Results tagged ‘ Reno Aces ’
In yesterday’s post on the West Michigan Whitecaps, I speculated that their Facebook update in the aftermath of Friday’s stadium fire was the most liked and shared Facebook update in the history of Minor League Baseball. Continuing on this speculative line of social media-centric thought, it is also likely that the most popular tweet in the history of Minor League Baseball occurred just last month.
It all began on Tuesday, December 3, when the Sacramento River Cats sought to fill some offseason down time by engaging fans in an “ask us anything” discussion. This prompted their Pacific Coast League rivals the Reno Aces to posit a somewhat snarky question, and within a quarter hour the River Cats responded in devastating fashion:
.@aces River Cats are aquatically inclined felines with extremely flexible necks, developed from looking down at Reno in the standings.
— River Cats (@RiverCats) December 4, 2013
Oooh, burn! And, as burns are wont to do, it soon spread like wildfire throughout the Twittersphere and then the internet in general. Retweet upon retweet soon inspired a number of regional and national blog posts, amusing innumerable individuals along the way. I expected the Aces, egos bruised, to retort in kind but instead they took a “you’ve won the battle, but not the war” stance and humbly retreated into the background.
The background is where this feud remained, until the River Cats decided to end 2013 by gloating anew.
— River Cats (@RiverCats) December 31, 2013
This time, the Aces couldn’t stay silent.
— Reno Aces (@Aces) December 31, 2013
And on and on it went, a tit for tat diss battle in which no clear winner emerged. Click HERE to read the whole back and forth, but please know that it ended with the Aces’ referencing the “worst bobblehead of all time.”
— Reno Aces (@Aces) December 31, 2013
As mentioned, the above Twitter battle gained some notoriety not just within Minor League Baseball but within the sports universe at large. But the River Cats take on all comers, as evidenced by this far-less publicized battle that took place with the Fresno Grizzlies on December 19. This one was started by Parker, the Grizzlies mascot, in response to an innocuous question from a local radio station.
— Parker B (@TheRealParkerB) December 19, 2013
Oh, Parker, why did you do that? Did you really think you’d get away it? Cue debilitating River Cats comeback in 3…2…1…
— River Cats (@RiverCats) December 19, 2013
Parker’s ensuing retort wasn’t much to speak of (Sorry Parker, just keepin’ it real), but the Grizzlies jumped in with a parting shot. The lesson here is: when beefing with the Sacramento River Cats on Twitter, and at a loss for words, simply mention “the worst bobblehead of all time.”
— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) December 19, 2013
At the end of the day, Twitter wars are stupid. But aren’t most things? And Twitter wars are not only stupid, they’re entertaining as well. So I guess what I’m saying is this: if you’re a Minor League Baseball team, go ahead and tweet something insulting at one of your league rivals. I’ll be glad you did.
My “On the Road” posts are perhaps best described as impressionistic fever dreams, in which I try to piece the fragmented memories of my ballpark evenings into something resembling an objective reality. In doing so I strive to reach a fertile middle ground in which a small “t” truth can blossom into infallibility, but sometimes the discrepancy between my account of an evening and that of the team in question becomes too great to ignore. This is certainly what has occurred when it comes to my recent visit with the Reno Aces, as I documented a rather lackluster night at the ballyard that ended prematurely due to a rainout.
When the Aces read this post, they were incredulous. “It goes without saying that Ben is the greatest baseball writer of all time, but not even the greats are unimpeachable,” went the presumed front office sentiment. “And, like Loutallica or Chinese Democracy, Ben’s post on this alleged “Reno Rainout” represents greatness at its most deeply flawed.”
The Aces, led by marketing director Brett McGinness, took it upon themselves to compose a thorough corrective to my Reno rainout missive, which I will now reprint in full. In doing so I am not admitting to any errors in my previous account; rather, I am simply acknowledging that truth is a malleable construction, perhaps nothing more than a coping mechanism designed to create some semblance of order within an existence that requires daily navigation through the chaos of infinite conflicting realities.
We’re not sure what your recent column was, about the rainout at Aces Ballpark. Here’s how we remember it (with photographic proof):
It was a perfect August evening at Aces Ballpark. 75 at first pitch, not a drop of rain for miles.
The Aces and Redbirds took the field right on schedule, and you got the full Aceball experience. You seemed a bit road-weary.
The second-inning trike race against Archie went well. You pulled out to a huge lead, but seemed pretty blasé about the victory.
Next up: Dancing Grounds Crew. Surely this would shake you out of your stupor.
Guest-starring as Roof-Man, perhaps?
Same deal when you were in the wiener dog race (although you came in third, so it’s understandable why you might have been bummed out).
