Results tagged ‘ Peoria Chiefs ’
For those who may have been caught unawares, yesterday marked the start of the 2013 Minor League season. Clearly there is and will be much to talk about — read Promo Preview for an indication of just how much — but today I wanted to focus on the most pressing matter I could possibly think of:
Did the teams who issued weather-related guarantees see their guarantees come to pass? Or were fans left out in the cold?
Let’s start with the Indianapolis Indians, who have long been the preeminent meteorological guarantors of the International League.
Guarantee: 60 degrees
Actual Game Time Temperature: 56 degrees
Result: “Fans Win 60 degree guarantee,” was the headline of a press release the team put out this morning. As a result of this “win” “[A]ll Tribe fans in attendance to the contest have won a free ticket to any 2013 April home game of their choice.”
Team: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Guarantee: 60 degrees
Actual Game Time Temperature: 51 degrees
Result: Per Crain: “To back my guarantee, if it is not 60 degrees on April 4, then anyone who comes to Opening Day will get a free Sunday through Thursday ticket any day the rest of the entire 2013 season.”
Enjoy your non-weekend free baseball, RailRiders fans!
Team: Gwinnett Braves
Guarantee: “Temperatures will not dip below 50 Degrees.“
Actual Game Time Temperature: There was no game, as it was rained out.
Result: Mired in uncertainty, as fans on the team’s Facebook page have spent the afternoon parsing the text of the team’s original press release. Some have advanced the argument that since the temperature was below 50 yesterday, then fans should be awarded a ticket voucher in addition to the one that Opening Day ticket holders are already slated to receive as a result of the rainout.
But not so fast! The original press release stipulated that the G-Braves “were prepared to offer free tickets to those in attendance.” As Facebook fan Trey Farr pointed out, “Since they postponed it, no one [was] in attendance on Thursday, April 4.”
I think that the G-Braves should award free tickets to Mr. Farr, simply for having such a razor-sharp legalistic mind.
Team: Peoria Chiefs
Guarantee: 62 degrees
Actual Game Time Temperature: 59 degrees
Result: “All fans with a ticket will receive a free ticket to another Chiefs home game in April or May.”
59 degrees and a free ticket? That’s pretty much win-win! (But, alas, the Chiefs lost.)
So there you have it: there were four Opening Day weather guarantees (that I was aware of), and teams went 0-for-3 with a rainout. Small sample size, yes, but I think the lesson here is that Opening Day weather guarantees are destined to fail.
The next time that you read words on a computer screen that have been assembled and disseminated by yours truly, the origin point of said words will be some Godforsaken byway of the Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas, TX.
In other words, I’ll be writing from the Baseball Winter Meetings. As mentioned earlier this week — if you’re going to be there, please say hello! My schedule is pretty flexible, particularly on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I am always amendable to putting a face to the name.
But until then, I’d like to highlight something that occurred yesterday. It was momentous enough to merit a tweet:
And so it begins: At 7:27 p.m ET on 12/1/11, I made the first entry in my “2012 Promotions” spreadsheet.
Said entry was the Peoria Chiefs, who on June 9 will be welcoming Ernie Banks as a special guest AND staging another edition of “Dueling Pianos Night.”
Let’s Play Two! Am I Right?
Let’s move on from lonely joke-making (my primary place of residence) to that which everyone can agree on: A NEW LOGO! Earlier this week, the Bradenton Marauders displayed a skull and cross-bats themed alternate mark:
Said alternate logo is already available on hats and shirts, such as this unique Christmas-themed t-shirt:
No time for a segue! Moving on to MiLB.com content, please give a look to my Minoring in Business feature on the three Minor League broadcasters who made their MLB debuts in 2011. Interesting, no?
And now, without further ado, let me present what I hope will be a (more or less) weekly feature on this blog: The @BensBiz Twitter Top Six!
Many of you follow me on Twitter, many do not. But it is my favorite of all social media forums, as it allows me to keep tabs on what’s going on while sharing news items (many of which make their way to the blog) and obsessively-compulsively making jokes. Without further ado, here are the Top Six @BensBiz Tweets (and Re-Tweets) of the Week!
