Results tagged ‘ Richmond Flying Squirrels ’
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.
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.
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:
- Posted on September 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm
- 1 Comment
- Minor League Baseball, Promotions
- Tags: a rapt Skyler Stromsmoe, beginnings, Binghamton Mets, Boise Hawks, endings, gubernatorial wagers, Gwinnett Braves, Helmets, infinite cycles, mayoral race, Northwest League blooopers, post-mortem, Richmond Flying Squirrels, season highlights, Spokane Indians, Toledo Mud Hens, Tri-City ValleyCats, waterworks
For the Kane County Cougars, the Friday leading into July 4th weekend has traditionally been a slow one at the gates. Fans have been reluctant to attend, opting to wait until the team’s Independence Day celebrations.
So this season, they generated excitement by staging a tribute to Harry Potter. ‘Tis the time to do that sort of thing, of course, as the eighth (and final) installment of the film franchise opens on July 15.
Heather Mills, who organized the event, writes that Some of the activities of the night included a wand making station (fans could decorate a dowel rod with markers, crayons, and ribbon), a Harry Potter scavenger hunt, costume parade, trivia contest, and a fireworks show to Harry Potter music….It was quite a hit with fans as we had several hundred show up in costume….We also had the ballpark decorated in the Hogwarts house colors, house banners, and other recognizable things from the books/movies…. Another activity that spontaneously broke out during the night occurred after the kids visited the wand station. Several kids were dueling each other with magic spells on our lawn area.
The festivities helped contribute to a strong crowd of 5745, a number of whom battled for on-field costumed supremacy.
Another successful theme night of recent vintage was the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ “Great Outdoors” celebration, sponsored by the Virginia Wildlife Foundation and featuring special guest Josh Harris from the show Deadliest Catch.
I am not familiar with Harris, but apparently he’s quite the celebrity. Flying Squirrels director of promotions Christina Shisler writes that Harris “signed autographs the entire game, tossed a first pitch, led the crowd in take me out to the ballgame and even recorded a PSA for our sponsor.”
An even bigger celebrity is set to be honored in Reading this weekend — the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. One fan will win a 550-lb replica of the man and his ostrich.
I’ll conclude this blogging week with a simple reminder that, yes, I still need you to send me photos of introspective mascots. Please, this is important to me.
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.
When I was in Lancaster earlier this month, JetHawks food and beverage director Adam Fillenworth told me that the team was on the cusp of debuting “the smallest hamburger in Minor League Baseball. Such an item would be a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to the “extreme” concessions that have overtaken the Minor League landscape in recent years, a trend that the JetHawks themselves have participated in (see Burger, Stealth).
My reportage, always free from conjecture and hearsay, was once again accurate. For the team has now unveiled their miniature creation: “The Itty-Bitty Burger.”
The tiny hamburgers in deep fried buns are only available for a limited time. They can be upgraded to a “cheeseburger” (the addition of nacho cheese dipping sauce) and can be served with complimentary sides of ketchup, mustard and relish.
“It seemed like everyone was attempting to out-do each other this year by creating food that didn’t look appealing, so we thought we’d go in a different direction,” JetHawks Food and Beverage Director Adam Fillenworth said.
This development is analogous to the rise of punk rock, a no-frills genre formed in opposition to the over-produced pomposity of ’70s arena rock bands.
A particularly adept Me Decade arena-filler was Bad Company, whose hit “Feel Like Bacon Love” was certainly heard at Richmond’s The Diamond on Wednesday. As you’ll recall, the Flying Squirrels staged a “Tribute to Bacon” featuring an appearance by a local detective with the name of Kevin Bacon.
A similarly sizzling promotion occurred last week in Stockton, as the Ports held “Rolling Stones Night.”
A robust crowd of over 5500 fans took in the action on this raucous evening. Some images and explanations:
Sticking with the Cal League north, let’s head over to Visalia to check out this year’s Helicopter Candy Drop. The name of the promo is truth in advertising: candy is dropped on to the field by a helicopter, and then the children in attendance go on a mad scramble.
