Results tagged ‘ Richmond Flying Squirrels ’

A Day In the Life

tomorrow.jpgTomorrow, as it’s been said, is only a day away. And tomorrow’s tomorrow, when it becomes the present, presents a bountiful array of enticing presents to fans gracing Minor League ballparks with their presence.

Wishing to continue my reign as a preeminent prescient promotional prognosticator, I now present this truncated list of just what, exactly, is taking place tomorrow. Taken in toto, it serves to illuminate the the voluminous vitality of the Minor League landscape.

I know many of you would like to punch me in the face after reading the above two paragraphs, but you can’t. I’m light years away, and ensconced in bubble wrap. 

To the list!

Hank Conger Bobblehead Giveaway (Arkansas Travelers) — In honor of the switch-hitting backstop who suited up for the team in ’08 and ’09.

William Seward Bobblehead Giveaway (Auburn Doubledays) — In honor of NewThumbnail image for seward.jpg Yorkstate’s 12tgh governor, who suited up for the commonwealth from 1839-1842. He later served as Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln. Now he’s a bobblehead.

Three World Record Attempts (Bowie Baysox) — As detailed in this week’s “Promotion Preview” column, the Baysox are attempting to reach new heights in the categories of “Most People Sitting on a Whoopee Cushion”, “Most People Doing ‘The Twist'”, and “Most People Engaged in Simultaneous Air Guitar.”

Farmer Axle Bobblehead (Bowling Green Hot Rods) — It’s “Agriculture Night” in Bowling Green, hence a giveaway featuring a tractor-driving mascot.

Lumberstock (Clinton LumberKings) — An all-day festival featuring live music, cornhole tournaments, and plenty of food and drink. “Wood”n’t you like to go?

hooks.jpgRetro Jersey Giveaway (Corpus Christi Hooks) — An inimitable item mimicking the ’80s incarnation of parent club the Houston Astros.

Ryan Dempster Theme Jersey Auction (Daytona Cubs) — Proceeds benefit the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation.

Buster Posey Bobblehead (Fresno Grizzlies) — If you want one of these then you better Buster move to Chukchansi Park.

Jimmy Hart Appearance (Lexington Legends) — The “Mouth of the South” attempts to devour Applebee’s Park.

Ladies Night w/ Rafe Hernandez (Mahoning Valley Scrappers) — The “Days of Our Lives”rafe.jpg star visits Eastman Field, delighting fans with hourglass figures.

Jacoby Ellsbury Bobblehead (Pawtucket Red Sox) — Free to the first 4000 fans age 14 and under. Or at least those, like Ellsbury, who can pass for 14.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jerry Lawler Appearance (Richmond Flying Squirrels) — Because two legendary grapplers are always better than one, unless they gang up on you.

A few odds and ends before closing up shop:

– A new “Farm’s Almanac” feature is up now, about the Frederick Keys’ “Volt Night” and executive chefs in Minor League Baseball. “Volt Night”, in which Top Chef’s Bryan Voltaggio manned a concession stand, was a huge hit in Frederick (attracting a near-sellout crowd on a Tuesday night). The Baltimore Sun ran an excellent recap and photo gallery of the event.

volt.jpg 

– For sheer wordplay lunacy, it will be hard to top the Huntsville Stars’ September 6 promotion. The game will be preceded by the “Okra Win-Free Labor Day Marathon”. 103 people will split the duties of running the race (no one will “win”, see?) and okra will be a side dish in the steak dinner following the race. Plus, an invitation has been extended to Oprah Winfrey, who once ran a marathon. The entire event should be soundtracked by THIS.

– Finally, from the “Why Didn’t I Think of That” department, the Lancaster JetHawks have passed along word that they’re planning a “90210 Night” promotion for September 2. Get it? 9/02/10. It’s been right there in front of us, all along.

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

Come for the Candy Precipitation, Stay For the Anthropomorphic Legumes

visalia.jpgYesterday’s Craig Sager post was linked widely across the internet, once again making me thankful that so many people were forced to gloss over my writing en route to viewing entertaining pictures.

