Results tagged ‘ State College Spikes ’

A Spike in Alternate Realties

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for scspikes.gifThe Bowling Green Hot Rods’ “What Could’ve Been Night” was voted the top promotion in all of Minor League Baseball last season, an honor that thoroughly validated the once-fringe promotional concept of alternate reality celebration.

The Hot Rods’ success has inspired at least four teams to follow suit in 2010: The Quad Cities River Bandits, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Portland Beavers, and State College Spikes. I eagerly await each and every one of these promotions, but for now we shall focus on the goings-on in State College.

For the Spikes’ just released the details of August 27’s “What If Night”, details that I will now share with you.

Ever wish you could go back in time five years? The State College Spikes
are inviting fans to
coaly.jpg do just that by turning back the clock to the
franchise’s 2005 “Name the Team Contest” – the one that ultimately led
to “Spikes” being picked as team nickname – and selecting one of the
runner-up choices to have its moment of glory.

To play up the theme of the day, the team will take the field for that
night’s game against the Batavia Muckdogs as either the Anglers, Coalys,
Furnace or Haymakers, and Spikes fans will again have the power to
decide….The winning nickname will be honored with a logo and specially-designed
jerseys, which will be worn by the players during the August 27 game and
then auctioned off to fans in attendance that night.
 

Further information can be found HERE, and those wishing to vote can do so HERE

This contest really brings me back, as a young Benjamin Hill wrote a news article in November of 2005 detailing the selection of “Spikes” as the team’s name. This was in MiLB.com’s first year of operation, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. In that regard, little has changed.

– But speaking of alternate existences — how bizarre would it be if the universe’s most celebrated Wookie was in actuality a seven-foot tall British thespian prone to making appearances at Minor League ballparks?

That’s the mind-bending reality experienced by Oklahoma City baseball fans last week, as Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew pressed the flesh and smiled for the flash at Bricktown Ballpark.

Here he is with a young Jedi:

Oklahoma City -- Chewy1.jpg

And here he is in the dugout with RedHawks manager Bobby Jones:

Oklahoma City -- Chewy2.jpg

photo credits: Wendy Eagan/MiLB.com

No word yet on what Chewbacca would select as his on-bat music, but while we wait for this crucial information please peruse THIS LIST of personalized player intro tunes provided by the Pacific Coast League’s Reno Aces. 

In an alternate reality, I am a member of the Reno Aces hoping to make it back to the bigs. Each time I come to the plate, the crowd is regaled with THIS.

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

There's Always Something

asheville.jpgIt’s a slow Tuesday in January, but Minor League news, like an indomitable tumbleweed, keeps rolling along.

The biggest thing to come down the proverbial pike today was the announcement that the Asheville Tourists have been sold to an ownership group led by the family of former United States Senator Mike DeWine. Once the deal becomes official (in March, most likely), Brian DeWine will assume presidency of the club. Brian, the fifth of eight DeWine children, is no stranger to Minor League Baseball. He interned with the Greenville Braves and Savannah Sand Gnats before spending four seasons with the Southern League’s Carolina Mudcats.

Read all about it HERE (at the very least, know that I am very proud of my lead sentence).

And since I’m on the more serious tip today, I wanted to highlight one of the State CollegeThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for scspikes.gif Spikes’ most recent initiatives. The club is encouraging fans to write letters to Chris Simmons, a member of the 2008 Spikes who is currently serving in Iraq.

Simmons’ story is an interesting one. He was drafted in the 41st round of the 2008 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and sent to the Spikes in order to begin his professional career. He was one of three West Point cadets to be drafted that year, joining teammate Cole White and Drew Clothier of the Florida Marlins. Soon thereafter, the military amended its policy regarding professional athletes and the three were forced to put their baseball careers on hold.

Read more about it HERE.

But regardless of the specifics, the fact remains that Simmons is now in Iraq, serving as a Platoon Leader for the First Armor Division. Those wishing to send him a letter can do so via the following address:

State College Spikes
c/o Chris Simmons
112 Medlar Field at Lubrano Park
University Park, PA 16802

And more on the Spikes’ initiative can be read HERE.

