Results tagged ‘ San Jose Giants ’
This past Friday sure turned out to be a doozy in the world of Minor League promotions. The independent Florence Freedom got most of the attention with the announcement of their “Manti Te’o Girlfriend” bobblehead (the box is empty, see?), but they were soon joined on the affiliated front by the Brooklyn Cyclones.
On June 21, the team will be staging “Fictitious Friday.”
Below, please find a bite-sized portion of the Cyclones press release:
Anyone who purchases one ticket at regular price will be allowed to bring their make believe significant-other to the ballpark free of charge. Fans will also have the chance to draw a picture of their girlfriend, because obviously something came up and she couldn’t make it, so that their friends can finally see what she looks like. As a special treat, MCU Park will host a unique petting zoo for those in attendance, featuring a unicorn, a mermaid, and a Minotaur. The Cyclones are also in discussions with the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot to throw out a ceremonial first pitch that evening. In keeping with the tradition of Coney Island amusements, the Cyclones will put a spin on a traditional carnival game, as fans that are able to toss a ping-pong ball into a fish bowl will receive a catfish. Lastly, all of the player headshots used on the video board will just be random people whose photos we find on the Internet.
Eager, as always, to get the facts behind the fiction, I contacted the Brooklyn Cyclones for more info on this most imaginative of promotions. GM Steve Cohen was quick to provide answers to my queries:
Letting make-believe girlfriends in for free is a very generous gesture. How much do tickets for make-believe girlfriends usually cost?
Steve Cohen: It depends on if they take up a seat or not. To keep up with the ruse, you might need an empty seat next to you in case you run into somebody you know. This way if they ask where your girlfriend went, you can tell them “Oh, you just missed her. She just went to grab something to eat, but she was sitting right here.” We have always supported make believe girlfriends – haven’t you seen our staff?
How are your negotiations with the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot progressing?
Steve Cohen: Not good. The market for make-believe creatures is currently at an all-time high. Their agents see this as a golden opportunity to cash in and they are asking an enormous amount as an appearance fee. Plus they are making odd demands like every picture we take of them needs to be out of focus and from at least 100 yards away.
How many catfish do you expect to give away on this special evening?
Steve Cohen: We had a couple wash into our office during Super Storm Sandy, so we already have a pretty decent supply to start off with.
If this promotion is a success, will other make-believe promotions follow?
Steve Cohen: You bet — the make-believe ones are a lot less expensive than the real ones!
And would you believe that yet another team has jumped into the fray? I bet you would! In the wake of the Cyclones’ “Fictitious Friday,” the San Jose Giants announced that April 12 would be “Lennay Kekua Night.” Per the team:
Items such as catfish will be featured on the Turkey Mike’s BBQ menu and fans who purchase a game ticket can bring their imaginary or real significant other to the game for free. A meet and greet will also take place prior to the game for all couples to introduce their significant others to their parents, to avoid any confusion about the existence of a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Two free future game tickets will be given to all fans who dress like Manti Te’o and to all Stanford University students because they may know or be Te’o's girlfriend. During the game, promotions will include individuals and their imaginary significant others competing to win great prizes.
For the record, I am no stranger to on-field solo competition:
Oh, and “speaking” of the Lake County Captains: on Friday they announced the first Lance Armstrong-themed promotion in Minor League Baseball (my guess is that, risky topic or not, other teams will follow suit). I went ahead and wrote an MiLB.com news piece on it, yet another specious example of how I am using whatever talents I have to the best of my abilities. Here’s the graphic that ran with the piece:
And that’s about all I have to report on regarding this particular news “cycle.”
Maybe it’s an example of my sticktuitiveness, maybe an example of stagnancy. Probably both. But, at any rate, I am able to begin today’s Leap Year post by looking at what I wrote about 2/29 the last time it rolled around.
So let’s leap to it!
The year was 2008. While most Americans were busy listening to the 10th anniversary edition of the Baha Men’s epochal Doong Spank LP, the Lancaster JetHawks made their presence felt by staging a Leap Year promo. Most notably, all fans with a leap year birthday received a box seat season ticket!
Not to be outdone, the Altoona Curve soon announced a season-long “Leip Year” celebration, all in honor of skipper Tim Leiper.
This one had the Rainmain-like fixation on numbers that is a hallmark of any good Minor League promotion, including the provision that if any Curve player was batting .366 after April 29′s ballgame, he (or she, you never know) would be awarded $366.
Maybe I’m just jaded, but I don’t think we’ve reached that level of inspiration in 2012. But a lot is going on. Here is a thorough (but by no means authoritative) rundown of who’s doing what how. Said rundown is in alphabetical order, but starting with “N” and then continuing back around through “M.”
Most notably, the above deal includes a $29 Citgo gas card.
$17 all-you-can-eat seats, to any game. I’m just not sure who would want to eat seats in the first place, though.
More bang for the buck than a bringing an exploding dollar bill along on a deer hunt! $29 gets four tickets to exhibition game vs. Triple-A Sacramento, four ticket vouchers to opening weekend, and two souvenir caps.