Clearly, it’s a formula that works. So now that this unnecessary prelude is out of the way, let me entertain you all with some beautiful still visuals from last weekend’s Helicopter Candy Drop in Visalia. No doubt inspired by a similar stunt in Quad Cities, the Rawhide had a helicopter coat the field with confections and then allowed the assembled youth to collect as much as they could:

(Photo Credits: Chris Henstra) 

Visalia_candy_heli.JPG

We’re entering Norman Rockwell territory with these next two:

visalia_candy_kids1.JPG

visalia_candy_kids2.JPG
Keeping with the theme of “Edible Products on the Field”, the Richmond Flying Squirrels recently staged a “Tribute to the Peanut”. I particularly like the next two photographs, possessed as they are of a surreal dream-like quality that makes them seem like manifestations of the subconscious mind.

Here, P.Nutty does his thing while Nutzy lurks jealously in the background:

Richmond_Peanut_nutzy.JPG

P.Nutty and Mr. Nutty participating in the peanut ring toss:

richmond_peanut_hula.JPG

And, of course, Peanuts:

richmond_peanut_peanuts.JPG

So, to review: The evening featured Nutzy, P.Nutty, Mr. Nutty, and Peanuts. I’ve got nuttin but love for such a commitment to the theme.

Finally, I leave you with two pictures from Hickory, home of the Crawdads. I recently wrote up the team’s “Fan vs. Food” and “Date an Intern” promotions. I’ll leave you to determine which is which:

Hickory_intern.JPG

Hickory_food.JPG

The answer may surprise you!

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

Moving On Down

Thumbnail image for lad.jpgI find myself with much random material that I would like to share with you, an individual who I presume possesses at least a passing interest in Minor League Baseball game operations and promotions.

In order to create some sort of order from the chaos, I shall organize said material by level of play. Let’s start at the top of the Minor League ladder, and then move down rung-by-rung until, finally, we find ourselves back on solid ground.

This may take a few days, actually…

Triple-A

The Toledo Mud Hens established a Fifth Third Field attendance record this past Friday, and it wasn’t because of a “National Dance Like A Chicken Day” promotion that came complete with complimentary chicken hat:

chicken.JPG
No, the primary draw was Crystal Bowersox. My hopes of an exciting new fad in jewel-strewn footwear were quickly dashed when I found out that Crystal is an “American Idol” finalist who hails from Ohio. 13,200 turned out to see the up-and-coming troubador sing the National Anthem; I have yet to confirm if she later led the crowd in a spirited rendition of the Chicken Dance.

– Those same Toledo players who enjoyed the vocal stylings of Ms. Bowersox are not nearly as enamored of opposing mascots, as this item from the latest “International League Notebook” makes clear:

Durham mascot [Wool E. Bull] was pelted by water balloons from the Toledo dugout
when he
wooly.jpg appeared on the field [May 12], but it wasn’t quite as funny
when the mascot slipped on the wet grass and suffered an apparent knee
sprain.

“Just what we needed — Wool E. Bull is hurt. The training room is full
already,” Durham manager Charlie Montoyo told the
Durham Herald-Sun.


– The last time I wrote about mascot injuries, the costumed character in question was “Pops” from the Syracuse Chiefs.     Fortunately, Pops seems to be okay these days, as the only thing I have to report from Syracuse is that the team’s blog is currently featuring an amusing rundown of International League hotels.  The latest such establishment to be featured is Pawtucket’s Comfort Inn. 

– Which brings me to my next item, as the excellent blog of Pawtucket broadcaster Dan Hoard recently featured a post on Mike Cameron’s over-the-top generosity during his recent rehab stint with the club. An excerpt:

Cameron took the notion of being a big-leaguer to new heights on Thursday when he purchased a luxury box for Game 6 of the Celtics/Cavs playoff series and invited the PawSox players and coaches to join him. 

Double-A

I mentioned this in this week’s “Promotion Preview” column,but the Richmond Flying Squirrels have launched an interesting weekly promotion in this, their inaugural season: “Where’s Parney”. Writes director of promotions Christina Shisler:   

Every Friday our VP and COO, Todd “Parney” Parnell
frequents a different sponsor’s location (restaurant or bar) after the game and
our fans must track him down! We include hints throughout the week on where he
will be on our e-newsletter, Facebook, Twitter and website and the first 20
fans to find Parney out at one of our “Where’s Parney” sponsor locations win a t-shirt and get to hang out with the Squrirels VP!

Keep in mind, folks, that this is the man everyone is trying to find:

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Richmond -- Parny Unitard beleaguered.JPG 

– Moving from Flying Squirrels to Fisher Cats (as I so often do), New Hampshire’s Eastern League franchise recently welcomed its Two Millionth Fan. Congratulations to 10-year-old Brendan Howard for his well-timed turnstiling.