Finally, it has become my habit as of late to re-post interesting photos that I come across via team Twitter and Facebook accounts. Here’s one I found today, which shows how decidedly un-Spring-like it currently is in Erie, PA:

Thumbnail image for eriesnow.jpg 

And since there’s “snow” more to write about, I’m going to call it a day.

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

State College Now Safe From Mascot-Robbing Relievers

Thumbnail image for scspikes.gifWay back on July 9, when the Earth was young and men were men, the State College Spikes held an interesting promotion. I have been meaning to dedicate a blog post to this promotion, but other things kept getting in the way.

But you know what? Nothing is going to get in my way tonight. I am going to do what it takes to make sure I write about the Spikes’ July 9 promotion, because that promotion was this: CSI Night.

Inspired  by the depressingly popular police procedural show, the Spikes’ production team put together a series of shorts that ran on the videoboard throughout the ballgame. Each video provided fans with a clue related to one of the great mysteries of all time: “Who Stole Ike’s Hat?” (Ike is the team’s mascot). Wrote Spikes general manager Jason Dambach:

Any fan who solved the mystery by submitting their answer to our customer service booth won a ticket to a future Spikes game. This turned out to be a promotion that got fans really involved and we got a lot of very positive feedback on it.”

I’m going to go ahead and assume that you, the reader, would like to solve the mystery for yourself. Therefore, I will engage in the heroic task of posting the videos that aired on the videoboard throughout the evening (and yes, you do have the time to watch these).

Here’s the set-up:

What kind of criminal leaves his birth certificate at the crime scene?

Like New Coke and the Fox Network, the suspect was conceived during the height of the Reagan Era:

For reasons I do not understand, I am unable to post the next video. Just click HERE, and then come back to me. I’ll be waiting.

Okay, good. Moving on…

You’d think a media relations manager wouldn’t get flustered so easily.

The Spikes should probably adjust the positioning of their security cameras:

“It looks to be a baseball.”

Thank God for technology:

The criminal is apprehended, after no struggle whatsoever:

Hat’s All, Folks!

While I felt compelled to make a series of snide remarks throughout this post, let me make it clear that I really like this promotion. One, because it was funny. Nearly every video made me laugh, and the bizarre leaps of logic and inexplicable motives only made it funnier. It reminded me a lot of the videos that my friends and I made in high school.

And, two, this promotion is excellent on the conceptual level. It is imminently adaptable, gets the fans involved, and has room for a nearly endless amount of absurd humor. The offseason is almost upon us, meaning that those who work in front offices will have a little more time on their hands. Why not get a jump on the 2010 promotional schedule by writing and recording a ridiculous videoboard “Whodunit”?

And as soon as you do so, send me the link.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Promotions 101

scspikes.gifOne of the most unique and attention-getting promos staged in the Minor Leagues last season was the State College Spikes’ “Night of 100 Promotions.” This special evening was exactly what its name implied — over the course of nine innings, the front office staff incorporated 100 unique promotions into the game presentation. Sure, the definition of “promotion” may have been stretched passed its breaking point just a tad (Free Smells? Ballpark Air Giveaway?) but that was all part of the fun.

The Spikes have decided to up the ante this season, because taking place on Monday is — wait for it — “The Night of 101 Promotions.” Thanks to my vast network of clandestine Minor League sources, I have been able to obtain a list of every single promotion that will be taking place.

