Results tagged ‘ Norfolk Tides ’

Musing Mascots in Costumed Contemplation

For mascots, there’s no escaping the spotlight. These mute yet endlessly expressive characters are  the center of attention everywhere they go, and as a result they always need to be “on.”  Pictures are requested, high fives demanded, and antics expected. It’s an exhilarating existence, to be sure, but not at all conducive to moments of quiet reflection and self-analysis.

Yet such moments, while rare, do occur. To capture them on camera is an exhilarating feeling, akin to a landlocked bird watcher getting an glimpse of the elusive Red Phalarope. This is how I felt during a June trip to Lake County, when I was able to capture Captains mascot Skipper in a moment of introspection.

Feeling inspired by this rare bit of photographic luck, I asked readers to please send in introspective mascot photos of their own. This request was met with an enthusiastic response, and the results are contained in this post.

What follows is the most impressive collection of introspective mascot photos that the world has ever seen.

The above individual is Louie of the Great Lakes Loons, whose powers of introspection are far greater than the average bird. Soon after abandoning his dugout perch, he went into the stands and got the fans to join him in a moment of quiet contemplation.

Another city boasting thoughtful birds amongst its citizenry is Toledo. Muddy the Mud Hen is a voracious reader, and can sometimes be spotted at the local library with his beak buried in a good book.

Muddy’s literary endeavors have increased his powers of imagination. Back at the ballpark, he sometimes gets lost in thought while resting his left arm on a railing that doesn’t even exist.

As evidenced by the picture of Skipper at the top of this post, ballpark tunnels represent a good place for a mascot to temporarily escape from the madding crowd. Here’s Phinley of the Clearwater Threshers, patriotically pontificating.

Meanwhile, in Winston-Salem, Bolt takes a moment to reflect before instigating some between-inning hula-baloo.

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but I was able to get a shot of Bolt during my visit to Winston-Salem this past July. This one is perhaps less “introspective” than “fatigued.”

While in Winston-Salem, I spent time with not one but TWO blog readers who went on to email me introspective mascot photos. Matt “Possum” Campbell solicited this shot of the Danville Braves’ “Blooper,” who does his best thinking with left hand planted firmly on stomach.


Meanwhile, veteran Minor League wanderer Rex Doane sent in pictures from various far-flung locales. Our journey with Rex begins in Norfolk, where Rip Tide sometimes assumes a near-beatific demeanor.

Then we fly over to flyover country, with this behind-the-back view of Swoop of the South Bend Silver Hawks.

And, finally, we arrive in the modest environs of the Modesto Nuts’ dugout. That’s where Al Almond sometimes goes in order to escape from the nuttiness surrounding him.

Another thoughtful dugout denizen is Fort Wayne’s Johnny TinCap, whose demeanor is never crotchety even if his hobbies sometimes are.

Of course, one doesn’t need to be solitary to be introspective. Over the three seasons that the team has been in existence, Chopper of the Gwinnett Braves has established himself as one of the most empathetic woodchucks in the Minors. Here he is having an on-field heart-to-heart.

Chopper’s upright demeanor is in stark contrast to Millie of the Lowell Spinners. On the last day of the season, this canal-dwelling alligator went deep into her own headspace while sitting on a stadium bench.

Allie’s daughter, Millie, simply curled up in the fetal position in order to think long and hard about the season that had just transpired.

With this concept on the verge of collapse, it seems that I’ll have to call it a day. Of course, keeping sending those introspective mascot photos in. I am totally amenable to there being a second, third, fourth, and even fifth installment of this series.

There will be no sixth installment.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Free Publicity and Foregone Conclusions

I had a blog post all ready to go this morning, but then a “big” “news story” came across my “desk”:

Last night, the Akron Aeros got a prominent shoutout on “The Daily Show.” The team’s recent “Nice 2 Meat You” burger caused the perpetually apoplectic Lewis Black to wax enthusiastic. Watch it HERE (the Aeros come in at the 2:25 mark).

And here’s the picture, first seen on this blog, that appeared on the show.

Thumbnail image for Nice2side.JPG

Touting the “Nice 2 Meat You” as a much-needed antidote to the beef-skimping Taco Bells of the world, Black held aloft a pair of ducats and claimed that he would be at the Akron Aeros home opener.

black.jpg“Look for me on the Jumbotron,” he yelled. “I’ll be the one having a heart attack.”

Talk about going out in style. Hey Lewis, you might as well have a “Three Dog Night” while you’re at it. And then, if still living, go on a road trip that includes Charleston and West Michigan.

I caught up with Aeros food and beverage director Jason Kerton this morning, and he says that he had no idea that his creation was going to get a mention during Black’s latest broadside.

“I was falling asleep on the couch last night, and my phone started beeping left and right,” said Kerton. “I was getting a lot of texts from friends telling me that [Nice 2 Meat You] was on TV.”

And while no one wants Black to go into cardiac arrest while enjoying an Aeros game, the team would love to see him make an appearance at Canal Park this season.

“We’d give him the burger, a Three Dog Night, and anything else he wanted,” said Kerton. “But I’m still in shock that we were on the Daily Show. It was funny that we were on it, and even more funny that no one knew it was going to happen.”

We now return to regularly scheduled programming…

Happy Groundhog’s Day!Groundhog_of_Lenoir,_NC,_USA.jpg

Most teams ignore this special day of rodent weather prognostication, instead focusing their energies on Valentine’s Day. But in Norfolk, the Tides have put together a promotion with an extremely easy-to-predict result:

[We're not] taking any chances that a groundhog in Punxsutawney sees his shadow and curses everyone to six more weeks of winter.

Instead, the Tides have employed the weather-prognosticating services of Rip Tide, and they have even offered a bribe to the furry mascot. If Rip Tide doesn’t see his shadow – or just blatantly ignore his shadow all together – then the Tides will give 25 lucky fans a pair of tickets to the Tides game on Sunday, April 17.

And the stunning result? Rip Tide didn’t see his shadow, winter will soon be over, and fans may now enter into a drawing for free tickets. And, for maximum publicity, this all went down on a local morning news program. Good work, Rip Tide.

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Meanwhile, the Portland Sea Dogs didn’t even make a pretense of pretending that a Punxsutawney prognostication had any meaning to them.

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The team’s “Groundhog Day Special” is as cut-and-dry as a Saharan bodybuilder.

Regardless of whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow today, there are only 9 weeks before the Sea Dogs open the 2011 Season! Therefore the Sea Dogs have a special $9 ticket package offer for fans, good today only!

A different sort of mascot intrigue is going on over in Lancaster, as JetHawks mascot KaBoom is intimating that he may leave the real world for a virtual one.

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As we inch our way closer to the 2011 season it seems as if JetHawks fans are all asking the same question; Is it true that KaBoom will join the next generation of Angry Birds?

Lancaster JetHawks Director of Promotions Jeremy Castillo addressed the issue early Monday morning, “At this point I can neither confirm nor deny the rumors. KaBoom and I have had a few closed door meetings, and he has expressed some interest in the game. That’s really all I can say at this time.”

If KaBoom does indeed join the next generation of Angry Birds, it would make him the first Minor League mascot video game character of all time. Let’s all salute this avian innovator:

KaBoom.JPG
Or, as I like to call him, an “innavianator.”

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

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