Results tagged ‘ Toledo Mud Hens ’
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.
This is part 1 of 2 posts from Toledo. Check the blog and MiLB.com throughout the week for a wide array of “On the Road” content.
Call it what you will — Midwest Meanderings? Ohioan Oscillations? Buckeye Bandying About? — but my latest road trip has officially begun. It all kicked off Monday at Toledo’s Fifth Third Field, although I must admit I considered working remotely as this was the view from my hotel room.
But my last vestiges of professionalism soon got the best of me, and I dutifully went exploring. Fifth Third Field, home of International League stalwarts the Toledo Mud Hens, is a downtown ballpark that is completely incorporated into its downtown surroundings.
Moses Fleetwood Walker Square, named in honor of the first black player in Major League history (and a guy with a seriously fascinating life story).
Outfield sculpture paying homage to the halcyon days of yore.
A branch of the iconic Tony Packo’s is located across from the stadium. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit before departing.
But going to a hot dog joint prior to the ballgame would have been seriously redundant, especially considering what the Mud Hens had in store for me inside.
Food fit for a ballpark-visiting king! From left to right, that’s Greek Nachos (gyro meat and pita chips), Pulled Pork Nachos, and Bases Loaded Fries.
This triumvirate was soon joined by the Muddy Dog (topped with chili, cheese, and onions).
And Bloomin’ Bacon Burger! (1/3 lb. grilled Black Angus beef burger topped with crispy strips of bacon, deep fried onion rings, American cheese, and bistro sauce on a fresh Kaiser bun).
This array was presided over by concessions manager Corey Pleasant, Fifth Third’s food guru since 2002.
This was enough food for a party of five, so I felt a bit ridiculous sitting in front of this feast by my lonesome. I did my best.
You definitely can’t go wrong with any of the above items. I’d say that the pulled pork nachos were my favorite simply because they were pulled pork nachos. I mean, c’mon — Pulled Pork Nachos!
The copious leftovers from my feast were summarily fed to the press box wolves (in greater number on this particular evening due to a Japanese contingent tracking the every move of rehabbing Rochester Red Wing Tsuyoshi Nishioka). To those planning a Toledo baseball pilgrimage of their own, the above items are available throughout the stadium at locations such as this.
The Mud Hens do a great job promoting their concessions on the team web page, a full ballpark map can be found HERE. But I unfortunately wasn’t able to partake in a leisurely meal. The team’s pre-game festivities were starting in earnest downstairs, including the requisite array of ceremonial first pitches.
This was to be followed by an event not seen often enough at your local professional ballpark — a Naturalization Ceremony! Look for an article about that on MiLB.com; it will certainly be covered in a follow-up blog post as well.
Much more to come from Toledo, in other words, but for now I’ve got to shut down, check out, grab lunch at Tony Packo’s, and get over to Fort Wayne. A sure-to-be-ridiculous evening with the TinCaps awaits.
Fireworks displays are a tried and true Minor League Baseball entertainment staple and an absolutely crucial component of most promotional schedules. Nonetheless, I don’t write about them often because there quite simply isn’t much to say.
Still, I have to note the following: The Toledo Mud Hens will be staging 31 (!!!) fireworks shows this season — Starting May 6, the team will launch pyrotechnics after every weekend night game as well as a midweek display on June 22.
Can any team top this total? The runner-up, so far as I can tell, is the Reading Phillies with 29 shows.
Keeping with the topic of fireworks, the Kane County Cougars (employers of “Mr. Kaboom”) recently unveiled their Fireworks Theme Night Music for the entire 2011 season. In addition to generic entries such as “patriotic” and “popular”, the team will also be staging explosive tributes to Star Trek, Harry Potter, Wilco, Coldplay, and Star Wars. But my favorite fireworks theme night that I’ve come across hails all the way from Jupiter, as the Hammerheads will be cranking out the AC/DC on July 2. If any other teams have released such info then make sure to send it my way.
And speaking of fire, I’d like to note that stuntman Ted Batchelor will be taking his act to Myrtle Beach on April 9. As you’ll no doubt recall, Batchelor is the peerless individual who ran the bases while on fire in Savannah last season. I have it on good authority that Myrtle Beach won’t be the only ballpark in which he appears this season, but don’t want to steal the thunder from any teams who have yet to announce an imminent Batchelor appearance.
