Results tagged ‘ Stockton Ports ’
I’ve got a healthy-sized stash of odds and ends Florida road trip content, and I’ll get to it as soon as I possibly can. But today’s post will be a good ol’ fashioned bouillabaisse (a word that I can no longer spell on the first attempt) featuring a mere fraction of the Minor League happenings that are fit to “print”. I can only do so much.
Let’s start with the Stockton Ports, who last season found success with their Rolling Stones theme jerseys. This year’s honoree was Johnny Cash, and the team wore — what else? — black jerseys.
Rickey Henderson, in town as an Oakland A’s roving instructor, was into it:
James Garner and his Cash tribute band provided the entertainment, and according to Ports director of marketing Jeremy Neisser they were “unbelievably amazing.”
Jerseys were auctioned off after the game, right off of the backs of those who wore them:
And, finally, what would such a promotion be without themed head shots?
It would be nothing, I tell you. Absolutely nothing.
Meanwhile, in Rochester, there’s a whole lot of something going on. The Red Wings have proclaimed that May is Baseball Month at Frontier Field, and for good reason: 27 games will be played there this month! (Including a sold-out Andy Pettitte rehab start that was moved to Frontier Field from its originally scheduled location of Batavia’s Dwyer Stadium.)
Explains the team:
The Red Wings in 2012 are sharing Frontier Field with the Empire State Yankees while their home of PNC Field in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre undergoes a season-long renovation. A total of 109 games will be played at Frontier Field in 2012.
“The only thing better than baseball is more baseball,” said Red Wings President/CEO Naomi Silver. “This unique season, and month, is one we’ll be taking about for years to come. Everyone will want to say they were a part of it.”
To encourage as many people to take part as possible, the team is incentivizing attendance throughout the month of May (despite spell-check informing me that “incentivizing” is not a word).
Fans attending one game a week during Baseball Month in Rochester will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win the grand prize of a one-year lease on a 2012 Toyota Camry.
Other prizes include lunch with Red Wings coaching staff, spending an inning in the broadcast booth, a team-signed jersey, and much more.
Let’s end with a picture of food! The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are serving “Chicken Bog Balls” at the ballpark this year, which really should be endorsed by legendary poultry consumer Wade Boggs.
Read all about Bog Balls here, and tell ’em Ben’s Biz sent ya. Assuming, that is, that someone asks.
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.
In the past I’ve mentioned my desire to focus on the future, but at present I’d like to focus on the past.
All of this is to say is that my various season retrospectives (“look-backs,” as we call ’em in the biz), have culminated with this: the naming of the Dallas Braden Bobblebelly as 2011’s best promotion.
I’ve written about the Bobblebelly plenty already, from this blog post all the way through the article linked to above, and I have no desire to rehash that which has already been hashed. But what I want to elaborate on is just how the Ports’ obtained this honor, as it was certainly no accident. “Promotion of the Year” is determined through fan voting, and from the start the Ports prepared their fan base to be active in this regard. Images of the bobblebelly were first made available through Facebook and Twitter, and on the evening of the promotion itself a #promooftheyear Twitter hashtag was unveiled on the videoboard. From there onward, the bobblebelly was promoted aggressively through social media as the year’s best.
In other words, the Ports wanted this from the start. The driving force behind the campaign was director of marketing Jeremy Neisser, who came to Stockton from the Arkansas Travelers. The Travs were runner-up’s in last year’s Promo of the Year voting, with their pre-game “Jose Canseco vs. Local Sexagenarian” boxing match losing to the Birmingham Baron’s annual “Rickwood Classic.” Clearly, Neisser wanted to avoid such a fate this time around.
The lesson here is that, like with anything in else in life, “if you want it, it’s yours for the taking.” And this season, the Ports simply wanted it the most.
And to that I say this: “Thanks for caring!”
The final thing I’d like to mention about the 2011 Promo of the Year voting was that five of the 10 promotions nominated in the “Giveaway of the Year” category (including the Braden Bobblebelly) were created by NYC-based Coyote Promotions.
That could be a coincidence, but it seems to me that when teams venture into uncharted bobble-waters they are more apt to go with Coyote. And such items, owing in no small part to their originality, are more apt to be nominated for post-season accolades. Agree? Disagree?
And speaking of post-season accolades, this blog is done with ’em. Congrats once again to the Ports’ for emerging victorious, and thanks to everyone who took the time to vote.
My latest (and therefore greatest) Minor League road trip begins tomorrow — cue the anxiety attack! It goes without saying, then, that the blog will be dominated by “on-location” content for quite some time. But not yet! Today, let’s take our customary look at noteworthy happenings from around the Minors.
We’ll start in Stockton, as the Ports’ held-their much anticipated “Dallas Braden Bobblebelly” giveaway on Saturday. As you’ll recall, the item features the A’s pitcher (and Stockton native) simultaneously expressing his hometown pride and exposing his abdomen.
Needless to say, Ports fans were psyched about this one-of-a-kind giveaway — especially since Braden himself was in attendance. The line to get into the stadium started forming four hours before game time, quickly growing to epic proportions.
The man himself spent the evening signing the bobblebelly and schmoozing with the fans.
There are still seven weeks left in the season, but the Ports believe that their Bobblebelly giveaway should be MiLB.com’s “Promo of the Year”, and have even launched a #promooftheyear hashtag campaign on Twitter. I’m sure there are plenty of other teams who are going to have something to say about that…
But let’s save that sort of pontificating for later, and instead move across the country to Bowie, MD. The Baysox recently celebrated Festivus, an off-beat December holiday first popularized by an episode of Seinfeld. Communications manager Tom Sedlacek writes that Our Festivus celebration included Festivus poles, Feats of Stregth and the Airing of the Grievances, as well as posters describing the origin of the holiday and its role in pop culture. The Feats of Strength included arm wrestling with an intern and sumo wrestling, and some Grievances were read over the stadium speakers during the game.
Grievances included “You still haven’t ordered my silverware!” “Stop snoring so loudly.” “You never hang out with me, you only play Xbox.”
Finally, it’s time for me to feature something that has been sorely lacking on this blog in recent months: centenarians! Last Friday, 101-year-old Freda Sacket joined a local choir in singing the national anthem prior to the evening’s Toledo Mud Hens game.
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.