Results tagged ‘ Toledo Mud Hens ’

Moving On Down

Thumbnail image for lad.jpgI find myself with much random material that I would like to share with you, an individual who I presume possesses at least a passing interest in Minor League Baseball game operations and promotions.

In order to create some sort of order from the chaos, I shall organize said material by level of play. Let’s start at the top of the Minor League ladder, and then move down rung-by-rung until, finally, we find ourselves back on solid ground.

This may take a few days, actually…

Triple-A

The Toledo Mud Hens established a Fifth Third Field attendance record this past Friday, and it wasn’t because of a “National Dance Like A Chicken Day” promotion that came complete with complimentary chicken hat:

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No, the primary draw was Crystal Bowersox. My hopes of an exciting new fad in jewel-strewn footwear were quickly dashed when I found out that Crystal is an “American Idol” finalist who hails from Ohio. 13,200 turned out to see the up-and-coming troubador sing the National Anthem; I have yet to confirm if she later led the crowd in a spirited rendition of the Chicken Dance.

— Those same Toledo players who enjoyed the vocal stylings of Ms. Bowersox are not nearly as enamored of opposing mascots, as this item from the latest “International League Notebook” makes clear:

Durham mascot [Wool E. Bull] was pelted by water balloons from the Toledo dugout
when he
wooly.jpg appeared on the field [May 12], but it wasn’t quite as funny
when the mascot slipped on the wet grass and suffered an apparent knee
sprain.

“Just what we needed — Wool E. Bull is hurt. The training room is full
already,” Durham manager Charlie Montoyo told the
Durham Herald-Sun.


— The last time I wrote about mascot injuries, the costumed character in question was “Pops” from the Syracuse Chiefs.     Fortunately, Pops seems to be okay these days, as the only thing I have to report from Syracuse is that the team’s blog is currently featuring an amusing rundown of International League hotels.  The latest such establishment to be featured is Pawtucket’s Comfort Inn. 

— Which brings me to my next item, as the excellent blog of Pawtucket broadcaster Dan Hoard recently featured a post on Mike Cameron’s over-the-top generosity during his recent rehab stint with the club. An excerpt:

Cameron took the notion of being a big-leaguer to new heights on Thursday when he purchased a luxury box for Game 6 of the Celtics/Cavs playoff series and invited the PawSox players and coaches to join him. 

Double-A

I mentioned this in this week’s “Promotion Preview” column,but the Richmond Flying Squirrels have launched an interesting weekly promotion in this, their inaugural season: “Where’s Parney”. Writes director of promotions Christina Shisler:   

Every Friday our VP and COO, Todd “Parney” Parnell
frequents a different sponsor’s location (restaurant or bar) after the game and
our fans must track him down! We include hints throughout the week on where he
will be on our e-newsletter, Facebook, Twitter and website and the first 20
fans to find Parney out at one of our “Where’s Parney” sponsor locations win a t-shirt and get to hang out with the Squrirels VP!

Keep in mind, folks, that this is the man everyone is trying to find:

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Richmond -- Parny Unitard beleaguered.JPG 

— Moving from Flying Squirrels to Fisher Cats (as I so often do), New Hampshire’s Eastern League franchise recently welcomed its Two Millionth Fan. Congratulations to 10-year-old Brendan Howard for his well-timed turnstiling.

— Meanwhile, in Tulsa, it appears that another mascot-themed soap opera has entered theThumbnail image for hornsby.jpg fray. I say “another”, because THIS exists in Lehigh Valley. So now we have “Bulled and the Bluetiful” and “As the Bacon Turns”. Anyone want to suggest other potential Minor League parody soap opera titles?

This particular blog post is quite like a soap opera, in fact, in that it shall end with three words that signify the promise of much more to come:

TO BE CONTINUED

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

Two Good Ideas and Then A Picture of Food

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?”

The
Tulsa Drillers recently put that question to members of their own front
office, resulting in a quick and funny YouTube video:

— But to return to the main topic of “interesting and easy-to-adapt ideas”, the Tennesseesmokies.gif Smokies have a good one in the form of their “2010 Starting Line-up Challenge.”

