Results tagged ‘ Vermont Lake Monsters ’

Promo Year in Review, Part Three: Celebrity Appearances

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Minor League ballparks are hospitable places, rolling out the red carpet for sitcom stars, sexagenarian wrestlers and eccentric hurlers alike.

Today’s edition of “Promo Year in Review” features my top six celebrity appearances of the year, highlighting a half-dozen bold-faced names who graced the ballpark with their presence. But, as always, I need YOU to tell me who I’ve missed. Get in touch via email or Twitter and let me know, as suggestions for this and previous categories will be accepted through 10 a.m. Monday.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz
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My six nominees, in ever-so-sensible alphabetical order. Click on each individual’s name to see how his ballpark visit was originally covered (and, yes, they are all men. Don’t shoot the messenger).

Fresno Grizzlies — Alfonso “Carlton” Ribiero (as part of “Mad Tight ’90s Night”)

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Lakewood BlueClaws — Jeff “Chunk” Cohen (as part of “Goonies Night”)

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(note: that’s Cohen on the right, judging a “Truffle Shuffle” contest)

Oklahoma City RedHawks — Peter Mayhew (aka “Chewbacca”)

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Reading Phillies — Dennis “Mr. Belding” Haskins

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Round Rock Express — Rojo Johnson (aka Will Ferrell)

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Vermont Lake Monsters — Bill “Spaceman” Lee/Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd (on the same night!)

I don’t have a picture from this picture, but here are their respective Wikipedia photos:

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Duty compels me to once again mention that I need your input. What celebrities caused a sensation at YOUR Minor League ballpark this year. And — hey! — I know you’re reading. There’s no escape. Get in touch. Are you going to let my complete neglect of sexagenarian wrestlers go uncriticized?

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

Unorthodox Bobbles, Burgers, and Domiciles

madison.jpgSo here’s a question for you:

What do Playboy model Holly Madison, impressionist Gordie Brown, ventriloquist Terry Fator, and comedians Carrot Top and Rita Rudner all have in common?

I can’t think of a whimsical joke answer, so I’ll just tell it like it is: the Las Vegas 51s will be honoring each of these individuals with their own bobblehead doll this season. Ms. Madison, in fact, will be honored on two separate occasions — in a baseball outfit on April 13, and then in a “Bo Peep” get-up on August 24. This latter wardrobe choice is inspired by the fact that she stars in a Vegas burlesque revue entitled “Peepshow”, but I don’t know anything about that sort of thing. Women are intimidating.   

In fact, all the aforementioned individuals are regular Vegas performers, so kudos to the 51s for finding a way to honor the local talent in a style unique to the “Sin City.”

– Burlington, VT is a long way from Vegas, both geographically and ideologically, so let’s travel there now in order to breathe in a fresh persepctive. 

Astute readers will remember this post from last summer, in which I praised the unique design sensibilities of the house located across the street from Centennial Field (home of the Vermont Lake Monsters):

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Well, the occupants of said house are looking for a new roommate, and in an ad on Burlington Craigslist they link to my post in order to give interested individuals a glimpse at the house’s exterior (I am very proud of this).

Rent is an eminently reasonable $366 a month, and perks include “vegan common spaces, wood floors, washer/dryer, 2 full
bathrooms, a cat, big woodsy yard with hammock, geodesic dome, and
compost, and a large woods and ravine behind the yard.”

The ad fails to mention the most significant perk: You will get to live in a purple house with pink polka dots that is emblazoned with anti-circumcision rhetoric.

How about it, vegan members of the Vermont Lake Monsters front office? The commuteThumbnail image for vermonsters.jpg between home and office would be nothing more than a walk across the street. You’d be the envy of your peers, and could provide George “The Animal” Steele with a free place to stay the next time he rolls into town for a promotional appearance.

– Finally, in decidedly non-vegan news, the Kannapolis Intimidators announced the three finalists in their Build-A-Burger Contest. Vote for your favorite HERE, and tell them Ben’s Biz Blog sent ya.

