Results tagged ‘ Richmond Flying Squirrels ’

Minor League Teams to Do All Sorts of Ridiculous Things

Oh, man. Today has been one of those days. Minor League promotions are being announced at a fast and furious clip, and I can barely keep up with it all. Let’s start with the Frisco RoughRiders (recently rebranded and under new ownership) who have announced a “Full House” theme night on June 12:

A bit more info, from the RoughRiders:

“Full House” themed videos, skits and games will entertain fans throughout the night.  Additionally, the Riders will hold a contest where one lucky fan will win a free trip to San Francisco.  A spectacular fireworks show will follow the game, accompanied by classic music from the ’90s. 

You Oughta Know, however, that the RoughRiders are not the only team to be hosting “Uncle Joey” at the ballpark this season. The Richmond Flying Squirrels are doing the same on April 14. There was originally another person included in the below image, but I cut it out:

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It is also worth noting that the Flying Squirrels have a “Many Faces of Robin Williams” theme jersey on their promo schedule, but no images of that have yet been released. Stay tuned.

Another notable promo that needs accompanying pics — pronto! — is the Charleston RiverDogs “Bobble Boobs” giveaway during August 22’s “Breast Cancer Awareness Night.” This item, which really perks up the team’s schedule, was announced this morning. I immediately got excited:

No one seemed to find this joke funny, either, but per usual I am undeterred:

The RiverDogs also announced a “Bill Murray Tune Squad” jersey giveaway on April 25. Murray, of course, is the team’s co-owner and “Director of Fun.”

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In case you need a “Tune Squad” reference point (full disclosure: I did):

Meanwhile, the Lowell Spinners unveiled this. Maybe the evening will also include a free Buffet, featuring “Cheeseburgers in Paradise” and “Insufferable Drunk Baby Boomers”:

And, not to be missed, the Spinners have also announced that a “Balking Dead” zombie bobblehead will be part of the promo calendar as well:

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Finally, ICYMI (I don’t have time to type “In Case You Missed It”), the Jackson General unveiled these a-Baum-inable Wizard of Oz theme jerseys on Friday:

Ben’s Biz Blog: Still the original, still the best, still inexorably encroaching upon middle age while writing about some of the most ridiculous stuff imaginable.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Opening the Floodgates

This week I have been aware of a distinct shift in the tone and tenor of the national Minor League Baseball conversation. Valentine’s Day promos and borderline insane snow-related ticket deals are on the way out, as the primary focus is now on the 2015 season that soon will be. Promotion schedules are being released at a rapid clip, and as a result Opening Day know feels like a tangible thing as opposed to a vague abstraction.

What I’m trying to say here, as always, is that I have a bunch of random new Minor League promos to share with you. So share them, I will:

My prediction is that, by the end of 2015, we’ll be so sick of 30th anniversary Back to the Future celebrations that a future pop culture Terminator will go back in time in order to insure that the movie doesn’t get made at all. But for now, let’s celebrate this rising promotional trend. The Biscuits will be wearing these theme jerseys on June 27, for example:

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Knights will have a Delorean on the premises.

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While currently lacking a distinct visual to go along with it, the Bowie Baysox announced that, on July 19, they will be giving away a Babe Ruth bobblehead in which he is wearing the uniform of the 1914 (Minor League) Baltimore Orioles. This is, in a word, great.

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(As for that “Touch a Truck” event, my hope is that the Baysox release a promotional “trailer.” For far more truck puns, courtesy of myself and several Minor League broadcasters, go HERE.)

Also lacking a distinct visual, but also great, is this August 6 eggs-travaganza in Toledo:

Bacon & Eggs Night

Fans will have a sizzlin’ good time at the first ever ‘Bacon and Eggs Night’ at Fifth Third Field. Things will heat up when the Hens take the field wearing egg-themed jerseys and hats against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, who will be wearing their popular bacon-themed jerseys.

