post:

EDIT! 

Two latecomers have entered the fray!

Orem Owlz — Holly, the Owlz pregnant mascot, wisely sat this one out.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans — Fans of multi-colored crustacean triumvirates rejoice!

And that’s all she wrote, folks. “She” being me, of course. I am a man. A 34-year-old man. A man who is perhaps too old to be providing you with diversions such as the above. But yet I do, and yet I did.

Do not forsake me, future historians! I do not want to believe that this has all been in vain.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Leaving On a Jet Plane

The most pressing thing that needs to be conveyed at this moment in space and time, from a blogging perspective, is this: next week there will be no new blog posts. This is because I’m taking a a week-long respite from Minor League Baseball, in the form of a vacation.

When I return, it will be nearly March. And if it’s nearly March it’ll nearly be baseball season. Therefore, it’ll be time for me to make some plans — where to go, who to see, and how to best cover this multifarious entity known as Minor League Baseball.

Suggestions welcome, and appreciated! Unique content is key, so please get in touch with any knowledge you may have about any particular corner of this Minor League universe.

I look forward to your reply. But, in the meantime, here’s a nice-sized portion of that typical Biz Blog content you’ve come to know and tolerate.

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re in the midst of “promotion unveiling season.” One of the more interesting ones to come down the pike this week comes courtesy of the Memphis Redbirds, who have put an interesting spin on the increasingly prevalent “social media” sub-genre.

Reports the team:

The first 500 fans through the gates that use Twitter can write down their Twitter username, allowing the Redbirds to follow them. Prior to the game, a Twinterview will be held with one of the Memphis Redbirds players. Twitter handles from each player will also be included on their headshots on the Redbirds’ new video board.

Fans will be encouraged to take a photo from where they sit at the ballpark and share it on Facebook. Adding their seat location to the picture caption will give them a chance to win a social media themed prize during the game. One fan will also receive a prize pack that includes a bird watching book, a team-signed hashtag and a box of figurines containing 140 characters.

Not surprisingly, my favorite aspect of this promo is the “prize pack.” I look forward to seeing what a “team-signed hashtag” looks like, and, especially, what sort of figurine characters end up in the box.

My last post had a Valentine’s Day emphasis, but now that particular holiday is firmly in the rear-view mirror. Or, is it? In honor of the Red Sox’s new manager, the Lowell Spinners are hosting their own “Valentine’s Day” on July 14.

Ya gotta love it:

The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a pink Bobby Valentine’s Day Spinners’ baseball. Fans who do not receive a baseball will be rewarded with Valentine’s candies and cards so no fan is left lonely on Bobby Valentine’s Day.

 The concourse will feature a Valentine’s card swap area, with Valentine’s available for younger fans to give to each other, leave for their favorite Spinners players or, of course, leave for Bobby Valentine. The area will also have an abundance of Valentine’s Day favorites, including Hershey’s Kisses and NECCO Hearts.

Outside of Valentine’s Day, the Spinners will also salute Bobby Valentine by exploring some of their favorite Bobby V-isms. The concession stand will feature wrap sandwiches, in honor of their inventor, and the team will celebrate Bobby’s fabulous ballroom dancing moves, with a between innings dancing contest.

As I mentioned on Twitter earlier this week, a component that needs to be added to this stellar promo is a mustache giveaway. And all fans in disguise should get in free!

A reasonable question to ask at this juncture is “who cares about any of this stuff? The world is ending!” The Frederick Keys understand such apocalyptic angst, and are therefore staging “Six Months Until the End of the World Night” on June 21.

“We will be paying tribute to what is supposed to be the end of life on earth with our six months til the end of the world celebration. Enjoy survival of the fittest events, last meal eating contests, zombie interns and more!” reported the team. “Oh, and there will be Keys baseball too.”

If the above didn’t satiate your appetite for apocalyptic images, then perhaps this will.

Photo: Laura Brinkman

Yep, that’s Visalia Rawhide mascot Tipper with his ol’ buddy Newt Gingrich at Tuesday’s World Ag Expo.

