Results tagged ‘ Trenton Thunder ’

It’s Sometimes Sunny Outside of Philadelphia

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.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Red, White, and YouTube

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.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Seats and Tweets and the Combination Thereof

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.

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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.

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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:

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“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.”

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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.

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And, of course, the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor did his thing as well.Very disappointing to hear that Rodrigo the Ostrich didn’t fit in the car.

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

The One-Der Of It All

jack.jpgHello, and Happy New Year.

I would like to begin 2011 by employing my favorite kind of metaphor — a belabored one. Over the next three months, Minor League Baseball teams will be turning the lever on the jack-in-the-box that is their operation. They will do this, with increasing speed and intensity, until the cadence of the calliope reaches a fever pitch. And then — BAM! — out pops the 2011 season.

From that point forward (assume determined, gravelly tone): It’s On!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The gears are turning rather slowly right now, but as long as they’re moving I’ve got something to write about.

Let’s start with some news that came out of Trenton this morning, as the ever-reliable Thunder have announced a promotion that has an obsessive, Rainman-like numbers fixation.

Take it away, press release.

The calendar will reach 1/11/11 next week and the Trenton Thunder…have taken the lead in the sports world by recognizing the
number one‘s historical day. The team selected their number one value-driven promotional game on the 2011 schedule and will have an early one-day release for individual tickets to that exclusive game.

On Tuesday, January 11th the Thunder will open up 1,111 tickets for their Friday, April 15th game against the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals). On the 15th, for the advanced ticket price of $11, fans can enjoy free Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers throughout the game.

My thoughts, as they often do, turn to music. Songs that should be heard at the ballpark on this special evening include “One” (Metallica gets precedence over U2), “One Is the Loneliest Number” (Nilsson version, please!), and, of course, “What a 1-derful World.”

But the Thunder aren’t the only 1 doing a special 2011-based ticket offer. Down in Fort Myers, the Miracle have their own ideas on how to commemorate time’s inexorable passage.

2011.jpgPress release, I’m looking in your direction:

The Miracle are pleased to present the “Miracle NewYear’s Resolution Pack”.

That’s right, a pack that gets one a free week membership to Fort Myers Fitness, a gift card for your nutritional needs and supplements from Mother Earth Natural Foods,
PLUS a 4-pack of Miracle tickets — all yours for the New Year’s price of $20.11.

It should go without saying, but this stupendous offer is only available through 1/11/11 at 11 a.m. (come on guys, I think you should extend the deadline to 11:11).

Moving on to less numerically-based news, I’d like to focus your attention on a quite-awesome piece of ultra-limited Minor League apparel: The Bowling Green Cave Shrimp Hat, designed by the taste-making impresarios over at Plan B Branding.

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As regular readers of this blog know, this iconic sightless crustacean has already been celebrated in a series of reality-bending game day promotions staged by the Bowling Green Hot Rods. May the power of the cave shrimp only continue to grow.

Okay, I believe that’s enough lever-turning for one day. But, please, this blog needs constant fuel or else it will wither and die. Do your part by contacting me through the following channels:

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

Suspense in the Land of Snakes

In the previous post on this blog, I mentioned my willingness to feature new logos. But like any good internet survivalist, I can make do with less than that.

Today, my biggest piece of news involves a team’s intent to soon unveil a new logo. That team would be the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who will be releasing three new marks to the public on November 12.

In order to whip said public into an anticipatory frenzy, the Rattlers are releasing a series of countdown videos. Rarely has the inexorable passage of time been so exciting:

In tandem with the above video, T-Rats broadcaster Chris Mehring has written a column detailing the last time the team changed their identity. The year was 1994, and this name and logo was apparently in the running.

The Fox River Phantoms, represented by what appears to be a homicidal umpire:

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At the very least, the insensate arbiter depicted above would make for a good horror movie character. His dispassionate but unstoppable pursuit of his victims would culminate in a coldhearted bat bludgeoning, one bringing new meaning to the phrase “Three strikes and you’re out.”