Thanks to a “last-minute” recruiting day commitment, the Bowling Green Hot Rods are pleased to announce that Ickey Woods will be visiting the ballpark on August 15. Per the team:

Woods will sign autographs, mingle with fans, and showcase his signature celebration….His appearance will be joined by specials on cold cuts, and Woods will lead Bowling Green Ballpark in an attempt to break the record for the most “Ickey Shuffles” done simultaneously in one location.

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The Sacramento River Cats are capitalizing on on our nation’s apparently insatiable appetite for ’90s pop culture nostalgia via this “Legends of the Hidden Temple” theme jersey:

Speaking of ’90s nostalgia, you probably heard about this one already. The Brooklyn Cyclones are staging “Saved By the Bell Night” on June 24:

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You’ll have to use your imagination for now, but the Richmond Flying Squirrels are giving away Joe Panik “Panik Buttons” on July 21.

Star Wars promotions have become an epidemic throughout Minor League Baseball. The Buffalo Bisons, one of many teams to tie a theme jersey into the evening’s attractions, will be wearing “Jedi Robes” on July 18.

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In what is certainly one of the cruder promotions of the year, the Midland RockHounds are wearing these black gold-splattered duds during August’s “Oil Field Weekend.”

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(For what it’s worth, I am a much bigger fan of locally-oriented theme jerseys such as that shown above. Pop culture jerseys have their place, but as a general rule I believe that clubs should give precedence to that which highlights the uniqueness of their own community. And, certainly, Midland is a unique baseball market.)

Finally, we have the Lakewood BlueClaws. On May 22, two days after David Letterman signs off from the airwaves, the team is staging a promotion in honor of the iconic late night host. If you’re wondering why they would do such a thing, then simply consult the BlueClaws’ Top 10 List.

Letterman

This post represents a mere smattering (is there any other type of smattering?) of the notable promotions that will be staged in 2015. Stay tuned, as there will be (too) much more where this comes from.

Can Minor League Baseball be stopped? No, it cannot be stopped.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Where to Begin?

For the past six months, the material on this blog has been almost entirely devoted to “On the Road” stadium visit recaps. I hope that you enjoyed reading these posts, and if you haven’t read them then I hope that you might soon take the time to do so. But now it’s time to move on, psychically unencumbered, to something that I haven’t done for a while: a full-to-bursting Ben’s Biz Blog bouillabaisse!

This will be the first in a randomly occurring series of posts in which I dig into my email vault of blog-worthy items from the season that was. Let the randomness begin! Randomness such as, oh, I don’t know, a Durham Bulls fan tweeting in the guise of a Game of Thrones character.

Some context regarding the above Twitter outburst, courtesy of the Durham Bulls’ “Hit Bull Win Blog.”

Mur Lafferty, or @mightymur as she is known on Twitter, is a Campbell Award winning author who covers games from a very unique perspective — through the eyes of Game Of Thrones character Sansa Stark. She calls it #Sansaball and being the nerds that we are (see Star Wars Night jerseys), we look forward to this every time she’s in the building.

She seemed to be in the building a lot during the 2014 season, as evidenced by tweets containing the #Sansaball hashtag. Tweets such as these, and so on and so forth:

This begs the question: if YOU were to tweet as a television character during Minor League Baseball games, who would it be and why? (I’d go with Chris Peterson from Get A Life.)

Minor League front office types often boast that they are in the “memory-making business,” and, well, images like this sure make for a great memory:

Opening Night Fireworks 222_2

That picture was taken way back on Opening Day, as Richmond Flying Squirrels mascot Nutzy entered the building in a most memorable fashion.

The evening also ended memorably. Flying Squirrels team president Todd “Parney” Parnell did his best Johnny Cash impersonation by jumping through a ring of fire.

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Moving on from Johnny Cash to the Beatles, it’s now time to take a look at “A Day in the Life” of a Minor League employee. This video was made by Greg Monahan, the Lansing Lugnuts on-field host and a graduate student at Michigan State. It was made as part of a school project, and it is well worth your time.