6. Together at last:
Believe it or Not: Pygmy marmosets, the Museum of Broken Relationships, and Minor League Baseball! http://bit.ly/sMaDLs
5. Loyal Reader Scott Jennings (once identified in an MiLB.com article with the preface “heckler”) lets his preferences be known:
My readers have very specific needs RT @sajennings: need more logos make everyone create new logos need logos thank you for the logos
4. Cannot resist the urge to make jokes:
Pedro Viola was removed from the Orioles 40-man roster today. Just like the orchestra, team saw Viola as a second string player.
3. Let’s get all haughty in here! (Nonetheless, the complaints are legit.)
Four MiLB team press release pet peeves, one tweet: 1. Release only included as attachment 2. No BCC 3. Indistinct subject line 4. Typos
2. It’s true. They really did:
1. Finally, a meat racer is on Twitter and talking trash about his rivals
See you in Dallas, industry! Thanks in advance for my annual ego boost before I recede back into complete and total NYC anonymity.
We are careening toward what is sure to be an eminently enjoyable Holiday Weekend, and strenuous acts like “reading things on the internet” don’t hold much appeal at the present moment. So allow me to take you on out of the work week with a cavalcade of recent video masterworks to emanate from the Minor League landscape.
Let’s start with the one Minor League team that will NOT be celebrating July 4th: the Vancouver Canadians. Our neighbors to the North produced a Major League-spoofing commercial that is rapidly attaining viral status.
If that somehow hasn’t satiated your desire to see Minor League productions of Major League, then check out this recent “One-Minute Movie” put together by the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
Staying within the always rich topic of “Ohio-based Minor League parody”, the Akron Aeros are promoting an upcoming appearance by soap star Patrick Drake by putting words into his mouth.
The next day the Aeros’ are trying to appeal to a younger segment of the female fan demographic with their “Princess Tea Party.” Mascot Orbit is doing his best to learn the proper etiquette.
The Aeros’ Eastern League compatriots Trenton Thunder don’t need to worry about selling tickets to this weekend’s slate of games, thanks to the presence of rehabbing superstar Derek Jeter. But not even Hall of Fame-bound Bronx icons possess the charisma of the team’s endlessly effervescent Bobby Baseball.
Also in possession of copious charisma if Montgomery Biscuits pitcher Chris Archer. Thursday is “Ladies Night” in Montgomery, and one lucky lady will win a date with the dashing right-hander:
Not as desirable to the ladies is new Frederick Keys’ mascot “Frank Key.” The freakishly large cranium might have something to do with that.
But the true indicator of any Minor League video’s success is how it plays in Peoria. And this one, from the hometown Chiefs, has been viewed plenty of times within the fine Illinois metropolis.
I’d say that the above definitively proves that rhythm is not a prerequisite of professional baseball success. Also not a prerequisite of professional baseball success: being human.
It’s not just a lazy stereotype, it’s the capital T Truth: Anatomically incorrect snakes take their celebrity airport pick-ups very seriously.
And that’s gonna conclude the blogging week. Enjoy the Holiday, and I’ll see you right back here at this very URL on July 5.
This past Thursday, the Tri-City ValleyCats embarked upon their “4 in 24″ project. This ambitious and worthwhile involved the renovation of four local youth baseball fields over the span of 24 hours. Here’s a collage of “after” pictures, taken from an excellent blog post re-capping the event.
The project was spearheaded by the team, and done in coordination with an array of corporate sponsors and community volunteers. As the ValleyCats explain:
Part of our mission as the Capital Region’s professional baseball team is to act as a steward for the game. The 4 in 24 project was a great way to further this initiative by giving back to the community that has supported us since 2002…The biggest challenge that we faced was the sheer size of this project. The ValleyCats organization has renovated a number of fields over the years but completing four within twenty four hours required a well-coordinated effort and a lot of coffee. Each of the leagues and sponsors provided volunteers that were crucial in moving things along.