Interesting twist to this one, in that the $29 ticket packages includes admission to all games falling on the 29th of the month.
This offer comes with a $29 concession stand credit. Beet eggs included?
Two extra games included with the purchase of a five or 10-game pack!
A $95 savings!
Buy a six or 12-game ticket pack, get an additional game free.
Lake Elsinore Storm
This concludes THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE RECAP OF MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL LEAP DAY PROMOTIONS EVER ASSEMBLED. And yet I still don’t have my own Wikipedia page.
I took a vacation day on Friday. It was a vacation that brought me all the way to my kitchen, which I cleaned.
Also on Friday, my latest “Minoring in Business” article appeared on MiLB.com. It was about using a team’s history as a promotional tool, and focused on an in-depth project undertaken by the Visalia Rawhide.
The article was inspired by broadcaster Visalia broadcaster Donny Baarns, who gave a speech at the Winter Meetings entitled “Learning From Orwell: How History Can Enhance Your Club’s Brand.” There are many advantages to a historically-minded marketing approach (read the article!) but one of Baarns’ more unexpected examples was this: re-connecting with old sponsors.
In 1952, Buckman-Mitchell Insurance had their name at the top of the club’s pocket schedules.
At some point along the way, Buckman-Mitchell stopped sponsoring Visalia’s professional baseball team. But upon being shown the schedule seen above, the company is now back on (bill)board.
Visalia’s efforts have been particularly impressive, but historically-minded promotions and displays can be found throughout Minor League Baseball. The Rickwood Classic, in which the Birmingham Barons return to their former home for an afternoon of nostalgia, is a justly-celebrated annual tradition. I was lucky enough to attend in 2010.
Also in 2010, the Mobile BayBears opened the Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum. In an unprecedented effort, they moved Hank Aaron’s childhood home to the grounds of the stadium, renovated it, and re-opened it as a museum.
I attended the opening, which was attended by luminaries even more luminous than myself.
And then there are the Delmarva Shorebirds, whose stadium hosts the “Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame.”
Finally, last week I took to Twitter in order to ask “In what ways do you promote your team’s history, at the ballpark and otherwise?”
I got a wide range of responses, including the following:
Bowie Baysox: Celebrating 20th anniversary this season. Articles on website recapping past seasons, and several events scheduled during season.
Connecticut Tigers: Pay tribute to Norwich’s previous franchise by staging “Navigator’s Night” promotions with throwback jerseys.
Hagerstown Suns: Put out a “Legends” baseball card set honoring players from throughout the past three decades.
Harrisburg Senators: All time roster on a board, and pictures of the ballpark going back 60 to 70 years.
High Desert Mavericks: Year-by-year Opening Day line-ups displayed on stadium pillars.
Inland Empire 66ers: 66ers celebrated 25 years last season. Had articles on team history, wore throwbacks every Tuesday and did themed giveaways.
The San Jose Giants went ahead a sent a few photos, of the hand-painted murals and timelines located throughout the ballpark.
And on and on it goes. This is the part of the blog where, without the slightest hint of disingenuosness, I ask YOU to get in touch. In what ways is history celebrated and promoted by your favorite Minor League team? What else could be done?
Suffice to say that it’s been a momentous couple of days for the United States and the world at large, with the killing of Bin Laden absolutely dominating the conversation. Not surprisingly, Minor League teams across the country found a way to respond to the news. A brief smattering:
– The Bowie Baysox issued the following missive on Facebook: In response to President Obama’s call of unity and solidarity….the first 300 fans that enter the ballpark receive a mini-American Flag.
– In San Antonio, the Missions wore their camo uniforms as part of an impromptu celebration of the military. It turned out to be quite a game, too, with David Robertson hitting for the cycle as the Missions cruised to a 17-6 victory.
– In an email received just as the blog was going to “press,” the Northwest Akransas Naturals announced that Inspired by the bravery of the Navy Seals in Sunday night’s mission in Pakistan, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals would like to recognize and thank all military members – active and retired – with free tickets to any of the next four home games at Arvest Ballpark, starting Tuesday evening.
– The Altoona Curve offered free tickets to all military members, for games on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Rumors that Steamer was part of the special ops team have not been substantiated.
The team also remarked, facetiously albeit accurately, via Twitter that “In honor of yesterday’s events, July 4th-born Jared Hughes will be tonight’s starting pitcher for the Altoona Curve.” While Hughes only lasted four innings, the Curve rallied for a 10-9 victory over Harrisburg. This put an end to their streak of 19 straight games alternating a win with a loss (!!!)
The aforementioned Harrisburg Senators are more than just the visiting team in this particular narrative. Yesterday the team made its own announcement: In light of the events of the past 48 hours, the Harrisburg Senators want to say thank you to the U.S. Armed Forces for all that they do….Beginning this Friday, May 6th through the end of the 2011 season all active duty and retired military, Air and Army National Guard, and Reservists and their family receive box seats for only $7.50 (normally $9) with their military ID.
One of the few games going on when the news of Bin Laden’s death broke was a tilt in Tucson between the Padres and Colorado Springs — on Military Night, no less. The team made the decision to announce the news over the PA, resulting in a memorable scene.