Prepare Yourself:

162 Free student
tickets from SPA
4 Lucky fans will get their seats
upgraded
Be a lucky wristband winner
Be Ike’s sweetheart for the night
Be on the Dance Cam
Be on the Fan Cam
Bounce in the Kids Zone
Buy tickets from Scott Walker
Catch a bag of peanuts
Catch a t-shirt
Chant “Fear the Deer”
Clap when the Spikes score
Compete in the Big Shoe Race
Compete in the Hamster Ball Race
Compete in the Scrub Race
Complimentary mints in the bathroom
Do the chicken dance
Do the wave
Do the YMCA
Dollar Dog Night
Draw on the concourse with sidewalk
chalk
Eat 5 hot dogs for $5
Eat as much as you want in an All You
Can Eat Seat
Eat milk and cookies in the ballpark
Find out score from other Pirates
affiliates
Find Waldo in the ballpark
Flyover (by a bird)
Follow along with the game on 3WZ
Free high-fives
Free laughs
Free low-fives
Free memories
Free napkins at all concession stands
Free Pocket Schedules
Free programs at gates
Free Smells
Free statistics sheet at Customer
Service
Gates open 1 minute early
Get a player’s autograph
Get a schedule poster
Get your picture taken with a lifesize
hot dog
Get your picture taken with a lifesize
ice cream cone
Give your recyclables to Gang Green
Go green with the Spikes
Guess the Attendance
Guess the player of the game
Guess the speed of the 3rd pitch of the
3rd inning
Guess which eyeball will win the 20/20
Dash
Have your birthday announced
Hear the weather from Mountain Man Matt
Help support the Children’s Miracle
Network
Hug an intern
Hugs from Nookie Monster
Hula Hoop on the concourse
Ike the Spike Autograph Session
Inhale ballpark air
Invisible Giveaway
Jeer the Jammers
Kids Run the Bases after the game
Look for the lucky Sheetz ad
Look for the lucky Wegman’s ad
Man-powered program cooling system
Meet the front office staff
Meet the GM of the Spikes
Pet Bob the Baseball Dog
Play “I Spy” with your friends
Sanitize your hands on the concourse
Save money with Ike’s Headlight Special
Score the game in your program
See the future Florida Marlins
See the future Pittsburgh Pirates
See the view of Mt. Nittany
See your favorite Spikes player
Self-guided concourse tour
Sing “Take me out to the
ballgame”
Sing along to the National Anthem
Sing the 7th inning stretch
Skittles Giveaway
Socialize with fellow Spikes enthusiasts
Superhero headshots
Superhero walkup music
Talk to an usher
Throw out a first pitch
Toss tennis balls onto the field
Try the Chef Special
Try to catch a foul ball
Use your ticket stub at McDonald’s
Vote for a special song to be played
Watch for a broken bat
Watch for upcoming promotions
Watch Ike’s “Single Ladies”
Dance
Watch the Gameday Show Live
Watch the Gang Green superhero skit
Watch the rockets red glare
Watch the World’s Fastest Infield Drag
Wear Spikes gear to the game
Win 5 free car washes
Win a free pizza
Win a free taco when the Spikes score
Win a prize if the Spikes get a home run
Win a team autographed ball

—————————————————————————————————————————————

So there you have it. Check out the Spikes on Monday for a jam-packed evening of being,action.gif bouncing, buying, catching, chanting, clapping, competing, doing, drawing, eating, finding, following, getting, giving, going, guessing, having, hearing, helping, hugging, hula-hooping, inhaling, jeering, looking, meeting, petting, playing, sanitizing, saving, scoring, seeing, self-guiding, singing, socializing, talking, throwing, tossing, trying, using, voting, watching, wearing, and winning.

The above 43 verbs pretty much sum up the Minor League Baseball experience. They also sum up the experience of being alive.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com 

Meet the MacPhail Nominees: State College Spikes

spikelee.gifThe Larry
MacPhail Promotional Trophy is awarded annually to the Minor League team that
did the most outstanding promotional work during the recently concluded season.

Throughout the past week, this fine blog has run interviews with
representatives from the nominated teams, in an effort to shine some
light on their promotional strategies and philosophies.

Due to a health setback suffered here at the Ben’s Biz Blog headquarters, today’s post is a few days behind schedule. But, as you shall soon see, it was well worth the wait (unlike “Chinese Democracy“).

Today’s featured team is the State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League. Answers are courtesy of Spikes promotions and community relations coordinator Jennifer Orlando.

 

Prior to the season, had your team ever been nominated for a
MacPhail Award? If so, ever won it?

