Results tagged ‘ Sacramento River Cats ’

On the Road: Ribs and Donut Burgers in Sacramento

To see all posts from my August 1 visit to the Sacramento River Cats, click HERE. To see all my posts from my August 2016 “Out West” road trip, click HERE. To see all my “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

Heading into my West Coast road trip, I was shocked and borderline appalled that no one had volunteered to be my designated eater in Sacramento. I expect that in smaller markets — your Princeton, West Virginia’s and what have you — but California’s capital city? Perhaps my reach, which I assumed to be vaster than a 1001 galaxies, is less than I thought.

Nonetheless, I still had a designated eater in Sacramento. Two, in fact. They were recruited by the River Cats.

Kyle Moses is on the left, Mike Hager is on the right.


Kyle and Mike are the best of pals. They’re both from Tracy, California (about an hour south of Sacramento) and have been fans of the River Cats ever since the team arrived on the scene in the year 2000. Kyle and Mike grew up together, played with and against one another in various sports and now work together (at Rise Medical Staffing). Oh, and they’re roommates. There’s a picture in their living room of the two of them in their travel team baseball uniforms, hanging out in a Raley Park suite.

And now, they’re designated eaters together, tasked with the job of consuming the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits. But speaking of gluten-free, the River Cats food and beverage team (led, in this case, by sous chef Ryan) whipped up a few dishes for me.

There was shrimp and broccoli over rice, enlivened with pepper flakes.

img_0005There were also lettuce wraps, with citrus brine turkey, apple cider vinegar mustard and tomatoes.

img_0006I enjoyed both of these items, but the lettuce wrap was particularly excellent, a great mix of texture and flavors. Everything was a blur at this point. The food was being placed before us and taken away at a rate that was making my head spin.

So let’s get back to Kyle and Mike, as they’re the stars of the show here. Or perhaps the real star of the show is this plate of barbecue ribs.

img_0007Have at it, guys:

Kyle immediately praised the sauce, which chef Ryan said was Sweet Baby Ray’s.


“The meat falls right off the bone,” said Mike. “Barbecue is where I can be most critical, but this is prime.”

Mike can be critical of barbecue because Mike is a true barbecue aficionado. He bases road trips around visiting restaurants and does it himself in the backyard. This is a passion he inherited from his father, a regular in barbecue competitions and former manager of a Kinders restaurant (a California-based barbecue chain).

Next up was a turkey cheddar panini (with bacon), served with house made chips and a French onion dipping sauce. Kyle and Ryan can be seen brandishing their paninis in the photo at the top of this post.


“I like the way it’s pressed, it has a nice texture,” said Kyle. “Some places do a mediocre job with that.”

“I didn’t have a problem with it,” said Mike. “Everything was good.”

We then moved on to the piece de resistance, a donut bacon cheeseburger.


Another view:

img_2210Specifically, this consists of a third-pound never-frozen burger topped with two bacon rounds and tomatoes. The donuts are from a local bakery.

While Mike said he liked the “sweet and saltiness,” Kyle said that if he ordered it again then he’d abstain from the tomato.

“If I’m gonna go with something that’s 800 calories, then I don’t need a tomato,” he said. “The meat, bacon and donut is fantastic. I don’t think it gets better than that.”

img_0013And that was it for Kyle and Mike, best friends until the end.

“I’d get everything again,” said Mike. “I’ve never not been satisfied here with what I’ve gotten. I’ve never left Raley Field hungry.”


On the Road: A Heads-Up Approach in Sacramento

To see all posts from my August 1 visit to the Sacramento River Cats, click HERE. To see all my posts from my August 2016 “Out West” road trip, click HERE. To see all my “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

Welcome to the second of three posts concerning the Sacramento River Cats, who play at Raley Field.


I visited the River Cats on a Monday night. Teams hate when I visit on Mondays, as they want a man of my vast influence and prestige to witness them at their best (read: fullest). Some of my Monday evening victims accept their fate. Others, like River Cats marketing manager Emily Williams, resort to blatant acts of censorship when I attempt to document the surroundings.

img_0030To be fair, the River Cats have been at or near the top of Minor League attendance rankings ever since their 2000 inception. In 2015, the first year of their affiliation with the Giants, they drew 672,354 to lead all of Minor League Baseball.