“Newt Gingrich” sounds like a good name for a Zooperstars character. This beloved troupe of pun-obsessed inflatables are visiting Charlotte on May 26, with five of the characters confirmed. The team has launched a fan poll to determine the final two characters, with the choices as follows:

  1. Manatee Ramirez
  2. Yao Flamingo
  3. Jeff Gordog
  4. Centipete Rose
  5. Mackerel Jordan
  6. Nolan Rhino

A manatee, a clam, and a centipede walk onto a baseball field...

The triumvirate of above characters look like they could be gatekeepers to the afterlife, but fortunately we won’t have to deal with such matters for another six months. In the meantime, all you need is Like!

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are aiming for 10,000 new Facebook fans this month, and will donate $5000 to New Horizons soup kitchen and homeless if this goal is met. So CLICK HERE and like away!

 

And you know what? That’s going to do it for me. I’ll be back on the blog come 2/27, but in the meantime please meditate on what you like about this blog, what you don’t, and what you’d like to see from it in the future. I’d love to hear it.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

The Season Never Ends: Victory Laps, Vanilli, and Villains

In much the same way that a bear lives off of its own fat throughout the winter, I am able to survive the lean times by relying on my great storehouse of Minor League content.

Today I’ll dip into that vast reserve in order to bring you a steaming bouillabaisse of words and images from the 2011 campaign (I just spelled “bouillabaisse” correctly on the second attempt, tying my personal best in this category).

Let’s start with our friends in the mountain foothills, that distinguished Carolina League entity known as the Lynchburg Hillcats. Last month, the team staged a NASCAR Night promotion and staged it well.

It all started in the stadium parking lot, with cars from different eras of racing history stationed therein.

Also present was the official pace car from nearby Martinsville Speedway, one of the night’s sponsors.

The evening’s guest of honor was Rex White, a legendary racer who in 1960 won the NASCAR Grand National Championship.

Meanwhile, Danny “Dale Earnhardt” Dudley was named “Best Dressed Fan.”

Between-inning games and contests were centered around the theme. Here, the green flag signals the start of the “Tire Roll”…

…while a white flag indicates the last lap of the Pool Sprint.

Moving from cars to guitars, last month the Reading Phillies welcomed a touring performer I had never before heard of: the Sauce Boss. Not only does this guy play “Florida Slide Guitar Blues,” but he cooks gumbo on stage and serves it to the audience.

The Sauce Boss, smoking pot

Keeping with the song and dance theme, the Fort Wayne TinCaps held a ’90s Night Promotion in August that included innovations such as the following:

– The “92nd”  inning, commemorating Nirvana’s release of “Smells like Teen Spirit” with a “What’s that Smell” onfield promotion.

– The strike-shortened “94th inning”, in which all promotions were stopped in the middle in memory of the MLB strike which began on August 12, 1994.

– The Titanic “King of the World” cam in the 98th inning.

And then there was this:

Even more horrifying is a ballpark character I learned about during the recent Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar: the New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ “Ram of War.”

This unapologetic villain competes against children in between-inning contests, crushing their dreams and feeding off the screams:

Brilliant. The world of Minor League Baseball needs more bad guys, they make us all look good in comparison.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Logos On and On and On

2011_Fisher_Cats_Script_Logo.JPGI’ve spent a lot of time over the past week writing about logos. This may seem like a frivolous endeavor, but not when you consider that within philosophy the word “logos” is defined as “the rational principle that governs and develops the universe.”

Not so frivolous after all, is it? Thus justified, let me move on to the changes that have taken place in New Hampshire.

Before taking on the “Fisher Cats” moniker, Manchester’s Eastern League franchise was briefly (and controversially) known as the “Primaries.” It’s fitting, then, that the team has changed its primary colors to ones which evoke the American democratic process: red, white, and blue.

Now that I’ve made things as confusing as possible, as is my m.o., let’s go to the visual evidence. The team’s primary logo used to look like this:

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And now it looks like this:

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The re-tooled home cap, with enhanced re-tail value:

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Alternate cap logos abound. This batting practice design would also work well in nearby Paw-tucket:

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This highly-stylized “FC” should appeal to discerning high-society types.

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And this? This is just awesome. Me to this Uncle Sam logo: I want you!