“We felt [making the announcement] was an important thing to do,” said T-Pads general manager Mike Feder. “We’ve made a major commitment to reach out to the military; we have very large Air Force and intelligence bases located near us, and there’s a huge National Guard presence as well.”
A more localized case of dedicated team and and fan support involves Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giant fan senselessly beaten into a coma on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. His plight has prompted an outpouring of giving, with everyone from Tim Lincecum to Charlie Sheen chipping in with donations to help support Stow and his family during this exceedingly difficult time.
But one of the most substantial and heartfelt fundraising efforts occurred within Minor League Baseball. Stow often worked as a paramedic at San Jose’s Municipal Stadium, and the hometown Giants therefore dedicated the entire month of April to him. Throughout the month the team raised $36,181, and the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies pitched in an additional $7,181 after holding a fundraising night of their own. That’s $43, 362 combined, which was presented to the Stow family prior to Sunday’s ballgame.
Today, as with every Tuesday, brings a new “Promotion Preview” column. Super Nintendo, bubble gum, mustaches, formal wear, “Charlie Bit Me”, Tiger Blood cocktails, and more. Always more.
And yesterday saw the 2011 debut of “Crooked Numbers“, a monthly compendium of statistical oddities and curiosities. Or, as I like to call it, “an obsessive-compulsive labor of love that I spend way too much time on even though it gets no feedback from anyone, thereby making an already sensitive writer even more sensitive.” That title was rejected by the MiLB.com higher-ups, probably for good reason.
Greetings from the barren, windswept prairie that is mid-November in Minor League Baseball. It’s not that bad out here, in all honesty. There’s an invigorating chill in the air, plenty of room to roam, and all it takes to ward off predatory mammals is a well-aimed hatchet toss.
Therefore, all that’s left for me to do is to collect and then disseminate the few scraps of information that are blowing about. I shall commence with this immediately:
– I’ve never seen the reality show “Jon and Kate Plus 8″, but am nonetheless aware that it is a pop-cultural phenomenon for some reason. In tonight’s episode, which airs at 9 on TLC, Jon takes the kids to a Reading Phillies game. This marks the second time this year that a reality show dealing with oversized broods has filmed on location at a Double-A baseball game. Do I spot a trend?
– And speaking of television…Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, was featured on Sunday Night Football yesterday evening. Kudos to the Indy grounds crew for some thoughtful outfield logo placement:
Finally, my plea on Twitter and Facebook this morning for last-minute blog material came up empty…except for this: Reader Lee McEacharn was kind enough to send me a picture of San Jose Giants mascot Gigante throwing out the first pitch at a game in August in honor of his birthday. What I like about this photo is that it is mysterious and timeless, imbuing the normally straightforward subject of mascot birthdays with an air of shadowy intrigue.
Did this actually take place, or was it all a dream?
Perceptive readers of this blog may have picked up on the fact that I have come down with a case of the “Offseason Blues.” This ailment is not recognized by the mainstream medical community, so it has been hard for obtain the treatment I deserve.
But soldier on I must, so soldier on I shall. Today, I seek to derive strength and inspiration by conveying the following smorgasbord of Minor League news to you, the reader.
Dare to Be Stupid — Teams across the country are currently taking advantage of October down time in order to plan their 2010 promotional schedule. At least two of these clubs are actively soliciting fan suggestions: the Great Lakes Loons and the Bowie Baysox.
In advance of last week’s “Think Tank” planning session, the Loons put out a press release asking that fans submit promotional ideas on the Facebook page of mascot Lou E. Loon.
The Baysox, meanwhile, are asking fans to send an email to email@example.com with the subject line of “CRAZY IDEA.” The caps-lock enamored club takes pains to emphasize that NO IDEA IS TOO CRAZY, so don’t be afraid to really let loose. I just gave myself 30 seconds to brainstorm a crazy idea, and the best I could do was “hermit crab giveaway.” It’s been that kind of day.
A Trip Down Memory Lane — I am in the process of putting together a spreadsheet of offseason Minor League events, so that I can write an offseason version of my “Promotion Preview” column. In the process, I have come across several worthy events that, alas, have already occurred. Such as:
Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown in San Jose — Former big leaguers — including Hall of Famers Gaylord Perry and Rollie Fingers — faced off against players from the California Vintage Baesball Association. The game was played according to the 1886 rulebook, meaning that Perry could finally throw a legal spitball.
Hall of Fame Fight Night in Corpus Christi — Featuring eight bouts and a local Hall of Fame induction ceremony. What more could you ask for on a Saturday night in October at a Double-A ballpark?
Stone Crabs Celebrate Themselves — In Charlotte (Florida), the Stone Crabs celebrated the opening of stone crab season by offering fans a $50 gift card with the purchase of a season ticket plan.
Dave the Horn Guy Update — Every few months, I feel compelled to mention Minor League touring performer Dave the Horn Guy. Rather than question why this is, I instead direct you to THIS LINK. There, you can download Horn Guy ringtones. If you’ve never heard Usher’s “Yeah” played through a chromatically-tuned bulb horn, then you’ve never really lived.