Myrtle Beach has a few other noteworthy promos on the schedule — notably the first-ever “Eastbound and Down” theme night as well as a “Salute to Rec Specs” celebration. Hopefully this image will make its way on to the scoreboard that evening:
Those who work for Minor League Baseball teams have no say whatsoever when it comes to trades, free agency, and player development. Nonetheless, the flame of the industry’s hot stove is just as scorching as that which emanates from the Majors. It’s just heating up a different pot is all.
One big piece of news was made official yesterday, with the announcement that the franchise formerly known as the Portland Beavers will be playing in Tucson in 2011 (and, perhaps, beyond). More on that can be found HERE, and rest assured I’ll be providing updates on that situation as it progresses.
And as an aside — when I first started this blog a man by the name of Benny Hill would periodically email me his thoughts on the Tucson Sidewinders. You still out there, Benny? Your name is my name too, and I’d like to hear what you think about yesterday’s announcement.
Far more prevalent than franchise re-location are identity overhauls, featuring new logos and, in some cases, new team names. The Lake County Captains released their new marks on Wednesday, and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers continue to churn out numerically-obsessed promotional videos in anticipation of November 12′s grand unveiling.
On an even greater scale is the Omaha Royals, who will be announcing the results of their “Name the Team” contest on November 15.
I will say once again that my choice is “Omahogs.”
As for that which has already happened, the newly re-christened Jackson Generals have unveiled the logo for the 2011 Southern League All-Star Game. As with the Lake Captains logo, this is a Studio Simon effort:
Moving from logos to stadium renovations, the South Bend Silver Hawks have announced that Coveleski Stadium will be getting a $10 million facelift.
Speaking of improvements, the Toledo Mud Hens are making available a customized Firefox add-on browser.
Sez the team: The add-on is complete with a scrolling Hens’ news ticker, video and image updates, Hens’ downloads, and much, much more!
Are any other teams doing this? The Mud Hens are the first I’ve seen.
Finally, while I do my best to ignore Christmas-related endeavors until after Thanksgiving, the first item of the Williamsport Crosscutters’ “Eight Weeks of Cutters” gift guide caught my eye (and you know how painful that can be).
It’s the Boomer plush doll!
And — hey! — I almost forgot: It’s Gratuitous Video Friday! Today’s selection is an old promo for “Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman!”, one of the most funny, subversive, and ahead of its time TV shows ever made.
Hey Sony! Release more “Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman!” on DVD!
We’re in the homestretch now.
The four finalists in MiLB.com’s “Promo of the Year” voting have been determined. They are:
Best Giveaway: Lancaster JetHawks — Robert “Hoot” Gibson bobblehead
Best Celebrity Appearance: Arkansas Travelers — Jose Canseco (vs. Gary Hogan in pre-game boxing match)
Best “Miscellaneous” Promotion: Birmingham Barons — Rickwood Classic
Best Theme Night: Fresno Grizzlies — Twilight Night
Congratulations to the above quartet – you are all winners. But the ultimate winner is yet to be determined! Vote HERE to decide the be-all, end-all Minor League Promotion of the Year. Voting runs through 10 am ET on Wednesday, October 12.
And that’ll be it — promise!
But that won’t be it for this blog post. I’ve got content, and I hope you’ll be content with it.
– First things first, the entity currently known as the Omaha Royals have announced the nine
finalists in their “Name the Team” contest. Those who like names that evoke weather and/or cattle and/or Star Wars will be well pleased, as the choices are Cattlemen, Commanders, Force, Hailstorm, Omahogs, Royals, Sodbusters, Stormchasers, and Windwalkers.
I have gone on the record before on this topic, and will do so again: My favorite is “Omahogs.” Not only is this moniker an efficient combination of nickname and place, but it also a nod to Omaha’s past. Between 1885-1901, the city intermittently fielded a Western League club called “The Omahogs.” The 1885 club went 4-24 before folding, replaced in the circuit by a Keokuk Hawkeyes team that included Bud Fowler (one of my all-time baseball heroes).
