Results tagged ‘ Peoria Chiefs ’

On the Road: Chips, Burgers and Beer in Peoria

To see all of my posts from my May 26, 2015 visit to the Peoria Chiefs (this is Part Three) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my May 2015 trip through the Midwest, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

The Peoria Chiefs, who played their first season in 1983, were named in honor of the Peoria Indian tribe. But, in these more culturally aware times, the team has shifted its iconography and marketing to more firefighter-oriented themes. You know, like “Fire Chiefs.”

Peoria_ChiefsThe Dozer Park concession areas follow this incendiary theme, with stands like these:

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007My designated eater on this evening — you know, the individual who consumes the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits — had no interest in visiting either of the above two locales. This individual, one Thomas Doran, was in fact saddened at the suggestion that we do so.

031Only one thing could turn Thomas’s frown upside down . He was a big fan of Mexican cuisine, and therefore wanted to stop at a concession stand with the alliterative name of Cantina Caliente.

So that’s what we did. Pulled Pork Nachos put Thomas in much better spirits.

034Before we learn about Thomas’s food opinions, let’s learn about Thomas. He’s a 22-year-old Peoria native, and a huge fan of both the Chiefs and their parent St. Louis Cardinals. He graduated from nearby Ridgewood High School, where he managed the baseball team, and then went on to Bradley University. Thomas graduated from Bradley with a bachelor’s degree in history — “Because I’m a baseball history buff” — and he is now looking for employment at either a museum or a library. While at Bradley, Thomas remained involved with baseball as the school’s play-by-play transcriber.

In my notes it says that Thomas is a “fountain of local baseball knowledge.” Several weeks after meeting him, this is what I most remember. Throughout our various conversations his eyes would light up and his speech would quicken, in his excitement to convey various baseball facts and figures. He has a true passion for what he loves.

Thomas gave high marks to the nachos overall, due to the fact that they “pack in a lot of stuff.”

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“The chips could be stronger,” he added. “So they don’t fall apart when you scoop them.”

Thomas also enjoyed some tacos.

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He said that these were “spicy and dripping” and that he would get them again. And if you happen to be in Peoria and have a craving for Mexican food, take note: Thomas reports that the best such restaurant in town is Blue Margaritas.

036Thomas and I were soon joined by the first “designated drinker” in Ben’s Biz history, the appropriately-named Eric Cupp.
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Eric, an active-duty guard who lives in Paragould, Arkansas, is a big fan of the Cardinals and all Cardinals affiliates (particularly the Memphis Redbirds). He and his wife were in town celebrating their 15th anniversary, as part of a baseball-centric vacation that also included a Cardinals game in St. Louis as well as what would be his first game at Wrigley Field.

Eric was tasked with drinking the Chiefs’ new “Squeeze Play Ale,” created especially for the team by the Peoria Brewing Company. Strictly from a logo-perspective, this is the best team beer in Minor League Baseball.

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Eric gets to work.

“It’s smooth, but has a little bit of a bite,” said Eric. “It’s refreshing, and smooth going down. A very good beer. There’s just the right amount of flavor, to let you know that you’re still drinking a beer. It’s a shame you can’t try it, but I’m glad that you can’t.”

I can’t eat burgers either. Next, and last, up for Thomas was a “Beer Cheese Burger” from the Chiefs’ Burgertopia kiosk. I don’t think this picture really does it justice, but here you go.

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Thomas was a man of few words: “The bun’s a little soft.”

Nonetheless, he only had good things to say about his designated eating experience.

“I did it because I wanted to be on the blog,” he said. “It’s great. I get free food, that’s the best part.”

Thanks to Thomas (and Eric) for acing their “designated” responsibilities. I enjoyed getting to know them.

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benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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On the Road: A Norm-Al Night in Peoria

To see all of my posts from my May 26, 2015 visit to the Peoria Chiefs (this is Part Two) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my May 2015 trip through the Midwest, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

On May 25th in Clinton, I watched as Chris Mariscal’s RBI single gave the LumberKings a walk-off win over Burlington. The next day I was in Peoria, and so were the LumberKings. In the top of the 1st inning, Mariscal’s two-run homer gave them an early lead over the Chiefs.