But that’s not all that’s been going on in Visalia. The day before the Helicopter drop the Rawhide held a “Belle of the Ballpark Grandma Beauty Pageant.” Broadcasting director Donny Baarns writes that:
The contestants each demonstrated a talent during different half-innings; Doris, the eventual winner, led the crowd in a Rawhide cheer (“Next week I will be 96,” she said, “And I can’t believe I finally made the cheerleading team!”) Another played keyboard and sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The contestants also participated in a “White T-Shirt Contest,” where each was given a basic white Rawhide t-shirt and allowed to decorate it creatively in their own style. The contestants came from local retirement homes, where preliminary rounds where held.
And the winner:
I can’t think of a better image to end the blogging week. Thanks, as always, for reading. And more importantly, get in touch! It can be a difficult thing, this writing game, and your feedback and support is very much appreciated.
Well hello everybody and how ya been? It’s Ben’s Biz typing on the keyboard again. I’ve got grace, class, style, finesse and debonair. Writing ’bout MiLB promos and hopin’ folks care.
The point of the above Beastie Boy lyric approximation is simply to say that it’s been a while since I was able to kick out a good old-fashioned blog bouillabaisse (and I spelled “bouillabaisse” correctly on the second try, a new record). I’ve still got some odds and ends from my left coast road trip to share, but today will be all about the here and now in addition to what was recently the here and now but is now then.
For starters, TONIGHT is the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ “Tribute to Bacon” featuring an appearance by Kevin Bacon!
This particular Kevin Bacon has never been immortalized in celluloid, however.
Bacon, a Chesterfield County native for more than 35 years, is currently a detective with the Chesterfield County Police Department….He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice.
So that would be just one degree of Kevin Bacon? Perhaps he’ll obtain a Masters one day. Another Flying Squirrels item of note is that this picture of a “superhero Mom” catching a fly ball went viral.
Name a media outlet, and chances are they ran something on this. For background on how it all came to be, check out this Richmond Times-Dispatch story.
The following photos didn’t go viral, but they were sent along to me by the Toledo Mud Hens and are well worth a look. The ol’ “gum on the hat” trick is never not funny. This time around the victim is Michael Restovich of the visiting Charlotte Knights.
Another perennial source of Minor League humor comes in the form of mustaches. One of the most prominent facial follicle initiatives currently taking place is the Delmarva Shorebirds’ “Mustache May.” Members of the team and front office are participating, and fans can donate money toward their favorite.
The current leader is none other than trainer Will Lawhorn.
You’ve got to have good self-esteem to grow a mustache like that, which is something that Hickory Crawdads mascot Conrad is currently lacking.
HICKORY, NC –In response to SI.com writer Peter King’s column on Mon., May 16, in which Conrad the Crawdad’s self-esteem was questioned, the Hickory Crawdads are introducing a brand-new promotion and ticket deal for the rest of the 2011 season – Conrad’s Self-Esteem Wednesdays!
For every Wednesday home game…fans can receive a discounted $4 box seat ticket just by mentioning “Conrad’s self-esteem” at the Ticket Office.
The Crawdads will then donate $2 from every $4 ticket to Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare in support of their ongoing mission to provide behavioral health and support services for those in need in the Unifour community.
I’m sure Conrad will rally from the depths of his despair, something that Akron Aeros fans have become quite adept at doing.
And since I always like to end on a high note, how ’bout these Cedar Rapids troubadours?
Contact me with any kernels of info you may have to disseminate. I’ll be here waiting.
- Posted on May 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm
- 4 Comments
- Dailies, Minor League Baseball, Promotions, Travel
- Tags: Akron Aeros, Bacon, Beastie Boys, Cedar Rapids Kernels, charity, Delmarva Shorebirds, Hickory Crawdads, Kevin Bacon, mascots, mustaches, promos, Rally Rags, Richmond Flying Squirrels, self-esteem, Supermom, viral
…And I come to give you more, and I never give you less….Let’s go!