And, regardless, it was a beautiful night in a beautiful ballpark. The game time temperature was 84 degrees, the skies were clear and there was a slight breeze in the air. Fans seeking additional shade had the option of sitting beneath what I believe are the biggest berm trees in Minor League Baseball.


Beyond the berm, there lurks a city skyline view. That’s the Tower Bridge on the left, whose two golden towers combine to form an “au” pair.


My wanderings, at this stage in the evening, didn’t last very long. The River Cats have a nightly “Heads of State” race featuring a triumvirate of California governors: Gray Davis, Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Davis may not be as memorable as the other two, but you may be able to recall him).

I was invited to participate in the race, and chose to run as Ronald Reagan.

As the above tweet describes (albeit with a typo), I won. Here’s the proof (you can also see how close I came to losing my head).

The race itself was tiring, given how top-heavy the costume is and the fact that I’m maybe not in the best shape. But what was really difficult was the race’s aftermath. We entered the stands at the home plate side of the ballpark, trodding up the stairs and then on to the concourse. Thus began a long, slow walk back to our outfield changing area (aka “the groundskeeper’s shed”) during which we were accosted by fans for high-fives and photos. At first I enjoyed this, the way I always enjoy being in a mascot suit of any kind. It’s a surreal feeling, knowing that the “you” that people are interacting with is different than the “you” that is in the suit. It’s a liberating, and exhilarating, sensation, this transformation into a larger-than-life figure who people want to see, know and touch.

But I don’t have the stamina for it. As our walk progressed, a deep, dizzy fatigue set in and along with it an increasing desperation to no longer be Ronald Reagan. If the stands had been a little more crowded, or the weather a little hotter, I think I would have passed out. And, believe me, no one wants to see an unconscious Ronald Reagan sprawled on the concourse of a Minor League Baseball stadium.

Finally, after what seemed like hours but was only minutes, we were able to leave the public eye. I no longer had to be Ronnie. The only thing trickling down was the sweat on my brow.

img_221310 minutes later, I returned to wandering ballpark blogger mode. It was as if nothing had ever happened.

I soon met with River Cats president Jeff Savage, whose late father, Art, bought the Pacific Coast League’s Vancouver franchise and relocated it to Sacramento. The Savage name is synonymous with River Cats baseball. Susan Savage, Jeff’s mom, is the team’s CEO and majority owner. Brent, his brother, works for the team as well. Brent is confined to a wheelchair, and Jeff said that one of the reasons his dad wanted a team in Sacramento was so that Brent “always had a place he wanted to be.”

Raley Field, a privately-owned facility, was built in just nine months and opened in May of 2000. Jeff said that, prior to the stadium’s opening, its West Sacramento location was a desolate industrial area.

“No one in their right mind would come to West Sacramento,” he said. “You just didn’t do it.”

In this ceiling mural, Art Savage can be seen in the top left, wearing a green shirt.


This mural, titled “Here and Now”, has an interesting concept. Sacramento baseball greats are seen mingling with their younger selves.


Prior to the River Cats, Sacramento had hosted a team in the form of the PCL’s “Solons.” Solon is an archaic term for a politician, coined in honor of the Greek lawmaker who went by that name. The Solons’ farewell occurred in 1976.

Since the 2000 opening of Raley Field, the ownership group has made improvements whenever they’ve had the means to do so. A fairly recent upgrade is the Legacy Club, a premium group area which opened in 2015.


In the Legacy Club, you can turn your back to the game to watch the game.


There’s always room for more improvement, such as this undeveloped area deep behind the outfield. Currently, it is a picnic table graveyard which, truth be told, I found very appealing.

img_0043I mentioned this billboard in my previous post but, man, it’s a huge billboard (and sunshade).

img_0046The River Cats introduced “Sac Town” merchandise prior to the season (designed in house), which has proven to be popular in the area.


img_0048I concluded my evening in the press box, as the River Cats wrapped up a 7-0 victory over Salt Lake.

img_2217With the game over, there was only one thing left to do: Write and disseminate a Subversive and Groundbreaking Ballpark Joke.

