Results tagged ‘ Stockton Ports ’
Before the 2011 season began, I solicited suggestions regarding where I should travel this season. And one answer that I heard time and time again (via blog comments, Twitter, Facebook, and email) was “the Carolinas.”
This area is, simply put, a hotbed of Minor League Baseball.
Fueled by this feedback, I cobbled together the best itinerary I could muster given the vagaries of schedule, budget, and time constraints. And that itinerary is this:
7/20: Charleston RiverDogs
7/21: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
7/22: Kinston Indians
7/23: Durham Bulls
7/24: Burlington Royals
7/25: Danville Braves (okay, not technically the “Carolinas”)
7/26: Winston-Salem Dash
As usual, I will be doing my absolute best to chronicle the experience through MiLB.com stories, blog posts, Flipcam interviews, photo galleries, and highly aestheticized daguerreotypes. And, as usual, I will do my best to ward off anxiety attacks through the power of positive thinking.
And now comes the part of the post in which I earnestly implore you to GET IN TOUCH! Recommendations and information related to the ballparks and surrounding areas are much appreciated, and while time is always limited I do my absolute best to follow up on all the information I receive. There is some flexibility in regard to what I can write about, and your local knowledge often leads to unique content I wouldn’t be able to provide on my own.
But before I get too wrapped up in the future, let me return to the past with some ODDS and ENDS from my recent Ohio-Indiana road trip. I am happy to report that I was able to squeeze in a visit to Toledo’s world-famous Tony Packo’s — Hungarian purveyors of hot dogs, chili, and pickles.
There’s no wait staff at this joint, you just walk in and give your order to the uber-efficient and boisterous folks behind the counter.
I ordered a hot dog with Packo’s famous chili, paprika dumplings, and a side of “Pickles and Peppers.” That turned out to be a bit redundant, considering the generous amount of pickles that came with the hot dog.
While eating, I contemplated the rows and rows of signed and laminated hot dog buns on display. A sampling:
My next stop was Fort Wayne, and upon leaving that fine city I decided to pay a visit to the grave of Johnny Appleseed. But when I arrived at Johnny Appleseed Park, I found that it was a massive hiking, biking, and camping area comprising a very large amount of land. It was raining, no one was around, and no signs for the grave were in sight.
So I gave up on my mission, but the consolation prize was this photo of a road sign honoring former Fort Wayne mayor Harry Baals.
In summation: I tried to find Johnny Appleseed’s grave, but all I got was a photograph of this lousy street sign.
Sadly, the only other non-baseball excursion I was able to fit in came at the end of the trip. En route to Akron I stopped at Ravenna, OH, the town where I lived from birth through (nearly) age 2. When I got there, I was pleased to discover the town was in the midst of a classic car show and all-around civic celebration.
Upon returning to NYC’s comforting embrace, I took stock of my latest round of road trip swag.
Meanwhile, I just keep on getting things in the mail. Like this Bob Feller “Van Meter” bobblehead from the Iowa Cubs.
And the awesome Stockton Ports’ Jeremy Barfield “Rocket Arm” and Dallas Braden “Bobble Belly” combo.
For whatever reason, the Jeremy Barfield “Rocket Arm” has it in for the Dallas Braden “Bobble Belly.” As I looked on with horror, Barfield advanced on Braden and then fired a rocket shot right at his belly.
The moral of the story is don’t mess with Jeremy Barfield “Rocket Arm.” He will destroy you.
The Spinners’ recent run of attention-getting stunts will surely get some “Promotion of the Year” consideration, as flossing world records and Human Home Runs aren’t the kind of thing you see every day.
Another team likely to be in the running at year’s end are the Stockton Ports, who have produced two of the year’s most creative giveaways: the Jeremy Barfield “Rocket Arm” and the Dallas Braden “Bobble Belly.”
The “Rocket Arm” is a literal-minded tribute to the extreme arm strength displayed by Barfield when he patrolled the outfield in Stockton last season. They will be distributed to the first 1000 fans in attendance at Friday’s game.
And just nine days later, the team is honoring Stockton native Dallas Braden with his own “Bobblebelly”.