If you “Look At Me Now” you’ll find me in NYC, but at this time tomorrow I’ll be flying the friendly skies, airbound toward the arid. Look for “on location” blog posts, articles, and interviews the rest of this week into next, as I spend time in Tucson, Lancaster, High Desert, Inland Empire, and Lake Elsinore (and maybe more, logistics permitting).
But before all that, a good old-fashioned blog bouillabaisse of relevant Minor League biz-ness news (and, for the record, never have I spelled “bouillabaisse” correctly on the first try).
This week’s “Farm’s Almanac” is on the Minor League response to the Alabama tornadoes, and can be read HERE. Mentioned briefly in the story, and something I’d like to emphasize here, is that the Burlington Bees are raising money for the family of grounds crew intern Cody Wales, whose home was leveled by the tornado.
The team has been raising money at the ballpark, and checks to benefit the Cody Wales Family can be sent to the Bees front office at 2712 Mt. Pleasant Street, P.O. Box 824, Burlington, IA 52601.
It’s Tuesday, meaning a new “Promotion Preview” column is up on MiLB.com. It was an admittedly slow week for promos, and I am heartened by the fact that next week’s column gives me more than twice as much notable stuff to choose from. I once again implore you to keep in touch, with info on upcoming promos as well as recaps of those past. I cannot stress this enough! The current soporific state of my inbox leaves much to be desired.
Highlighted in a previous column was the Richmond Flying Squirrels “High Five World Record Attempt,” in which mascot Nutzy attempted to set a new standard for “most high fives by an individual in an hour.” And indeed he did (though yet to be verified by Guinness), slapping palms with 1620 fans.
Featured in last week’s column — and happening TONIGHT — is the Memphis Redbirds’ 30th Anniversary Salute to Charlie Lea’s No-Hitter (Lea now works as a color commentator for the club). The Redbirds are pulling out all the stops with this one, going so far as to tweak an immensely popular viral video.
An event that should have been included, but was instead egregiously overlooked, was the Durham Bulls’ return to iconic Durham Athletic Park yesterday. This video sums up the evening very well:
The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor wasn’t overlooked, but perhaps should have been. As this video points out, the use of the word “vendor” in his job title is blatantly misleading.
But in the end, Minor League Baseball is more about the overall experience than any specific promotion. The Fort Myers Miracle have put together an ad campaign that emphasizes this point very well. My embedding capabilities are lacking in this case, but they can be viewed HERE. And while you’re at it, check out this local newspaper story about the Miracle Bullpen and its trusty Justin Beiber backpack.
And, yes, the story features a photo of Bruce Pugh heading to the bullpen while wearing the backpack — a triumvirate of BPs, and possibly a foursome if he happened to be heading there after batting practice.
I’m now less than 24 hours from saying goodbye to the East Coast. The next time you’ll hear from me I’ll be writing in an agitated late-night state from some hotel room, binging on Mello Yello and wondering what’s it all for.
- Posted on May 10, 2011 at 2:20 pm
- 3 Comments
- Minor League Baseball, Promotions
- Tags: BP Preponderance, Burlington Bees, Charitable Endeavors, Charlie Bit Me, Crazy Hot Dog Vendor, Fort Myers Miracle, Mello Yello, Memphis RedBirds, Promotion Preview, Reading Phillies, Richmond Flying Squirrels, World Records
But instead of leading with yet another heart-stopping meat-strosity, today’s post will begin by highlighting a food and beverage innovation that deserves to catch on throughout the land. The Richmond Flying Squirrels are offering a “Tastes of the Eastern League” special this season, in which they offer a concession item inspired by the home city of their opponent.