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. 

ftffs.jpg 

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: 

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Taco In A Helmet-thumb-450x587.jpg

There is no escape from Taco In A Helmet.

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

Resolved: To Stop Blogging Until 2010

Opportunistic Reappropriation Abounds

recycling.JPGLast week, I dedicated a post to the third annual “Minors Moniker Madness” competition. The goal of this ridiculous endeavor is to determine who has the greatest name in all of Minor League Baseball (and, by the way, don’t forget to VOTE! Just 16 names remain…)

Minors Moniker Madness is far from an anomalous event, however, as several other baseball-related entities are staging March Madness rip-offs tributes of their very own. Among them:

The Toledo Mud HensJamie Farr’s favorite Minor League team is currently in the midst of its “Eat 16″ tournament, in which fans are asked to vote for their favorite concession stand items. Myfarrout.jpg prediction is that Nachos, a #14 seed, emerges as the Cinderella story of this competition. Vote HERE.

The Omaha RoyalsWarren Buffet’s favorite Minor League team sent shockwaves through the blogosphere after dropping this bombshell of a press release. In lieu of a tedious summarization of said press release, please allow me to quote liberally:

OMAHA, NE – He’s the President of the Omaha Royals, but Alan Stein is a
native Kentuckian and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. No
surprise then that he has made a friendly wager that the Wildcats will
emerge victorious when they become one of the marquee basketball names
to visit Qwest Center Omaha next Monday night in the second round of
the National Invitation Tournament.

Stein was hoping to make the
wager with Creighton University Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen.
However, Rasmussen is not allowed to do that by NCAA rules. In stepped
Jill Rasmussen, Bruce’s wife, to carry the flag for the Bluejays.

meetyrmaker.jpg

If the 21-13 Wildcats win, Mrs. Rasmussen will be sending a box of
Omaha Steaks to Stein. If the 27-7 Bluejays pick up the victory on
their home court, Stein will be shipping Mrs. Rasmussen a basket of
Kentucky Proud products, which will include a bottle of the
world-famous Maker’s Mark bourbon.


“I am absolutely confident that the blue-and-white will prevail on
Monday night,” Stein quipped, as both teams wear those colors. “I can’t
wait to attend the game.”

“Bring it on,” Mrs. Rasmussen simply said.

UPDATE: Mrs. Rasmussen has since trademarked the phrase “Bring it On.” I had to pay over $800 just to include those three words in this post. It was worth it. 

Baseballposts.comThis one gets points for thoroughness, as baseballposts.com has assembled a tournament that seeks to determine nothing less than the the most popular team in all of Minor League Baseball. 223 teams are featured, divided into eight regions, and voting will continue until April 15.

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This is a herculean and somewhat quixotic endeavor, akin to the the famous scene in Fitzcarraldo in which a 360-ton boat is dragged up and over a hilltop.

Which reminds me — when is a Minor League team going to step up and stage a “Salute to Werner Herzog” promotional night? Existentialist between-innings games and contests, Klaus Kinski look-a-alike contests, and Popul Vuh over the loudspeakers — it would be a night of family fun!

Okay, the crickets have arrived in force. That’s my cue to get out of here while the gettin is still good…       

The Art and Science of the Minor League Wish List

wish.jpgToday I must draw my readers’ attention to my Minoring in Business “cover” story, which features the Holiday Wish Lists of 20 (!) Minor League teams.

Folks, this is the kind of content you just can’t find anywhere else, so I hope you appreciate it. I could just as easily be getting paid to write literary essays on the cultural effects of 21st-century social isolation for Harper’s, you know. Lewis Lapham is constantly badgering me to do this.

But, no. The Minor Leagues are my calling, so I must answer the call. Therefore, revel in today’s article, which is chock-full of interesting Holiday requests. There is currently a poll on the MiLB.com homepage, asking fans to vote on their favorites. Your choices include three masterpieces of the Minor League Holiday Poetry genre (Huntsville, Toledo, Quad Cities), as well as a handwritten mascot letter (West Michigan) and a superb doctored photo (Tri-City ValleyCats).