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Don’t take that one for granite, New Hampshire!

————————————————————————————————————————————

Meanwhile…The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, one of last week’s blog subjects, have announced a contest in which fans are asked to take a picture of themselves with any of the new logos.

In order to help promote the contest, the team has created some Photoshopped classics of our 26th President to serve as inspiration. Classics such as this:

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Now that’s something you can take for granite.

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

Moving On Down

Thumbnail image for lad.jpgI find myself with much random material that I would like to share with you, an individual who I presume possesses at least a passing interest in Minor League Baseball game operations and promotions.

In order to create some sort of order from the chaos, I shall organize said material by level of play. Let’s start at the top of the Minor League ladder, and then move down rung-by-rung until, finally, we find ourselves back on solid ground.

This may take a few days, actually…

Triple-A

The Toledo Mud Hens established a Fifth Third Field attendance record this past Friday, and it wasn’t because of a “National Dance Like A Chicken Day” promotion that came complete with complimentary chicken hat:

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No, the primary draw was Crystal Bowersox. My hopes of an exciting new fad in jewel-strewn footwear were quickly dashed when I found out that Crystal is an “American Idol” finalist who hails from Ohio. 13,200 turned out to see the up-and-coming troubador sing the National Anthem; I have yet to confirm if she later led the crowd in a spirited rendition of the Chicken Dance.

– Those same Toledo players who enjoyed the vocal stylings of Ms. Bowersox are not nearly as enamored of opposing mascots, as this item from the latest “International League Notebook” makes clear:

Durham mascot [Wool E. Bull] was pelted by water balloons from the Toledo dugout
when he
wooly.jpg appeared on the field [May 12], but it wasn’t quite as funny
when the mascot slipped on the wet grass and suffered an apparent knee
sprain.

“Just what we needed — Wool E. Bull is hurt. The training room is full
already,” Durham manager Charlie Montoyo told the
Durham Herald-Sun.


– The last time I wrote about mascot injuries, the costumed character in question was “Pops” from the Syracuse Chiefs.     Fortunately, Pops seems to be okay these days, as the only thing I have to report from Syracuse is that the team’s blog is currently featuring an amusing rundown of International League hotels.  The latest such establishment to be featured is Pawtucket’s Comfort Inn. 

– Which brings me to my next item, as the excellent blog of Pawtucket broadcaster Dan Hoard recently featured a post on Mike Cameron’s over-the-top generosity during his recent rehab stint with the club. An excerpt:

Cameron took the notion of being a big-leaguer to new heights on Thursday when he purchased a luxury box for Game 6 of the Celtics/Cavs playoff series and invited the PawSox players and coaches to join him. 

Double-A

I mentioned this in this week’s “Promotion Preview” column,but the Richmond Flying Squirrels have launched an interesting weekly promotion in this, their inaugural season: “Where’s Parney”. Writes director of promotions Christina Shisler:   

Every Friday our VP and COO, Todd “Parney” Parnell
frequents a different sponsor’s location (restaurant or bar) after the game and
our fans must track him down! We include hints throughout the week on where he
will be on our e-newsletter, Facebook, Twitter and website and the first 20
fans to find Parney out at one of our “Where’s Parney” sponsor locations win a t-shirt and get to hang out with the Squrirels VP!

Keep in mind, folks, that this is the man everyone is trying to find:

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Richmond -- Parny Unitard beleaguered.JPG 

– Moving from Flying Squirrels to Fisher Cats (as I so often do), New Hampshire’s Eastern League franchise recently welcomed its Two Millionth Fan. Congratulations to 10-year-old Brendan Howard for his well-timed turnstiling.

– Meanwhile, in Tulsa, it appears that another mascot-themed soap opera has entered theThumbnail image for hornsby.jpg fray. I say “another”, because THIS exists in Lehigh Valley. So now we have “Bulled and the Bluetiful” and “As the Bacon Turns”. Anyone want to suggest other potential Minor League parody soap opera titles?

This particular blog post is quite like a soap opera, in fact, in that it shall end with three words that signify the promise of much more to come:

TO BE CONTINUED

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

Leaving It All Out There

Today is going to be one of those days where I throw a lot of stuff against the wall, just to see what sticks. So if you like to stare at walls that have stuff stuck to them (with even more stuff in a pile on the floor below), then keep reading.