JO: No, our team has never been nominated! However, in 2004, our
sister team the

curveamagurve.png

Altoona Curve won the MacPhail Award.

 

How would you define your team’s promotional philosophy?

JO: Our philosophy is to always keep our promotions new and
fresh for our fans. We want to be sure that for our season ticket holders,
every night seems different to them. We also want to be sure that we treat
every night like Opening Night so that the entertainment looks top notch to a
fan that has never come to a game before.

 

What were some of your biggest promotional successes from
last season?

1zerozero.png

JO: Last season, our “Night of 100 Promotions” got a lot of
attention on MiLB.com. Another big promotional success for us was our “We Win,
You Win” promotion. We had a lot of fun and got a lot of attention for this one
because our team did not have the greatest record* in 2008. The deal was, if the
Spikes won, everyone got a voucher for a free ticket to any of the next three
games. If they lost, our GM and Director of Ticket Sales would have to walk the
bases for as many hours as the margin of defeat in that game. Lucky for them,
the Spikes won that night! The fans really caught onto this promotion and had a
lot of fun pulling for their team! Two of our most entertaining nights
for the fans were our “Salute to Duct Tape” and “Salute to the Mustache”.
 We also had a series of “Going Green” nights. These were a huge success
and we are definitely going to continue these next year.

*18-56

 

Any misfires, mishaps, or ideas that just didn’t work?

JO:

We tried having a “Singles Night” this year which
didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped. We had a date auction with some of our
most eligible front office staff members, and the auction raised money for the
American Heart Association. It ended up being a little awkward, but in the end,
still raised some money for AHA, which was our goal. It wasn’t a complete
disaster, but wasn’t one of our finest either.  

 

What are your favorite sports promotions of all time?

JO: I think mascot races are one of the best promotions that can
be done. They engage

eyeeyesir.jpg

the fans to the fullest extent, which is the point of any
promotion! This year, we had an eyeball race, where 3 inflatable eyeballs raced
around each game. The fans would cheer for their favorite eyeball and we were
sure to keep fans aware of the standings. It was quite a “sight” to watch this
race and it was great to see the fans really get into it.

 

In a perfect world, what sort of promotions would you like
to stage in 2009 and beyond?

JO: Well, without giving away too many secrets, we do have some
great ideas planned for 2009! We are definitely going to continue our vow to
going green and try to continue that theme several times during the season.
 We are hosting the 2009 NYPL All-Star game on August 18, so that will
lead us to many new and exciting things also!

A Jam-Packed Night in Jamestown

jammers.jpgLast week, I blogged about the State College Spikes’ epic “Night of 100 Promotions”, and wondered if any other teams would soon follow suit.

One has: the Jamestown Jammers.

The Jammers have toned the concept down a notch while also adding a unique hometown twist. The club is currently in first place in the New York-Penn League’s Pinckney Division, and just 14 wins away from a franchise-record 42 victories. In honor of this march to immortality, tomorrow will be “The Night of 42 Promotions.”

Utilizing the hard-nosed investigative journalism skills that I have built my reputation upon, I was able to secure a complete list of the Jammers’ promotions (thanks to Director of Baseball Operations Scott Eddy). Tiny font, activate!

1.  Answer some fun and exciting trivia and win a
small prize that will last forever!

2.  Through out the game so you do not forget the
stats or your favorite players, we will be giving away colorful post-it
notes!!!

