Results tagged ‘ Omaha Storm Chasers ’

Mounds of Miscellany

I have faith that I can do this, that I will get it right on the first attempt. Here it goes:


Success! Having spelled bouillabaisse correctly, there is nothing left to do but dive right into the bouillabaisse equivalent of a blog post — a little bit of this, a little bit of that, liberal amounts of seasoning, and plenty of time spent simmering.

I’m not sure any of this makes sense.

But who cares? There’s no turning back now! Upward and onward to a new logo!

Like Dunedin, Bluefield’s new look was prompted by parent Toronto’s recent identity overhaul. It’s a sharp and simple sartorial approach, befitting the no-frills Appy League atmosphere in which Bluefield resides.

In further logo news, the Omaha Storm Chasers unveiled an alternate mark yesterday. probably think this logo's about you.

In other, non-visual news, the Memphis Redbirds recently became the first MiLB team (that I am aware of) to host a so-called “Twinterview.” Last week, team alumnus and current World Champion Daniel Descalso participated in a Twitter-based Q&A with the team’s fans (who submitted questions through the team’s Twitter account, along with the hashtag #twinterview).

My favorite exchange went as follows:

@memphisredbirds: Tell us one thing about you that the fans don’t already know. #Twinterview

@DanielDescalso: Hmmm…my last name literally means “no shoes” in Italian and Spanish.

Shoeless Dan

Congrats to the Redbirds for coming up with a creative way to engage with the fans during the offseason. The next “Twinterview” takes place tomorrow at 2 p.m. CST. John Jay is serving as the question recipient this time around.

You may remember that in October I devoted a post to the Frederick Keys’ “Volt Night”, a book release party/concert/kickball tournament in honor of a new cookbook being released by local culinary heroes the Voltaggio brothers. As opposed to reading my aforementioned blog, those wishing to see what the night was all about should check out this video:

Finally, let’s close out this latest (and therefore greatest) bouillabaisse with a short and sweet team-produced video. The Tulsa Drillers would like you to know that although you can take the bull out of the ring, you can’t take the ring out of the bull.

Or something like that:

Hello and Goodbye

Last Friday I wrote a feature story on the new-for-2012 Pensacola Blue Wahoos, but the westernmost region of the Florida panhandle isn’t the only area in which affiliated ball will debut next season.

How about them Grand Junction Rockies? The team, located in Western Colorado, was officially introduced to the public at a press conference yesterday. The Rockies will play in the Pioneer League, as the Rookie-level affiliate of the (surprise!) Colorado Rockies. Read all about it in my piece.

And with a new team comes a new logo. Here it is, in all its parent-club referencing glory:

As noted in the piece, the key difference between this mark and that of the Colorado Rockies is that the mountain range has been replaced by a mesa. As I learned today, Grand Junction has more Mesas than Jose’s family reunion.

As a club that plays in Colorado and owned by the same folks that own the Colorado Rockies, it’s not surprising that Grand Junction is going the conservative route with its look. The same could not be said of the team that they are replacing: the Casper Ghosts. As you may recall, this was the only team in professional baseball whose primary logo glowed in the dark.

RIP The Ghosts

In glossing over the article I wrote when the Ghosts’ logo was unveiled on Halloween 2007, I came across the following quote from team CEO Kevin Haughian.

“I originally wanted to be the Casper Weinbergers, but we figured no one would get it.”


The Ghosts’ logo was designed by Plan B Branding, which, as of today, is no longer Plan B Branding. As detailed on this blog last week, the company unveiled its new name via a week-long internet scavenger hunt. And that new name is:

Logo fiends should enjoy poking around the new website, particularly the “Behind the Scenes” section. Said section is chock-a-block with info and photos regarding how many of the Minors’ top logos came to be.

The announcement of the “Brandiose” name comes exactly one year after another notable name change. For it was on November 15, 2010 that the Omaha Storm Chasers were introduced (themselves a Plan B/Brandiose client, natch).

The name was heavily criticized by those within the community and without, and my response to the criticism (specifically that of  then-ESPN columnist Rob Neyer) was the most widely-read and commented upon offseason blog post that I have ever wrote. Give it a (re)read, if you’re so inclined.

Ah, November 2010. I was so young and strong back then.