We’ll start with — what else? — videos.

Videos such as the most recent edition of Omaha’s “My Offseason Life Is Average“. This is, in a word, funny (extra bonus points for the extreme brevity):

Meanwhile, some intense turtle-tracking is going on in Beloit. Better luck next time, guys.

Recently, the Gameops.com Blog did a post on Improv Everywhere, a group that stages live, public pranks. In the post, Gameops’ Jon Cudo says that he “is interested to see if any team or event operator is using any similar theatrics to amuse and confuse.” I, too, am interested in such a thing. Here’s an example of an Improv Everywhere stunt, one that could certainly be adapted to a Minor League game.

And for something completely different, check out the Lakewood
BlueClaws’ latest podcast. A suspiciously adult-sounding group of
children are treated to a dramatic story, one which explains how the
new mascot’s name came about.

fishcat.jpgMeanwhile, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats have become the latest team to stage a “Golden Bobblehead” competition. The gist of it is that each week, the golden bobblehead will be hidden at an area business. Fans are given clues as to its location, and the person who finds it receives a 2010 VIP Experience Prize Pack. More details are HERE.

I’ll close with a ridiculous barroom idea, which came courtesy of a friend of mine. He asked me if a team has ever attempted a group rendition of the National Anthem, in which each singer was responsible for a single word of the song. That would take 81 singers and a substantial amount of coordination, but if done well it could be a very memorable publicity stunt.

Please, someone, make this happen. For I am a lowly blogger, destined to comment rather than create.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Gettin' That Worm

early.jpgThe 2009 season is still — horrors! — more than four months away.

Nonetheless, several teams have recently announced their 2009 promotional schedules. This simple act serves as a soothing balm to my troubled soul, reminding me and others like me that happy times will soon be here once again.

Let’s take a look at what a few of these promotional early birds have in store for us all.

Lehigh Valley IronPigsThe turnstiles clicked and whirred at a stunning pace last season, lvip.gifas the IronPigs drew over 600,000 fans to Coca-Cola Park in their inaugural campaign. But now, the honeymoon is over. Fans this year will be a bit more discerning, so the club has found a variety of ways to lure the crowds to the idyllic environs of the baseball diamond. Here are three promotions that caught my eye (and you know how painful that can be):

April 15 — Tax Day, w/ team logo checkbook cover giveaways.

June 25 — FeFe the Mascot bobblehead doll giveaway (Fe is the symbol for “Iron”, in case you somehow didn’t know that most basic of facts).

June 29 — Italian Heritage Day w/ Pizza Cutter Giveaway

nhfc.jpgNew Hampshire Fisher CatsBetween this, this, and this, the Fisher Cats have been very much in the Ben’s Biz Blog radar as of late. Well, it continues. Here are three highlights from their 2009 promo sked:

July 23 — Splash Day (this is a Fisher Cats tradition. In a recent “At Home With” column, media relations director Mike Murphy explained it as such: “Our staff dresses up as lifeguards, we set up a dunk tank, and by
partnering with area fire departments, we have “wet zones” where the
fire department spray hoses into the air, dousing specific areas of the
park to offset the heat of the summer.”)

August 7 — Crazy Burger Challenge (your guess is as good as mine…)

August 9 — Manchester Monarchs Cap Giveaway (sweet, sweet synergy with the local minor league hockey franchise)

Trenton Thunder (the only club to be honored on the floor of the New Jersey State senatetrethun.gif this offseason)

May 11 — Championship Canvas Giveaway

May 12 — Ketchup and Mustard Dispenser Set Giveaway

August 12 — Austin Jackson Action Photo Paperweight Giveaway (action photos and paperweights…together at last! Also, I believe that clips from “Action Jackson” should be shown on the videoboard on this most special evening).

Well, this concludes today’s installment of arbitrary promotional listings. Hey, teams, if you have released YOUR 2009 promotional schedule then please do not hesitate to get in touch:

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Remember, in the cutthroat world of Minor League promotional gurus, no one wields more power than I.