3.  Free Bubba Hugs

bubba.jpg

4.  Learn the Robot Dance with Bubba!

5.  Receive 100 of this special prize and you
will have a $1.00 aka Penny Giveaway!

6.  Number 1 music hits from around the world on
the PA all night long

7.  Meet the wonderful Jamestown Jammers staff of
2008!!!

8.  Attempt to start the largest Wave in Chautauqua County history

9.  Join in while we do the Macarena

10. Bull-pen player name game

11. You have been wondering?
Ask the GM one question of your choice!

12. Salute to the chia pet

13. Watch your Jamestown
Jammers interns take on one another in the Intern Olympics

14. 42 bugle calls

15. 15% of a non-sale item in
the Gift Shop

16. Salute to the Yodel

17. Jammers Card set toss into
crowd

18. Electric Slide on the
field

19. Look out for flying
peanuts! Catch them if you can!

20. Wrestling theme music

21. Tribute to 42nd
President Bill Clinton

22. Pay tribute to your
hometown girl by doing I Love Lucy impressions!

lucille_ball.jpg

23. J-E-L-L-O toss on-field

24. Kids bring your muscles to
join in on a tug of war challenge

25. Test your running skills
by running in clothes backwards

26. Anyone who throws 42 at
Speed Pitch wins a prize!

27. Water balloon toss

28. Salute to our manager,
Darin Everson

29. Salute to baseball caps

30. Meet the grounds crew

31. Meet outfielder Ray White

32. Moment of silence for our
troops

33. Come to the game with your
blue tooth and win a small prize

34. Salute to the Eggplant

35. Free high fives

36. Spend a fun filled inning
with Bubba!

37. Jr. PA Announcers

38. Free T-shirt toss

washington-state.jpg

39. Salute to Boy Bands

40. Salute to the 42nd
state,
Washington

41. Free stadium tours

42. Free pocket schedules

I will now elaborate on a few of these most-exciting innovations.

#3: Bubba is the Jammers’ mascot, whose full name is the quite awesome “Bubba Grape the Baseball Ape“. It is fitting that he shares a name with 42nd President Bill “Bubba” Clinton, who the club will be paying tribute to that evening (see promo #21).

gooch.gif#6: In addition to playing #1 hits, the club might wish to consider playing the song that is currently #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart: “Realize” by Colbie Caillat.

#10: RIght-hander Wayman Gooch should be a lock to win the bullpen name-game.

#19: This sounds more like a threat than a promotion.

#22: Lucille Ball was indeed born in Jamestown.

#25: This is obviously preferable to running naked backwards.

Meanwhile the aforementioned State College Spikes are running full speed ahead with more innovative promotions. The club’s on-field play has left much to be desired this season (the Spikes are 18.5 games behind Jamestown in the Pinckney Division), so the front office has declared Friday’s game as “We Win, You Win” night.

If the Spikes win that evening, fans receive a ticket voucher for an upcoming game against Staten Island. But if they lose, then “General Manager Rick Janac and Director of Ticket Sales Chris Phillips
will walk around the bases on Saturday for the equivalent amount of
hours as runs the team is beaten by.” The full press release is located here.
 

The Spikes' Promotional Cup Runneth Over

spikes-logo.gifGiven the absurd amount of details involved in hosting a professional baseball game, almost all Minor League front office staff members are highly-skilled in the fine art of multi-tasking.

Yesterday, the State College Spikes took multi-tasking to the limit with their highly innovative (and somewhat masochistic) “Night of 100 Promotions.” The evening was exactly what its name implied, as the Spikes crammed an absurd number of promotional endeavors into the span of nine innings. Some of these activities are really stretching the limit of what could be called a “promotion”, but such boundary-pushing is what Minor League Baseball is all about.

Spikes promotions and community relations manager Jennifer Orlando was kind enough to send me a list of all 100 promotions, which I will now reprint in tiny font:

1. Paper Airplane Contest

800px-Chewing_gum_stick.jpg

2. Pet Rock Petting Zoo

3. Rubber Band Shooting Contest

4. Sock Puppet Show

5. Crazy Straws at Concession Stands

6. Bubbles at the Gates

7. Stick of Gum…Win a Contest, win a stick of gum

8. Paper Clip Giveaway

9.  Free Laughs

10. 10 Free Popcorn Gloves @ Gates

11. Paper Plate Mask Making Station

12. Dum Dum Giveaway

13. Sunflower Seed Giveaway

14. Pixie Stick Giveaway

15. Face Painting

16. Amazing Christopher Appearance

17. 70’s Night

18. Family 4 Pack

19. Stadium YMCA Dance

20. Disco Dance Off

21. Hippie Cam

hippy 3.jpg

22. Groovy Grounds Crew Dance

23. Free Programs at gates

24. Free T.P. squares at gates

25. Free High Fives

26. Free Hugs from Ike

27. The Hustle dance instructions

28. Free Smells

29. Spend an Inning in the Press Box

30. Spend an Inning with Ike

31. Bag of Ballpark Air

32. Hula Hoop station on Concourse

33. 70’s Trivia…Valpak?