The field work included “cutting out the entire infield grass, raking and grading the dirt, leveling the playing surface, laying out brand new grass and rebuilding the entire pitchers mound and home plate areas.” The aforementioned blog post includes a plethora of “before and after” photos. Here are two:
An even more current example of MiLB altruism can be found in Durham, as the Bulls are collecting food and clothing for those victimized by the recent tornadoes in North Carolina. The team offered free tickets to Wednesday’s matinee contest for all fans donating five canned goods or a bag of clothing. Here’s the resultant scene on the concourse:
As is often the case in April, poor weather is wreaking havoc throughout the world of Minor League Baseball. Yesterday’s post included snow-filled photos and video from West Michigan, and today the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have postponed their ballgame due to an excess of the white stuff.
This picture appeared on announcer Chris Mehring’s “Rattler Radio” blog today. It appears that the grounds crew workers may be preparing to pelt the broadcast booth with snowballs.
Meanwhile the Quad Cities River Bandits are currently playing a ballgame despite these conditions outside of the stadium (this photo originally appeared in the Peoria Chiefs “Playing in Peoria” blog).
Such is life when you play in a ballpark built on the banks of the Mississippi, but extensive renovations of recent vintage (including berm seating that doubles as a floodwall) have done much to mitigate the damage.
I’ve gotten through this post without a single joke attempt, a rarity in the world of Ben’s Biz Blog. It feels kind of good, actually, so I’ll end this before the urge to pun-tificate becomes unbearable. Thanks, as always, for reading.
If you thought I was done recapping the 2010 season, then you thought sensibly.
You also thought wrong.
In reviewing the year that was, I came to the realization that my favorite videos of the season had the following three things in common: They featured players, they were short (under two minutes) and they were funny.
No team was better at combining the following three criteria than the Peoria Chiefs, who put out videos featuring boy bands, models, and karaoke superstars. But my personal favorite paid homage to the sweet sounds of Motown.
The Tulsa Drillers were able to provide great insight into the culture of the bullpen, whose denizens are free to focus on matters follicles.
In Everett, meanwhile, the players were more concerned with that which resided above the upper lip.
And since we’re talking about players, I would be remiss if I didn’t include the masterwork of Reading Phillies sluggers Tagg Bozied and Matt Rizzotti.
The Charlotte Stone Crabs also used players to great effect throughout the season, as part of their “This Is Stone Crabs Baseball” ad series. This one, starring Isaias Velazquez, was my favorite.
Velazquez has good reason to be upset, and as this video amply illustrates it is not wise to mess with Minor League Baseball players. Behold, the “aqua-palypse” that took place in Gwinnett County.
Of course, a good Minor League video doesn’t necessarily need to feature the players at all. Lakewood BlueClaws intern “D-Bo” made a name for himself this season with a series of videos designed to highlight upcoming promotions. Here’s a sample, with sight gags a-plenty:
Amazingly, I’ve gotten this far without posting a parody video. Let’s rectify that immediately, by checking out the Binghamton Mets unique take on “Twilight”.
But nothing inspires parody more than early ’90s West Coast gangsta rap, as evidenced by these two works of art.
The above video was produced by the Peoria Chiefs, bringing this post full circle. But before closing this one out, I have just one more thing to announce:
Boy oh boy is it ever.
The previous post on this blog featured the following photo from the Trenton Thunder’s “NFL Kickoff Night.” It is quite possibly my favorite pic to emanate from a Minor League stadium this year:
So what, exactly, was going on here? Thunder director of public relations Bill Cook explains:
The kid signing for the cheerleaders was probably one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year. The cheerleaders threw out first pitches and then went over to the wall to sign for fans. After a couple of minutes that kid came down and said “Hey ladies, how’d ya like my autograph?”. The girls laughed and didn’t really know what to say, but since they were still holding the balls from their pitches the kid reached over, took one, and started signing it. As he handed it back, he said, “So, can I have your number?” The girls were speechless.
Truly, this kid is a role model. He carries himself with confidence and humor, and from here on out I will do my best to emulate his carefree approach to unorthodox social situations.