Meet the MacPhail Nominees: New Hampshire Fisher Cats

larrymacphailhof_1.jpgAfter a brief hiatus, Ben’s Biz Blog is back in action. And what better way to return to action than by resurrecting one of last year’s most popular features?

That’s right, it’s time for a series of exclusive interviews with teams that were nominated for the prestigious Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy! I’ll be running these throughout the week, in order to provide some insight into the philosophies of some of the top-performing teams in the Minors.

The winner of this year’s award has already been announced, but I’ll refrain from mentioning who it is until the end of the week. If you don’t know, but would like to, then get thee to Google.

Today’s featured nominee is the Eastern League’s New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The answers are courtesy of team president (and 2008 Eastern League executive of the year) Rick Brenner. The questions are courtesy of me.

More info on the Fisher Cats can be found here and here.

How would you define your team’s promotional philosophy?

fishercats.gif

 

RB: Our philosophy is that if it has the potential to be a fun
night for our fans, then let’s do it. We have 71 games a year, and we ask each staff member to look at it like their only
daughter’s wedding and think of how they would like their wedding guests to be
entertained.
What that means is that while we, as a staff, could
be working the final game of a 10-game homestand, it’s critical to remember
that there are always those fans who are attending their first Fisher Cats game
that particular night, and they deserve the best show we can put on. Whether it sells extra tickets or not, if we can hatch an idea that’s fun for
the fans and can really create a special theme around the game, then we go for
it. Of course it is always better when we can combine
entertainment with a cause that is important to the community, which is how we
have generated over one million dollars for the community in the past two
seasons.

 

What were some of your biggest promotional successes from
last season?

 

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RB: In addition to 20 fireworks nights
and over 45 giveaway nights o
ur biggest success in 2008 came with hosting the Bank of
America All Star Block Party the night before the
Northeast Delta
Dental Eastern League All-Star Game in July. We took the night before the
game, normally reserved for just league executives and players, and opened it
up to our fans with a free downtown block party. We
used an outdoor park right in the center of
Manchester and created a free event for the community to celebrate
the All-Star Game. We still had a VIP party, but the rest of the park was
a complete carnival and free for the over 3000 fans that came out that
night.
There were inflatable rides and face-painting for the kids,
an autograph session with All-Star players, plus Bill “Spaceman” Lee and Babe
Ruth’s daughter, Julia Ruth Stephens. We even had live entertainment with
the Josh Logan Band, which served as a nice prelude to the All-Star Game
itself, where we set our stadium attendance record and saw one of our players,
Travis Snider, put on a show-stopping performance to win the Irving Oil Home
Run Derby.

 

As far as regular season games, Halloween in August worked
out very well for us. Our

Jack O Lantern Orange Pearl.jpg

fans really took to it. All kids who
dressed up in costume went trick-or-treating throughout the ballpark, and we
had a ‘best costume’ contest for the kids. Our staff members did a
tremendous job with creative costumes, especially the ladies, who dressed up as
Disney princesses and had their own contest to determine who most resembled the
Disney character they were dressed as. We also took
our Educational Days and, in addition to the normal educational things we did,
each staff member dressed like a different character from our nation’s
history. Armed with fact sheets about each character, the staff was on
hand to answer questions and interact with the kids as Ben Franklin, Sam Adams,
Pocahontas and many others. 

 

Any misfires, mishaps, or ideas that just didn’t work?

 

green-beer.jpg

RB: One of our more popular theme days is Irish Day. The
only drawback in 2008 was that Irish Day and Mothers Day coincided. Everyone had a great time, but it was somewhat confusing
that moms were getting pink hats while kids were getting green horns. And
nothing like relaxing mom by allowing the kids to blow their green horns all
afternoon. Of course the flip side was the
happy Irish moms drinking all afternoon and then stealing the green horns from
their kids!

 

What are your favorite sports promotions of all time?

 

RB: We just love to see happy fans so
anything that makes them laugh and have fun is great to see. We have
Santa Claus here at every game and that is a huge success for the kids.

 

In a perfect world, what sort of promotions would you
like to stage in 2009 and beyond?

 

RB: We will have to wait and see what
is in store for the fans of NH next season!

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