That was when we accidentally offered you a Triple Play Sandwich, chock-full of glutens. Cryptically, you told us, “Don’t offer me glutens. You wouldn’t like me on glutens.”
You took one bite of that sandwich and went a little nuts.
You proposed to some woman on the field. We’re still not sure if you knew who it was, or if you had met her before, or what.
We tried to tell you that “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” wasn’t a duet, but we couldn’t talk you down from the wall.
We didn’t really know what to do, so we had to call the cops.
Long story short, Nevada requires no residency for marriage certificates, so the marriage is binding. You should really head back here when you get a chance, your bride keeps stopping by the ballpark and asking about you, and we’re running out of excuses.
I’ve got to admit, the above account does explain a lot. Namely, why a woman with a 775 area code who is listed in my phone as “Betrothed” keeps calling me. I keep telling this lady that she’s got the wrong number, and that I remain Minor League Baseball’s most desirable bachelor, but who knows? Perhaps it’s time to own up to my gluten-fueled indiscretions and settle down in Reno.
Or perhaps not. I’ll spend the remainder of the week pondering my options, and in the meantime stay tuned for dispatches from one more “On the Road” locale: Hillsboro, home of the Hops. Hopefully my account will jibe with the team’s, but who really does know?
I’ve traveled quite a bit over the past four seasons, and in that time I’ve kept meteorological misfortune to a minimum. The only time whilst “On the Road” in which I experienced a rainout was in 2010, when a vicious Chattanooga thunderstorm put a halt to any and all Southern League activities that had been scheduled for that evening at AT&T Field (or, as I like to call it, “Orphan Initialism Field”)
When I arrived at Reno Aces Ballpark on a recent Thursday it was decidedly overcast, hardly the sort of day that sets hearts to fluttering.
“But, still,” I thought to myself,” “This is Reno. I don’t think that there are ever rainouts here. It’s, like, near a desert or something.”
This was an exact thought-quote.
Upon entering the ballpark (which, as you may be able to infer from the above pictures, is located in downtown proper) I met with Aces marketing director Brett McGinness and we embarked on a tour of the facility. For some reason, the very first picture that I took is of a deserted (for the time being)
cornhole bago area.
“This started as a bocce court, but bocce didn’t fit the Reno aesthetic,” Brett told me. “Bago has been much more popular.”
Also representative of the Reno aesthetic are huge meat smokers in the shape of a train.
Aces Ballpark is the centerpiece of Reno’s entertainment-centric “Freight District” and the city is a major trucking and transit hub in general, so the train motif makes sense. There are train tracks located directly beyond left field, for goodness sake.
The scene is different in right field, as there one finds the Truckee River.
To the right of right field, out in the distance, on the horizon, there are mountains.
But as for the more immediate surroundings? Take a look:
Refreshment options abounded, actually.
Outside there were food trucks, or, as nobody calls them: vehicular comestible purveyors.
Upstairs, this was the scene at “Bugsy’s.
“Bugsy’s” is so named because “Bugsy” is the nickname of Aces manager Brett Butler. Butler got that name during his playing days, when his snazzy sartorial sense inspired teammate Mike Krukow to remark that he dressed like mobster Bugsy Siegel, and the name stuck.
Keep in mind that I was walking around the ballpark with a guy named Brett [McGinness], who told me that “Growing up Brett Butler was my favorite player, because there were no other Bretts playing baseball. Now when I’m walking around the ballpark Brett [Butler] will see me and say ‘How’s it going, Brett’ and I’m like ‘Wow, dream come true!’ Brett Butler knows my name!”
Such interaction is par for the Brett Butler course, actually, as prior to the season he requests short bios of the Aces front office so that he can competently make small talk with them when the need arises. That’s just the kind of guy Brett Butler is!
There are plenty of food and drink options at Aces Ballpark — especially if you DON’T want to watch the game. There’s an entire attached entertainment district that is collectively referred to as “The Freight House.”
Bago can be found up here as well, beneath the upper torso of a glowering neon baseball player.
It is rumored, but not confirmed, that this player was modeled after veteran infielder Cody Ransom.
Meanwhile, game time was almost upon us. In the following Vine, the PA announcer’s exhortation to “Play Ball” occurs about half a second after a jagged bolt of lighting cuts across the sky. Baseball and lightning are, generally speaking, incompatible.
— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) August 9, 2013
But the game had begun and there was nothing to do but keep on keeping on, despite the less-than-ideal conditions. The evening’s originally scheduled “designated eater” (you know, the individual who consumes the ballpark delicacies that my gluten-free diet prohibits) was a local DJ/Aces superfan/Reno man-about-town named Chris Payne.