Sticking with the horror theme, the Trenton Thunder have dusted off a video that purports to reveal a ghostly presence emanating from the innards of Waterfront Park:

In considerably less horrifying news, the State College Spikes will soon be announcing the winner to their inaugural “Ike’s Wacky Weekly What Are They Saying Moment?” The fan who provides the funniest caption to this photograph wins a team-autographed baseball.

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Pass me the horseradish.

Finally, it’s time for another installment of Gratuitous Video Friday, the least anticipated feature of the internet’s least-commented upon blog.

This video features the rap stylings of one of the most deeply eccentric sports broadcasters of all time. “Sister Sledge can fall off a ledge!”

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

The Legend Grows

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!

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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.

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(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.

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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).

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The above photo indicates that Boomer! plans to dress as a mummy this Halloween, but the press release includes info that contradicts this assumption:

[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.

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

What Are You Doing These Days?

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Those who work in the game of baseball quickly become accustomed to the following question: “So, what do you do during the offseason?”

The short answer, and one that seems contrary to popular belief, is “A lot.” While it’s easy to assume that the offseason immediately kicks off a months-long vacation for those who work in Minor League Baseball front offices, the reality is that baseball is a year-round business.

So, what are you doing during the offseason? Let me know, because I’m planning an MiLB.com article that will answer this question, from the perspective a variety of Minor League folks. This article might make it easier for you to justify your offseason existence to friends and family, so please get in touch via the usual channels and we’ll set something up. 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz
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As for me, what I’m doing these days is compiling blog posts with the last of my stray in-season material. For example, did you know that the Trenton Thunder front office defeated the Lakewood BlueClaws front office in their annual “Battle For 195″ softball game? It’s true! They got a trophy and everything.

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Pictures related to inter-office softball matches usually cause my blog traffic to skyrocket, but to be on the safe side I’ll pack this post with even more scintillating content.

Remember when I visited the Iowa Cubs, and noted the long lines that would form at “Sandberg Alley” prior to every home game? Well, Ryne Sandberg managed the Double-A Tennessee Smokies before advancing to Iowa, and there was a “Sandberg Alley” there as well.

The team officially re-named the aisle leading to the home dugout “Sandberg Alley”, and had a ribbon cutting to memorialize the event:

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Some addresses cannot be found via your GPS:

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Eager Smokies fans awaiting their brush with greatness:

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Finally, allow me to remind you once again that the virtual voting booths for MiLB.com’s “Promotion of the Year” are still open (through Wednesday 10am ET). As of this writing (6:49 pm ET, 10/11/10), the results are as follows:

Birmingham Barons — 100th Anniversary of Rickwood Field: 37%
Arkansas Travelers — Jose Canseco vs. Gary Hogan: 34%
Lancaster JetHawks — Robert “Hoot” Gibson Bobblehead: 22%
Fresno Grizzlies — Twilight Night: 5%

Click HERE to vote. Click HERE for rock n roll.

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

10 From ’10

coffin.jpgThe 2010 Minor League season is now lifeless and entombed, but it is my duty to preserve the corpse so that future generations may gaze upon its sepulchral splendor.

To that end, today’s post features my 10 favorite photographs from the recently deceased campaign. All of these pictures appeared on this blog at some point during the season, and are presented in the order in which they originally appeared.

Remember — it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Let’s all take a look at once was:

Snowpening DayFreezing precipitation prevented the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers from playing their first scheduled home game, causing the players to release their start-of-the-season aggression upon hapless snowmen (note the Rattlers’ scoreboard message, a nice example of thinking ahead).


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When Ya Gotta GoThe Northwest Arkansas Naturals held a nightly “Adoptable Pet of the Game” promotion this season, and on April 11 the evening’s honored canine broke loose from her handlers…
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You can guess what happened next

Catatonic CauliflowerJerry “The King” Lawler visited Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium, leaving no doubt as to his feelings regarding rampaging vegetables.

