Results tagged ‘ Vancouver Canadians ’

The Return of the Triple-B

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for canadians-logo.jpgLongtime readers of this blog may have noticed that Vancouver Canadians mascot Bob Brown Bear is featured on a regular basis. The reason behind this is not rocket science, as rocket science is a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with any aspect of Minor League Baseball.

The reason that Bob Brown Bear is often featured is because a proactive individual within the Canadians front office makes a point to send me photos on a regular basis (this individual’s name may or may not rhyme with “Standroo Greepore”).

And I love recieving photos, because they save me from myself. As opposed to blathering endlessly about who-knows-what, I can simply utilize visual imagery instead. So, without further ado — In order to promote “Anti-Bullying Day” Bob Brown Bear put on a pink shirt, visited local schools, and spread his message of peace and love. Here he is, along with a gaggle of delighted young students:

Anti-Bullying day @ Brock Elementary 042.jpgAnd here’s a glimpse of the resulting media coverage. It is impressive that Bob Brown Bear the anti-bully was considered to be a bigger news story than a man receiving the keys to Bob Marley’s house. At least where I grew up, Bob Marley housekey coverage ALWAYS dominated the local headlines.

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Thank you for (what I assume is) your continued readership, and good night.

Spreading the Love, Minor League Style

Welcome to the much-anticipated 267th installment of Ben’s Biz Blog. For today’s episode, we’ll take a look back at a few Valentine’s Day events that took place around the Minor Leagues last week.

Consider this post a follow-up to last Friday’s “Minoring in Business” article. That’s an order.

Let’s start in Lake County, Ohio, where Captains mascot Skipper delivered Valentines to both homes and businesses. I particularly like this picture, primarily because of the pink-shirted individual standing forlornly in the background:

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The Captains were also the beneficiaries of some sweet media coverage. Click here to check out the video piece that ran on the website of the local News-Herald. And click here to see additional V-Day pics.

(thanks to Captains promotions director Jonathan Levey for the pictures and link)

Now, let us travel in a northwesterly direction, until we end up in the magical town of Vancouver. There, Canadians mascot Bob Brown Bear made the rounds. Let’s take a look at what he was up to:

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Now, in my aforementioned “Minoring in Business” article, I quoted Canadians GM Andrew Seymour as saying the following:

“One of the people we’re delivering to this year has a mascot phobia.
So Bob is going to have to stay in the car for that one. I don’t even
think he’ll be allowed in the lobby.”

Well, here’s a picture of Seymour delivering a Valentine, sans Bob Brown Bear. I don’t know if Bob’s absence in this shot can be attributed to a mascot phobia, or if other factors were involved.

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Finally, let us head back east to Lowell, MA. There, the Spinners staged their annual “Spread the Love” winter caravan. The following pictures are from the team’s enthusiastically-received visit to a local elementary school. Reports Spinners media relations manager Jon Boswell:

When the principal introduced the members of the caravan,
even the Spinners front office was received like members of the Red Sox.
Hopefully 30 years down the road when some kid goes to show off his autograph
collection and points to a Micky Ward or Jonathan Papelbon autograph he isn’t
too upset to see a Spinners Head Groundskeeper Jeff Paolino autograph
underneath his!

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So, there you have it. Another Valentine’s Day in the books, and the Minor Leagues did it up right. I considered asking teams to send in more V-Day’s photos, but, really, it’s time to move on now. To the future!

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Here's The Pitch…

econ.jpgSomething that I have become aware of over the past several months is that I am recognized as a “blogger” first and a “journalist” second. That’s fine with me.

But I nonetheless must occasionally draw my readers’ attention to the work that I do that appears on the mighty MiLB.com, such as this recent article on the effect that the economy is having on Minor League Baseball.

While this piece came out well enough, I was somewhat hampered in writing it by the fact that it was so close to the Holidays. Time was tight, and it was a bit more difficult to get in touch with people than usual. Therefore, some decent material fell by the wayside.

But what is the function of this blog, if not to provide a home for such material? For example,seymour.jpeg one of several things that did not make it into the article was an email from Andrew Seymour, the General Manager of the Vancouver Canadians. In this email, Seymour took the time to outline the ways he thinks his club is well-positioned to deal with the economy (outside of the fact that his team isn’t located in the United States, of course).