– Another recent announcement of note emanates from Greensboro, who announced their “Guarantee to Give” playoff pledge. If the team makes it to the postseason in 2011, then $100,000 (!) will be distributed among 20 charities. More info can be found HERE.
– But right now, the 2011 postseason seems so far away. Somewhat closer is Opening Day, which will be especially notable in Toledo. The Mud Hens have announced that their April 14 opener at Fifth Third Field will be a doubleheader, consisting of a pair of seven-inning contests. What an excellent way to say “hello” to the new season, and all the promise contained therein.
I hope the above information met or exceeded your desire and capacity for Minor League news on a Wednesday afternoon in early October. Please let me know either way.
“So many blog topics, so little time” is shaping up to be a pretty good tombstone epitaph for yours truly. But as long as I’m residing in the land of the living, Sisyphean struggles to mitigate the content glut will continue unabated. So here ya go: a random array of Minor League pictures and videos.
Let’s start with the scene in Reading this past Tuesday. Despite a bit of controversy, the R-Phils’ fan base proffered a heartily enthusiastic response to the evening’s “Ryan Howard Garden Gnome” giveaway.
The line outside of FirstEnergy Stadium, before the gates opened.
The gnomes, awaiting distribution:
Moving on from beards to the mustache, the Everett Aquasox pitching staff recently dedicated themselves to the fervent cultivation of upper lip hair. The results, in extreme close-up:
Another recent event of note in the Pacific Northwest was the pitcher’s mound wedding of hurler Corey Davisson. Read all about it HERE. (warning:adorable photos contained therein).
Less adorable, but more hilarious, are Class A baseball players dancing with surprising sincerity to the Clinton era’s pre-eminent boy band. This masterpiece was the highlight of the Peoria Chiefs’ recent “90s Night” promotion:
While this was the lowlight:
A pop culture celebration of more recent vintage recently occurred in Lexington, as the Legends staged a “Jersey Shore Night” promotion. The beat got beat up:
But after the beat-up comes the beatdown. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan visited Hickory recently, where he did all he could to make sure that Conrad didn’t win the mascot race. A truly brilliant snapshot, this is:
But even Hacksaw wouldn’t be able to stop the menagerie of characters that grace the cover of the Toledo Mud Hens upcoming comic book giveaway (scheduled for August 12). This is, truly, a work of art:
Or is there?
A common water cooler topic amongst baseball fans with access to water
coolers and the inclination to use them is this:
“If you were a
professional baseball player, what would your walk-up music be?”
Tulsa Drillers recently put that question to members of their own front
office, resulting in a quick and funny YouTube video:
A good friend of mine, whose name rhymes with “Chess Varese”, will explain things from here:
Now through the end of March, we’re giving you the chance to win
$1,000 by correctly guessing which Smokies will be starting on Opening
Night…April 14. You will only need
to guess which nine players will be starting in the field (and which
position in the field you think they will be starting at); you do not
have to also guess where these nine players will be batting…Now we know that our 2010 24-man roster won’t be announced until early
April. So a little research may be involved on your end to come up with
the nine Smokies players you think will be starting on Opening Night.
This contest works for three reasons:
1. It involves the promise of cold, hard cash.
2. The promise of such cash will spur fans to familiarize themselves with this year’s crop of players.
3. This desire to learn about the players will serve as an incentive for fans to check out the team’s web, Facebook, and Twitter pages for more information about what’s been going on in Spring Training.
It’s a chain reaction of positive publicity that once again proves that money is the be all and end all.
– I apologize. Here it is this late in the post and I haven’t written anything about food. Let me rectify this grave oversight by mentioning that the Toledo Mud Hens unveiled their new 2010 food items yesterday. This highlight of this array of culinary delights is the Fifth Third Fanatic Freeze, consisting of 15 scoops of ice cream and an array of toppings.
This massive concoction will be served at a concession stand with the peculiar name of Casey’s Creamery/Taco Hut. In my humble opinion, this establishment needs to start serving THIS immediately.
You don’t even need to click on the above link to know what it will be. It’s Taco In A Helmet. I always link to Taco In A Helmet. It’s just what I do. And — look! — here it is yet again:
There is no escape from Taco In A Helmet.