And that will be it for today. Now that I’m back from vacation and all of my road trip content is in the rear view, this blog is officially in offseason mode. I’ve got plenty of material to share, but am always looking for more. If there’s something that you’d like to see covered, or if you are interested in potentially writing a guest post on a relevant Minor League topic of your choice, then please get in touch. Like Richard Marx, I will be right here waiting for you.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

(Even More) Marking of Momentous Milestones (and More)

February 14 is a day when most people are either pitching woo or lamenting the absence of woo while listening to Wu-Tang Clan songs that sample John Woo movies.  I, meanwhile, devoted a chunk of my always productive and multi-faceted work day to a blog past entitled “The Marking of Momentous Milestones.” It dealt with anniversary logos.

Soon after the publication of said post, I was alerted to the existence of several more anniversary logos. So, in the interest of fairness as well as professional stagnation, today’s post will be devoted to EVEN MORE ANNIVERSARY LOGOS. (Sorry, it’s just that many of these logos are a lock to be on caps.)

Let’s start with the Round Rock Express, who are celebrating their Quinceanera.

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Meanwhile, the Richmond Flying Squirrels are entering their fifth campaign. If you don’t believe me, just look at this:

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While it’s true that you can’t spell Quinceanera without “Erie,” the SeaWolves are even older than that. Read all about their 20th anniversary plans HERE.

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Five plus 20 equals 25, which is the number of seasons in which Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s International League franchise has been operational.

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The RailRiders will be celebrating this anniversary throughout the season, including wearing a theme jersey that incorporates their three distinct identities (Red Barons, Yankees, RailRiders) into one coherent (?) whole.

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Yes, I’ve jumped from a 15th anniversary to a fifth anniversary to a 20th anniversary to a 25th anniversary. But there was a pattern to the order in which I shared the above logos, and it wasn’t numerically related. Anyone have any guesses?

Meanwhile, I’m barely more than half-way through my self-imposed blog post word minimum, so let’s keep this train rolling.

Also in (relatively) recent logo news, the Bristol Pirates have unveiled their look for 2014 and beyond (this marks Bristol’s first year as Pittsburgh’s rookie-level affiliate, hence the new look). Check it out, via this series of moving images:

The Harrisburg Senators have unveiled a new batting practice cap, which honors the insects that used to rain down upon fans during night games at City Island.

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From the team:

Mayflies, obviously huge fans of the team, have been known to hang out around Metro Bank Park, home of the Harrisburg Senators, on humid summer nights. These harmless little bugs are hatched near the banks of the Susquehanna River. The mayfly has a short lifespan and is fond of the bright lights of the ballpark. They can often be seen near the stadium light poles around 9:00 p.m. on a game night during the summer months. 

From me:

I am done writing this blog post. 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

2013 Promotions: 10 Alliterative Bobblehead Giveaways

There are few, if any, things that I like more in this world than the sound repetition device that is alliteration. Examples of it abound here on (ahem) Ben’s Biz Blog, perhaps my favorite being a post titled “Charlie Crist Cancellation Causes Costumed Crustacean Candidacy.” I should have retired immediately after writing that.

But, no, here I remain. My personal predilection for alliteration has led me to peruse 2013 promo schedules for examples of it in bobblehead form, because what better way could an able-bodied 34-year-old man possibly make use of his time?

1. Bowie Baysox — Jim Johnson, July 22

The Bowie Baysox have the honor of leading this post, for they are the only alliteratively-named team giving away an alliterative bobblehead. Their honoree is Bowie-turned-Baltimore pitcher Jim Johnson, who was born in June in the town of Johnson City.

And would you believe in that in addition to the Jim Johnson bobblehead, July 22nd is also “Mutt Monday” at the ballpark? And that the Baysox are playing the Akron Aeros? It’s almost too much too take.

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The Gwinnett Braves also get a very special mention in this post, as they are the only team with TWO alliterative bobbleheads on the promo calendar.

2. Gwinnett Braves — Brandon Beachy (April 6) and Freddie Freeman (May 18)

Yes, a Brandon Beachy Braves Bobblehead! It boggles the brain!

And now the rest!

