Results tagged ‘ Trenton Thunder ’
As someone who lives in New York City and grew up in the northeast, the Trenton Thunder have long been a team with whom I am familiar. I first attended one of their games when I was in high school (the exact date is lost to the ages, but I almost certainly had a shaved head and was wearing a Beastie Boys t-shirt) and since I started writing for MiLB.com in 2005 I’ve made it a point to visit Trenton’s Mercer Waterfront Park at least once a season.
But here’s the thing — all of these excursions were as a fan. Despite Trenton’s proximity to my base of operations, I never quite found the time to give the team my not-yet-patented “On the Road” treatment.
Until this past Saturday, that is. Showing a level of professional commitment unrivaled in the annals of mankind, I woke up and caught a NJ Transit train running on the Northeast Corridor line. It originated at New York Penn Station and, 91 minutes later, arrived at the recently refurbished Trenton Transit Center. I’m a veteran rider of the Northeast Corridor Line, and have always enjoyed the beautiful ugliness that can be seen along the way. Or is that ugly beauty?
Usually on these trips I make a quick stopoff at Elizabeth, NJ in order to buy a Garment that’s right for me. I absolutely love the style, service and selection of the Pink Room, and wish this was the banner ad currently pulsating at the top of this blog.
But today I was unable to make a visit to The Pink Room, as there was a Trenton Thunder employee waiting to give me a ride from the train station. And not just any employee!
Now THIS is some beautiful ugliness, an intern in a hot dog suit standing in the pouring rain. From here on out, I knew that I was going to have a good day.
It’s only a 10-minute drive from the train station to the ballpark, especially when you’re hot-dogging it. And, wouldn’t you know it? By the time we got there it wasn’t even raining anymore.
Off to the left there were multiple charitable drives that were taking place, as part of the Thunder’s annual “Good Deed Game” promotion.
Sez the team:
The Good Deed Game will feature a blood drive to benefit the Community Blood Council of New Jersey, a school supplies drive to support the learning center at the East Trenton Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a non-perishable food drive to benefit the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, a toiletries drive to support HomeFront, a clothing drive that will benefit the Rescue Mission of Trenton, and new this year, a pet supplies drive to support The Shelter Animal Project.
The promotion included fan incentives, with each donation earning its own reward (read more about it in the press release linked to above).
I was very eager to give blood, because it had been a while — in fact, it was my inability to donate which had led, ultimately, to my diagnosis of celiac disease. To briefly recap: I was rejected from giving blood several times earlier this year, due to low iron levels (ie anemia). And the reason I had anemia was because gluten was damaging the linings of my small intestine, therefore making me unable to absorb iron properly.
So, anyway, it was with some trepidation that I entered the Bloodmobile. I didn’t want to be rejected again!
And I wasn’t! The nurse who tested me said “Cue the Black Sabbath, because you’re an Iron Man!” I then complimented her for making such a well-timed comic remark. “Call me Tina Fe,” she replied.
Or at least that’s how I remember the conversation going. I wasn’t taking notes, on account of the needle in my arm.
Giving blood is really easy — they extracted a pint in six and a half minutes, during which I sat in this comfortable chair and watched the very end of Mystic River (spoiler alert — one of the last shots is of a brooding Sean Penn clapping during a small town parade). I was also treated to some Powerade and a bag of Bugles, the closest thing to a gluten-free snack that they had available (“may contain wheat,” the bag said. “May”?!).
And that’s not all! I also was given a t-shirt AND got to wear an awesome bandage for the remainder of the evening. Everyone should give blood! (Unless, you know, you’re anemic due to an as-of-yet undiagnosed case of celiac disease.)
I felt fine after the blood donation, and as I made my way back outside the game was about to start (Saturday was a doubleheader, with the first game commencing at 5). While there was a steady trickle of fans buying tickets and making their way through the gate, I decided to do a quick lap around the stadium’s exterior before making my way inside.
The ticket-buying public:
The view from the front of Mercer Waterfront Park is thoroughly uninspiring…
but it’s called “Waterfront Park” for a reason. As I made my way around the side of the facility, toward the outfield, the scenery improved considerably.
The Thunder bullpen, quite literally, have their backs to the wall.
The visitors — not so much.
As much as I enjoy taking photos through chain link fences, I decided it was time to finally enter the ballpark. The steps leading up to the concourse are a most imposing sight.
And they lead directly behind home plate.
But, as always, there wasn’t much time to watch the game. Upon entering the stadium, I met up with a Biz Blog reader by the name of Jeff Vervlied. We have corresponded several times over the last year or so, and this correspondence was initially motivated by my casual mention in a blog post that I grew up in the town of Ambler, PA. Jeff lives in Ambler, and his son and daughter are currently students at Wissahickon High and Middle schools, respectively. (I attended Wissahickon throughout the entirety of my public school career, en route to achieving MiLB.com fame and fortune).