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Home run trot

But actually watching the baseball game wasn’t my top priority. It never is. It never can be. When Ben’s Biz is at the ballpark (as opposed to his alter-ego, mild-mannered fan Ben Hill), then wandering is the order of the day.

First things first, I hid my ceremonial first pitch baseball so that someone else might find it.

Okay, maybe this wasn’t the best-phrased tweet. I ended up getting a lot of responses like this. Everybody’s a comedian.

As mentioned in the previous post, Caterpillar HQ is located in Peoria. In fact, it’s visible from the ballpark, which is called “Dozer Park,” because Caterpillar makes Dozers.  023Here, on the concourse, is a relatively new Dozer specimen.  020And here, on the other side of the concourse, is a old Dozer specimen. They don’t make ’em like this anymore.  054In between the Dozers is, yes, the best translucent playground view in all of Minor League Baseball. I did my research, and feel confident in making this assertion.

The non-translucent views are pretty good as well.

022Especially when they are in the service of welcoming a bonafide celebrity to the ballpark. Thanks, Chiefs, for the evening-long hospitality!

028Homer was most hospitable as well. At one point, he tracked me down and handed me an autographed baseball card. What a doll.

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A doll-mation, that is

After several pleasant innings spent with the evening’s “designated eater” — this will be documented in a separate post — I joined general manager Brendan Kelly for a pleasant stroll within the inside and upper levels of Dozer Park (which, by the way, is one of the few privately owned stadiums in Minor League Baseball).

Here is a conference suite, converted from what had been a largely unused section of the press box. The team rents it out on non-gamedays as well, to companies looking to conduct their business in a more-memorable-than-usual atmosphere.

042Across the hallway, one can enjoy the best translucent aerial team store view in Minor League Baseball. (Once again, I feel comfortable in making this assertion.)

043Down the hallway one can find the “Pete’s Perch” suite, named in honor of late, legendary Chiefs owner Pete Vonachen. Vonachen purchased the team in 1983, and was a Peoria Minor League Baseball fixture until his death in 2013 at the age of 87. His son, Rocky, now serves as team president.

050“Pete’s Perch” offers a great view of the game, of course.

052But perhaps even better is the memorabilia which can be found therein.

044Vonachen and Harry Caray were good friends, to the extent that Vonachen eulogized Caray at his funeral. Clearly, they had some good times and got in some trouble — to the extent that apologies and promises sometimes had to be made.

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A perhaps more heartfelt piece of Vonachen correspondence is this, from current Cubs skipper Joe Maddon. (But, c’mon Mr. Madden, you spelled Vonachen’s name wrong in the penultimate paragraph.)

046Vonachen is further immortalized on the Dozer Park concourse, via this statue depicting him in the act of benevolent ball bestowment.

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068My next stop was this outfield location, so that I could meet a pair of notable ballpark occupants….

055 …Norm and Al, a couple of ears of corn who dance on the warning track in the wake of each and every Chiefs run.

056It’s kind of a funny story, how Norm and Al came to be. When the independent Frontier League Normal CornBelters team began play in 2009, they represented a direct excursion into the Peoria baseball market. The Chiefs’ response was, essentially, “Why go to Normal to see professional baseball? We’ve got “Norm” and “Al” corn right here!”

Norm and Al (no one really seemed to know which was which) also dance during the seventh-inning stretch. I was asked if I’d like to don the ear and do some dancing, and my answer to this query was “Yup!”

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But the best dance moves at Dozer Park do not belong to Norm and Al. Not by a long shot. No one can compete with usher “Crazy Steve”, mild-mannered truck driver by day and shimmying ballpark savant by night.

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Even more alarming than all these sweet dance moves is the fact the Chiefs have their very own ballpark fire truck, a decommissioned city vehicle that the team purchased via auction. It is still functional, and the Chiefs use it for parades, community events and the like.

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Fire “Chiefs”

Meanwhile, the Chiefs had just trucked their way to a victory over the Clinton LumberKings. An early deficit, the result of Chris Mariscal’s first-inning home run for Clinton, had been overcome.

073Many of the fans stuck around after the game, clustering by the home dugout.