I figured I’d share the contents of this email, and include along with it an invitation to any of my readers to get in touch with lists of their own. You know, reasons why YOUR team (be you fan or employee) has what it takes to make it through the tough times.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

And now, let me turn the floor over to Mr. Seymour.

In an effort to take care of our #1 asset, our fans, we’ve
instituted a price freeze across the board. We have kept our ticket prices the same for 09 — for
flex/mini packs (which we call NatPacks), season tickets, groups and game
day/walk-up tickets.

Our advertising prices are the same for in-stadium
advertising (and we plan to deliver more and more impressions — aka butts in
seats).

Parking is the same rate as it has been for years!

We have created a kids club at a tremendously inexpensive
rate ($20) that gets kids in for free to 14 home games (7 Sunday + 7 Monday
dates). We also have a $50 family rate for families that have 3 or more kids.

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We’ve furthered our outreach in the community –we like to
see it as giving back. Now that we have a mascot, we have a much better avenue
to be out supporting the events in our immediate and surrounding communities.
This allows us to reach-out and connect with all the people we hope will take
interest in a Canadians game.

We’re also expanding our no-cost information network, in
order to help build our fanbase. From facebook to an amped-up website with
audio and video, we have a viable opportunity to reach fans everywhere.

We’ll have a number of ball park upgrades that will be
pleasant for our fans – upgrades that we won’t ask our fans to shoulder!

And whatever we do, it is always a result of having a
generous local ownership group (jake kerr, jeff mooney + andy dunn) and a first
class, dedicated staff that cares dearly for our community.

 

All in all our m.o. will be to deliver first class,
affordable family fun in a safe and friendly

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environment. Our goal is to
provide consumers with a great value on their entertainment dollar!


Pretty solid sales pitch, is it not? Again, get in touch with similarly self-promoting screeds of your own, and I’ll do my best to post it up here on this ever-growing little niche of the blogosphere.

Folks, the bottom line here is that I need content, and its easier to have you create it than me. Let me be the conduit through which your self-expression can reach its full potential.

Giddy Up, Giddy Up, For '09

turn.jpgAs you may or may not be aware, the inexorable passage of time has resulted in the fact that we are now living within the realm of a new calendar year: 2009!

I, once again, find myself either unable or unwilling to make an earnest bid for literary immortality. But I have to do something to pass the time and pay the bills, so I may as well engage in a task that serves the betterment of mankind. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that I have updated my links section. There have been a few additions and many subtractions, as I work toward the ultimate goal of providing the most well-curated Minor League link list ever known to man.

I must credit Joey over at “The Consumption Of…” blog for motivating me to undertake this most recent round of link list updates. For it was he who asked me, in the comments section of a recent post, what were some of my Minor League team blogs.

My answer, in good old alphabetical order:

BlueClaws BlogA recently revitalized destination, offering behind-the-scenes insight intoblogssss.gif anything related to the BlueClaws.   

The Brooklyn Baseball BlogAll sorts of inside tidbits on life in the Cycones front office, written in a light-hearted and humorous style.

Greg’s Connecticut Defenders BlogUpdated regularly throughout the offseason, and chock full of exclusive pictures.  

Notes From the Nat (Vancouver Canadians fan blog) — Surprisingly thorough and wide-ranging coverage from a short-season superfan.

Rattler Radio (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers) — As someone who has engaged in my own half-insane blogging adventures, I greatly enjoy announcer Chris Mehring’s wide-ranging, highly-detailed, and humor-laced posts.

Travelerocity (Arkansas Travelers fan blog) — No other Minor League blog I’ve come across enjoys a greater level of user interaction than does “Travelerocity.”

Of course, please get in touch (by email or the comments section) with YOUR favorite blogs. If I’m missing anything, please let me know. And, as always, thanks for reading.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com  

24/7/365

Bob Brown Bear on CBC.JPGFor those who don’t follow the world of Minor League Baseball very closely, a common misperception is that teams more or less go into hibernation during the offseason. Sure, someone might occasionally stop by the office to check the phone messages and pick up the mail, but that’s about it, right?

Wrong! In the Minor Leagues, not even bears go into hibernation during the offseason…even if said bear is employed by a short-season ballclub AND lives in a foreign country.

