Results tagged ‘ theme jerseys ’
If you read this blog, then of course you also read all of the articles I write for MiLB.com. It goes without saying. But, nonetheless, I feel compelled to share with you my latest (and therefore greatest) “Minoring in Business” feature, which provides an in-depth look at the theme jersey phenomenon that has swept the Minor League landscape.
The article begins thusly:
Not long ago, Minor League Baseball theme jerseys were almost exclusively based upon a small array of pre-existing options. Pink, patriotic and camo were the three most common offerings, with pop culture references virtually non-existent. But now?
“Now it’s just a free-for-all.”
That’s how Elaine Gastineau of OT Sports describes Minor League Baseball’s current theme jersey landscape. OT Sports, based in Burlington, North Carolina, is a leading theme jersey manufacturer, and Gastineau is their factory sales representative specializing in Minor League Baseball. Over the last decade she’s done her part to facilitate an industry-wide theme jersey phenomenon, with teams attempting to outdo one another in the ever-competitive category of “Who can be the most outlandish?”
If early returns are any indication, then 2015 will be the most outlandish year yet.
Read the rest HERE.
Of course, the big news story in Minor League Baseball this week was the announcement that Hartford’s baseball team will be known as the Yard Goats. The Yard Goats will make their debut in 2016, after relocating from nearby New Britain (where they are known as the Rock Cats).
I wrote a story about this, of course. A relevant excerpt, which truly illuminates my ability to quote from a press release:
So what is a Yard Goat, and why is it the name of a Minor League Baseball franchise? As the team explained on its HartfordPlaysBall2016 website, Yard Goats “honors Hartford’s rich railroad history.” It is a slang term for “an engine that switches a train to get it ready for another locomotive to take over.”
A press release issued by the Rock Cats on Wednesday afternoon provided further detail.
“A Minor League Baseball player is like that humble Yard Goat,” it reads. “Not a glamorous job but working day in and day out away from the big city lights to assure that the Major League affiliate is kept on track.”
Said story was accompanied by this image, which shows the winner of the “Name the Team” contest attempting to keep a couple of live goats in line.
Rock Cats/Yard Goats general manager Tim Restall seems to think the situation is under control. He’s on the right, probably checking to see what @bensbiz was writing about the team name on Twitter.
Hartford Yard Goats! Let the “this is an embarrassment and I will never attend a game” commentary commence!
— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) March 18, 2015
Thanks for playing along, Brandon.
@bensbiz this is an embarrassment and i surely dont plan on attending. what team is intimidated by a yard goat?
— Brandon Apter (@ApterShock) March 18, 2015
My favorite Twitter reaction to the Yard Goats name came from New Britain mayor Erin Stewart.
— Mayor Erin Stewart (@stewartfornb) March 18, 2015
There is no love lost between the city of New Britain and the Rock Cats/Yard Goats ownership, as negotiations to relocate the team were done in secret. When the news of the proposed move first broke, it was news to New Britain as well. Suffice to say, I do not think Mayor Stewart will be attending any Yard Goats games in 2016.
Finally, I hit a major professional milestone this week, via the issuance of my 20,000th tweet. Here’s how it went down:
This is my 19,998th tweet. Any suggestions for 20,000? It should, in a pithy way, encompass the entirety of who I am and what I stand for.
— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) March 18, 2015
— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) March 18, 2015
I’m not that stupid RT @sbanks_: *attempts to get Ben to respond to this tweet so I can effectively be his 20,000th tweet*
— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) March 18, 2015
Here’s to 20,000 more. I mean, why not?
I’m posting this on a Friday afternoon, and on a Friday afternoon there’s only one way to do things: Bouillabaisse style!
So let’s do it! I’ve got lots to share with you, starting with a new logo straight from the heart of Appalachia.
Greeneville’s new look is a response to similar changes made by the parent club and in this regard they are the Bluefield and Dunedin of 2012. (That reference is apropos, but I’m not going to take the time to contextualize it. I have a press release to quote!)
Sez the team:
The new Astros identity features a full star logo with a block letter ‘G’ in the middle of the star. The Astros home caps will feature this logo on a solid blue cap while the road caps will be solid orange.
The G-Stros (does anyone call them that?) change is permanent, so now let’s move on to something of a “one night only” variety. On July 12th, the Erie SeaWolves will be donning these nautical duds:
I realize that this explanation raises more questions than it does answers. In brief: Lake Erie was the site of key 19th-century naval battles, and the Tall Ships festival (which does indeed feature tall ships) commemorates this history. Read more HERE.