074Their mission was to procure an autograph from rehabbing St. Louis Cardinal outfielder John Jay.

075Jay, to his credit, stuck around until each and every fan had been accommodated. But a Major Leaguer’s work is never done, as outside the ballpark a small group of fans was sticking around for more.

IMG_1288Nor is a beleaguered Minor League blogger’s work ever done. It wasn’t until after the game that I realized that I had neglected to a “Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day.” This is the best I could do.

I hope that’s enough, because that’s all I’ve got.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

On the Road: How It Plays in Peoria

To see all of my posts from my May 26, 2015 visit to the Peoria Chiefs (this is Part One) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my May 2015 trip through the Midwest, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

Last year I visited the Rome Braves, which afforded me the opportunity to use the obvious but irresistible “When in Rome” headline. And now, one year later, I have the pleasure of utilizing another no-brainer blog headline.

On May 26 I attended a Chiefs game at Dozer Park. Yep! That meant that it was now time to see how it plays in Peoria. (The little things in life. They bring me such pleasure.) Just like in Clinton the day before, the sky was huge and blue when I arrived at the stadium.

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002Dozer Park opened in 2002 with the name of “O’Brien Field.” The “Dozer” name is the result of a naming rights deal with Caterpillar, the Peoria-based machinery and construction corporation that makes “Dozer” bulldozers.

Dozer Park is pretty on the inside.

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And, once you look past the construction barriers, the outside views of downtown are pretty nice as well.

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In the early days of my “On the Road” coverage, players interviews were done quite frequently. In recent years, however, they have been more or less an afterthought. Don’t take it personally, players, it’s just that I already have way too much to keep track of on these increasingly action-packed stadium visits.

But in Peoria, I made an exception. Prior to the ballgame, I spoke with “athlete-scholar” Nick Thompson and soon wrote a feature on him for MiLB.com. (Specifically, this feature was written in an Omaha-area hotel room two nights later with Littleman playing on mute.)

Dennis Sievers/Peoria Chiefs

Dennis Sievers/Peoria Chiefs

Thompson wasn’t in the starting line-up on this evening, at least in part because rehabbing St. Louis Cardinal John Jay was. As I walked around the stadium prior to the ballgame, I noticed that Cardinals fans were everywhere.

006And many of them were desirous of an autograph from Mr. Jay.

015These Chiefs, lacking autographs to sign, instead engaged in an elaborate game of charades.

010The view from out there:

011But out there I could not remain, for I was scheduled to be a guest on the Chiefs’ on-field pregame show, hosted by Midwest League broadcasting legend Nathan Baliva. Along the way I stopped to use the restroom, which I am mentioning because of this:

IMG_1272The Chiefs have flat-screen video ads above each urinal. The future has arrived in Pee-oria! They’re #1!

After a thorough hand-washing (I am nothing if not hygenic), I arrived on the field.

Cue the Monkees: “And then I saw his face. He’s Nathan Baliva.”
012After interviewing shortstop Oscar Mercado, Baliva turned his attention to me.

Homer enjoyed the interview. Really, that’s all that mattered to me.

013I then threw out a ceremonial first pitch, my second in as many days. It was, of course, a perfect strike. (If anyone has evidence to the contrary, then please get in touch.)

Oh say can you see?

016And then, of course, it was time to “Play Ball!” This young fan receives high marks in her “Play Ball” declaration efforts, largely for her committed effort to run away from the mic as quickly as she possibly can.

The scene, consider it set. The next post in this Peoria series will Chief-ly be concerned with what took place during the game itself. We’re going to keep on playing in Peoria.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

About Tuesday Night: Peoria Chiefs, May 26, 2015

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll be writing a short, on-the-spot blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Upon my return home, I’ll provide the multifaceted blog coverage that you have come to know and, perhaps, even love. Let’s get to it, lest it get to us! 