They can’t all be winners.


On the Road: Surveying the Scene in Sacramento

To see all posts from my August 1 visit to the Sacramento River Cats, click HERE. To see all my posts from my August 2016 “Out West” road trip, click HERE. To see all my “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

My third and final road trip of the Minor League season was a long, sprawling and often counter-intuitive journey, one that started in Sacramento and ended in Spokane. So let’s start at the beginning; Sacramento, California’s capital city and the home of the River Cats. The River Cats, Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, have played at Raley Field since the stadium opened in 2000.

img_0002Immediately upon arriving, I met with media relations coordinator Robert Barsanti. He ushered me down a pathway situated betwixt outfield wall and ribbon board, with the net overhead protecting us from batting practice dingers and other skyborne hazards.

img_0004The dusty road led us to the clubhouses, which led me to a scheduled interview with River Cats manager Jose Alguacil. This scheduled interview led to a feature story, which I invite you to read by clicking HERE. Jose, whom everyone calls “Auggie,” is an interesting and likable guy and if he’s not managing or coaching in in the big leagues within three years I’ll eat my hat.

My interview with Auggie led to a pregame meeting with my designated eaters, which will be documented shortly. When the designated eating was complete, I was able to partake in the activity that most truly speaks to the core of my inner being: aimless wandering.

This was the scene from the outfield berm as the Monday evening crowd trickled in. That Roseville Automall billboard, which doubles as a sunshade, may just be the largest sign to have ever been situated in a Minor League Baseball stadium.

img_0018In the visitor’s bullpen, Salt Lake Bees starter Zach Nuding was getting warmed up for a game he would (spoiler alert) lose.

img_0019I think what I was trying to convey with the below picture is that the River Cats have various gardens on the stadium premises, a fine microcosm of the region’s robust agriculture industry.


After admiring the foliage, I followed this ponytailed man down the concourse walkway. When in doubt, always follow a ponytailed man.

img_0021As you can see in the above picture, steel beams on the concourse are enlivened with the vibrant work of young local artists.


This one’s my favorite:


Also enlivening the concourse is this family of River Cats fans living above the team store. I stared at this guy for hours and not once did he put down his binoculars. I bet that, when he looks in the mirror, he sees a human raccoon.


When I returned to this very spot, more than three hours later, the kid’s ice cream hadn’t melted nor had the gentleman taken even one sip of his beer.
img_0023This picture bellow is — let’s face it — kind of lousy. But I include it to point out that California only recently legalized 50-50 raffles and, thus, 2016 marked the first season that the River Cats were able to stage them.

img_0024Speaking of 50-50, last season the River Cats gave away “Barry Zito dual replica jerseys.”


The Oakland/San Francisco split also describes the River Cats themselves, who were affiliated with the former for the first 15 years of their existence (2000-2014).

This third base-side beer garden, in the tradition of great beer gardens everywhere, serves beer and paninis. There may be plans in the works to expand the menu.


I could go on…and I will! But not in this post. I’ll go on in the next one. Stay tuned for much more from Sacramento.


About Last Night: Sacramento River Cats, August 1, 2016

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll write a quick blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Then, when I return home, I’ll provide the multifaceted blog coverage that you have come to know and perhaps even love. On Monday night I visited Sacramento, California, the first stop on my sprawling 10-team California-Nevada-Idaho-Washington road trip.

August 1: Sacramento River Cats (Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) 

Opponent: Salt Lake Bees, 7:05 p.m.

Raley Field, from the outside: 

IMG_0002Raley Field, from within: 


Culinary Creation: Bacon Donut Cheeseburger

IMG_2211Ballpark Characters: California Governors Davis, Reagan and Schwarzenegger compete in a nightly “Heads of State” race (I was Ronnie).

IMG_5660 At Random: A big River Cats fan hanging out above the team store.

IMG_0022Your Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day: 

Up Next: 

August 2: Stockton Ports (vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 7:10 p.m.)

August 3: Modesto Nuts (vs. Visalia, 7:05 p.m.)

