Results tagged ‘ Omaha Storm Chasers ’
All of a sudden it feels like the season again, with news and notes coming in from left and right and everywhere in between. It’s time to start posting, because the content levels are rising and soon I might drown — alone and forgotten in a remote corner of MiLB.com HQ.
To the Bullet Points!
– The New York-Penn League may not start play for another three months, but that didn’t stop the Brooklyn Cyclones from releasing a picture of their Angel Pagan bobblehead. I’m glad that they took his first name literally as opposed to the surname, because a bobblehead depicting the ballplayer as a hedonistic polytheist probably wouldn’t go over too well.
– Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s NYPL rivals the Lowell Spinners announced the follow-up to last year’s celebration of Bubblewrap.The team will stage a “Flossing World Record Attempt” on June 29, a promotion recommended by four out of five dentists. My extensive research into this most crucial of topics revealed that previous attempts have involved a huge single strand of custom-made floss.
I’m not sure if this will be the case in Lowell, but either way I recommend that this product serve as the official sponsor.
– In other follow-up news, the Lake County Captains are continuing with the Christmas Story themed giveaways that started with last season’s “Skipper Leg Lamp.” On July 23, fans will receive a bobble doll in which Skipper’s nose is stuck to a foul pole. I haven’t obtained a picture yet, but this item is of course a reference to this:
– Another notable jersey hailing from the preeminent Midwest is that which the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will be wearing during Sunday home games. This one is like an undersized fish — total throwback.
There’s just a little more than a month to go before Opening Day. Truly, the clock is ticking on the offseason:
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, “The Offseason” has officially come to an end. The Timber Rattlers unveiled the last episode of their weekly series today, and it’s a doozy. In addition to skillfully referencing a recent hit comedy (“Brat Tub Time Machine”), it explains mascot Fang’s strange anatomy AND features a character who happens to go by the name of “Ben Hill.” What an honor:
Over on MiLB.com, “Offseasoning” has come to an end. This was a bi-weekly column profiling players’ offseason jobs and activities, and the final installment features current free agent, Twitter champion, and all-around nice guy Michael Schlact.
I’m hoping to soon do a few articles in the “Offseasoning” mode, but this time featuring Spring Training. Let me know if you are aware of any interesting stories taking place in Minor League camp.
But while some things are coming to an end, others are just beginning (sunrise, sunset, etc etc). This is the case in Pawtucket, as the Red Sox have just unleashed a whodunit “Scavenger Hunt” onto the world.
Yes, the villain in this adventure is a gorilla wearing a Yankees hat. The Paw Sox will release clues each week that will guide fans toward a “Golden Soft Toss” ball redeemable for team-related prizes.
Earlier this week I noted some of the interesting giveaways the Altoona Curve have on tap for this season. There’s more where that came from, as yesterday the team released their Theme Night schedule. The highlight is “What We’re Watching Wednesdays,” explained as such in the press release.
The first “What We’re Watching Wednesday” will take place on May 4 vs. Akron and lampoon the now retired ABC phenomenon “LOST”. The team’s working title of “LOST – Locke & Locke” plays off of 2010 Curve pitcher Jeff Locke, who actually was a huge fan of the cult series, and the mysterious character John Locke from the show itself.
After attempting to decipher the mysteries of the island, the Curve will try their hand at crime solving on June 8 vs. Erie with “NCIS/CSI: Curve, Pa. – Law & Order SVU” night. Other “What We’re Watching Wednesdays” include “How I Met Your Mascot” on June 15 vs. New Britain, “Glenn’s Kitchen” (which will place Curve Manager of Concessions Glenn McComas in the role of Chef Gordon Ramsay) on June 29 vs. Reading, “Lawn Stars” (starring Head Groundskeeper Brian Soukup) on August 17 vs. New Hampshire and “Only in Curve, Pa. with Bill the Comic Guy” on August 24 vs. Richmond. That should “Git ‘R Done” for the WWWW theme series.
There might be remarkable parity in Major League Baseball these days, but no one tops the Minors when it comes to parody.
2011 promotional schedules are being released at a rapid clip these days, with highlights aplenty.