3. Richmond Flying Squirrels — Brandons Bobblehead (Belt and Crawford), April 5

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This bobblehead is doubly alliterative in that not only is it a Brandon Bobblehead, but one of the Brandons is Brandon Belt. A Brandon Beachy Braves Bobblehead followed by Brandon Belt, right here on Ben’s Biz Blog. My life’s work is nearly complete.

4. Rome Braves — Henry the Hot Dog, April 20

Will Henry come covered in condiments?

5. Frederick Keys — Manny Machado, May 11

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This May a multitude of Manny fans, many men and maybe many more women, will flock to Frederick in order celebrate Monsieur Machado’s manifold splendor.

6. Reno Aces — Brett Butler, May 25

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A bounteous booty of Brett Butler bobbleheads bestowed upon Reno’s resplendent residents as a means of creative championship commemoration.

7. Sacramento RiverCats —  Chris Carter, June 23

Chris Carter, a Californian, consecrated by the ‘Cats. Cool.

8. Harrisburg Senators —  Stephen Strasburg, July 15

It’s Military Monday and the bobblehead is mini. Stephen Strasburg’s scintillating skill set stays sky-high.

9. Clinton LumberKings — Mitch Moreland, August 3

Mitch Moreland matriculated at Mississippi.

10. Memphis Rebirds — BBQ Bobblehead, August 16

Memphis is mum regarding the scintillating specifics of this “BBQ Bobblehead,” but what we do know is that it is taking place during a “Fred’s Family Friday” promotion.

My work here is done.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Space N’ Vaders at the Ballpark

“Star Wars Night” promotions, an idea first conceived by the West Michigan Whitecaps, have become an annual staple throughout the industry. I’m not a fan of the films (blasphemy, I know) but there is absolutely no disputing the fact that “Star Wars Night” results in a high level of fan engagement which, in turn, leads to some fantastic ballpark visuals.

For proof of all this, let’s take a look at the Toledo Mud Hens (semi) recent “May the Fourth Be With You” extravaganza.

The team advertised festivities such as the following, bullet-pointed for your pleasure:

  • LED Light Stick Giveaway (first 2,000 fans)
  • Appearances by Star Wars characters, including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Storm Troopers, and more
  • Star Wars costume contest (with prizes!) and on-field parade
  • Chewbacca to throw out ceremonial first pitch
  • Star Wars-themed food and beverage items
  • Star Wars sound effects and music throughout the game
  • Kazoo Giveaway (first 5,000 fans) to be used in a Star Wars ‘kazoo-along’ prior to postgame fireworks
  • Star Wars-themed “May the Fourth Be With You” postgame fireworks

And, indeed, such festivities did occur. Here are some gems from the team’s Facebook page:

Hey, Yoda, turn around and look at the camera!

There you go:

If the above six pictures were worth approximately 6000 words, then this video recap should be good for about 35k more (I did the math). Chewbacca toes the slab!

Finally, the team asked fans to provide a caption for this first-pitch photo (as the video above amply illustrates, Chewy fired a strike).

The results were decidedly mixed, as they often are with this kind of thing (one fan simply wrote: “I was in the elevator with him!”) I think my favorite was “The San Diego Chicken has really let himself go.”

Before I shuffle off of this mortal coil (that’s slang for “end a blog post”), I’ll share a video of (relatively) recent vintage.

This one, produced for Richmond’s “Flying Squirrels Insider” show, is great. Broadcaster Jon Laaser instructs Giants catching prospect Tommy Joseph on how not to build upper body strength and being unready at the plate.

“You gotta get noodly with the legs!”

And since we’re kinda-sorta on the topic of “amateur attempts to do the job of a professional,” here’s an audio link to my inning on the air with Brice Zimmerman of the Fort Myers Miracle. I’m actually kind of proud of it, because if you’re going to fail you may as well do so spectacularly.

Listen HERE, and, please, let me know if you have any advice on how I could do a better job next time.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

The Return of the Crazy One

Hey hey my my, Ben’s Biz Blog will never die. But it will occasionally fade away so as not to burn out, before bursting back into the spotlight with a new level of luminosity.