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Tattooed PerfectionOakland A’s hurler Dallas Braden became a household name upon pitching a perfect game, but soon afterwards returned to Stockton in order to abdominally express his hometown pride.
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(photo credit: George Steckler/Stockton Ports)

Sweets From the Sky: The Visalia Rawhide dropped candy from a helicopter following an afternoon game in May. Idyllic images resulted.
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(photo credit: Chris Henstra)

Guacamole-Topped Vengeance: San Antonio Missions fan Randy Neuenfeldt lost a race to the Puffy Taco in 1992. He wasn’t about to let that happen again.
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A Dignified EveningThis is what happened when Jose Canseco fought a 60-year-old man prior to an Arkansas Travelers game. Your winner, by decision: Gary Hogan!
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ConfidenceWe could all learn something from the preternaturally self-possessed young Trenton Thunder fan.
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Postgame for PyrosStuntman Ted Batchelor ran around the bases following a Savannah Sand Gnats game. He was on fire at the time.
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Spitting ImageThe Lake County Captains saluted the almighty watermelon in August, leading to a snapshot most adorable.
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Of course, feel free to send along your own favorites from the 2010 season. I am, as always, interested in your input.
benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Promo Year in Review, Part Two: Theme Nights

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The Promo Year In Review train is rolling along right on schedule, making a stop today at teeming “Theme Night” station.

It was very difficult for me to narrow this category down to a Top Six, as there were a lot of great contenders. As always, I tried to put a premium on originality, and ample photo and video documentation certainly influenced the decision-making process as well.

Two more finalists will be added to this list based on reader suggestions, so get in touch via email or Twitter regarding YOUR favorite Minor League theme night of the year. Suggestions for all categories will be accepted through 10 a.m. on Monday, September 27.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz
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My six nominees, in sweet, sweet alphabetical order. Click on the Promo name to see how it was originally covered.

Brooklyn Cyclones — Jersey? Sure! Night

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Fresno Grizzlies — Twilight Night

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Lake County Captains — Please Stay LeBron Night

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Lake Elsinore Storm — Obscure Sports Night

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Reading Phillies — Salute to the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor

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Trenton Thunder — World Cup Night (with on-field baby race)

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Omissions, both egregious and understandable, are easily rectified via the power of electronic communication.

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

Superstar Sluggers and the Scantily Clad in Jersey

The baseball season is a grind, even if you’re just writing about it. Here’s some more grist for the mill, so that things don’t come to a grinding halt.

Let’s start with the Lakewood BlueClaws, whose quest to retire Ryan Howard’s number has had more twists and turns than a Chubby Checker concert on Lombard Street.

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The team had planned to retire the number of this prominent 2002 alumnus on September
2nd, with Howard himself in attendance. A Phillies make-up game was
added to the schedule on this date, however, rendering the guest of honor unavailable.

Thumbnail image for Lakewood_BusterBlur.JPGBut Howard went on the disabled list with a sprained ankle earlier this month, and he’ll be playing in
Lakewood TONIGHT as part of his rehab assignment. So the number
retirement ceremony is now back on
, honoring a player who will in fact be in the
starting line-up.

And consider this:

Howard previously rehabbed with Lakewood in 2007, knocking in four runs over two games. This gave him 91 RBIs as a BlueClaw, tying him for the all-time franchise record. He’ll have a chance to break the tie on Friday, leading to the following question: Has any player in the history of the game ever broken a prominent franchise record while on a rehab assignment with a team that is also retiring his number?

My guess would be “no.”

And since we’re on the topic of New Jersey Minor League Baseball, I’d like to bring your attention to the extravaganza that occurred in Trenton on Tuesday.

The Thunder staged “Football Kickoff Night”, featuring Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders and team mascot Swoop. 

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A jewelry-wearing eight-year-old autographing a baseball for a triumvirate of cheerleaders would have made a great Norman Rockwell painting.

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Also on the agenda was the Thunder’s second annual “Rock, Paper, Scissors” tournament, won by Mr. Rob Prakriya of Pennington, NJ and presided over by a sneering referee:

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Finally, last week’s post on Omaha’s Star Wars Night generated a tremendous amount of traffic to this woebegone corner of the blogosphere. I am nothing if not a pandering sycophant, so please enjoy two more “Star Wars Night” photos. These emanate from Lowell, home of the Spinners:

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That’s going to do it for me this week. I’ll be back in all my angst-ridden glory on Monday, ready to return to that which has swallowed me whole.

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

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