Here’s the list, with my only complaint being the absence of “Spiedies” when the Binghamton Mets are in town:
Akron, Ohio: Galley Boy – Two cheese burgers topped with a slice of onion and BBQ sauce
Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pittsburgher – Roast beef, slaw, cheese, and fries on a hamburger bun
Binghamton, New York: Meatball sub
Bowie, Maryland: Crab cake Sandwich
Erie, Pennsylvania: Pierogies
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwich
New Britain, Connecticut: Funnel Cake with marinara sauce
Manchester, New Hampshire: Fried Fish sandwich
Portland, Maine: Lobster Cake Sandwich
Reading, Pennsylvania: Philly Cheese Steak sub
Trenton, New Jersey: Taylor Pork roll sandwich
Blogger-ly intuition tells me that the Flying Squirrels aren’t the only team promoting league-wide culinary adventures. Are you?
Of course, the Flying Squirrels are offering suitably obscene “Extreme” menu items as well. This is Minor League Baseball we’re talking about, after all.
From left to right we have the Giant Burger (two 6 oz. Certified Black Angus patties topped with a mound of Squirrelly fries covered in BBQ sauce, drenched in cheese, served on a Crustini bun), Trolley Dog (giant hot dog covered with chili and cheese, nestled on top of two fried pickles), and the Golden Gate Burger (Two 6 oz. Certified Black Angus patties topped with a mound of Squirrelly fries covered in BBQ sauce, drenched in cheese, served on a Crustini bun). Thanks to Richmond director of broadcasting Jon Laaser for the copious food info.
Meanwhile, out west, the Lancaster JetHawks are making waves with their “Sweet Po-Tater Tots” (with a side of syrup). Now this is how teams should photographically depict premier concession items! Take note:
The Sweet Po-Taters recently caught the eye of CNBC sports biz reporter Darren Rovell, who tweeted the above pic to his legions of followers. This, in turn, inspired the JetHawks to put out a press release bragging about said Tweet. If only I were influential enough to inspire photo-shopped images such as this:
Remaining in the California League, you may recall this recent picture of the Lake Elsinore Storm’s “Filthy McNasty,” a two-pound burger stuffed with two hot dogs, bacon and cheese….smothered in chili and topped with crispy onion straws.
Well, there’s more where that came from. In a distressingly (or perhaps mercifully) photo-free press release, the team also relays the following info:
Another attraction is the “Home Wrecker”….three half-pound chili dogs topped with one-and-a- half pounds of French Fries, two pounds of chili and three-quarters-of-a-pound of cheese and diced onions….If one person can finish this monster dog in less than 20 minutes, it’s free!
Other new items added to the 2011 Diamond Club menu include: a one-and-a-half pound baked pretzel with dipping sauces named the “Belly Twister”, cheeseburger sliders with soft pretzel buns called “Pretzel Sliders”, a bleu cheese stuffed cheeseburger aptly named the “Juicy Bleusy”, a jalapeno stuffed cheeseburger called the “Cajun Lucy”, a burrito filled with shrimp, fries, guacamole, pico de gallo and cheese named “The Pipeline” and a make-your-own burrito called the “Cardiac Roll.”
Update! Here are up-close-and-personal pics of the “Homewrecker” and “Pretzel Sliders”:
And here’s the Filthy McNasty, about to be devoured:
The Toledo Mud Hens aren’t lacking for pictures either, as the team recently released a captivating online menu featuring their new concession items.
Highlights include Deep-Fried Pickle Spears as well as the “Texas Twist” a 24-oz soft pretzel, measuring one full square foot! Served with honey dijon, spicy & fancy yellow mustards.
Sorry, that’s going to have to do. Knot bad. They can’t all be weiners.
Last week the Fort Wayne TinCaps announced that their Opening Day entertainment would include 3D videoboard elements. This was an original idea, so I wrote a story about it. The team, in turn, sent me some TinCaps-branded glasses and 3D photos so that I could experience the phenomenon for myself. And I, in turn, posted a profile picture featuring myself wearing said glasses.