This item pays tribute to Braden’s triumphant 2010 return to Stockton’s Banner Island Ballpark. The team held an on-field ceremony in honor of his Mother’s Day perfect game, during which Braden took the opportunity to display his area code tattoo.
Needless to say, Dallas approves of his Bobblebelly:
And since we’re on the topic of unique giveaway items, I’ll close with a picture of what the Altoona Curve will be giving away tonight: team-logo tighty-whities!
But be careful — improper handling of a curve will result in skid marks.
Like any self-obsessed writer, I regularly check to see what websites have recently linked to my blog. Most of the time it’s random message board posters with an affinity for giant hamburgers, but occasionally the results are more interesting.
For example, last week I received several dozen hits from a high school teacher’s sports marketing blog. He asked his students to read my recent post on the Lowell Spinners’ “Human Home Run” stunt, and then write a two paragraph response explaining their thoughts on Minor League promotions as well as what sort of promotions they themselves would stage if put in a position to do so. The students’ answers, in the comments section, were not always feasible but certainly creative. A sampling:
I would bring a monster truck to my stadium/arena and it would go flying off a ramp. It would have to jump 6 school buses lined up next to each other. There would also be a huge ring of fire right in front of the ramp to make everything look crazy. The monster truck would have my team’s logo on it. It would be crazy and the place would be sold out.
Seeing that people will pay to watch risky situations. I would promote a pet skydiving. I would let dogs/cats land in the middle of the field before the game. This will honor animal abuse and will also bring fans to the stadium.
My idea would be to have player vs fan game. When the fans buy a ticket for the game they have a chance to enter contests. Then the fans will be picked at random to play a mini game with the players. I think if you give the players a chance to interact with the players it will attract more people.
I think it’s great that teachers are introducing such sports marketing concepts to high school students, as it could potentially get them interested in a Minor League Baseball career. To any high school teachers or college professors who read this blog — I will gladly assist your educational endeavors. Get in touch anytime.
And even more beneficial would be for teams to get involved. Wouldn’t it be great to invite students to the ballpark to take part in the conception and execution of a Minor League promo? While animal skydiving is probably not going to happen any time soon, it would be very interesting to see students’ ideas incorporated into gameday entertainment.
Just a thought. I’ve been known to have those once in a while.
And young promo progenitors would be more likely to come up with social media innovations, such as the Bowling Green Hot Rods’ Facebook Fan Night. This first-of-its kind promo is rolling right along — Facebook fans have selected the game time (6:35) and are now in the midst of picking the uniforms the team will wear that night.
But even in the winter of my discontent, I must post some of dis content that has accumulated. Not surprisingly, it revolves around promotions and food.
Let’s start with the Stockton Ports, whose 2011 promo schedule includes two top-notch giveaway items. The first immortalizes one of the most memorable recent moments in franchise history.
The individual seen above is Oakland A’s hurler Dallas Braden, a native Stocktonian who threw a perfect game last season. Soon after accomplishing the feat, he visited the Ports’ Banner Island Ballpark and showed off his hometown area code tattoo — you can take Dallas out of the 209, but you can’t the 209 out of Dallas!
On July 17th, the Ports will give away the “Dallas Braden Bobblebelly”. According to the team, this item “features a smiling Dallas Braden lifting his shirt to reveal his “209″ tummy tattoo and wiggling at the waist.”
Read more about it in last week’s “Minoring in Business” feature.
The Ports have also immortalized 2010 alumni (and current limo driver) Jeremy Barfield in similarly idiosyncratic fashion: by giving the rocket-armed outfielder a literal rocket for an arm.
July 8 is the Jeremy Barfield Rocket-Arm Figurine Giveaway. It may or may not have been inspired by this sketch.
And now what you’ve all came here for: food news! As they did last season, the West Michigan Whitecaps are asking fans to vote on which of 10 potential new food items should appear on the Fifth Third Ballpark concession menu next season.
A video tour of the items can be viewed HERE, courtesy of Whitecaps promotions manager Brian Oropallo and the ladies of the local eightWest television program. Otherwise, read on for photos galore.