Closing Out Opening Day

The final wave of Minor League home openers are taking place throughout the country today and tomorrow, with many of them qualifying as bona-fide galas.

The Reading Phillies certainly had a lot going on. The club rang in a new era yesterday, as fans finally got a chance to check out the many improvements  made to 60-year-old FirstEnergy Stadium as part of a $10 million renovation project. Churgers were chomped, the mascot band rocked, and the first 3500 entrants received a “Ryan Howard Garden Gnome” figurine.  But one fan got to take home a 550-pound life-size version. Behold:

And behold some more:

Meanwhile, the Omaha Storm Chasers play their first game ever at Werner Park tonight tomorrow!

Update: In a disappointing but perhaps fitting bit of irony, the Storm Chasers had to postpone their home opener due to inclement weather.

The first 2500 fans receive welcome mats emblazoned with the stadium logo, and one of the guests of honor is none other than part-owner Warren Buffet. The Opening Day festivities started early this morning, with the Weather Channel broadcasting live from the stadium between 6 and 9 a.m. Say what you will about the new team name, but suffice to say that no national broadcasts would be taking place at the home opener of a Minor League team named the Royals (save for Will and Kate-obsessed British tabloid television, but they’ll broadcast from just about anywhere).

Another Pacific Coast League opener of especial significance is going down in Tucson, as the Padres play their first game at Kino Stadium after re-locating from Portland. The evening will begin on an emotional note, as the team is staging a stirring tribute to local heroes:

With Opening Night falling just three months after the tragic events of January 8th, the Tucson Padres will honor many people associated with the shooting. The following five people will throw ceremonial first pitches:

 Colonel Bill Badger: Retired Army Colonel who helped tackle the shooter on January 8th

 Daniel Hernandez: The intern who helped save the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

 Patricia Maisch: Tucson resident who helped contain the shooter after he was tackled

 Roger Salzgeber: Tucson resident who helped tackle the shooter on January 8th

 Joe Zamudio: Tucson resident who jumped on the shooter to contain him

In a similarly community-minded move, the San Jose Giants have dedicated the month of April to critically-injured fan Bryan Stow. Stow, who was attacked at the Los Angeles Dodgers home opener and suffered serious injuries, has been a familiar presence at San Jose’s Municipal Stadium.

Reports the team:

The San Jose Giants will collect donations throughout the month of April to benefit the fund established to support Bryan and his family with a special tribute planned for Opening Day, April 14th at Municipal Stadium.

 “Bryan has contributed so much to the safe operation of Municipal Stadium. He has been the first person to respond to any injuries in our ballpark and has provided outstanding medical assistance to all of our fans.” said Jim Weyermann, President and CEO of the San Jose Giants. “He is a member of our family and needs our help and prayers. We intend to be there for him in the same way he has been there for our fans, hand in hand, working together to make sure that he and his family don’t have to go through this alone.”

One of the beautiful things about attending a Minor League Baseball game is that there is equal room for wacky and the somber. But when it comes to blogging about it all, I often struggle to find an appropriate tone when dealing with such disparate subject matter in the same post.

That said, I’d like to close the blogging week by bringing your attention to one of my favorite press releases of the year. In Tuesday’s post I wrote about the Lancaster JetHawks’ “Sweet Po-Tater Tots”, and the very next day this appeared.

Between Taters and Later

Benjamin Hill, a national reporter/blogger for, the official website of Minor League Baseball, recently included the JetHawks Sweet Po-tater Tots in a blog entry on premier new food items throughout Minor League Baseball.

That’s me all right — a national reporter/blogger who will now spend the weekend showing skeptical club doormen a crumpled print-out of the JetHawks press release.

“Of course I’m on the list. Don’t you know who I am?”

Video Voluminosity

project.jpgIt’s early Friday afternoon as I type this, a time in which my readership is likely to be particularly wary of too many words. Who wants to be burdened with the onerous task of reading when the weekend is so near?

So let’s go to the videos! I’ve come across quite a few over the past several days, and would love nothing more than to share them with you, the world-weary word-wary reader:

The State College Spikes have been innovators in the field of mystery-themed promotions, making GM Jason Dambach’s total lack of deductive reasoning skills all the more surprising.