Also taking a carefree approach to unorthodox social situations are Peoria Chiefs players, who have recently been included in a remarkable trifecta of videos. First came the “Chiefstreet Boys”, then a rollicking Motown homage, and now this:
And it just keeps getting more ridiculous, as I just stumbled upon this:
Clearly, these guys are up for just about anything. Also up for anything are the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, who seem to specialize in unique ballpark innovations. The team is currently staging the “Battlefield Challenge” at Coca-Cola Park, a game-within-the-game that presents the tantalizing possibility of discounted concession stand items.
Sez the team:
The field at Coca-Cola Park has been divided into six battle zones that each team will attempt to
gain control of in an effort to conquer the entire playing surface.
Each team will have the opportunity to gain control of any
battle zone while they are at-bat. A base hit into any zone will give
the hitting team control of that zone until a base hit from the opposing
team lands in that zone.
And should the IronPigs gain control of all six zones, discounts will go into effect at the concession stands throughout the remainder of the ballgame.
Also, in what I believe is a Minor League first, the IronPigs are offering a week-long fan cruise this off season:
The package includes a souvenir IronPigs gift and exclusive
events (including an autograph session!) with IronPigs All-Star and
2008 World Series Champion Andy Tracy, IronPigs broadcaster Matt
Provence, IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes along with popular
mascots FeRROUS and FeFe!
This seven-night cruise to the Bahamas and Florida
aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel leaves New York City on
November 14 and includes trips to Port Canaveral, Florida, Great Stirrup
Cay (Bahamas) and Nassau (Bahamas). While aboard the ship, enjoy all
included meals and entertainment!
Wow. This is way better than the Ben’s Biz Blog offseason cruise, which consists of ’70s rock singalongs on a leaky dinghy imbued with the scent of rotting seagull.
Finally, I am happy to report that the Orem Owlz recently staged a “Weird Al Night”promotion. The master satirist was recognized in the following ways (thanks to Owlz assistant gm Brett Crane for the report):
Middle of the 3rd: Videoboard Weird Al Lyrics (Fill-in-the-Blank)
[The contestant's] goals was to fill-in-the-blank for three well-known Weird Al songs: “Like a Surgeon”, “Amish Paradise”, and “Eat It”.
Middle of the 4th and 5th: Weird T’Al’ents Contest
Middle of the 6th – “Eat It” Chocolate Pudding ContestThis was the messiest eating contest of the night and for
the season by far. Two contestants were chosen to compete against each other in
a timed eating contest. Each contestant was given three mini graham cracker
pies filled with chocolate pudding. Whoever finished their set of three first
won the designated prize from one of our sponsors. Of course, not all of
the pies were fully eaten and chocolate was everywhere. (“Eat It” was played
during this promotion).
This is a step in the right direction, but of course the ultimate goal is for all Minor League teams to stage at least one Weird Al promo every season. Please, everyone:
Let’s change things up today. Instead of a rambling preamble, I’m going to go straight to a picture from Peoria:
This man’s freakishly florescent facial hue comes courtesy of one of America’s most essential and beloved foods: Mac and Cheese. Lucas Smith, the Peoria Chiefs’ events and entertainment manager, explains how this all came about:
Of course, you can’t hold “Mac and Cheese Night” without a “Mac and Cheese Eating Contest.” The details on that:
Each bowl held eight pounds of Mac and Cheese mixed with hot dogs
and a side of peanuts. (Wednesdays are our Free Hot Dog and Peanuts
nights). The winner ate over three pounds of mac and cheese in a half
hour. After the half-hour was up, two friends of the guy with the hat
decided that a full stomach wasn’t enough, so they buried his face into the hot
mac and cheese. It was one of those “had to be there” moments.
More “had to be there moments”, which, more than anything, convey how unfun it is to participate in an eating contest:
Much lighter promotional fare could be found the very next evening, as the Chiefs staged Motown Night. Fresh off the success of their “Chiefstreet Boys” performance, a quartet of Peoria players took to the tunnels and engaged in an exuberant choreographed dance routine.
