Results tagged ‘ Spokane Indians ’

Flipping the Script

The use of Native American imagery within the world of sports is a controversial topic, as teams like the Cleveland Indians and (especially) the Washington Redskins are under increasing pressure to abandon names and/or logos seen as culturally insensitive. But the Spokane Indians have found a way around this problem, collaborating with the local Spokane tribe to adopt a look that celebrates, rather than denigrates, the people it purports to represent.

This season, the club will wear a jersey in which “Spokane” is written in Salish script.

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The collaboration between the Spokane Indians and the Salish tribe is nothing new, but the above jersey represents a significant development. In fact, this partnership will be the topic of my next Minoring in Business article, running on MiLB.com tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Speaking of teams sporting a name inspired by their region’s Native American population, the Syracuse Chiefs recently unveiled this:

But that’s not the only interesting historical sporting overview that I’ve recently found via Twitter. Behold:

But as much as some things change, others remain constant. On 3/14 the Bowling Green Hot Rods held a “Pi Day” promo, in which tickets were sold for $3.14 for three hours and 14 minutes, beginning at 3:14 p.m. (And, as an added bonus,  fans who bought the tickets in person were offered free slices of pizza “pi”.)

I was curious as to how this promotion was received, and Hot Rods assistant general manager Ben Hemmen satiated my curiosity thusly.

National “Pi” Day was a BIG hit in Bowling Green. In just three hours and fourteen minutes (3.14), we sold over 600 tickets at the box office or over the phone to games for this upcoming summer. The Power of “Pi” will definitely be something that we look at using next season to tie in a promotional opportunity for our fans.

Among the many items on team to-do lists at this time of year is adding new situationally appropriate song selections to the music database. For help with this endeavor, one enterprising rookie-level P.A. announcer took to Reddit. The resulting discussion is well worth reading.

This blog is also well worth reading, in my less-than-humble opinion, and I thank you for having Reddit.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Running With Weiner Dogs

There are few ironclad truisms here in the cutthroat world of Minor League Baseball blogging, but one of them is this: there’s never a bad time for a bouillabaisse! So here we go with just that — a collection of random ingredients that, once stirred together, combine to make for a hearty virtual meal.

After hours and hours of not looking, let’s start with the biggest piece of news that I can find with no effort: for the first time ever, the results of the Goldklang Group’s bobblection (in which fans express their presidential preferences via bobblehead) did not correspond with the result in the subsequent election.

Romney won the 2012 “Bobblection” by a final tally of 6-4, but, as we all know, he was unable to acquire a similar margin of victory on Tuesday night. I, for one, am shocked — when the distribution of competing ceramic souvenirs at a Minor League Baseball game is unable to foretell the outcome of momentous national events then I think it’s time for all of us to take a long look in the mirror in order to determine what other of our deeply-held assumptions have turned out to be erroneous.

Erroneous assumptions such as this one: mascots don’t have birth certificates.

Upon seeing that Spokane Indians mascot Otto was running for president, I mentioned to the team via Twitter that his candidacy was invalid due to lack of proper documentation.

The Indians hemmed and hawed around the issue, saying that the certificate had been “misplaced” amidst their ongoing stadium renovations. At first I was skeptical that such a certificate had ever existed, but these feelings were partially mitigated by a tweet I soon received from Lexington Legends’ promotions coordinator Lauren Shrader. This tweet (which included the hashtag #theyarepeopletoo) featured photographic proof of mascot Big Elle.’s birth certificate (Big Elle, as you can see, weighed 150 pounds upon emergence from the womb).

At any rate, I fully expect that the forthcoming offspring of Orem mascotz Hootz and Holly will be properly documented. Holly’s pregnancy is progressing along nicely, as evidenced by this sonogram photo that was posted on the team’s website. Per the Owlz:

After a recent checkup at the doctor’s office, we are happy to report the baby and Holly are both healthy and the due date is on schedule for Opening Day! Hootz and Holly have decided to wait and find out if it’s a boy or a girl until after it is born.

And speaking of whatever the he*k it is that I’ve been talking about:

You have almost certainly read my recent MiLB piece on the Lake Elsinore Storm and their surreal stable of on-field costumed characters, as it was the talk of the internet for weeks on end. And, while you were reading said piece, I bet you said to yourself, “I wish that there were more surreal images accompanying this piece, so that I could fully bask in the surreality of it all.”  And, furthermore, you probably then clicked on the photo gallery accompanying the article so that this urge could be satiated.

But just in case none of the above very likely occurrences took place, I now present you with a quartet of my favorite Lake Elsinore mascot images. They are surreal!

Thunder racing a trio of weiner dogs.

The Rally Cop rallies.

The Grounds Crew Gorilla loses a race to Ace the fastest squirrel in the world.

Collage!

What’s that in your pants, gorilla? What’s that in your pants?

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

The Beginning is the End is the Beginning

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

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

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

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

Writes the team:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

So What’d I Miss?