Not included in the Top 5 poll, but still worth checking out, are humorous contributions fromsanty.jpg Reading, Williamsport, and Birmingham. Actually, it’s ALL worth checking out. Do not discriminate.

And I may as well get in on the act as well, and post a Holiday Wish List for this here blog. I refuse to address it to anyone in particular, but I nonetheless believe these things will happen as a result of positive karmic repercussion. I give, so that I may get. Here are the two things that I want:

— More readers! The numbers have been really strong lately, especially for the offseason, but there is still plenty of room for growth. I feel that the subject matter has appeal far beyond “the industry” and Minor League Baseball superfans. The culture and atmosphere of a Minor League Baseball stadium reflects the culture and atmosphere of the community in which it is located. Taken together, these community portraits represent and reflect American culture.

To summarize, and tone down the pretention a notch (sorry Lewis): Minor League Baseball IS America.

— More feedback! There has been a nice uptick in comments as of late, and I routinely receive emails from front office folks and fans alike. But…more please! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this blog is a two-way street. The content will only ever be as good as what I am provided with by my readers.

So get in touch, for any reason at all:

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Just Saying Is All

This past offseason, Toledo Mud Hens Director of Media Relations Jason Griffin generated a good deal of attention for his team when he offered A-Rod a contract with the Mud Hens.

The contract offer was, of course, facetious. But looking back, perhaps A-Rod would have been better off in Toledo. Away from the harsh glare of New York, he could have settled in to a much more relaxed and carefree existence. Instead, A-Rod stayed in the Big Apple, where his marriage disintegrated after he was “brainwashed” by Madonna, his alleged “soulmate.”

But those in the know are aware that Toledo wouldn’t have offered any respite for the beleaguered slugger. Because Toledo is home to none other than Muddonna:

muddonna.jpg

If A-Rod was unable to resist the advances of an aging Material Girl, then he would have been no match whatsoever for this alluring “Material Bird”. It is an undisputable fact that Muddonna is one of the most attractive mascots in all of the Minor Leagues.

Therefore, its probably for the best that A-Rod didn’t end up in Toledo. As embarrassing as it has been for him to have his marriage broken up by an internationally known pop star, it would have been doubly embarrassing if the homewrecker in question had been an International League mascot.

The Somewhat Amazing Race

Who would win in a race between a kitten, a flea, and an armadillo?

This question, which has plagued mankind since the beginning of time, is now being answered on a nightly basis at Toledo’s Fifth Third Field. Last month, the Mud Hens instituted “Racing With the Stars”, which pits three costumed celebrity parodies against one another in an all-out battle for mascot supremacy. Let’s take a look at the three competitors, who are all inspired by notable Toledo natives:

racingwiththestars2.jpg  

(from left to right: Jamie Farrmadillo, Kitty Holmes, and Jim Flealand)

Mud Hens Director of Public Relations Jason Griffin reports that, thus far, 17 races have been staged. Kitty Holmes has won eight, Jamie Farmadillo has won five, and Jim Flealand has won four. However, one of Flealand’s victories came with none other than Jim Leyland in attendance. Look!

Leyland and Flealand.jpg

Outside of the fact that Leyland seems to have a man’s head growing out of his lower back, I’d say this meeting went pretty well!

Seeing as how Jamie Farr is a regular attendee at Mud Hens games, it will most likely only be a matter of time before he meets Jamie Farrmadillo. Far less likely is Katie and Kitty Holmes being spotted at the ballpark together, as no less a Scientology authority than L. Ron Hubbard has stated that appearing in the presence of a costumed parody of yourself can toxify the spirit and prevent attainment of the state of Operating Thetan.

Regardless, the “Racing With the Stars” series is off to a rousing start, and it will be interesting to see whether Kitty can maintain her lead over Farrmadillo and Flealand as the season progresses.

For more info on all three contestants, click here. And don’t forget to vote for your favorite character here (scroll down, it’s on the right).

If anyone is aware of other interesting mascot races currently taking place in the Minor Leagues, then please email me at milbbusiness@yahoo.com. My livelihood depends on this.

racingwiththestars.jpg

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