Now we must proceed from theme jerseys to alternate ones, as the Mississippi Braves have somehow managed to fit “Mississippi” across the chest of this navy blue number:
I’d link to a press release with more info, but there doesn’t seem to be one. All I can tell you is you can buy these jerseys for $175 at the M-Braves team store. I guess in this case the “M” in “M-Braves” stands for “mum’s the word.”
Transitioning from the occasional to the regular, the new-look Buffalo Bisons recently unveiled their 2013 uniforms.
In the creation of their new uniforms, the Bisons paid special attention to popular team jerseys from the past. The use of a ‘Scarlet Red’ lettering and ‘Reflex Blue’ numbers on the front of the ‘Ice White’ home and gray road uniforms was taken from the jerseys worn by the team in the early years of Coca-Cola Field. A ‘Hitting Buster’ has also returned to the team’s official on-field cap, a look Bisons fans have long enjoyed from those first seasons at the ballpark.
Meanwhile, one of the rarest of logo creatures was released into our midst this past week. A ballpark logo, this one for the Birmingham Barons’ currently under-construction Regions Field. I will refrain from editorializing, because words only get in the way of images.
I’ll close, as I often do, with something out of left-field (not literally, in most cases).
How’s THIS for a staff bio pic?
According to the GreenJackets, Kyle’s shiner was obtained while playing in a staff basketball game. Reminder to all: never play basketball with the staff of the Augusta GreenJackets.
Okay, this post isn’t quite over yet due to my desire to do some ponderous professional pontificating.
And what I have been pondering lately is whether or not to make some changes to this blog in regards to the frequency with which I post. These days I average about three entries a week, with each post (allegedly) having some substance in that it is at least 400 words long and often covers multiple topics.
But perhaps more timely “Quick Hit” or “Short Hop” or “Biz Quick” posts would be a good strategy to utilize as well? The idea here is that whenever some particularly news/buzz-worthy content appears, I would immediately generate a short post. The plus side is timely and engaging material and more of it, but the potential negative is that this approach would cheapen the product and make this blog just another cheap cranker-outer of disposable content.
Does this debate exist strictly in my own head? Probably. Am I talking to myself as I write this? Definitely. I guess the takeaway here is that after 5+ years and 900+ posts I care about this blog more than I’d like to admit, especially in regard to how the content is packaged and presented. So, if you have opinions on this (or any other pertinent matter), please get in touch. If you don’t have any opinions on this, that’s okay too. If I was you then I wouldn’t either.
It had to happen eventually: not only is the (regular) season over, but I am all out of “On the Road” content. I hope that you enjoyed this year’s crop of road trip posts and articles — this sort of material is something that continues to grow and evolve from season to season, and I’m always looking to improve and expand upon that which I’ve done before. There is still a long way to go.
So, what now?
A lot of things, really. I’ve got a ton of “Return to the Road” material left to share (aka “non-baseball road trip content)”, some guest posts to assemble and disseminate, and I’m currently in the midst of the mentally exhausting task of compiling 2012’s “Promotion of the Year” MiLBY nominees. (Please, get in touch if you have any opinions to share on that front.)
But, for now, let me return to the full-to-bursting “potential blog topics” folder that resides deep within my Outlook account. Oh, yeah — we’re going to do this post “Bouillabaisse” style. There will be plenty more where this came from.
Let’s begin by taking a look at one of the best theme jerseys of the season, worn by the Colorado Springs Sky Sox on July 28th:
These jerseys were worn to commemorate the heroic efforts of the Colorado Springs police and firefighters who risked life and limb to combat the Waldo Canyon fire that raged through the region in early July.
From the press release:
These game worn jerseys will be auctioned off during and after the game with 100% of the proceeds benefiting local fire and
police designated charities. The Colorado Springs Fire Protective Association will receive 50% of the proceeds and the other 50% will support the Police Foundation of Colorado Springs.
Let’s proceed to a considerably smaller scale and quirkier charitable effort that was detailed on this blog a few months back: Northwestern University’s “Schedule Cards for Kevin.” Click on the link to read more about it, but the premise is simply that the university was collecting schedule cards for a developmentally disabled Northwestern super-fan. I asked Minor League teams and fans to join the cause, and many did so. But worthy of special note is Albuquerque-based Biz Blog reader Dave H., who sent along the following array of schedules to Kevin. How cool is this?