Corey Martin, Luis Flores, Anthony Giansanti and DJ Fitzgerald, I salute you:
Another worthwhile video to emanate from the eminent Midwest League is this time-lapse look at four very busy days in the history of West Michigan’s Fifth Third Ballpark. Witness a baseball game, the Great Lakes Irish Music Festival, and three concerts, all in under two minutes:
Watching time lapse videos generally evokes an existentialist malaise in the viewer, but depressive feelings precipitated by the inexorable passage of time writ large are no match for the in-the-moment joy provided by the Memphis Redbirds’ new rally mascot:
I don’t possess any additional information about this brine fellow, but that’s not going to stop me from assuming his name is “Dill-bert”.
“So many blog topics, so little time” is shaping up to be a pretty good tombstone epitaph for yours truly. But as long as I’m residing in the land of the living, Sisyphean struggles to mitigate the content glut will continue unabated. So here ya go: a random array of Minor League pictures and videos.
Let’s start with the scene in Reading this past Tuesday. Despite a bit of controversy, the R-Phils’ fan base proffered a heartily enthusiastic response to the evening’s “Ryan Howard Garden Gnome” giveaway.
The line outside of FirstEnergy Stadium, before the gates opened.
The gnomes, awaiting distribution:
Moving on from beards to the mustache, the Everett Aquasox pitching staff recently dedicated themselves to the fervent cultivation of upper lip hair. The results, in extreme close-up:
Another recent event of note in the Pacific Northwest was the pitcher’s mound wedding of hurler Corey Davisson. Read all about it HERE. (warning:adorable photos contained therein).
Less adorable, but more hilarious, are Class A baseball players dancing with surprising sincerity to the Clinton era’s pre-eminent boy band. This masterpiece was the highlight of the Peoria Chiefs’ recent “90s Night” promotion:
While this was the lowlight:
A pop culture celebration of more recent vintage recently occurred in Lexington, as the Legends staged a “Jersey Shore Night” promotion. The beat got beat up:
But after the beat-up comes the beatdown. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan visited Hickory recently, where he did all he could to make sure that Conrad didn’t win the mascot race. A truly brilliant snapshot, this is:
But even Hacksaw wouldn’t be able to stop the menagerie of characters that grace the cover of the Toledo Mud Hens upcoming comic book giveaway (scheduled for August 12). This is, truly, a work of art:
Or is there?
In 1985, most Americans were engaged in one of three important tasks: Perfecting a Max Headroom impersonation, blasting “Oh Yeah” on a portable cassette deck, or counting off the days until a post-Hands Across America global utopia.
But not Greg Maddux. The future Hall of Famer was plying his trade in Peoria, in the first full-season stop of what would turn out to be a 25-year professional career. In 1985, Maddux went 13-9 with a 3.19 ERA over 27 starts for the Chiefs. En route to doing so, he tossed 186 innings and six complete games, unthinkable numbers for a 19-year-old prospect in our current era of over-the-top pitch count obsession.
This past Friday, the Chiefs retired Maddux’s #31 jersey in a pre-game ceremony. The mayor of Peoria proclaimed June 11th to be “Greg Maddux Day”, thereby imbuing the event with instant legitimacy. Speeches were made by Chiefs president Rocky Vonachen, his father (and former club prez/all-around Peoria baseball legend) Pete Vonachen, and Maddux himself.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: photographic evidence!
Maddux, flanked by Pete Vonachen and Chiefs broadcaster MC Nathan Baliva:
And speaking of playing in Peoria, the Chiefs recently hit upon a brand-new form of in-game entertainment: Dueling Pianos. Two ivory ticklers from the nearby Jive and Wail piano bar set up shop atop the dugouts, providing a rollicking soundtrack to the entire evening.
Check it out!
Perhaps Dueling Pianos at live sporting events will be the next craze to sweep the nation, making a cultural impact on par with Garbage Pail Kids, Bonkers Candy, or at the very least Young Sherlock Holmes.