May 26, 2015: Dozer Park, home of the Peoria Chiefs (Class A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals)

Opponent: Clinton LumberKings, 7 p.m. game time

Dozer Park, from the outside:

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Dozer Park, from the inside: 

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Culinary Creation: Super Nachos with pork from the Caliente Cantina

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At Random: A rehabbing Jon Jay signs autographs before the ballgame

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Your Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day: 

It’s All Over: Autograph hunters staking out the ballpark after the game, waiting for Jay to emerge

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Next Up: 

5/27: Cedar Rapids Kernels

5/28: Omaha Storm Chasers

5/29: HOME

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

Your 2013 Opening Day Weather Warranty Round-Up

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.

Weather_Guarantee_w6o2ix4a_34qht101

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

Take it away, Mr. President: 

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

Chopper_Weather_dfgw7fsj_uf9bl4iz

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

Opening_Day_0ataqy7t_njacps5r

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.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Tweeting Before the Meetings and Other Friday Afternoon Concerns

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.

Hard at work during the 2010 Winter Meetings, about to post an exclusive scoop about how you can get free popcorn at the Trade Show.

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:

The @LowellSpinners recommend this hat for the “family hipster” demographic: http://bit.ly/t2FJ9B

1. Finally, a meat racer is on Twitter and talking trash about his rivals

Anthropomorphic pork in #BEASTMODE RT @RealChrisPBacon: Running around the warning track. #HamboneandDiggitystillinbed

See you in Dallas, industry! Thanks in advance for my annual ego boost before I recede back into complete and total NYC anonymity.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Red, White, and YouTube

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.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Making Something Out of Nothing

Those with memories exceeding that of a pigeon will recall that two weeks ago the Peoria Chiefs generated a firestorm of national media attention with their “LeBron James Replica Championship Ring Giveaway.”

The joke, of course, was that fans would receive nothing at all.

But giving away “Nothing” is harder than it looks, an endeavor that opens a jumbo-sized philosophical can of worms. The Chiefs dealt with the issue by setting up a display on the concourse and asking fans to imagine what could have been.

Following three photos: Dennis Sievers, Peoria Chiefs

As you can imagine, such a detailed promotion requires the full teamwork of the entire staff. Congrats, guys, for making something out of nothing.

The Chiefs’ promo (chronicled HERE by a local news station) was the harshest attack on LBJ since the 1964 presidential campaign, so let us now lighten the mood and let love in.

On June 17, the Richmond Flying Squirrels took the now familiar “Diamond Dig” promotion to the next level. Director of community relations and promotions Christina Shisler writes:

We hid four rings, three single-knot 14 karat white, yellow and rose gold promise rings showcasing two petite diamonds each, retailing at $451….And then our big prize was a petite estate diamond ring – half a carat, in a beautiful 18 karat yellow gold setting, retailing at $1,895!

 The Diamond Ring was the third one found and when the lady found it, her then boyfriend (and a minute later fiancé!) ran onto the field, got down on one knee and proposed right there on the spot that she found the ring in the dirt.

This is the most adorable in-stadium proposal since Broccoli got down on one knee in Reading last season.

And speaking of Reading, earlier this month thousands of fans arrived at the ballpark early…

in order to receive this:

But the splendor of the Cole Hamels Garden Gnome pales in comparison to the R-Phils’ latest dessert offering:

Very few things are as quintessentially American as eating 24 scoops of Sour Patch Kids-bedecked ice cream out of a full-size batting helmet at a Minor League Baseball game.  Except, you know, actually becoming an American at a Minor League Baseball game. I covered the Toledo Mud Hens’ Naturalization Ceremony on my most recent road trip, and was quickly reminded that the Hens aren’t the only team that have staged such an event.

The Memphis Redbirds hosted a Naturalization Ceremony last July 4th, and are planning on doing so this year as well.

May your children, and your children’s children, enjoy a life of miniature garden gnomes, buried diamonds within diamonds, and satirical celebrations of professional basketball failure.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Home Field Advantage

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.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Still Recapping, Moving Images

busted.jpg

If you thought I was done recapping the 2010 season, then you thought sensibly.

You also thought wrong. 

One (self-imposed) task remains, and that is to dedicate a post to the best team-produced videos that appeared on this blog in 2010. This is an entirely subjective task, of course, but it is indisputable that the following videos you are about to see possess ample comedic chops. 

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.
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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:

It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Boy oh boy is it ever.

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

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