I love videos like that: set-up, punchline, and done in under a minute. Or done in under 30 seconds, in the case of the Tennessee Smokies. This one features a guy who really knows how to make an impression. 

And the brevity continues, this time courtesy of the Charleston RiverDogs. Yesterday, the team released their own version of “Cannibal, the Movie”. This one is not for the faint of heart:

The mascot angst continues in Omaha, where Stormy the would-be Storm Chaser has suffered yet another indignity.

Similar feelings of rejection have recently been felt by Wilmington’s Rocky the Blue Moose, who has had difficulty updating his look:

I’ll close things out with what is only a somewhat gratuitous video. The Baseball Project’s excellent second album was released last week, and I highly recommend picking it up. The combination of accomplished rock n roll chops and literate, passionate baseball writing is truly something to behold. Here’s the band playing on Letterman around the time their first album was released:

News Explosion!

sloth.jpgThe last couple of weeks were slower than a sloth on a treadmill, but boy oh boy have times changed.

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 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 club to recently unveil their 2011 promo scheduleare the newly-rechristened Omaha Storm Chasers. While other teams honor Jimmy Buffet, the Storm Chasers instead pay homage to Warren. The Omaha billionaire and member of the team’s ownership group gets his own road jersey replica giveaway, taking place April 30. Here’s a pic of this Warren piece of memorabilia:


— 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.

— In keeping with the jerseys theme, the Charleston RiverDogs will be giving away Roberto Alomar Charleston Rainbow jerseys on July 23. The newly-minted Hall of Famer suited up for the Rainbows in his first professional season, and while I have yet to obtain photographic evidence here’s my best approximation of what it will look like:


But no matter what it looks like, this is sure to be one of the best ROYGBIV-aways of the year!If there’s a support group for those with an over-reliance on puns and wordplay in general, then I should probably join it. I’m not even joking, it’s become an obsession and I don’t think it’s healthy.

Every End Is A New Beginning

There’s just a little more than a month to go before Opening Day. Truly, the clock is ticking on the offseason:


That was the scene in Omaha recently, as a flatbed truck pulled into brand-new Werner Park whilst toting a gigantic clock featuring Vortex the stormcloud. So what this is, essentially, is a Time Vortex. Are the Storm Chasers attempting to reach out to the Dr. Who fans in the house?

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, “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.

lockelocke.jpgThe 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. – Lawglenn.jpg & 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.

Promotions: Canonical, Comical, and Climatological

2011 promotional schedules are being released at a rapid clip these days, with highlights aplenty.

But few things in this world are as exciting as unprecedented onfield aerial acrobatics, making THIS Lowell Spinners promo an (exceedingly) early “Promo of the Year” frontrunner.


A “Human Home Run” is exactly what you would think it is. Say the Spinners:

spinners.jpg[T]he human cannonball, David Smith, Jr., will be shot from a cannon at home plate over the outfield wall following the conclusion of the Spinners game.

“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?

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— 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.

Nouns of Multitude, Video Edition

pride.jpgOne of the more curious aspects of the English language is the number of collective nouns devoted to identifying groups of specific bird and animal species.

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:

We filmed Obama here in 2007 when he was a candidate — the Iowa Caucuses were inicubsmycubs.gif January 2008 — and many of them made stops at the ballpark. Sam Brownback! Chris Dodd!

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.

The Spirit of the Times

spirit.jpgOne of my favorite things to say about Minor League Baseball promotions is that they “capture the zeitgeist.”

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.

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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’.


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Werner Park logo.jpgAnd, 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.

There’s Nothing To Be Embarrassed About

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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 article on the subject.

Writes Neyer:

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.

He then goes on to quote extensively from my piece, expressing incredulity about the necessity of three mascots before reaching the conclusion that the Storm Chasers name will last for all of “four or five seasons.” 

I understand not liking a team name, Storm Chasers or otherwise, but to snidely dismiss so many Minor League teams as “doing something wrong” completely misses the point. What, exactly, are they doing wrong outside of not declaring an undying loyalty to the parent club (and keep in mind that such affiliations are subject to renewal every two or four years)?

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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).

Thumbnail image for Werner Park logo.jpgAnd 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 themilb_logo.gif 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?

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