For proof, journey with me all the way to the exotic locale of Vancouver, Canada, the home of the sensibly-named Vancouver Canadians. The club’s mascot Bob Brown Bear has been working overtime in order to spread holiday cheer while simultaneously keeping the Canadians baseball club in the hearts and minds of the Vancouver citizenry.

Here, we see Bob Brown Bear (BBB, as he will henceforth be known) working the crowd at Vancouver’s annual Santa Claus parade:

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BBB later made an appearance at Vancouver’s annual tree-lighting ceremony, once again while toting his trademark giant candy cane:

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Then, back in the comfortable confines of Nat Bailey Stadium, BBB welcomed none other than Santa Claus himself. Mr. Claus was taking time out of his busy schedule in order to check out the fine items on display at the Canadians’ one-day only merchandise sale. Of course, he also patiently listened to the Christmas wish requests of Vancouver’s youngest generation:

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So, there you have it folks. Just another quick glimpse into the YEAR-ROUND operation of a Minor League franchise.

(Thanks to Canadians GM Andrew Seymour for the pictures. And, please, by all means, don’t hesitate to send YOUR offseason pics to benjamin.hill@mlb.com)

A Clean, Crisp, and Concise Cornucopia

bg.jpgMany apologies for my sporadic posting of late. What it comes down to is that I have no idea how to structure my life. But enough about me!

In order to, how you say, “get up to speed”, I’m going to rip a page out of my “Promotion Preview” playbook and write about a number of topics. But, here’s the catch — each of these topics will receive no less than 75 and no more than 125 words.

Go!

Wear This and You’ll Have a Ball, Girl — Anybody out there need a last-minute Halloween costume? Then head with a quickness to fresnogrizzlies.com, as the team is offering fans the opportunity to dress as the infamous “ballgirl” who was all the rage last season. You know, the one who made a spectacular leaping grab in Chukchansi Park, completely unaided by any sort of stunt cables or special effects. The costume, which costs $60, includes a Grizzlies cap and home jersey. For maximum realism, call up Jake Wald (the hapless left fielder featured in the clip) and ask him to accompany you to your Halloween party.

While We’re On the Topic of All Hallow’s Eve — Who knew? Halloween is indeedpumpkin.JPG celebrated in Canada. I know this is so because the Vancouver Canadians are staging a pumpkin decorating contest. But hurry, the deadline to submit a tricked-out gourd is today. So don’t delay, and send photographic evidence of your pumpkin prowess to aseymour@canadiansbaseball.com…In other Halloween news, Slugger the Portland Sea Dogs mascot was looking for Trick-or-Treat partners — and he found some. Congratulations to the Wareham family of Goreham, ME, who will be accompanied in their candy-pilfering rounds by Portland’s most beloved costumed character.

ports.gifThe Bands, They Are A Battlin’ — Also occurring over Halloween weekend is the Stockton Ports’ first-ever Battle of the Bands. 18 aspiring music combos will take the stage at Banner Island Ballpark over the two-day extravaganza in order to showcase their kinetic musical chops and electromagnetic stage presence. In addition, each evening features a headling band as well. The Righteous and the Wicked (a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band) is scheduled to play on Friday, while groove rockers Minor Dischord close it out on Saturday. Hey guys, you should be more specific and bill yourselves as “Class A Advanced Dischord.” Anyhoo, the winner of this “Battle of the Bands” will be showered with a vast array of musical industry goods and services.

Hank’s Mobile Home Enjoys Brief Stint as a Mobile Home — Regular readers of this blog (ie those not drawn here by a picture of Lucille Ball) will remember this post, in which I detailed the Mobile BayBears’ plans to bring Hank Aaron’s childhood home to the grounds of Hank Aaron Stadium. Well, the club did just that this past week, subjecting the humble residence to an arduous seven-hour journey. I’d say that the whole thing went off without a hitch, except for the fact that a hitch was used in order to transport the house. Regardless, Hank’s old home is now scheduled to receive a six-month restoration, after which it will serve as a museum.