– Meanwhile, in Tulsa, it appears that another mascot-themed soap opera has entered theThumbnail image for hornsby.jpg fray. I say “another”, because THIS exists in Lehigh Valley. So now we have “Bulled and the Bluetiful” and “As the Bacon Turns”. Anyone want to suggest other potential Minor League parody soap opera titles?

This particular blog post is quite like a soap opera, in fact, in that it shall end with three words that signify the promise of much more to come:

TO BE CONTINUED

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

An Action-Packed Blog for Action-Packed Times

Thumbnail image for mmmmmoooorrrre.jpgCrucial pre-post information! This week’s edition of “Promotion
Preview” is available HERE.

It
is officially crazy season, that time of year in which I spend my day
poring through innumerable emails, Tweets, Facebook updates, news
articles, phone calls and psychic transmissions all related to the world
of Minor League Baseball. Sometimes I even write blog posts and
articles, as if this was part of my job description or something.

But
this rambling prelude really only exists in order to convey the
following: I’ve got a blog backlog, and the only cure is rapid-fire
information conveyance. So pour yourself a stiff drink, put on some
Vivaldi, and spend a little quality time with the lighter side of Minor
League Baseball.

Starting….NOW!

National Cheeseball Day
was April 17, a sacred holiday that was observed throughout the land.
The Lake County Captains got in the spirit by distributing cheese and
crackers to the bundled-up fans in attendance:

Thumbnail image for Lake County Cheeseball.JPG
(photo credit: Neil Stein)

The Captains also held a contest in which fans had to guess the number of
cheesepuffs in a bulk container, with the most accurate guesser
receiving said bulk container.

And, of course, there was the
cheeseball eating contest. For the uninitiated, whenever a Minor League
team salutes a food product then it is a GUARANTEE they will stage an
eating contest involving the product (examples
this upcoming week include grilled cheese in Quad Cities and tacos in
Lancaster
).

This particular eating contest features two of
the most reluctant participants you are ever likely to see

Following a Cheeseball Eating Contest is an unenviable task, as it would
seem that all else pales in comparison. But does it? Not if you’re the South Bend Silver
Hawks
, who have kicked off their “Your Town Your Team” marketing
campaign with an immaculately produced video that details the city’s
rich baseball history.

We’re entering Ken Burns territory with
this one:

Another Midwest League franchise sporting impeccable production values
is the Fort
Wayne Tincaps
, who have applied their audiovisual mastery toward a
dramatic “Behind the Music”-style video detailing the trials and
tribulations of the legendary Bad Apple Dancers:

Having already surpassed my monthly quota for Midwest League YouTube
videos, I must now proceed to the Florida State League. The Charlotte Stone
Crabs
staged a “Golfer’s Appreciation” promo last week, an evening
that included a “Closest to the Pin” contest featuring manager Jim
Morrison and three local pros.

The skipper acquitted himself
very, very well, as this video proves:

But if it’s sci-fi that floats your proverbial boat, you may want to
take a look at how the Pawtucket Red Sox have chosen to promote their
upcoming “Star Wars” night. Behold, “Paws the Jedi”:

Finally — the Flying Squirrels era in Richmond has officially begun!
For those who weren’t able to visit the Diamond live and in person, the
following video put together by
Bus Leagues Baseball
will have to suffice:

Believe it or not, there is FAR more where this came from. I’ll resume
my Sisyphean metaphorical ditch-digging efforts tomorrow. Until then, I
remain,

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

(Not A) Permanent Vacation

Aerosmith_-_Rocks.JPGCue up the Aerosmith, because I’m Back in the Saddle Again!

And then keep playing the Aerosmith, because I’m a Dude Looks Like A Lady as a result of nine months without a haircut. But enough about me, let’s Keep This Train A Rolling by returning to The Same Old Song and Dance.

Minor League “Business” News!

I sure picked a good week to take off, because not all that much happened in this lil corner of the world. I was expecting to be inundated with material but was instead merely nudged.Still, I have enough to comprise yet another “omnibus” post, although this particular vehicle is of the single-decker variety.

– The Bradenton Marauders unveiled their logo several months ago, but last week they took the next step by showing off their team uniforms at a pep rally. The press release is HERE, and the uniforms can be viewed HERE.