A “Human Home Run” is exactly what you would think it is. Say the Spinners:
“When it comes to human cannonballs, David Smith is the best of the best,” said Spinners Vice President Jon Goode. “This is an idea we discussed years ago and he saved it for the Lowell Spinners. Five years in the making, this is going to be a night you will not want to miss.”
Human Cannonball-ing runs in the Smith family, as David Sr. currently holds the world record for “farthest cannonball flight” for his 185 ft. shot in 1998. Unless the Spinners move the fences WAY in, Jr’s home run flight at LeLacheur Park will far surpass this.
Regardless, I plan to cover this promotion with the same fervor I devote to human fireballs. Stay tuned.
In Other Promo News:
Yesterday the Reading Phillies announced the latter half of their “Top 20 2011 Promotions.“
The team is once again staging a “Tribute to the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor“, and this time one lucky fan will win a 550-pound life-size replica of the man himself. For those keeping track at home, this is the second 550-pound life-size replica giveaway that the R-Phils have announced. Will there be more to come?
– The Lancaster JetHawks have announced a “Stadium Dust Globe” giveaway, in honor of their oft-stormy ballpark weather conditions. I hail them for their creativity, snow doubt this’ll rain supreme in 2011′s giveaway pantheon.
– And speaking of Stormy, the anemometer-ically correct Omaha Storm Chasers mascot is now the star of a new video series. Find out why it’s not easy being green.
Finally, TWO teams have recently asked fans to submit potential 2011 theme songs — the Huntsville Stars and Durham Bulls. I am always happy to feature franchise-specific tunes on this blog. Send ‘em on over, please.
You know — a pride of lions, a clan of hyenas, a colony of bats, etc. Unfortunately, however, there is no collective noun that describes a group of YouTube videos that are all embedded within the same blog post.
So I’m going to make one up.
Today’s post, then, features a flapdoodle of videos. Enjoy!
Let’s start with this celebrity-filled promo video recently unveiled by the Iowa Cubs, entitled “The I-Cubs Are My Cubs.” None other than the President of The United States makes an appearance!
Update: I-Cubs director of logistics Scott Sailor explains how the team landed Obama’s less-than-unequivocal endorsement:
Obama was the only one we thought to film — and remember, at this time he was a long shot.
We pounced on him in the radio booth after he was on the air for an inning and asked him to say “The I-Cubs Are My Cubs” like everyone else…but he wouldn’t…he’s a Sox fan…but he did compromise and give us the footage we have.
Meanwhile, a fresh triumvirate of mascot-themed videos have been unleashed upon an unsuspecting public.
Moving from Obama to Omaha, it has become apparent that Casey’s offseason life is no longer average. The slugging Storm Chaser was at the Kansas City Royals Fan Fest last weekend in order to take part in the hallowed tradition that is the Mascot Home Run Derby.
Meanwhile, in Akron, Orbit has overcome his malaise and is earnestly preparing himself for next month’s “Tackle the Tower” challenge.
Finally, the Fort Myers Miracle have released the first installment of what may shape up to be an epic serialized mystery. Sparky the Hamster has gone missing!
And — hey! — it’s Gratuitous Video Friday. Or, in this case, Even More Gratuitous Video Friday. I’ll end this blogging week with my new answer to the eternal question “What would be your at-bat walk-up music?”
We’ll all be back on Monday for the punchline of the joke.
This may sound pretentious, and I always mispronounce “zeitgeist,” but it’s true. The word is German for “the spirit of the times”, and that’s what attention-grabbing theme nights are all about. Some zeitgeist-capturing examples from 2010 include promos dedicated to “Jersey Shore”, the World Cup, LeBron James, and “Twilight.”
I’m rambling on about this because the almighty Google has recently unveiled its “Zeitgeist 2010″ year-end search round-up. Searchable by country and category, it can serve as a handy tool for promo night brainstorming.
My suggestion? Thanks for asking! How about capitalizing on the year’s “Fastest Rising Dance Move” with Teach Me How To Dougie Night. Promote it with a video featuring the mascot learning the craze, show the players dancing on the videoboard, and stage between-inning on-field demonstrations. All fans named with first name of “Doug” or last name of “Douglas” get in free.
Please get in touch with your own Zeitgeist 2010-inspired Minor League promo ideas.