What I’m getting to (outside of another unintentional example of deeply-ingrained sycophancy) is that this has all spurred an idea. If you want your promo to be featured as part of the Ben’s Biz profile pic, then simply send along something that represents said promo to my NYC headquarters (address available upon request). If enough teams respond to this idea, then the profile pic can serve as an ever-changing representation of the latest in Minor League ridiculousness. The zeitgeist, if you will.
And the more ridiculous, the better. I’ll pose with just about anything.
To return to more typical content, there are two new prominent food items to share with ya’ll — dinner and dessert, weighing a combined 10.5 pounds. In the former category is the Tacoma Rainiers “Cheney 2×4 Burger”, which could give the legendary Fifth Third a run for its money:
According to the team, the above consists of: Four 1/2 pound patties stacked double high, eight slices of cheese, eight slices of bacon, eight slices of tomato, and a healthy serving of blue cheese coleslaw on top…all served on a one pound ciabatta loaf.
And for dessert? For that, we’ll return to the team that makes no concession concessions: the Akron Aeros. Today the team unveiled “The Screamer,” which is built on a one-pound chocolate brownie and includes 21 scoops of hand-dipped ice cream, four bananas, and covered with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and sprinkles, served in a full-size souvenir Aeros replica batting helmet.
Photographic evidence of this behemoth is currently scant, but here’s Aeros food and beverage director Jason Kerton posing with his latest creation. Memories await, indeed!
Those who regularly eat such items will soon find themselves needing a bypass, and fortunately Minor League Baseball offers that as well. Both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Richmond Flying Squirrels have recently announced that they will be offering Bypass Lane technology at the ballpark.
Here’s how it works, courtesy of the all-knowing entity that is the press release:
Through Bypass, fans are given the opportunity to view full food and drink menus of select concessions stands in the vicinity of their seats and are able to place orders by paying with a credit card using Bypass’ secure payment platform. When the order is ready for pickup, a text message is sent to the fan from the nearest Bypass Lane. Fans can then avoid the line by using the exclusive Bypass Lane at the designated pick-up areas located at the concession stands.
But that is just one of many innovations on offer. I don’t have the time to expand upon them now, but suffice to say I believe that Lehigh Valley is the first team to add whimsical pigtails to their parking spaces:
More like a porking space!
Please get in touch, readers. It’s the only thing that saves me from myself.
Despite the season’s increasing imminence, last week was an extremely slow one in the world of Minor League news. But such periods of lethargy are to be expected, and flush times will be here soon enough.
Lately, the greatest boom time harbingers have come courtesy of the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Here, in an image akin to a wolf introducing a lamb, Nutzy the Squirrel helps to unveil new mascot Zinger the Acorn:
Zinger isn’t the only new character in the Flying Squirrels pantheon, for the team is also currently staging a “Pig Pickin'” contest:
The team issued the following declaration:
The Flying Squirrels have announced a Pig Pickin’ Contest where fans are encouraged to vote for one of four piglets to become the team’s new Rally Pig. Voting begins today and will run through Thursday, March 3rd, on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website…The winning piglet will be unveiled at the Flying Squirrels’ Fan Fest on Saturday, March 5th.
And as for that FanFest? It’s a two-day extravaganza:
The evening includes a “Ballpark Bonfire” complete with live music and subsequent on-field sleepover. The fans who do spend the night will have first crack at buying tickets the next morning, and additional festivities that a.m. include the unveiling of the aforementioned “Rally Pig” as well as an “Extreme Eating Contest” (I greatly hope those two events are not related).
Todd “Parney” Parnell, seen above dressed like a cow (for reasons known only to him), is a veteran of staging such extravaganzas thanks to his time spent as general manager of the Altoona Curve. That organization is humming along nicely in his absence, however, and on Monday they unveiled their 2011 giveaway calendar.
The highlight would have to be the “Rudy Owens Perm Hat”, in honor of the wonderfully-coiffed southpaw who suited up for the team last season.