Pick the Improvement Picked — Oh, regular readers, I must defer to you once again. Because surely you remember this post, in which I detailed the Quad City River Bandits’ “Pick the Improvement” contest. As part of this innovative procedure, fans were given the chance to vote on a new upgrade to the River Bandits’ Modern Woodmen Park. Well, the results are in, and the improvement to be made is…drumroll please…the addition of backs to the bleacher seats. Cue the Sir-Mix-A-Lot!

Snap These Up! — Collectors of Minor League memorabilia will be pleased to know that theThumbnail image for catesmil.jpg Beloit Snappers are offering up a plethora of game-used jerseys. Of particular note is the fact that items worn by Chris Cates and Loek Van Mil are available. Regular readers (take a bow, you guys!) will remember this post, which highlighted the fact that these teammates were the shortest and tallest players in all of professional baseball last season. My suggestion? Buy each players’ jersey, and use it as the centerpiece of a homemade exhibit that seeks to highlight the vast diversity that exists within the human race.

Wanted: An Affable Toothy Whistlepig — A previous post on this blog (which may or may not have been read by those who visit regularly) detailed the fact that the Gwinnett Braves had unveiled their new mascot. Well, that was all well and good, but now the club needs a brave and talented soul to step up and inhabit this intriguing character on a nightly basis. In order to do this, the G-Braves are holding mascot auditions on Nov. 18 at a local high school. All aspiring costumed groundhogs are invited to
attend.

Clean Sweep, the Sequel — This past March, the Huntsville Stars staged “Operation Cleanhd.jpg Sweep”, in which fans were asked to do volunteer beautification work at Joe Davis Stadium in exchange for free tickets. The event, believe it or not, was a huge success, so the team is doing it again. Clean Sweep 2 will be held on November 1, and will give fans the chance to fullfill their lifelong dreams of doing “light cleaning, light landscaping, and painting” at a Double-A stadium. But that, of course, is not all — from the press release: “Fans will be able to taste-test an assortment of different hotdogs and
vote to decide which one will become the official hotdog of Joe Davis
Stadium for the 2009 season.” But remember — with great power comes great responsibility!

My goodness, this has been one of the longest posts in the history of this esteemed blog. I did it for you, regular readers, I did it for you. As always, get in touch with tips, questions, comments, and criticisms:

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Turnin' Japanese in Vancouver

canada-thumb-180x180.jpgAs regular readers of the blog are aware, I make it a point to occasionally highlight the ever-growing world of mascot racing. The last post on this subject dealt with Toledo’s “Racing With the Stars” series, featuring Kitty Holmes, Jamie Farrmadillo, and Jim Flealand.

Today, we shall transition from the Midwest all the way to Vancouver, where the hometown Canadians feature racing sushi on a nightly basis. Ever-ebullient GM Andrew Seymour reports:

“In a market where there’s a huge Asian population and many
an Asian restaurant the Sushi Race has become our Hallmark promo. Canadians
fans always make a point of catching the Sushi Race – even if they’re in the
midst of ordering a Sapporo Beer and a Sushi Dog at our Concession stands – and
cheer on Chef Wasabi!”

In addition to the lovable (albeit winless) Chef Wasabi, the other two combatants are Ms. BC Roll and Mr. Kappa Maki:

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Despite his winless record, Chef Wasabi always maintains a positive outlook:

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While Ms. BC Roll is always up for some fan interaction:

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A YouTube video of the Racing Sushi in action can be viewed here.

As always, get in touch if YOU would like YOUR team’s racing mascots to be featured on this fine blog.

"The Best There Is, the Best There Was, and the Best There Ever Will Be"

canada.jpgIn last week’s Promotion Preview
column, I mentioned that legendary pro wrestler Bret “The Hitman” Hart
would be making an appearance at Vancouver’s Nat Bailey Stadium as part
of the Canadians‘ “Superstar Series”.

Well, this all went down last Thursday night. Vancouver GM Andrew Seymour (the man responsible for last season’s Promotion of the Year) writes that “The night was terrific — Hart was great with the fans!”, and sent along a few photographs as well.

This picture shows Hart signing an autograph (on what appears to be a replica championship belt) for a fan who is clearly enamored with the world of professional wrestling:

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And here’s the Hitman throwing out the game’s ceremonial first pitch:

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Whether you be front office member, fan, or foe, it matters not. Send promo recaps and pics to milbbusiness@yahoo.com.
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