August 4: San Jose Giants (vs. Modesto, 6:30 p.m.)

August 5: Visalia Rawhide (vs. Inland Empire, 7:00 p.m.)

August 6: Las Vegas 51s (vs. Fresno, 7:05 p.m.)

August 8: Reno Aces (vs. Salt Lake, 7:05 p.m.)

August 10: Boise Hawks (vs. Hillsboro, 7:15 p.m.)

August 11: Tri-City Dust Devils (vs. Spokane, TBD)

August 12: Spokane Indians (vs. Eugene, 6:30 p.m.)


Opening Day 2016: Biz Blog Bouillabaisse

Oh, boy. The inexorable passage of time has once again brought us face to face with a new Minor League Baseball season. I, for one, am psyched. I, for two, have also been remiss in updating this blog over the past week or so. I have various excuses for this, of varying degrees of legitimacy, but who cares? The drought is over. New content — the lifeblood of the internet, the lifeblood of my existence — begins now.

As the title makes clear, this post will be a full-to-bursting bouillabaisse of delectable Minor League morsels. I’d like to start by noting that, over on, my first “Promo Watch” column of the 2016 season is now live. “Promo Watch” is a tweak on the old “Promo Preview” format, encompassing not just the traditional previews but also reviews and larger promo trend analysis. In today’s column, I highlighted a few 2016 promos that I am looking forward to. They involve previous planet Pluto, President James Garfield and pork roll.


I’d like to think I’m writing the most consistently (and justifiably) weird stuff in the entire sports journalism ecosystem. But of a less weird variety is this Opening Day Guide, co-written with my colleague Sam “No, I’m not related to Lenny” Dykstra. Read and learn.


Everybody loves dogs, so everybody will love this: Former Greensboro Grasshoppers bat dog Miss Babe Ruth has accepted a new position with the team.

In this capacity, Miss Babe Ruth (how is she not named “Babe Ruff”?) will “greet fans in the concourse during games and also advertise her new association” with a flea and tick prevention product named BRAVECTO.


Last season, the Round Rock Express gave away an awesome Willie Nelson bobblehead. This year’s country music honoree is Mr. George Strait.
George Strait Bobblehead


Remember at the Winter Meetings when I wrote about the complex issues surrounding drone usage at Minor League Baseball games? Well, that’s because, like it or not, drones are here to stay (and not just in the broadcast booth). This season, the Reading Fightin Phils are using them in an official context. This is the “Drone Cam.”



During the offseason, the Lexington Legends partnered with a local school on “Stache Tank.” This “Shark Tank”-inspired competition asked students, working in teams as part of an economics unit, to pitch a promotional giveaway item as well as a ballpark improvement. Winning student presentations include a slap bracelet giveaway and the construction of a rock climbing wall in right field. Pretty cool idea.


The Durham Bulls have announced that, on June 9, they will wear “the first Bulls uniform created by a company outside of the sports industry.” It was designed by Durham-based RUNAWAY, which is weird because it seems their focus would be all-caps.

PrintThe jerseys are modeled after the flag of Durham, with “DURM” in the center. DURM is a “term coined by RUNAWAY as an ode to the city’s hard-nosed history.” If you’ve got a hard nose then you should probably go see the durmatologist. 


In my previous blog bouillabaisse I mentioned that the Sacramento River Cats had installed 472 solar panels and five SMA inverters at their home of Raley Field. The team’s environmentally-friendly endeavors continue apace, with last week’s announcement of River Cats Road Relief. This three-pronged initiative includes a carpool program, which enables cars with four or more passengers to receive free parking.


New Jersey’s pro baseball scene has gone through some hard times, as three indy clubs have ceased operation. But their pain is the Trenton Thunder’s gain. On Wednesday, the team announced announced that Camden Riversharks, Newark Bears and Atlantic City Surf gear can be exchanged for a free ticket, food voucher and team store discount.


 The Tri-City ValleyCats don’t start their season until June, but they’re still making good use of their time. On April 14, the team is staging its annual “4 in 24” initiative, in which four local youth fields are renovated within a 24-hour span. This is a great idea.