In an email, Halliday shared the circumstances that led to his having so many pocket schedules. His anecdote is a reminder of just how much has changed with the advent of the internet. In the old days, collecting Minor League memorabilia took serious effort:
In the early 70s I just had to have a fitted Yankees cap just like the players wear. Found a store in downtown LA that had one. Fast forward a few years and I had a players cap for every MLB team. All I had to look forward to each year were the small number of changes teams made to their uniforms. Then I discovered Minor League teams had much cooler caps, colors, and nicknames. But availability at that time was certainly local. A worker at our local minor league team noticed my Denver Bears cap and commented that he just saw Denver play in Oklahoma City. When I asked him how I might get an Oklahoma City cap, he showed me his copy of Baseball America’s Directory. I got my own copy and sent requests to over 100 teams for a mail order souvenir list. It was amazing what teams sent to me. Full color brochures, type-written product lists, phone numbers of employees that might be willing to take time to throw something in a box if my check cleared. Of course marketing has changed the last 25 years, as has my collection. I still look forward to the ever changing name/logo/color changes that make Minor League Baseball unique.
So, among the stuff sent to me 20 some years ago were schedule cards. I just kept them stored away. And I would casually pick some up wherever I went. Attached is a photo of over 30 duplicate schedule cards that I am more than willing to send to Kevin, along with some ticket stubs I’ve kept. Hopefully there are some he doesn’t have and maybe a few teams he has never heard of.
Reader correspondence is one of my favorite aspects of this job — keep sending the emails, and I will keep answering them!
Recently the scorekeeping savant known as Stevo got in touch with some anecdotes from the Louisville Bats’ “Halloween Night” promotion. Among the evening’s special features were videoboard headshots in which the players were “disguised” as someone (or something) else. This one, of Corky Miller, was particularly apropos.
Of this there can be no doubt: International League icon Corky Miller is the Yosemite Sam of our time.
The unveiling of 2012 promotions has not yet reached a deluge, but it has far surpassed a trickle. And within this intermediate zone in which we currently reside, one of the most exciting (and sure-to-be-copied) new promotions is this:
But the above photo, while helpful, doesn’t really do the promotion justice. Per the team:
The River Bandits are proud to announce, for the first time ever in professional sports in the U.S., a photo jersey auction to benefit local cancer organizations. Small squares in the Bandits players’ numbers are available for purchase, $25 each, to feature a photograph of yourself or a loved one who has been affected by cancer. The jerseys, which will be worn during the game on Friday, August 10th, will be auctioned off during the game.
I’m sure I’ll be covering this one as it develops, but for now let’s stick with the “Quad” theme and check in on a most distressing development in Lake Elsinore.
Thunder, the mascot for the Lake Elsinore Storm, had his trusty quad stolen from a stadium storage shed! This sounds like it could be a joke, save for the legitimacy bestowed upon the situation by a local ABC news team.
The video is well worth viewing — check it out HERE.
My extensive reporting on the above topic led me to the Storm website, where I discovered the existence of the “Thunder Across Time” web series. How had I not known? This may turn out to be one of the greatest MiLB team video series of all time!
More creative use of video from the West Coast comes courtesy of the Fresno Grizzlies, who are conducting their annual National Anthem auditions in a most unique fashion.
If you think you have what it takes to sing in front of the best fans in Minor League Baseball at a 2012 Grizzlies home game, then upload your audition video to the Youtube between Wednesday, February 8th and Wednesday, March 14th. Winners will be chosen by the Grizzlies front office with the input of the number of video likes on YouTube.
We’re still a ways away from having a mascot sing the National Anthem, but boy oh boy can they ever dance. The latest (and therefore greatest) example of mascot rump shaking comes courtesy of Tulsa’s Hornsby. Or, as I like to call him, “Bull-yonce.”
Funny that the video is called “All the Single Hornsbys,” as in actuality there appear to be duplicates. But at least Hornsby is a known commodity. Up there in Michigan, the Great Lakes Loons are dealing with an extremely mysterious situation.
So who really does know what’s in the box? It could be anything. Or, maybe, there’s nothing at all. There would be some precedent for that, you know.
The Memphis Redbirds “Organ Donor” jerseys” got a lot of attention both here and elsewhere, and for good reason — very few professional baseball teams, if any, have ever taken the field while decked out in innards-exposing uniform tops.