Payne was recently voted Reno’s “best public figure to fantasize about,” so have at it:
Unfortunately, Payne’s own recent set of dietary restrictions — he had given up red meat– rendered him unable to adequately perform designated eating duties. All I could do was admire his tattoos and footwear and move on.
“I take what I do as a fan to the next level,” said Chris. “I’m always thinking eight steps ahead of everyone else.”
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Into the designated eating void stepped Brett McGinness himself. And first up for Brett was the $15 Triple Play sandwich, which consists of 18-hour smoked brisket and pork shoulder, BBQ-glazed meatballs, cole slaw, three pieces of Texas toast, pickles, and peperoncinis. After you order it, you are given the following sign so that an Aces food service worker can come out and hand deliver it.
(In the below photo, senior sous chef Brad Radack is holding the sign. We’ll meet Brad in just a bit.)
What a beauty this thing is!
Have at it, Brett!
As Brett methodically consumed the above item with grace and aplomb, the situation on the field went from bad to worse.
Say what you will about radar, it is incapable of untruths. And, sure enough, about 10 minutes after the first pitch, the skies opened up. It was a veritable deluge, and Brett abandoned the Triple Play sandwich in favor of tarp duty.
The concourse, in which elbow room had once been so plentiful, quickly became a mob scene.
Two brave — or would that be insane? — souls stuck it out in the stands.
The Aces’ tarp work was exemplary, and after the situation was under control Brett returned. (His sandwich, however, did not. I have no idea where that thing went.)
The Aces had prepared a rather ambitious schedule for me, involving many aspects of the game day experience, but the rains rendered this schedule moot. (At the time the rain hit I was preparing to take part in a trike race, because, as Brett said, “We figured we’d put you on a metal object in a thunderstorm.”)
Okay, fine. Plan B: watched Brett eat more food. What a life. This time we headed up to Duffy’s, a member in good standing of the Freight House conglomerate:
Brett, still soaking wet, soon had before him Duffy’s version of a reuben: corned beef, french fries and dressing on rye, cooked in a woodstone pizza oven.
Chef Radack reported that this is a new item, and it has been popular as a late night selection (Duffy’s opens 90 minutes before the game and then stays open until midnight or so). Brett, he enjoyed it.
It’s not on the menu, unfortunately, but Chef Radack and his crew were kind enough to prepare me some gluten-free pizza. On the left is pepperoni, on the right is the veggie-centric “Farmer’s Market” (onions, zucchini, peppers, pomodoro sauce).
Radack and crew, awaiting my reaction:
Thumbs-up, guys! (Seriously, please don’t kill me.)
It really was good — I’m not sure what type of flour was used, but it resulted in a crisp thin crust and that’s all I ever ask for. (Well, that and fresh ingredients. And impeccable presentation. And affordability. And a complete and total obsequiousness to my every passing whim.)
Meanwhile, outdoors, the rains had subsided. That was the good news. The bad news was that so much rain had fallen in so little time that the field remained sodden and certainly would remain sodden for some time.
Well, okay, then. In order to pass the time I resumed my new favorite activity: watching Brett McGinness eat. Here’s a Caesar wrap on a spinach tortilla, Brett. Do with it what you will.
“I’m like the Homer Simpson of food critics,” said Brett, commenting on his perhaps-less-than-discerning taste. “This is awesome, too. I love it!”
Well, then, you may as well keep right on eating. Here’s a Frito Pie Dog, in which a 10-inch hot dog is topped with chili, cheese, and Fritos.
Previous Homer Simpson-esque proclamations notwithstanding, Brett was starting to get a little burned out.
“This, it tasted like a Frito Pie Dog,” he said. “Whatever you imagine it tastes like, that’s what it tastes like.”
This would prove to be Brett’s first and final tautological culinary observation of the evening, as word soon came over the PA that there would no more Pacific Coast League baseball on this rain-besmirched Reno evening.
— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) August 9, 2013
My sentiments exactly, videoboard. My sentiments exactly.
2013 marks the Aces’ fifth season, and this was just their third-ever rainout. What a disappointment for such an anomaly to occur on the lone night that I was in Reno, as there is so much of the Aces experience left to be seen!
Perhaps, through a combination of technological chicanery and good old fashioned elbow grease, I’ll be able to find a way to show you some of these things. Who really does know?
Last week I took a break from the typical sort of blog content, eschewing the ever-present “now” in favor of planning for the future. And indeed, your input is still very much desired regarding that particular tri-fecta of posts:
– Send me headshots! (Seriously, the response to this thus far has been tepid at best. My writerly ego, so fragile to begin with, is in danger of suffering irreparable damage. Here’s some inspiration for ya:
But that was then, so now it’s time to look at what was then now. Or, rather, was now then. Capiche? Me neither.