In other late-breaking logo news, the Syracuse Chiefs are commemorating 50 years of community ownership in 2010. This is the only logo I have ever seen that features a number wearing a headdress (usually numbers wear berets or visors):

headdress.jpg 
– Hey, have you ever wanted to see a giant gliding rodent affixed to the top of a scoreboard? Me neither! Yet, duty compels me to post this latest image out of Richmond, if only because I am now aware that there are Wawas in Virginia:

scoreboard.jpg

– The Spokane Indians won’t be powered by gliding rodents next season, but they will be fueled by just about everything else. The club announced yesterday that they will be using renewable energy in 2010, including but not limited to wind, geothermal, and biomass. Read all about it HERE. In addition to being good for the environment, this news is a godsend for environmentally conscious hecklers who can now sarcastically thank batters every time there is a swing and miss (because that’s wind power, see?)

– Team promo schedules are being announced at a fast and furious rate, and today’s highlight is a bobblehead that details the growing relationship between Timber Rattlers mascot Fang and Brewers mascot Bernie. Last season, the costumed characters came together as a result of the affiliation agreement between the two clubs:

Thumbnail image for fangbernie.jpg 

In the ensuing year, these two unlikely comrades apparently developed a comfortable rapport. Witness the Timber Rattlers 2010 Opening Day bobblehead, which commemorates the new beach seating area at the Rattlers’ Time Warner Cable Field:

berniefangbeachbuds.jpg

Yes, Fang is a snake, and, yes, he possesses arms and legs. Far be it for me to reconcile this cognitive disconnect.

– Meanwhile, the Reading Phillies will be hearing from my lawyer. Today the team put out a press release listing their “Top 10 Promotions for 2010“, apparently unaware that the words “top”, “10”, or “promotions” cannot appear in the same sentence without the express written consent of Ben’s Biz Enterprises (a subsidiary of Monsanto, fyi).

But I’ll let my legal team handle that breach of protocol, and simply report that one of the aforementioned “Top 10″ is a Tribute to the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor! Behold:

Thumbnail image for reading 3.jpgThe first 2,000 kids who enter the ballpark
for the 6:05 p.m. game will receive a Crazy Hot Dog Vendor look-a-like
t-shirt. Think “tuxedo t-shirt”, but instead each child that wears it
will look just like the beloved Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. In addition, all
Redner’s R-Phils Kids Club members will have the chance to perform on
the field with the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor during a special pre-game
celebration. And to top the tribute off, R-Phils players will actually
wear Crazy Hot Dog Vendor look-a-like team jerseys when they take the
field against the Harrisburg Senators for the game
(ed note: !!!!!!!!)

The next “Ed” note I receive will most likely be from Mr. Begley, in protest of my ill-informed take on renewable energy. Look, man, I’m doing my best.

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

Birth Announcements

A little-known fact is that mascots are delivered via prehistoric stork, who gingerly deposit the fledgling costumed characters on the pitcher’s mound before returning to their molten subterranean lairs. In the last 24 hours, TWO such deliveries occurred.

In Eugene, the Emeralds unveiled Sluggo. Say hello to the world, Sluggo:

sluggo.jpg

The Emeralds put out a press release that details Slugger’s origins, and I wish I had read it before writing a bunch of stuff about prehistoric storks. Here’s how it begins:

Once upon a time, in the thick trees of Spencer Butte, a furry creature
was born. After finding an abandoned pair of binoculars, the little
ball of fur found himself intrigued by something happening in the city
sprawled below him-baseball.

But not just any baseball-Emeralds Baseball.

Click HERE to read the rest (spoiler alert: it ends happily).

Meanwhile, down in Richmond, another mascot came into existence. This guy:

Richmond -- Nutzy actual front.JPG

Richmond -- Nutzy front.JPG

Here’s how it went down:

The Flying Squirrels introduced Nutzy to Richmond during a dramatic
curtain-raising, complete with fog and light effects. The boisterous
mascot then raced into the crowd and began entertaining the audience
after being showered in confetti.

Here are a few photos I hi-jacked from the team’s Facebook page. As you can see, the event also featured the unveiling of the team’s 2010 uniforms. 

nutzy.jpg

squirrels uni.jpg

Meanwhile, in business news of a more straightforward variety: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans have hired Scott Brown as their new GM. Brown, who had served as Binghamton Mets GM since 2005, replaces North Johnson.

As you may recall, Johnson is now the GM of the Gwinnett Braves. Replacing Brown in Binghamton is Jim Weed, who spent the last five seasons as assistant GM.