I began with dogs, so I’ll end with dogs: The Inland Empire 66ers have installed Minor League Baseball’s first-ever permanent dog park



Here’s to the 2016 season! I promise I’ll be announcing my road trip schedules shortly.


Minor League Baseball News Explosion!

The month began with a slew of attention-grabbing promotional announcements, but recently things have been pretty slow here in the world of Minor League Baseball. I call it the calm before the storm. Pretty good expression, right? Feel free to use it.

Therefore, now is a good time for a good ol’ fashioned bouillabaisse blog post (and, yes, for those keeping score at home, I always spell bouillabaisse correctly on the first try). If, for some reason, you need to use a restraining device while using your computer, then now would be a good time to buckle up. A bubbling stew of delectable Minor League morsels and mixed metaphors await you.


For the second year in a row, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats are featuring fans on their season tickets. Pretty cool, right?


Note, also, that the Fisher Cats (who for a short but glorious period of time were known as “The Primaries”) have unveiled their “Bipartisan” Opening Day jerseys. Fans get to vote on the accompanying hat. Pretty cool, right?



Speaking of politics, eminently qualified presidential candidate Donald Trump recently issued a “53 degrees or free” guarantee on behalf of the Syracuse Chiefs. Take that, Rochester. Until this video was released, I hadn’t realized just how much Trump looks like Chiefs general manager Jason Smorol. Pretty cool, right?


David Kronheim, aka “The Number Tamer”, has released his 2015 Minor League Baseball Attendance Analysis. It doesn’t get any more thorough than this (for more on the Number Tamer, read THIS ARTICLE and/or THIS GUEST BLOG POST). Pretty cool, right?


As I think I’ve mentioned before, the California League has a 75th anniversary logo


I bring this up because every team in the league has its own specific logo, courtesy Brandiose. Pretty cool, right?



The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are one of many teams that host Scout Night ballpark sleepovers. They are the only team (so far as I know), to issue scouts their own team-logo badges. Pretty cool, right?


Update: Fort Wayne TinCaps creative director Tony DesPlaines has creatively directed my attention to the fact that his club has been doing this for years.

TinCaps Scout Patches

Update to the Update: The Vermont Lake Monsters have been doing this for years as well.


Update to the Update to the Update: 

Update to the Update to the Update to the Update: 

Update to the Update to the Update to the Update to the Update: 

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.


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.


(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.


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:


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.


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.”


(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.


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.

Growlin’ and Meowin’

As we approach the 2015 season, one thing that has been made abundantly clear is that there is no love lost between the Fresno Grizzlies and Sacramento River Cats.

The rivalry between the two Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division clubs took an interesting twist upon the conclusion of the 2014 season when the San Francisco Giants severed ties with Fresno, their long-time Triple-A affiliate, in favor of Sacramento. It’s the Minor League Baseball equivalent of getting jilted by a long-time lover in favor of an enticing seductress.

This turn of the events left Fresno scrambling for a new affiliate (the Houston Astros, as it turned out) as well as a new identity. After all, a Giants affiliation was all that the team had ever known. In November, I wrote a piece about the Grizzlies’ marketing strategy in the wake of San Francisco’s departure, which included this quote:

“We’ve started a “Growlifornia”-themed marketing campaign, revolving around our unique California vibe,” said Grizzlies marketing director Sam Hansen. “When California revolted against Mexico [in 1846] it was called the ‘Bear Flag Rebellion.’ That’s why the California state flag has a bear on it. We’re celebrating the Bear Flag Rebellion of 2015, because people here in Fresno feel that rebellious sort of pride. This is our own unique region, and our affiliation with Houston is going to help us get back to those roots.”

Screen_Shot_2015_02_01_at_7.11.02_PM_3aanok86_poh4urz9But then a funny thing happened. In December, the River Cats co-opted a key element of the Grizzlies’ “Growlifornia” campaign by announcing a California state flag theme jersey promotion of their very own. Sacramento is the capital of California, after all. That’s all the justification they needed.


This River Cats’ promotion did not sit well with the Grizzlies, and a feisty Twitter war between the two clubs ensued.