The Yankees’ Empire State of Mind is due to the fact that the team will be playing “on ze road” throughout the 2012 season, with the majority of the ballgames being hosted by the Rochester Red Wings (the team is also playing “home” games in the Empire State locales of Batavia, Buffalo, and Syracuse). This less than ideal situation is because the team’s PNC Field is undergoing an extensive $40 million renovation, rendering the field unplayable.
Or is it? The renovations have yet to begin, as the team’s scheduled sale to Mandalay Baseball has yet to go through. More on all that, as well as the mild controversy behind the Empire State Yankees name, can be found HERE.
And, hey, since we’re on the new logo tip now would be a good time to show the San Jose Giants’ recently unveiled 25th anniversary mark. Your life will never be the same:
And now for yet another logo, of sorts: The Reno Aces have continued their St. Patty’s day tradition, by releasing an Irish-themed limited edition t-shirt.
On St. Patty’s Day the team should drop the “Ren” from their name and simply go by the name “O’Aces.” Although, come to think of it, that might result in a lawsuit from the Gallagher bros.
Meanwhile, I’ve been spending a lot of my “down” time here at the office in the tedious but worthwhile task of compiling (via spreadsheet) 2012 promos of note. Some interesting stuff pops up sometimes, such as this offering from the Portland Sea Dogs:
April 15: Tax Day/Headstone Giveaway
Sez the team: There are only two guarantees in life: death and taxes. Therefore the Sea Dogs have partnered with Jones, Rich, and Hutchins to giveaway a headstone to one fan.
I like it! We as a society need to spend more time contemplating (and therefore overcoming our fear of) the sheer inevitability of death. While a “Salute to Mortality” theme night is a long way off, the Sea Dogs are at least moving the conversation in the right direction.
My current “making do with what I’ve got” logo stance continues unabated with today’s post, as the lead item is this:
For those who need things spelled out for them — this is the logo for the 2013 Triple-A All-Star Game, an annual contest which pits two historically rich but misleadingly-named leagues against one another (International vs. Pacific Coast). As you can see, the 2013 edition will be taking place in Reno. The “biggest little city in the world” is home to the Aces, who played their inaugural season in 2009.
The lines orbiting the baseball in the above logo directly reference the sculpture that greets fans upon arriving at Aces ballpark:
The logo was designed by Brandiose, who once upon a time in a faraway and distant land were known as Plan B Branding. Those looking for more insight into the company’s philosophy and history would do well to read this supremely simile-laden interview with co-founder Jason Klein on apennysworth.com
Q: Logo designers sometimes fight disparaging perceptions ranging from proverbial snake oil salesmen to glorified finger painters. How do you persuade clients of the tangible benefits of identity design?
Let’s move away from eloquent analogy and distant 2013 talk and back toward the present. Or, more accurately, the recent past. Whatever. Writing 500+ segues a year is exhausting.
Have you ever wanted an expedient tour of a Major League team’s offseason publicity event? The Frederick Keys have you covered, and then some:
And how about something that could be happening in the near future. On Monday, the Tri-City ValleyCats put out the following on Facebook:
We are thinking about a Jimmy Fallon bobblehead this year at “The Joe!” He has ties to the area attending the College of Saint Rose and is a huge hit on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Would you come for a Fallon bobblehead?
“Artists” rendering of said bobblehead:
As I remarked on Twitter: “Hopefully this idea doesn’t Fallon deaf ears!”
See, there’s a reason I get paid the big bucks. But if it’s small bucks you’re into, let it be known that the State College Spikes are desirous of a new Ike!
Guess that gives new meaning to the term “deer hunting season.”
Lots of flotsam and jetsam has piled up on the shores of Ben’s Biz Blog remote island headquarters, and the only way to deal with such excess detritus is by accumulating it into a tidy pile.
Nice to get a belabored analogy out of the way so early. Let’s go to the info!
First of all, a pair of Pacific Coast League announcers are on the cusp of celebrating significant milestones. Tonight in Des Moines, Deene Ehlis will call his 3000th game for the Iowa Cubs. The broadcast will also be notable in that it’ll include an interview with Indianapolis Colts receiver (and University of Iowa alum) Dallas Clark, who has been immortalized by the I-Cubs in bobblehead form.