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

Resolved: To Stop Blogging Until 2010

On Location In: Vermont

Thumbnail image for vml.jpgLast week, I was able to (finally) share some video and images of my trip to Lowell, MA. Today, my sluggishly-paced travelogue continues — this time in the idyllic counter-cultural confines of Burlington, VT.

I (along with my cousin and her family) attended July 10’s Vermont Lake Monsters game at Centennial Field. This summer has been anything but kind when it comes to the elements, but on this particular evening the weather was just about perfect. A Friday night in July at an old ballpark in New England — what could be better than that? The following video, while lacking in picture quality, really helps to convey what the Lake Monsters experience is like. Enjoy the ambience:

While there may be issues with ancient Centennial Field from the player development side of the equation, it remains an excellent place for the fan. A raucous small town atmosphere prevails, part county fair and part high school football game. A little background on the stadium, explained in plaque form:

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The stadium itself is set back from the street, and one first walks past the visitor’s locker rooms (this is a long way from the bigs) and the University of Vermont soccer field in order to get there.

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The inside of the ballpark is no frills — there are seats and a baseball field, and that’s about it. Therefore, things that would be located on the concourse in other stadiums — souvenirs, concessions, information booths, etc — are located on the outside of the ballpark.

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Lake Monster pitchers Graham Hicks and Jose Pinales manned the pre-game autograph booth:

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Players from the visiting Lowell Spinners making their way from the locker rooms to the playing field:

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It was “Summer of Love” night at the ballpark, a celebration of the ’60s sponsored by the mighty Ben and Jerry’s (for a subset of Vermont residents, EVERY night is a celebration of the ’60s sponsored by Ben and Jerry’s…but I digress).

The giveaway was a tie-dyed Vermont Lake Monsters baseball, which I unfortunately do not possess a picture of at the moment. The front office staff got into the theme as well, as evidenced by the mighty afro of community relations man/on-field mc Denny Madigan.

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Of course, Champ the mascot got in on the act. The affable lake monster (he hails from Lake Champlain, hence the name) entered the field on the back of a Ben and Jerry’s truck as “Bad to the Bone” blasted over the PA:

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In the above picture, an unusually contemplative Champ is looking at his feet with child-like wonder. 1960s-themed promotions will encourage that level of introspection, and I wouldn’t be surprised if after the game he spent seven hours staring at a candle and eating oranges.

Here was the view from my seat, directly behind home plate. To the right:

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To the left:

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And, finally, straight ahead (okay, I cheated a little in order to not take a photo through the screen:

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At the end of seventh inning, the crowd of 3,569 fans thinned considerably. This wasn’t due to the commanding lead enjoyed by the visiting Lowell Spinners. Rather, it was because the Ben and Jerry’s truck was giving away complimentary cups of their fine product. I went ahead and got in line myself:

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Ice cream runs aside, the vast majority of fans stayed still the final out had been recorded. The crowd remained enthusiastic and engaged despite the lop-sided final score (Spinners 10, Lake Monsters 3), and one really gets the sense that Lake Monster fans are true baseball fans. The relative lack of stadium amenities and supplemental entertainment is more than offset by the opportunity to watch nine innings of baseball in a charming and historic facility.

Centennial Field is located in a residential area, and upon making my way back to the sidewalk I came face-to-face with a quintessentially Vermont abode: a purple house with pink polka dots, emblazoned with the message: Cut Consumption, Not Foreskins. It was too dark for me to get a quality picture of this unique structure, but rest assured I am working on obtaining one.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Playing Catch-Up On the Road, Vol. 4

verm.jpgGreetings today from beautiful Hinesburg, VT. Last night I was fortunate enough to see blues legend Buddy Guy in Burlington, and tonight I’m checking out a Vermont Lake Monsters game.

Next week I’ll be back in the comforting embrace of NYC, and I’ve got plenty of stuff planned for the blog: pictures and video from Lowell and Vermont (as well as belated reports from previous road trips), a new mailbag, and more.

Always more.

But for now, let me cap off this week of complete randomness by providing a picture of the seat cushion that the Lake County Captains gave away earlier this month. It is an example of perfect synergy between product and sponsor:

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And now, let us segue into the weekend. If you have info on other examples of symbiotic giveaway/sponsor relationships then please let me know.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com 

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