The Grizzlies may have been bruised by that turn of events, but they were certainly not beaten. River Cats, Schmiver Cats. You want a California flag theme jersey? This is a California flag theme jersey. And, what’s more, it will be worn during the first home stand of the season. Consider the tone set.

The Grizzlies’ theme jersey unveiling came one day after the team posted an open letter from executive vice president Derek Franks, entitled “The Bear Flag Rebellion Begins Now.” A relevant excerpt:

There’s a shift happening around this organization and it’s brought the community together more than ever. No matter what you hear, this team is not a trend or a fad. Fresno Grizzlies baseball is a way of life and one that is unapologetically Central Californian. We’re going to flip the script of what you expect from a Minor League Baseball team this season. Don’t believe us? We’ll prove you otherwise.

And — BREAKING — just before this blog post went to “press” yet another war of the words broke out between these two distinguished entities. Theme jerseys sure are a contentious topic!

Whew! This beef is hotter than a cattle ranch on Venus. Clearly, Fresno is going to remain on the offensive and, clearly, Sacramento aren’t going to back down from a challenge. And when it comes to the River Cats on Twitter, engage at your own risk. During the 2013-14 offseason, the Reno Aces learned this the hard way:

Information Regarding the Online Insult Prowess of Aquatically-Inclined Felines

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:

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.

This time, the Aces couldn’t stay silent.

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.”

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.

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…

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.”

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.

Putting the Fun in Philanthrofunphy

From 50-50 raffles to jersey auctions to rappelling mascots, Minor League teams are well-versed in the art of raising money for charity. And, lately, some teams have taken their philanthropic endeavors in bold new directions.

Take the Sacramento River Cats — please — who last month announced that they will issue a $1 fine to anyone who spells their name incorrectly:

You’ve been warned: the moniker “River Cats” is comprised of two words, with a capital “R” and a capital “C.” Effective immediately, all members of the local and national media, River Cats corporate partners, full- or part-time River Cats staff, and season, flex, and mini-plan ticket holders will be fined $1 for spelling “River Cats” incorrectly.

All money collected will go to the River Cats Foundation, which has contributed more than $1.5 million in cash and $16.2 million in in-kind donations to the greater Sacramento community since 2000.

This despite the fact that the team’s Twitter handle is @rivercats — no underscore! — and their logo doesn’t really make a point of separating “River” and “Cats.”


The River Cats’ initiative brings up a larger issue, in that there is a complete lack of uniformity when it comes to Minor League monikers. The Charleston RiverDogs do not use a space between River and Dogs, for example, while the Delmarva Shorebirds go the one word, no caps route. The Minor Leagues are a grammatical minefield, their team names as unregulated as a 19th century western territory brothel.

Another unique fundraising effort comes courtesy of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, who partnered with in order to host a live online auction featuring team owner Donald Moore as auctioneer.


Outbid is said to “combine the theater and transparency of live online auctions with social gaming features,” and its existence means that we are all one step closer to living in a Utopian society. Items that the Grasshoppers auctioned off included team-autographed baseballs, a night in a 24-person ballpark suite and, best of all, an autographed Willie Nelson jersey.

Finally, we turn our attention to the Lancaster JetHawks (who, it should be noted, recently had to postpone one of their games due to a haboob).

The JetHawks won the California League championship last season, and now fans are being given the chance to get a ring.


Swiped from the press release:

The Lancaster JetHawks have partnered with two local little leagues to host a special raffle giving two individuals the opportunity to win an authentic customized 2012 California League Championship Ring. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to West Lancaster and Quartz Hill Little Leagues.

Raffle tickets are on sale now and will be sold through June 10. Tickets will be available for $5 each, or five for $20….The winning raffle tickets will be drawn just prior to the JetHawks game on June 12. The two winners will receive custom-made rings personalized with their own last name during a special pre-game ceremony that will take place at a JetHawks game in late August.

And that shall conclude this blogging week, which was admittedly a light one. And when things are light on the blog it’s always a good bet that they’re correspondingly heavy over on Head to the site for Promo Preview, an Opening Weekend Crooked Numbers column, and three — count ’em three — pieces of content related to 42. 

I do it all for you, as “you” is what I have nicknamed my paycheck.