Then on Tuesday, Steve Klauke of the Salt Lake Bees call his 2500th contest:
Klauke joins legendary Utah Jazz broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley (2,645) as the only two play-by-play broadcasters to call 2,500 games with one Utah team. He also becomes just the fourth current Pacific Coast League team broadcaster to reach the 2,500 games-called mark with one PCL team. Currently in his 18th season with the Bees, Klauke can be heard live on 1320 KFAN and at slbees.com.
Klauke will be recognized during a pregame presentation on Tuesday, April 26, while audio highlights of his more notable calls will be played throughout the game.
Trivia Question! Who are the other two current PCL broadcasters to have called at least 2500 games? The first person to email me with the correct response will get to contribute 150 words to a future blog post on whatever topic they choose (must be family friendly, of course). email@example.com
Since we’re on the topic of the PCL , it is well worth pointing out that the Fresno Grizzlies are staging a Saturday night tribute to severely (and senselessly) injured San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow.
Fans can purchase a Super View ticket and special Bryan Stow bracelet for $15, with $10 going directly to The Bryan Stow Fund, established to support Bryan and his family. Stow is a paramedic with American Medical Response and works games for the San Francisco’s Single-A affiliate, the San Jose Giants, at Municipal Stadium.
As you’ll recall, the aforementioned San Jose ballclub is dedicating the month of April to Stow.
I might as well stay with the PCL, as yesterday Sacramento and Reno upped the stakes of their rivalry via a bet between each city’s classic car museum. Typical, right?
The annual season series between the Reno Aces and the Sacramento River Cats will take on new significance in 2011, as the two host cities’ auto museums will face off in a high profile wager based on the overall winner of the season series. Reno’s very own National Automobile Museum will put up the 1949 Mercury that James Dean drove in “Rebel Without a Cause,” while Sacramento’s California Auto Museum will put up a 1932 Ford raced by driving legend AJ Foyt.
The RiverCats have owned the Aces as of late. Reno’s win on 4/19 snapped a 12-game losing streak against Sacramento, with their previous victory having come exactly a year previous. (My knowledge truly knows no boundaries, a fact that I’ll tell myself many times over tonight while sitting in an easy chair and drinking whiskey in a darkened living room.)
But anyway, can you believe that I’ve made it this far before featuring a new food item that laughs in the face of death? What follows is the Lancaster JetHawks’ new “Heart-Stopper” a limited time only delicacy consisting of a hot dog on biscuits, smothered in sausage gravy, cheese, and bacon.
I actually think this one looks pretty good! If only concession items could safely and sensibly be sent via the United States post office…
Until that day arrives, I’ll be amusing myself with humorous videos. This one, featuring the clumsy ball-handling skills of Durham Bulls hurler Mike Ekstrom, is a must-see instant classic.
That’s going to close out the week for me. But before I go, may I direct your attention to my latest “Farm’s Almanac” piece on MiLB.com? Professor Joe Price is singing the National Anthem at over 100+ ballparks this summer, and he’s truly a man on a mission. From the story:
“I always love for people to join in, and for the anthem to be sung together regardless of political orientation,” said Price. “This can, potentially, be everyone’s national anthem. And as a result it can bridge the gap between the Tea Party and liberals, between hawks and doves. Because, even though it is a wartime song, it was written as a celebration of freedom. The preservation of our freedoms is what lies at the heart of it.”
What a momentous week — yesterday was Pi Day, today is the Ides of March, Wednesday is National Artichoke Hearts Day and Thursday is St. Patrick’s Day.
Minor League Baseball’s involvement with the first three of these annual milestones is minimal at best, but for St. Patrick’s Day teams are going green in a way that has nothing to do with waterless urinals, concourse recycling bins, and LEED certification.
The Savannah Sand Gnats are offering this St. Patty’s day tee, which makes it clear that insects can be Irish too:
Indianapolis is putting its own spin on the theme, as this green cap celebrates the “Luck O the Indians.”
And speaking of the Aces, the team is currently offering what I believe is the best season-ticket package in all of Minor League Baseball. Full-time students can purchase a general admission pass for $72 — that’s $1 a game!
But even cheaper than $1 a game is free, and in Fort Wayne the TinCaps are currently offering fans a unique way to score complimentary Opening Day ducats.
[T]he TinCaps are looking for eagle-eyed deputies to enforce a new staff dress code. Any fan who catches a full-time TinCaps staffer without a TinCaps logo visible on their person wins two tickets to Opening Day…Staff members must wear a visible TinCaps logo at all times for the entire month leading up to Opening Day, whether or not they are on the job. Anything from a TinCaps fake tattoo sleeve to a lapel pin is sufficient.
For truly committed fans, this shouldn’t be a problem. Just pick a staff member and engage in round-the-clock surveillance. They’re sure to slip up sooner or later.