It all went down on Saturday, with the Redbirds earning a 5-2 victory over the far more conservatively-dressed Tucson Padres. Prior to the ballgame, backstop Nick Derba modeled these awareness-raising duds in the dugout.
Credit for each of the next six photos: Allison Rhoades/Memphis Redbirds
Whether on the mound, at the plate, in the field, or in the dugout, the Redbirds really showed a lot of heart.
And at the end of the day, everyone learned a valuable lesson. Whether black or white, bald or hirsute, smiling or grimacing, we’re all the same on the inside.
But in another, far more accurate sense, we are not all the same. Some of us are way better dancers than others, as evidenced by this amazing video featuring touring ballpark performer B-Boy McCoy going toe-to-toe with preternaturally gifted Whitecaps hurler Alex Burgos.
And on the topic of artistically precocious Minor League ballplayers, here’s a clip of Charlotte Knights catcher Adam Ricks shredding his way through the National Anthem prior to last Thursday’s ballgame.
But for every triumphant moment in life, there is one of defeat. This sobering lesson was brought home earlier this week, with the news that Mark Hamburger had been knocked out of this this year’s (still-ongoing) Minors Moniker Madness tournament by none other than Shooter Hunt.
And you know what goes well with a large helping of Hamburger? A side of corn on the cob, that’s what. We’ll end today’s blogging (mis)adventures with Cedar Rapids’ unflinching look at the harrowing aftermath of anthropomorphic vegetable bathroom usage.
Ending on a high note, as always.
Yesterday’s post began with a look at the Memphis Redbirds’ highly-touted “Organ Donor” jersey, but it’s important to note that they’re not the only Triple-A club taking an inside-out approach to the theme jersey.
During last week’s “Halloween Night” promotion, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs took the field in these:
That’s manager Ryne Sandberg, who might have had a bone to pick with fans who gave him a good ribbing about his new look.
Ryan Feierabend took the loss, but nonetheless showed a lot of backbone out there on the mound.
Don’t worry, Ryan — to-marrow is a new day!
But we’re here to talk about that greatest era of American history — the exceedingly recent past. For instance, on Wednesday the Jamestown Jammers took the field in these.
Lucille Ball was a native of Jamestown, and this week marks the centennial anniversary of her birth. The town is in the midst of a multi-day “Lucyfest” celebration, with the Jammers’ “Lucy-Desi Night” kicking things off. The Jammers won 6-3; although perhaps it would have been more appropriate if they had been in the midst of a “Lucy” streak. (And taking a look at the box score — it appears tht Brian McConkey had the honor of serving as the team’s “Desi-nated Hitter.”)
The Toledo Mud Hens are another team to have recently honored a hometown hero at the ballpark. On Monday, the team gave away 1000 bobbleheads honoring this man. Guess whose back?
Any idea? Feel feel to argue amongst yourselves, I’m not above taking sides:
Okay — one can discern the surname “Walker” in the first shot and the first name “Moses” in the above.
But there the appellation trail goes cold, for this man has a middle name as well. It’s Fleetwood, mac!
What can I say? I’m a big fan of Walker’s. Not only was he the first black player in MLB history, but he was also an inventor, newspaper publisher, social theorist, and entrepreneur. He also had a thirst for the drink, and in 1891 was acquitted of a second-degree murder charge.
Now that’s a life.
Also, this marked the first time a team sent me six high-quality shots of one bobblehead. I figured I may as well do something with it.
Who’s gonna be the first to send me seven?
The Reading Phillies were one of the highlights of last year’s Pennsylvania-centric road trip, as I was able to witness (and participate in) the team’s extensive tribute to the iconic Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. I even got the opportunity to dress up as his “apprentice” and throw a few hot dogs into the crowd myself.
This year’s tribute to the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor took place on Sunday (July 10), and once again I was in attendance. Looking back on it, I’m not sure this was the best idea — I wasn’t on any particular assignment, just motivated to get out of New York City and see some Minor League Baseball. In all honesty, I’m half insane this time of year — either overwhelmed by Minor League Baseball or beating myself up because I’m not.
So off I went. And this time, I made sure to arrive in Reading in time to visit the town’s star attraction: The Pagoda.
This is a quirky place with a quirky history, but nonetheless a beloved area landmark. As all-knowing Wikipedia reports, The Pagoda was “completed in 1908 at a cost of $50,000, it was intended to be the hotel/restaurant centerpiece of a luxury resort. When plans for the rest of the resort were abandoned, the 7-story wooden building and 10 acres of land were donated to Reading as a public park in 1911.”