Perhaps even more strangely, the team is staging a series of Tom Cruise-related giveaways as part of their “Summer Cruise Series.”
The four giveaway nights will be themed with some of Cruise’s most electrifying and Oscar-worthy work as an actor and will begin onThursday, June 16 vs. New Britain with an Aviator Sunglasses Giveaway presented by Bud Light….The three other Cruise nights will be the Thursday, July 7 Tighty Whitey Giveaway…the Thursday, July 21 Shot Glass Giveaway…and a Thursday, August 4 Foam Football Giveaway.
Fans who collect all four giveaway items can bring them to September 4’s contest, in order to be entered into a drawing to win a cruise. Curve GM Rob Egan attempts to make sense of it all via the following quote:
We came up with the idea for the Summer Cruise series while pulling tarp last season, about as far away from Hollywood or the Caribbean as you can get,” said Egan. “We think it will be a lot of fun for our adult fans to remember some of Mr. Cruise’s earlier films with some different giveaways – plus have a chance to win a cruise.”
Hey, if that explanation is good enough for you then it’s good enough for me. But to return to the extremely important issue of “camping out at the ballpark” — in Inland Empire, even Bernie the mascot isn’t guaranteed admittance to 2011’s slate of games.
The greatest hit in Black Sheep’s catalog has been on my mind lately, because it seems that everywhere I turn a Minor League team is saying “The Choice Is Yours.”
Want some examples? I’ve got three of ’em, allowing me to gratuitously use the word “triumvirate.” First up are PA’s premier iron-toed ungulates, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
The team is asking fans to choose 2011’s “Pig Out Menu Item.” The options are as follows:
- The “Three Little Pigs” Sandwich – Feast on this: Three different types of meat featuring four strips of
mouth-watering bacon, over two inches of thick ham and four ounces of succulent pulled pork. A rich barbeque sauce compliments the meat that is served on a fresh Kaiser bun.
- Diggity Dog – The hot dog has been reinvented with Black Angus beef, two slices of hot-off-the-grill bacon and melted American cheese on a hearty steak roll. Savor the taste with ultimate array of toppings including fried onion straws and barbeque sauce.
- Double Blast Burger – Imagine the double cheese-burger flipped on its head! Two, half-pound beef patties, two slices of American cheese, French fries and coleslaw on a fresh Kaiser bun.
- Loaded Fries – French fries crammed with cheese, pulled pork barbeque, chopped bacon, sour cream, chopped tomato and heart-pounding spicy jalapeno peppers. Don’t forget to grab some napkins!
Fans can vote on the team’s website, with the winner announced on Valentine’s Day. And since I’m on the topic of the IronPigs, I’d like to note that each individual staff profile on the team’s website contains a smiling or winking animation of said individual. As an example, here’s general manager Kurt Landes:
It’s hard to move on from that, but move on we must. For in Richmond, the Flying Squirrels are asking fans to “Name the Nut.” The team is adding a “fun-loving” acorn mascot to its roster of ballpark characters, and this festive hard-shelled fruit will go by one of the following five designations:
I highly question the wisdom of pairing a squirrel and acorn mascot together. Isn’t that the equivalent of teaming up a wolf with a lamb? A raccoon with a fetid dumpster? A humpback whale with its own fat reserves?
But these are questions for another day. Information of a more pressing nature has just emerged from a team which incorporates a triumvirate of states into its name, as the Delmarva Shorebirds have released their promo schedule into the vastness of the internet:
The first-ever Manny Machado bobblehead will probably get the most attention, but in keeping with my already-established “The Choice Is Yours Theme” I’d like to highlight September 2’s “NFL Night” giveaway:
The Shorebirds will let the first 1,000 fans choose between a Shorebirds hat in Redskins, Ravens or Eagles colors. Fans are encouraged to choose the colored hat of their favorite team.
I like the Shorebird’s creativity on this one, but perhaps a more relevant NFL-themed promo would simply be to lock the players out of the stadium?