One of the only drawbacks of going on the road is that the abundance of “on-location” content leads to the neglect of the usual Minor League news and notes that this blog is known for.

But the plus side of said neglect is that I always have a lot to write about upon my return. So with the Carolina coverage now in the rear view mirror (for now), let’s take a look at what I missed.

Let’s start with a theme jersey that has already garnered significant attention across the blogosphere: On August 13, the Memphis Redbirds will wear these jerseys in conjunction with “Organ Donor Night.”

An out-of-body experience

The purpose of the evening is to encourage fans to sign up to be organ donors — a worthwhile cause if there ever was one. But this being Minor League Baseball, it doesn’t stop there. A local music store has donated a keyboard organ that will be given away, and heart-healthy food packs will be distributed so that fans can keep that particular organ operating at an optimum level.

I would also suggest that THIS gets played during the game.

And staying with the RedBirds for a moment. You may recall that back in February they hired local psychic Rhonda Manning to predict the team’s “Guaranteed Win Night.” Manning chose August 1, and what a choice it was. The Redbirds overcame a six-run deficit over the game’s final two innings, capped by Shane Robinson’s two-out walk-off grand slam! 

Clearly, this is a team in touch with the supernatural.

And believe it or not, I have even more news related to the always-rich “walk-off grand slam” sub-genre. Ruben Sierra, Jr. hit a game-winning four-bagger for Spokane on July 27 — on “Grand Slam Giveaway Night.” As a result, a lucky fan won a brand-new Ford F-150.

Sierra and the truck-winning fan, getting doused

Keeping within the hospitable confines of Washington state, let’s check out this offering from the so-called “AquaSox Boys,” featuring four footloose and fancy-free members of the Everett ballclub.

The above video is approaching 20,000 views, thanks in no small part to the Backstreet Boys themselves tweeting the link out to their still-formidable fan base.

And since we’re on topic of “aqua,” you might recollect that back in March the Bowie Baysox unveiled an alternate logo that would be worn during Friday home games.

This:

As of last week, this  fish has a name: Rocko. (I don’t know about you, but I’ll finally be able to sleep at night, knowing that this important matter has finally been resolved.) And while no one has opted to have Rocko indelibly inked upon their body as part of the Baysox’s recent “Tattoo Night,” 1000 fans did receive temporary “Rocko” tattoos.

And two fans went ahead and got the Baysox logo permanently affixed to their bodies. Here’s one of them:

Baysox staffers, meanwhile, took a less permanent route.

All fans with visible tattoos received half off admission, and several of these fans competed in body art-related between-inning games and contests. Menacing stares abounded.

I hope that no one was hurt.

That’ll be it for today, but there will be more tomorrow because there’s always tomorrow and there’s always more. In the meantime, please check out the latest and therefore greatest edition of “Crooked Numbers.” It is a labor of love, and each month after it comes out I have delusions of grandeur regarding the amount of people who will read it and show it to all their friends.

And, for more timely Minor League news than this blog is able to provide, follow me on Twitter. It’ll be great!

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Snowman Decimation Immortalized (and Other Seasonal Happenings)

If there’s one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that a lot of snow has fallen from the sky this week. For Minor League teams, it can be tough to capitalize on a weather phenomenon so antithetical to ideal baseball conditions. But that doesn’t mean they’re not going to try!

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are certainly capitalizing, as now is a most apropos time to unveil a snow-themed Opening Day bobblehead. 

It’s Scooter Vs. The Snowman!

scootersnow.JPG

This truly unique item was inspired by the Rattlers’ Opening Day snowout this past season. With no game to play, the players took to the snow-covered field in order to let off some steam. And during this unsupervised free time, Scooter Gennett unleashed a brutal attack upon a hapless snowman.

wisconsin snow 3.jpg 

And now, that moment has been immortalized for all time! The “Scooter Vs. The Snowman” bobblehead will be given away to all fans attending Opening Day at Fox Cities Stadium on April 7. Hopefully it will inspire a “player vs. inanimate object” bobblehead subgenre.

Gennett’s snowman attack took place more than nine months ago, but fans of the now will be gratified to know that there are plenty of more recent snow-covered ballpark photos floating around the internet. My colleague Danny Wild has done the world a tremendous service by compiling many of them in an MiLB.com photo album, but it’s the ones from Spokane that really stand out.

Avista Stadium will be hosting an outdoor junior hockey league game this weekend, resulting in a fairly stunning ballpark transformation. 

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A far more informal winter sport conversion can be found at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, as Tri-City ValleyCats assistant general manager Matt Callahan recently took to the outfield slopes. Do not try this at home (assuming your home is a Minor League Baseball stadium).  

And then there’s snow-covered FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, a 60-year-old facility in the midst of an extensive $10 million renovation project.

readingren.JPG 

The snow has temporarily slowed down the pace of the project, giving stadium denizen Ryan Howard Garden Gnome a rare opportunity for wintertime solace and reflection.

gnomerun1.JPG

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It’s like the old saying goes: There’s snow place like gnome!

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

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