I was flattered that Jeff drove all the way to Trenton just to say hello, and even more flattered that he brought along a Lower Gwynedd baseball fitted hat! (This will be it for the Montgomery County name-dropping, promise).
But hat delivery wasn’t the only item on the agenda. There was also this:
And, 1100+ words later, that’s where we’ll leave off. There is still MUCH more to come from Trenton: pork roll, crab fries, mascot heads, hanging strollers, Bon Jovi, Van Halen tribute bands, cheese balls, Ryan Tatusko, grammar errors, Americana, coupon distribution, dizzy bat races, BBQ ribs, local wines, inclement weather, fireworks, an abundance of baseball haiku and the facilitation of awesomeness.
Keep reading and I’ll keep writing, okay?
To say I’m overwhelmed these days would be an understatement. I still have all kinds of supplemental material from my recent OKARMOTN road trip, and in addition to that I recently traveled to Lowell to document a world record attempt and attend a Spinners game. I hope to embark on another one-off trip next week, and I also need to finish planning a larger excursion in August. And, of course, there was the recent celiac disease blog post, which has gotten a ton of responses (via comments, Twitter, and email) that I have yet to address. (I appreciate them all, and will respond!)
And, what? It’s July already? I’ll write a new Crooked Numbers column as soon as I can, promise!
As usual, I’m talking almost entirely to myself. I’m tired of that guy, but he’s all I’ve got. But, for you, it’s time to go back to the roots with a quick blog bouillabaisse! So what, of note, has been going on around the Minors?
Too much! Here’s a tiny bit.
Last month, the Connecticut Tigers kicked off their season in the most literal way possible. To the photograph!
This was a “ceremonial first kick,” one that reportedly fell atop the plate for a perfect strike. Tigers director of community relations Dave Schermerhorn explains:
This is Dave Teggart, who was a four year stud kicker at UConn (School all-time leader in points, field goals in a career, and field goals in a season). He was then one of our interns during the 2011 season.
Recently, he attended Rookie Mini Camp for the Bears and was signed to a contract to attend training camp with the team.
So what do you know? The New York-Penn League had not one but TWO collegiate gridiron stars turned interns last season. The other was Penn State receiver Derek Moye, who I have already written about HERE.
Moye in action:
You also may be wondering why there was a submarine looming behind Teggart in the first kick photograph. Again, I’ll defer to Schermerhorn (who shares his surname with one-half of a widely-used Brooklyn subway stop):
General Dynamics Electric Boat is just about 20 min away and one of our largest sponsors. [S]taff members ride in the sub pregame to throw t-shirts to the crowd. We have a large military presence in the area with the Coast Guard Academy and U.S. submarine base within the same radius.
It is for these reasons that Connecticut’s previous Minor League franchise was known as the “Defenders,” and, prior to that, the Norwich Navigators.
Why am I always going off on tangents? One of these days I’m going to segue from “tangents” into something involving “tan gents,” but that day is not today. Instead, I’ll share a video from the Lake County Captains’ “Cleveland Sports History” promotion, which was held in June.
One of the Cleveland moments celebrated was Armando Galarraga’s 2011 perfect game that wasn’t (the Indians were the opponent in that contest). It’s not the best video quality, but hats off to the Captains for having the courage and creativity to consistently create crazy conceptual promos:
And, hey, If I’m posting YouTube videos then there’s no way this can be ignored! Ricky from Bordentown wipes out not once, but twice, during a most unique between-inning contest in Trenton.
On your mark! Get set! Change that diaper!
Classic. And I’ve got PLENTY more where that came from.
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.
This post is being composed during the afternoon of 10/31/11 — what else can I write about but Halloween? This commemoration of the macabre is being celebrated throughout America, so ipso facto its being celebrated throughout the Minors as well.
The usual array of teams (Williamsport, Lake Elsinore, Bowie, et al) have turned their ballparks into haunted houses, but in some cases such an extensive effort isn’t necessary. As the Great Lakes Loons prove with this video, sometimes all you need is a mascot dressed as a ghost, holding an air gun.
But Halloween isn’t just about cheap thrills. In Lehigh Valley, the IronPigs held their fourth annual “Suites and Treats” event for underprivileged and special needs children. This is a cool concept, and to my knowledge the IronPigs are the only ones who do it. From the team’s website:
The event took place on the Club Level with the support of the IronPigs’ suite holders, who took advantage of the opportunity to decorate their suite so the children could go “door-to-door” for a unique “trick-or-treating” experience. In total, all 20 suites along with the outdoor PenTeleData party porches were decorated for Suites-n-Treats.