Got all that? There will be a test tomorrow. And by “test” I of course mean “no mention at all whatsoever”.

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

One Intern Deserves Another

senators.gifThe Harrisburg Senators seem poised for a breakout season.

Metro Bank Park has been extensively re-modeled over the past two years, and the club will have a chance to showcase it during the 2010 Eastern League All-Star Game. The team is stepping it up on the promotional front as well, announcing just yesterday that a flat-screen TV will be given away during every inning of every Friday home game.

And then there’s “The Intern World”, the first episode of which was released yesterday. I’ll let director of game entertainment Aaron Margolis explain things from here:

This season, our eight interns are in a pretty unique
situation. In addition to interning in the crazy world of minor league
baseball, they are sharing a penthouse apartment that overlooks the city. 
The similarity to a certain long-running cable reality series did not escape us
and we knew that we needed to capitalize. The result is this “reality show”
that we will be continuing into the season.
 

Finally, I would like to once again remind my readership that I regularly write content for MiLB.com. Check out this piece on Oneonta’s move to Norwich, and this one on the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

That’ll do it for me and the month of January.

benjamin.hill
twitter.com/bensbiz

Expressions of Grief, Longing, and Expectation

Thumbnail image for mbpelicans.jpgA lot of great Valentine’s Day promotions have been coming down the pike as of late, and I am tempted to put together a post on the subject.

But then I remind myself that it is not yet February, and that Valentine’s Day can wait. But what cannot wait are the following objects of interest, all of which must be dealt with in an expedient manner.

So let the ruthless efficiency begin.

The Minor League Baseball world was rocked (or at least gently nudged) by last week’s news that Myrtle Beach Pelicans GM North Johnson had been hired by the Gwinnett Braves. The Pelicans will not let North go gently into that good night, however, as evidenced by the farewell video that they put together in his honor. This is some serious staff loyalty: 

My favorite part of the video occurs at 2:03, as that has to be the least convincing pantomimed phone conversation that I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot.

Following North’s lead, let us now move in a southwesterly direction. Our destination is Tulsa, where the Drillers continue to woo Conan O’Brien. Yesterday, hard-hat wearing team president Chuck Lamson got in on the act. Check it out HERE.

I made reference to Conan’s farewell speech at the end of yesterday’s post, namely the following line: Please do not be cynical…Nobody in life gets exactly what they
thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re
kind, amazing things will happen. 

This attitude is personified by Julio Osegueda, the young Floridian who attained celebrity as ajuliogame.jpg result of his enthusiastic questioning of President Obama at a town hall meeting last February. This led the Fort Myers Miracle to offer him a broadcasting gig, a development I covered HERE and HERE. I spoke with Julio before I wrote both articles, and was struck by his positivity and earnestness. That’s why I was glad to see THIS, in which Julio reflects on Obama’s first year in office as well as the changes in his own life.

One thing that Julio and his fellow Fort Myersinians don’t need to worry about is wintry weather, which the Iowa Cubs have experienced in abundance this month. You may recall last week’s pictures of Principal Park covered in ice. Well, now the club has made a commercial that juxtaposes winter woes with springtime bliss:
 

In conclusion, let me point out that the Richmond Flying Squirrels released their 2010 giveaway schedule today. It is highlighted by a Flying Squirrel Cape, so that you too may look like this.

Thumbnail image for Richmond -- Parny Unitard beleaguered.JPG

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

Broken News: Grown Man Wears Unitard, Squirrel Mask at Logo Unveiling Press Conference

The Richmond Flying Squirrels unveiled their new logo(s) today. Observe:
 
fs2.jpg
 

Details on the unveiling can be read in an article I wrote. THIS ARTICLE, to be exact. This journalistic masterwork mentions the fact that Flying Squirrels vice-president Todd Parnell wore a unitard and squirrel mask at the press conference, in order to promote the team’s upcoming “Name the Mascot” contest.

That’s right, a middle-aged baseball executive willingly donned a mask and form-fitting suit in a room full of photographers. And here, in what may or may not be an exclusive, is the photographic evidence:

Richmond -- Parny Unitard Tongue.JPG

Richmond -- Parny Unitard beleaguered.JPG

Richmond -- Parny Unitard Flying.JPG

Richmond -- Parney Unitard Flex.JPG

It is on days like this that I am awakened to the fact that my work here on this Earth is imbued with deep meaning and divine insight. I am merely a vessel through which such information flows.

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

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