So now that I’m saddled up on the blogging horse after a week long absence from the internet stable, how about a high-wattage post of vague symbolism, mixed metaphors, and, of course, all the Minor League news that’s fit to “print”?

Any objectors, conscientious or otherwise? No? Then let’s start with that which matters most: a nine-foot tall inflatable fish needs a name!

This 108-inch Pirate craniate will roam throughout Jerry Uht Park in 2012, inciting Erie Seawolves fans to new levels of ardor. Remarks the team:

The nine-foot tall, inflatable fish character will be unveiled on Opening Day and will accompany the SeaWolves long-time mascot C. Wolf during on-field skits, community appearances and other team events. 

Any suggestions as to what to name the fish? All I know is that if he’s ever hauled to court on charges of piracy, “gill”ty is sure to be the verdict.

And I’ll be honest here — the prominent inclusion of the above piece is news is largely motivated by the desire to once again post one of my favorite Minor League videos of all time. This earring-sporting fish is now part of a ballpark family that includes these characters:

I know what you’re asking me at this juncture —  So, you were gone for a week, and the best MiLB news you have to offer involves the nomenclature needs of a freakish fish? Au contraire! I also have a picture of a very strange groundskeeping phenomenon: watering the snow.

This picture, sent along by reader Peter Golkin (@Pedro_G on Twitter), depicts the scene at Richmond’s The Diamond last week.  So to all you groundskeeping folk out there — is “watering the snow” an actual tactic, or is the above photo merely documenting some sort of equipment malfunction?

I don’t have the time to find the answer myself, because a far more pressing endeavor involves learning the ins and outs of yet another social media platform: Pinterest.

Yesterday, the Durham Bulls offered fans a Pinterest exclusive:

The team announced that  they will add an alternate cap to their on-field uniform set, unveiling the look on the team’s new Pinterest page. To get an exclusive first glimpse at the new cap, visit http://www.pinterest.com/durhambulls.

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where users can browse, organize, and share photos or “pins” of things they find interesting.  The emerging social network is also known for its popularity among women.  In addition to seeing the team’s new alternate hat, followers of the Bulls’ Pinterest page can view pins on seven boards that include “AdoraBULL Apparel,” “Boys of Summer,” and “America’s Favorite Minor League Team.”  

Popularity among women? No wonder I had no idea…

That’ll be it for me today. But I have a lot of material left to share, as well as ideas and schemes and general brainstorming related to the upcoming season. While I enjoyed taking a week long break from the blog (and this job in general), it was extremely gratifying to return to an email inbox overflowing with thoughtful personal correspondence, random news tips, and promo schedules galore.

Thanks, as always, for giving me something to write about.

Also: anyone know what the title of this post is a reference to?

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

It’s the Thought That Counts

It was my not my intent for the blog to take such a lengthy midweek hiatus, but the fact of the matter is I had very little material to work with. So I took a deep breath, stepped away from the WordPress dashboard, and waited for my falderal reserve to naturally replenish itself.

Mission accomplished!

Let’s start with a recap of a mission kinda-sorta accomplished, as earlier this week Richmond Flying Squirrels mascot Nutzy took a trip to St. Louis in order to capitalize on the Rally Squirrel mania that has overtaken that Cards-crazed city. Nutzy’s obligations are many, however, so his trip to the Show Me State was necessarily brief. Although he is already imbued with the power to fly, he took an airplane to St. Louis on Wednesday…

just in time for a Game 6 rainout.

What a bummer. But gliding rodents have a natural predilection for optimism, so Nutzy made the best of a bad situation. He posed with fans outside of shuttered Busch Stadium before checking out the sights of St. Louis.

Despite the somewhat anti-climactic nature of Nutzy’s journey, the sheer ridiculousness of a Virginia-based mascot of a San Francisco affiliate visiting Missouri in order to capitalize on mania surrounding the alleged rallying powers of his species generated some national attention. Most notably, the New York Times Bats Blog filed a dispatch in which Nutzy was described as an “eugenically designed über Eichhörnchen.”