The main attraction are the views:
Inside the main entrance of the Pagoda is a small cafe and gift shop. For $1, one may trudge up all 87 steps to the top floor.
I would have liked to hang glide from the Pagoda to FirstEnergy Stadium, but that option is no longer available. It was nonetheless a painless 10 minute drive, and upon arriving I checked out the stadium’s refurbished exterior. As you may remember, the 60-year-old facility underwent a $10 million renovation this past offseason.
It was a full two hours before game time, and the place was already jumping. The Reading Phillies do a phenomenal job (better than any team I’ve ever seen) when it comes to making the ballpark a pre-game entertainment destination. Upon entering the “Vist Financial Plaza”, there is a carnival-esque concourse area packed with concessions, games, a bar, and performance stage.
But I made a beeline for the seating area behind home plate, as members of the team’s “Kid’s Club” (aka “Future Crazy Hot Dog Vendors) were participating in a Question and Answer session with theme jersey-wearing pitchers Austin Hyatt and and Derrick Loop.
Questions included “How do you know what time it is to hit?”, “After you hit someone, do you feel bad?”, and “Do you guys ever get to go to ‘real’ Phillies games?”
After Hyatt and Loop departed, out came the man himself:
It was around this time that I dropped my camera onto the concrete. It wasn’t a high drop or particularly hard landing, but nonetheless the screen froze and it was rendered unusable.
The lack of a camera, compounded by my general confusion over exactly what I was hoping to accomplish in Reading in the first place, led to a bit of an existential crisis. When a blogger breaks his camera, does he cease to exist?
The answer, in this case, was yes. After touring the ballpark, sans camera, with media relations director Tommy Viola I stuffed my credentials in my pocket and spent the remainder of the evening simply watching the ballgame. It was kind of nice, actually.
But this post shall continue, thanks to these photos from R-Phils team photographer Ralph Trout.
The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor’s legion of “future vendors” received free t-shirts, and later got to perform on the field.
See that suspiciously big-headed individual in the middle of the above shot? That’s the “life-size 550-lb Crazy Hot Dog Vendor replica,” awarded to one lucky (?) fan after the ballgame.
The aforementioned “VIST Financial Plaza” is highlighted by a performance stage. If you’re lucky, the mascot band will be playing.
Truly, the R-Phils know how to pack ’em in.
Toward the end of the ballgame, I decided to see how my camera was doing. The good news was the screen was no longer frozen, but the bad news was that the batteries had drained. I snapped one quick photo before it shut off for good.
And that, as they say, was that.
Tonight is “Thrifty Thursday” in West Michigan, featuring a plethora of food and beverage discounts. It is also “Space Alien Night.”
And judging by the looks of jersey the team is wearing, it looks like they might want offer a special on hamburgers and Jim “Beam.”
“Space Alien Night” appears to be an ambitious endeavor, as the team has the following events planned:
Pregame interview with an alien…Video clips and music from famous alien movies…Inflatable Aliens decorating the ballpark and given away as prizes…Space alien jerseys for the team and alien costumes for the staff…Recreation of the mashed potato sculpture from Close Encounters of the Third Kind…A $5 reserved seat offer ($4.50 off the normal price) to anyone that lives on Jupiter Ave….Alien themed promotions on the field…An alien autopsy display…We will reveal the answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything…Alien trivia.
I like that penultimate initiative, thrown in there like it’s no big deal: “We will reveal the answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything.” Of course, the best way to advertise such a spectacular event is through a series of absurdist no-budget comedic vignettes.
The WhiteCaps are strong proponents of the absurd comedic video, as evidenced by this recent ad for “Japanese Baseball Night”:
Japanese Baseball Night was more than just a celebration of dubious b-movie dialogue that may or may not have been of Japanese origin in the first place. Promotions manager Brian Oropallo writes that
We served some hot dog sushi, played Japanese music and baseball highlights, had a Japanese announcer for the starting lineups and an inning of PA announcing and, as seen in the video, some animal mascots from Japanese league teams. The balloon launch was the highlight of the evening.
Ah, yes, seventh-inning stretch balloons. Just one of many, many, many things I have written about through the years. Here’s how it looked:
In closing, I once again urge you to send me your introspective mascot photos. Since self-respect is an “alien” concept to me, I will continue to beg for them until I have attained at least 10.