The most bizarre would have to be the Duck, Frog, Hot Dog.
The “Meat Salad” consists of “Beef brisket, hot dogs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, gyro meat, Johnsonville bratwurst and hamburger.”
A “Bologna Lollipop” is self-explanatory:
The “Chicks With Sticks” will surely garner a lot of protest votes from those looking to rebel against the meat-mania currently overtaking the Minors.
But the current frontrunner is “Walking Spaghetti” — a 16-inch loaf of garlic bread with a pound of spaghetti, a pound of cheese, meatballs, and a quart of marinara sauce:
It’s only 5,630 calories — why not order two?
Yesterday’s post focused on Twitter and Facebook innovations, but today I’d like to write about that which is nearest to my heart.
No, not the pericardium. Stop taking things so literally. I am talking, of course, about blogs.
A concatenation of coincidences has led me to a variety of blogs that I’d like to share with you, the loyal reader. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to add them to your daily internet routine.
Anthems and Atleticos – While serving as the Fresno Grizzlies’ VP of marketing, Scott Carter made an indelible impression on the national promo landscape en route to establishing himself as one of the most creative minds in Minor League Baseball. He’s now a front office free agent, and until his inevitable re-entry into the industry this is the place to go for trenchant observations on everything from jock jams to his mother’s well-reasoned NFL playoff picks.
And We’re Marching – Another prominent former member of the Grizzlies’ staff is Bradley Collins, an accomplished mascot who turned Parker into one of the most respected and well-known characters in all of Minor League Baseball.”And We’re Marching…” is devoted strictly to the world of costumed characters,interesting to those who wear the suits as well as those looking to understand the ins and outs of an increasingly important Minor League Baseball profession.
Bus Leagues — Okay, this isn’t a blog. It’s a sprawling website dedicated to covering Minor League Baseball from the fan perspective. These guys are enthusiastic about the Minors, to the extent that they even interview niche writers with negligible followings.
Diary of an Umpire’s Wife — Now here’s a baseball perspective one doesn’t come across too often! This blog looks at the trials and travails of the umpiring life from the perspective of a supportive significant other. Recent posts have taken an interesting look at the world of Venezuelan Winter Ball.
Docking With the Ports — After lying dormant for nearly a year (approximately a decade in blog time), Stockton’s front office has re-launched “Docking With the Ports.” Recent posts include player and front office interviews as well as Winter Meetings journals from a variety of perspectives.
The Watson Files – Okay, this is a blog I’ve known about for a while now. But Fort Wayne TinCaps broadcaster Dan Watson is writing one of the most consistently enjoyable team-affiliated blogs out there, chock full of witty and concise observations on the TinCaps, Padres, Midwest League, and pop culture. The fact that he regularly refers to me as “legendary author” has nothing to do with this endorsement.
Or does it?
Regardless, I feel compelled to point out that I just spent 30 seconds trying to remove a wayward semi-colon from this post. It turned out to be an eyelash stuck to the screen. I also feel compelled to point out that, as always, I also write for MiLB.com. For proof, check out recent efforts such as “Tribe Ready For Poignant Anniversary In Kinston” and “Nobles Goes Deep in Durham Community.”
And while jury duty caused me to miss my annual visit to the Hall of Fame press conference, I am happy to report that my colleague Josh Jackson did an excellent job writing the now-obligatory “Inductees Reflect on Time in the Minors” story.
That’s going to conclude today’s blogging efforts. I look forward to your indignant emails regarding blogs that I have neglected to champion.
To that end, today’s post features my 10 favorite photographs from the recently deceased campaign. All of these pictures appeared on this blog at some point during the season, and are presented in the order in which they originally appeared.
Remember — it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Let’s all take a look at once was:
Snowpening Day — Freezing precipitation prevented the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers from playing their first scheduled home game, causing the players to release their start-of-the-season aggression upon hapless snowmen (note the Rattlers’ scoreboard message, a nice example of thinking ahead).
Catatonic Cauliflower — Jerry “The King” Lawler visited Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium, leaving no doubt as to his feelings regarding rampaging vegetables.