A few examples, from the team’s Facebook photo gallery:
One of the benefits of staging in-season promotions dedicated to offseason holidays is that said promotion can result in content that can then be used during the holiday in question. Make sense? No?
That’s okay. All I’m really trying to say is that the Fort Wayne TinCaps staged a Halfway to Halloween promotion and aired the following video during the game. And — bonus! — the video is once again fit for public consumption.
Meanwhile, in Trenton, the team’s concern regarding the dangers of trick-or-treating has manifested itself in a somewhat ridiculous public awareness campaign.
These guys have made a video. Click HERE to watch it.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have made a new video as well. It’s not related to Halloween in any way, really, but notable nonetheless. Like life itself, this effort is an interactive game of skill:
Nice work on that one by the T-Rattlers. Similar efforts will help prevent offseason mental atrophy, the effects of which have already begun to be felt.
The more things change, the more things stay the same.
Last year, Jerry Lawler visited Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium and delivered a devastating clothesline to a foolhardy cauliflower. You may recall the image, seeing how it was indelible.
This year’s notable wrestling guest was Sunny, famed diva and member of the WWE Hall of Fame. And this time, the clothesline victim was Evil Candy (a longtime nutritional adversary of Cauliflower).
Sunny was joined by noted ECW grappler “The Blue Meanie.”
Being interviewed by Channel 69:
Prior to the game, Sunny and the Blue Meanie visited the R-Phils’ clubhouse. This picture is disintegrating right before our eyes, a reminder of life’s ephemeral nature.
While in the locker room, Sunny must have taken a liking to R-Phils backstop Tim Kennelly. In a post-game interview with R-Phils director of media relations Tommy Viola, Sunny refers to the “so-cute” Kennelly as her “future ex-husband” and expresses a desire for some personal coaching (the Blue Meanie, meanwhile, reveals himself to be a fan of Matt “Roast Beef” Rizzotti).
And, quite fittingly, this star-studded “Tribute to Wrestling” featured some actual wrestling. This was the ballpark scene after the game.
And since we’re on the topic of “2011 incarnations of promotions I also covered in 2010”, it is worth noting that the Modesto Nuts have once again staged a “Mascot Dance Party” featuring the inimitable Al and Wally.
Last season, Al was the lucky recipient of a one-on-one lesson with dance instructor Taelor Fernandez. This year, it was Wally’s turn to learn from the beautiful Ms. Fernandez.
Those lessons have really paid off.
And since we’re on the topic, you should really be aware that a new bat dog-based dance craze is sweeping through Trenton. Teach me how to Derby!
But if those moves are too complicated, then maybe you should check out what’s on offer out there in Lancaster, CA. Whip it good!
All this dancing is making me realize that I need to up my game, as the only move I ever mastered was limping to the side like my leg was broken. Please help me, Taelor Fernandez.
We are careening toward what is sure to be an eminently enjoyable Holiday Weekend, and strenuous acts like “reading things on the internet” don’t hold much appeal at the present moment. So allow me to take you on out of the work week with a cavalcade of recent video masterworks to emanate from the Minor League landscape.
Let’s start with the one Minor League team that will NOT be celebrating July 4th: the Vancouver Canadians. Our neighbors to the North produced a Major League-spoofing commercial that is rapidly attaining viral status.
If that somehow hasn’t satiated your desire to see Minor League productions of Major League, then check out this recent “One-Minute Movie” put together by the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
Staying within the always rich topic of “Ohio-based Minor League parody”, the Akron Aeros are promoting an upcoming appearance by soap star Patrick Drake by putting words into his mouth.
The next day the Aeros’ are trying to appeal to a younger segment of the female fan demographic with their “Princess Tea Party.” Mascot Orbit is doing his best to learn the proper etiquette.
The Aeros’ Eastern League compatriots Trenton Thunder don’t need to worry about selling tickets to this weekend’s slate of games, thanks to the presence of rehabbing superstar Derek Jeter. But not even Hall of Fame-bound Bronx icons possess the charisma of the team’s endlessly effervescent Bobby Baseball.
Also in possession of copious charisma if Montgomery Biscuits pitcher Chris Archer. Thursday is “Ladies Night” in Montgomery, and one lucky lady will win a date with the dashing right-hander:
Not as desirable to the ladies is new Frederick Keys’ mascot “Frank Key.” The freakishly large cranium might have something to do with that.
But the true indicator of any Minor League video’s success is how it plays in Peoria. And this one, from the hometown Chiefs, has been viewed plenty of times within the fine Illinois metropolis.
I’d say that the above definitively proves that rhythm is not a prerequisite of professional baseball success. Also not a prerequisite of professional baseball success: being human.
It’s not just a lazy stereotype, it’s the capital T Truth: Anatomically incorrect snakes take their celebrity airport pick-ups very seriously.