Now let’s break that down: Nutzy sounds a bit like “Nazi,” Nazis were German, “eichhornchen” is German for squirrel, and eugenics as a social policy fell into (hopefully permanent) disfavor after taken to extremes by the Nazis. Subtle, perhaps, but this is one of the most nefarious disses ever levied against a mascot! The Richmond Flying Squirrels should boycott the paper of record until they receive a full apology for this sinister insinuation!

But I suspect that Nutzy will find other ways to occupy his time, as waging quixotic campaigns against the Gray Lady just doesn’t seem like his kind of thing. This is, after all, an individual who just last week rappelled down a building.

Rappelling down a building is something I have yet to attempt, but despite the lack of blog content I’ve still been fairly busy this week on MiLB.com “MiLBY Award” content as well as this feature that ran today on the Omaha Storm Chasers and their 2011 season. Give it a read; I chose to focus on the Storm Chasers because their recent transitions help to illuminate core Minor League Baseball operating principles that are often misunderstood.

Apropos of nothing, I’ll close this post with a video that I somehow missed the first time around. It’s of Boss and Moko Moanaroa and their father Joe performing a Maori war dance during a rain delay in Lowell. It’s the endless availability of things like this that make Minor League Baseball such a fun world to be immersed in.

Thank you for indulging this Minor League missive in the midst of such historic times for MLB. Enjoy Game 7 and the weekend in general, and I’ll be back on Monday with some Halloween-based content. If you’ve got something for me, then now’s the time to send some falderal for my reserve.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

10 From ’11

I’m as forward-looking as the next guy (whoever that may be), but nonetheless a longing backward gaze never hurt anyone. Right? RIGHT?

I sure hope so, because recent retrospective tendencies are continuing unabated with this: a look at some of the funniest/strangest/most evocative photos to have appeared on this blog during the 2011 season. It’s a feast for the eyes, so lather up those retinas and dive right in to the unparalleled visual extravaganza that is this post.

And we’ll start with one of my favorite recurring topics: Centenarian Ceremonial First Pitches! On April 7, Violet Smith celebrated her 109th birthday with the Great Lakes Loons. 109! I still can’t get over it. This woman was in high school when the U.S. entered WWI, and has lived long enough to see Franz Ferdinand re-incarnated as a British rock group.

Take Me Out…to the Ballgame!

DOB: April 7, 1902

Segueing once again from centenarians to sky-diving bulls, this picture of the Tulsa Drillers’ Hornsby remains my favorite mascot picture of all time.

The month of May provided what was probably the most famous picture to emanate from the Minor League landscape all year. Mark Gormus of the Richmond-Times Dispatch should be commended for this one, a thrilling snapshot of “Supermom” in action at a Flying Squirrels game.

Credit: Mark Gormus/Richmond Times-Dispatch

He’s not on the same level of heroism as “Supermom,” but who can forget Michael Restovich’s stint as “Cupman”?

Meanwhile, in Visalia, the Rawhide established themselves as the Cal League’s preeminent practitioners of age-based beauty contests. The winner of their “Belle of the Ballpark” competition was 96 years young, and very happy to have emerged victorious.

Photo Credit: Ken Weisenberger

The Rawhide’s Cal League cohorts in Lake Elsinore capitalized on the planking craze in memorable fashion. Here, the inimitable Grounds Crew Gorilla lays it all out atop an oven.

I don’t mean to pry, mate, but how’d you get up there?

Similar posture was utilized by David “The Human Cannonball” Smith when he was shot over the outfield fence at a Lowell Spinners game.

Have You Ever Been Suspended in Air? (Photo Credit: Jon Corneau/Lowell Spinners)

While it would be inconceivable for a player to be shot out of a cannon (at least in affiliated ball), sometimes they do find a way to participate in the promotions. One of the most enthusiastic was Frank Pfister of the Bakersfield Blaze, who gamely chugged away after losing a pre-game “Milk-Off” to members of the aforementioned Visalia Rawhide.

Photo credit: Chris Henstra/Visalia Rawhide

But humor can be milked from any situation. After the Boise Hawks misplaced their helmets prior to a late August ballgame, the team’s hitters were forced to borrow from the opposing Spokane Indians.