Moving on to an actual good idea, I’d like to highlight the Durham Bulls’ latest fundraising initiative: For every new fan the team receives on Facebook between now and December 25th, the team will donate $1 to the Durham Literacy Center.
Bulls VP George Habel notes on his blog that “Yes we’re buying our friends…but it’s for a very good cause.” Day one of the promotion netted $150 for the cause, while expanding the team’s already formidable social networking presence.
So if you’re not a fan of the Bulls on Facebook, hustle over there immediately and get to likin’.
And, finally, it is worth noting that the Omaha
Royals Storm Chasers are moving to their new home of Werner Park on Friday. This will, once and for all, end the Rosenblatt Stadium era (although the facility will remain standing for the forseeable future).
The Storm Chasers note in a press release that “Moving vans will arrive at Rosenblatt at approximately 8:30 a.m. to complete a process started by the Storm Chasers staff over the past several months. Historical items such as photos, game programs and team records will be preserved and delivered to Werner Park.”
And as for Werner Park, it “will remain under construction even as the front office staff inhabits its new digs. Nearly 75 percent of the work has been completed, including the entire playing field and seating bowl, with final touches to the concession, restroom, press and suite areas to continue into the first part of 2011.”
And as for me, I’m going to make some final touches to this post and then hit “Publish.” It’s really that simple.
I’m a fan of ESPN’s Rob Neyer, one of the most astute baseball writers working today. But after reading his recent blog post, not-so-subtly titled “Omaha Joins Ranks of the Embarrassing”, it’s clear that he doesn’t have a strong grasp of Minor League Baseball operating principles.
The post is inspired by Omaha’s recent name switch from “Royals” to “Storm Chasers”, and draws heavily from my MiLB.com article on the subject.
There are some truly awful minor-league team names out there. An abbreviated list: IronBirds, Doubledays, Baysox, RiverDogs, LumberKings, TinCaps, Intimidators, BlueClaws, JetHawks, BayBears, SeaDogs, River Bandits, SilverHawks, ValleyCats. Call it the “IronRule”: If you’ve got two capital letters in your name, you’ve done something wrong.
The latest and greatest case in point: the Omaha Storm Chasers.
Should teams be denied the right to develop their own unique identities? Is homogeneity across the Minor League landscape really a better option?
The following is (the bulk of) my reply to Mr. Neyer:
With no control over the product on the field, Minor League teams are first and foremost about entertainment. While in a perfect world the fans would be keeping score while studiously analyzing MLB’s future stars, the reality is that teams surround the game with as many goofy distractions as possible in order to reach the broadest demographic (those who might not care about sports, in other words, but are looking for an evening of affordable family-friendly recreation).
And regarding the Storm Chasers, this has little, if anything, to do with the Royals name falling into “disrepute.” After four decades in beloved but oversized and impersonal Rosenblatt Stadium, the team is moving to a new ballpark and finally has a chance to create a far more vibrant entertainment destination. The Storm Chasers name offers innumerable branding opportunities within the facility, and gives the team the chance to establish a far-reaching identity within the community completely distinct from the parent club.
And, yes, the new name will greatly increase merchandise sales. This is a business, after all, and profit can and should take precedence over a masochistic adherence to tradition.
Recent entrants to the “ranks of the embarrassing” that are currently thriving include the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Both provide a case study of how and, most likely, why the Storm Chasers name will succeed in the long-term. In a nutshell (pun intended, in the case of the Flying Squirrels): Fun is the name of the game, and should be exemplified in all aspects of the operation. If it takes three mascots to accomplish this, then all the better.
I’m not saying that the Storm Chasers, or Minor League Baseball in general, is beyond reproach. Some fans may find it hard to embrace such a cartoonish and defiantly unserious persona, and “Name the Team” contests that seem to give short shrift to the popular vote are bound to alienate sections of the fan base.
But criticisms of the industry that don’t take into account key operating principles (and the recent success thereof) are hard to take seriously, especially when stated in such an obstinate and close-minded fashion. You have to be able to understand something before you can effectively rip it apart.
I’d love to get your thoughts on all of this, whoever you may be. Feel free to dust off the always-underutilized comments section, and of course opinions can be always be expressed through email and Twitter.
To quote the immortal Mr. Sparkle: Can you see that I am serious?