Results tagged ‘ Spokane Indians ’
On Friday night I visited Spokane, Washington, the final stop on my sprawling 10-team California-Nevada-Idaho-Washington road trip. After a not-so-brief travel and sleep delay, I now provide the following brief recap. There will be far more to come on the blog regarding this trip, as well as my previous Appalachian League excursion.
August 12: Spokane Indians (Class A Short-Season affiliate of the Texas Rangers)
Opponent: Eugene Emeralds, 6:30 p.m.
Avista Stadium, from the outside:
At Random: The Indians are long-time partners of the Spokane Indian tribe; signage throughout the ballpark is in the tribe’s native Salish language.
Your Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day:
Your groundbreaking and subversive ballpark joke of the day, Spokane Indians https://t.co/CQ9nbil1gv
— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) August 13, 2016
This trip is over!
It’s a very busy time of year for me, on a personal and professional level. It can be tough to keep track of everything that’s going on, and I often feel overwhelmed. But every so often something comes along that requires immediate attention, something so hilarious and bizarre that it trumps all else. This is one of those things:
For the ’87, ’88 and ’89 seasons, the Spokane Indians team card set featured players posing at the local NorthTown Mall. I can say, without hyperbole, that these are the greatest Minor League team card sets of all time. With perhaps a little hyperbole, I can say that these are the best baseball cards of all time.
This noteworthy bit of decades-old absurdity was brought to my attention via the Indians themselves, who recently posted an article on the team website about just how these card sets came to be. The whole thing is well worth reading, so click HERE to read it. A few notable excerpts:
Rather than having the players and coaches pose at Avista Stadium, [the team] took the players to the NorthTown Mall – who sponsored the set – and had them pose at various merchants throughout the mall.
Manager Steve Lubratich, the man responsible for creating a lineup and managing a bullpen, is posed next to a cardboard cutout of Whitney Houston, arm draped over her shoulder – perhaps not the best way to command respect from his players. Pitcher Jay Estrada is casually leaning on a shelf full of women’s clothes, outfielder Greg Smith is all smiles next to a display of aquatic shampoo, and future major leaguer Dave Hollins can be found hanging out in the food court next to a tub of popcorn.
“At the time players were staying at the Gonzaga dorms and didn’t really have access to cars, so the chance to get out and explore the mall for the afternoon was well received,” said [former Indians general manager Tim] Leip in a recent interview. “All the merchants in the mall treated the players well and for some players it was their first time at a big mall.”
It was my first baseball card so I thought maybe that’s just how it was,” said 1988 outfielder Nikco Riesgo, who posed with a Spokane Indians pennant outside a sports store on his card. “It was a great way to meet the fans. We might have seen the whole city of Spokane that day, and we were treated like the Beatles. It was the perfect place for us to interact with people.”
Indians communications coordinator Bud Bareither was kind enough to send along the photos seen above, as well as those seen below. Please, continue to enjoy:
Being made aware of the existence of these baseball cards certainly brightened my day. I hope that it brightened yours as well. And, in related news, I am now $3 poorer.
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.
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:
100 Years of baseball in Syracuse is remembered in our patch/logo designed by Anthony Cianchetta. What do you think? pic.twitter.com/SbbrA1CJG0
— Syracuse Chiefs (@SyracuseChiefs) March 18, 2014
But that’s not the only interesting historical sporting overview that I’ve recently found via Twitter. Behold:
— Clark Ruhland (@Hokie20) February 19, 2014
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”.)
— BG Hot Rods (@BGHotRods) March 14, 2014
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.
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.
What’s that in your pants, gorilla? What’s that in your pants?
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.