And that’s gonna conclude the blogging week. Enjoy the Holiday, and I’ll see you right back here at this very URL on July 5.
Got a lot on the docket today, starting with an intriguing ticket offer from the Timber Rattlers of Appleton, Wisconsin: The team is offering complimentary ducats to the 400 “displaced Super Bowl attendees” who bought tickets to the game but were unable to watch due to a seating snafu.
The “Super Second Chance” offer is really only applicable to 399 fans, as Timber Rattlers box office manager Ryan Moede was among the “displaced.”
Hopefully the aggrieved individuals in question take advantage of the offer, as it could be the first step toward overcoming the unimaginable trauma they were forced to endure.
But those lucky enough to actually have seats at sporting events now have incentive to tell the world. At least if said seats are located within Waterfront Park in Trenton.
The Trenton Thunder announced their “Tweet Your Seat” promotion yesterday, an initiative that comes equipped with its own URL (tweetyourseat.net). On game days, fans can “Tweet Their Seats” for a chance to win a gift card to the nearby Nassau Inn. Declares the organization:
Include your seat location, tag BOTH the Trenton Thunder and Nassau Inn in your tweet or status update and use the hashtag”#TweetYourSeat”.
We’ll pick one winner and deliver the gift card to their seat during the game! We’ll also post the winner’s name and/or twitter handle on this page….The contest opens at 10am on every game day and runs right up until the first pitch of the game.
This is the first time I’ve seen such a promo in the Minors, but I highly doubt it will be the last. It can easily be adapted to any market, and should help teams build social media followings for both themselves and the sponsor.
Moving from hi-tech to low, details regarding the 16th Annual Rickwood Classic were announced yesterday. The host Birmingham Barons will take on the Chattanooga Lookouts, with both teams wearing 1961-era uniforms. Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry will be the VIP Guest of Honor.
As you’ll no doubt recall, Rickwood Field is the oldest stadium in all of professional baseball. Last year, the Classic was named the top promotion in all of Minor League Baseball.
I’m not sure what the weather’s like in Alabama right now, but in Northwest Arkansas things have been unprecedentedly frigid. Check out Arvest Ballpark, home of the Naturals:
“No doubt about it,” writes Naturals marketing and public relations manager Frank Novak. “I think the people of Northwest Arkansas are ready for some baseball.”
Yesterday, the people of Earth were ready for love, and Minor League mascots across the land helped to deliver some. This picture shows Bernie of the Inland Empire 66ers with some new friends he made.
It’s early Friday afternoon here at Ben’s Biz Blog HQ — time to finish the work week off strong and head into the weekend with verve, moxie, pep, and, above all, swagger.
Those who need a boost in any of the above categories will soon get it, as I am proud to announce the triumphant return of one of 2010’s most inspiring characters: The Confident Kid of Trenton, NJ!
The above photo, featuring the Confident Kid and a trio of Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders, was taken during the Trenton Thunder’s “NFL Kickoff Night” promotion. I thought it was the only such photo that existed, but I was wrong.
This week a proactive reader alerted me to the fact that additional photos of the Confident Kid do in fact exist, taken by Suzette Lucas of mercerspace.com.
(the above three photos: Suzette Lucas, mercermag.com)
In other news, the offseason continues unabated. A new Minoring in Business column went up today, an in-depth look at how teams operate while no baseball is being played. It includes the perspective of GMs, stadium ops, food and beverage, broadcasters, and more. It also answers the question of what I do in the offseason, which is ask other people what they are doing in theirs.
And, of course, Halloween’s rapid encroachment upon the national consciousness is being reflected in the Minor Leagues. In a bit of distressing news, the Connecticut Tigers announced yesterday that three Tigers scarecrows had been stolen from the front yard of the nearby Leffingwell House Museum.
From the press release:
The Tigers are asking that the scarecrows (and more importantly the jerseys and pants) be returned with no questions asked. They can be dropped off at Dodd Stadium or at the Leffingwell House Museum. “This really is a shame, talent wise these were some of the best scarecrows we have seen in years,” said GM Andrew Weber. “They could also really fill-out a uniform.”
In further New York-Penn League Halloween News (second only to “chilean miners” as a Google search term), the Williamsport Crosscutters are offering fans the chance to go trick-or-treating with the inimitable Boomer! (apparently, the exclamation mark is now part of Boomer!’s name, making him the mascot equivalent of the Roots’ ?uestlove).
[Boomer!’s] costume won’t be a mystery as he stated, “I really wanted to dress up as Lady Gaga, but I’ve been told I won’t really need a costume so I guess I’m just going as BOOMER!.”
Jeez…In addition to the exclamation mark, it looks like Boomer!’s name needs to be written in bold-face as well. Now that’s confidence.