34. Leftover Night

35. Kids Run the bases

36. Balloon Giveaway

37. Arts and Crafts…Coloring stations?

38. Mini-Golf

39. Self-Guided Concourse tours

40. Spikes Trivia

41. Curve Trivia

42. Pirates Trivia

43. Penn State
Trivia

44. New York
Penn League Trivia

45. Meet the Spikes Staff

46. Gates open 1 minute early

47. Do the Wave!

48. Free Hugs

49. Intern Olympics

50. Ike Autograph Session

ike.jpg

51. Merchandise Sales

52. Front office carnival at the gates

53. Play in Porter
Gardens

54. Wing Eating Contest

55. Spread the “Peace” Signs

56. $1 off burgers

57. ½ off 16 oz. beer from 6-8

58. ½ off small soda from 6-8

59. Free Pocket Schedules

60. Free Half sheeters

61. Free lists of 100 promotions

62. Free Business cards

63. Sidewalk Chalk

64. Free Trash Disposal

65. Free Recycling

66. 162 Free Student Tix from SPA

67. Ike’s First Pitch

68. Nookie Monster’s First Pitch

69. K Contest – If the Spikes Get 9 Strike Outs, One Lucky
Fan Gets $9 off a Hat

70. Triple Play Contest – If the Spikes Turn a Triple Play,
One Lucky Fan wins Three Free Tickets

71. Walking Taco Walk – If the Spikes Get 4 Walks, One Lucky
Fan wins a free Walking Taco

72. Be the Playball Kid!

73. Fan of the Game Contest

74. Hot Dog Launch

75. Throw Out the Last Pitch of the Game

76. Be the PA Announcer for an inning

77. Jimmy John’s Frozen T-Shirt Contest

78. Weis Market Hamster Balls

79. Mt. Nittany
Wheelworks Tricycle Race

tricyclerace.jpg

80. T&B Medical Karaoke

81. ValPak Trivia

82. McDonald’s Waterballoon Toss

83. Sweet Tooth Bakery Candy Toss

84. Dominoes Pizza Scream

85. Heimer Eyecare 20/20 Dash

86. Nittany Embroidery T-Shirt Toss

87. Wegman’s Playbill Signature

88. Sheetz Playbill Signature

89. Pre-game Player Autographs

90. Be the Honorary Bat Kid Pre-Game

91. 4 Lucky Fans will get their seat upgraded

92. Grounds Crew Tip of the Day

93. Birthday & Anniversaries will be announced

94. 4 Free Pizzas!

Brooklyn Style Pizza-712w.jpg

95. One Lucky Row will win free car washes

96. Ike Skit

97. Play Ball Launch at the end of the game

98. Guess the Attendance

99. Lucky section will win a prize when the first Spikes run
scores

100. Be on the Fan Cam!

There are many, many highlights here, but perhaps my favorite is #61 — “Free List of 100 Promotions”. This list could then serve as a handy checklist throughout the evening, as fans participated in a veritable promotion scavenger hunt. I am also partial to the free bag of air (#31), free smells (#28), and the chance to win a  “walking taco” (#71).

So now that the Spikes have set the bar with this promotion, will any team be able to top it? Will we soon see a night of 101 Promotions? 200? 567? The sky’s the limit, really, and I am hoping that a full-fledged battle now erupts as teams vie for the coveted honor of “Most Promotions Staged in A Single Night.”

I would also like to see a team host a “Knight of 100 Emotions”, featuring a medieval warrior with bi-polar disorder.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 452 other followers