I’ll close this post with what may very well be the best photo ever taken of me, the world’s most self-loathing GREATEST Minor League blogger/itinerant solo traveler. Getting pied in the face atop a dugout while Mexican wrestling-enamored interns look on was a definite career highlight. The experience made me glad to be alive; thanks to the Akron Aeros for making it happen.

Minor League Baseball can be a beautiful thing sometimes.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

The Beginning is the End is the Beginning

I apologize for last week’s blog hiatus, and can only hope that absence did indeed make the heart grow fonder (as opposed to withered and discolored). My brief time spent abroad was a truly memorable and meaningful experience, and one I hope to blog about when time allows. Among (many) highlights, I made my French television debut!

But now it’s time to get back into the proverbial swing of things, via an even more proverbial headfirst dive into the frigid deep end of Minor League Baseball’s Olympic-sized swimming pool. The primary issue that we’re all dealing with right now is that the season is, in fact, over (save for the waning days of the playoffs, of course).

And when something ends, the natural instinct is to take a look back on what has transpired. This translates to season postmortem highlight videos aplenty, in locales as diverse as Fresno, Brooklyn, and Tucson. But I’ll feature this one from the Binghamton Mets, who summarized not just the season but their entire franchise history in the span of 60 seconds.

But for a truly unique season wrap-up, let me direct you to this missive from the Tr-City Valleycats: Mayor’s Race Analytics. This post should do for regionally-specific mascot race analysis what Moneyball did for oversimplified and premature obituaries on the occupation of professional baseball scout.

Writes the team:

In recent years, sabermetrics have revolutionized the study of baseball and other sports. Many other fields have also been influenced by statistical analysis, including politics and elections, to name a couple. But somehow, one very important area has been overlooked by the emerging field of analytics: politicians racing at sporting events.

Click the above link for more. And, for the record, I’ll always publicize blog entries that include apropos references to the 1876 Presidential election. Keep that in mind when emailing me.

But no matter how one parses the numbers, one fact about the Minor League life is universal: You’ve got to keep entertaining until the end. Nowhere was this more clear than in Gwinnett County, as the G-Braves kept things moving even in the midst of what turned out to be a season-ending rain delay.

And what is it about the Gwinnett Braves and end-of-season waterworks? It was just last season, after all, that loyal readers of this blog were thrilling to THIS.

The G-Braves finished just out of postseason contention, robbing them of the chance to participate in that most time-honored of playoff rituals: Politician Bets!

The Eastern League Finals are currently taking place, with the Richmond Flying Squirrels and New Hampshire Fisher Cats in a 1-1 series tie. And so much is on the line! Take it away, press release!

RICHMOND, VA – Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and New Hampshire Governor John Lynch have agreed to a friendly wager on the Richmond Flying Squirrels vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats Eastern League Championship Series. Governor Lynch has wagered that if Richmond wins, he will send Governor McDonnell a gallon of pure New Hampshire maple syrup. Should New Hampshire win, Governor McDonnell will send Governor Lynch a gift basket of Virginia Diner specialty peanuts, the official peanut of the Flying Squirrels.

Governor McDonnell, expressing his love of of peanuts to a rapt Skyler Stromsmoe

But even enemies must sometimes put aside their differences and work together, as evidenced by this hilarious photo sent to me by an embedded Northwest League contact.

Yes, that would be an in-game ensemble of Boise Hawks jersey and Spokane Indians helmet. Apparently the Hawks flat-out “forgot” where their helmets were just prior to a late August ballgame.  A search ensued, and in the meantime the hapless Boise batters were forced to go to the plate wearing the cranium-protecting duds of their avowed adversaries.

(And, pleasing only myself, I just included the phrase “In the Meantime” in a bit about helmets.)

I’ve got so much more to share, and of course I’ll be doing just that in the coming weeks/months/years/eternal re-incarnated existences. But for now I’ll close with this, which I wish I had known about in time to include in my final “Promotion Preview” column of the season.

2011’s first, best, and only transvestite bobblehead:

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

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