Results tagged ‘ Visalia Rawhide ’

Non-Stop Promo Power Pack

When I was in Lancaster earlier this month, JetHawks food and beverage director Adam Fillenworth told me that the team was on the cusp of debuting “the smallest hamburger in Minor League Baseball. Such an item would be a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to the “extreme” concessions that have overtaken the Minor League landscape in recent years, a trend that the JetHawks themselves have participated in (see Burger, Stealth).

My reportage, always free from conjecture and hearsay, was once again accurate. For the team has now unveiled their miniature creation: “The Itty-Bitty Burger.”

The tiny hamburgers in deep fried buns are only available for a limited time. They can be upgraded to a “cheeseburger” (the addition of nacho cheese dipping sauce) and can be served with complimentary sides of ketchup, mustard and relish.

“It seemed like everyone was attempting to out-do each other this year by creating food that didn’t look appealing, so we thought we’d go in a different direction,” JetHawks Food and Beverage Director Adam Fillenworth said.

This development is analogous to the rise of punk rock, a no-frills genre formed in opposition to the over-produced pomposity of ’70s arena rock bands.

A particularly adept Me Decade arena-filler was Bad Company, whose hit “Feel Like Bacon Love” was certainly heard at Richmond’s The Diamond on Wednesday. As you’ll recall, the Flying Squirrels staged a “Tribute to Bacon” featuring an appearance by a local detective with the name of Kevin Bacon.

Detective Kevin Bacon, ceremonial tosser of first pitches

A similarly sizzling promotion occurred last week in Stockton, as the Ports held “Rolling Stones Night.”

A robust crowd of over 5500 fans took in the action on this raucous evening. Some images and explanations:

Air Guitar to "Jumpin' Jack Flash"

Mick Jagger Dance-Off on the Dugout (the contestants weren't able to fit into leather pants)

The "Mick Jagger Funny Face" promo

A.J. Griffin Delivers

Sticking with the Cal League north, let’s head over to Visalia to check out this year’s Helicopter Candy Drop. The name of the promo is truth in advertising: candy is dropped on to the field by a helicopter, and then the children in attendance go on a mad scramble.

Photo Credit: Chris Henstra

Photo Credit: Chris Henstra

But that’s not all that’s been going on in Visalia. The day before the Helicopter drop the Rawhide held a “Belle of the Ballpark Grandma Beauty Pageant.” Broadcasting director Donny Baarns writes that:

The contestants each demonstrated a talent during different half-innings; Doris, the eventual winner, led the crowd in a Rawhide cheer (“Next week I will be 96,” she said, “And I can’t believe I finally made the cheerleading team!”) Another played keyboard and sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The contestants also participated in a “White T-Shirt Contest,” where each was given a basic white Rawhide t-shirt and allowed to decorate it creatively in their own style. The contestants came from local retirement homes, where preliminary rounds where held.

Finalists:

Photo Credit: Ken Weisenberger

And the winner:

96 Years Young! (photo: Ken Weisenberger)

I can’t think of a better image to end the blogging week. Thanks, as always, for reading. And more importantly, get in touch! It can be a difficult thing, this writing game, and your feedback and support is very much appreciated.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

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).


Thumbnail image for wisconsin snow 3.jpg

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…
Thumbnail image for Naturals -- Dog4.JPG
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.

Thumbnail image for Reading -- lawler_4_23_10_reading3.JPG
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.
Thumbnail image for Stockton_Bradentat.JPG

(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.
Thumbnail image for visalia_candy_kids2.JPG
(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.
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Mission_taco_redemption.JPG
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!
Thumbnail image for Arkansas_GaryWins.jpg
ConfidenceWe could all learn something from the preternaturally self-possessed young Trenton Thunder fan.
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for cheer2.jpg
Postgame for PyrosStuntman Ted Batchelor ran around the bases following a Savannah Sand Gnats game. He was on fire at the time.
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Savannah_Fire_third.jpg
Spitting ImageThe Lake County Captains saluted the almighty watermelon in August, leading to a snapshot most adorable.
Thumbnail image for Lake County_Watermelon.JPG
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

Come for the Candy Precipitation, Stay For the Anthropomorphic Legumes

visalia.jpgYesterday’s Craig Sager post was linked widely across the internet, once again making me thankful that so many people were forced to gloss over my writing en route to viewing entertaining pictures.

Clearly, it’s a formula that works. So now that this unnecessary prelude is out of the way, let me entertain you all with some beautiful still visuals from last weekend’s Helicopter Candy Drop in Visalia. No doubt inspired by a similar stunt in Quad Cities, the Rawhide had a helicopter coat the field with confections and then allowed the assembled youth to collect as much as they could:

(Photo Credits: Chris Henstra) 

Visalia_candy_heli.JPG

We’re entering Norman Rockwell territory with these next two:

visalia_candy_kids1.JPG

visalia_candy_kids2.JPG
Keeping with the theme of “Edible Products on the Field”, the Richmond Flying Squirrels recently staged a “Tribute to the Peanut”. I particularly like the next two photographs, possessed as they are of a surreal dream-like quality that makes them seem like manifestations of the subconscious mind.

Here, P.Nutty does his thing while Nutzy lurks jealously in the background:

Richmond_Peanut_nutzy.JPG

P.Nutty and Mr. Nutty participating in the peanut ring toss:

richmond_peanut_hula.JPG

And, of course, Peanuts:

richmond_peanut_peanuts.JPG

So, to review: The evening featured Nutzy, P.Nutty, Mr. Nutty, and Peanuts. I’ve got nuttin but love for such a commitment to the theme.

Finally, I leave you with two pictures from Hickory, home of the Crawdads. I recently wrote up the team’s “Fan vs. Food” and “Date an Intern” promotions. I’ll leave you to determine which is which:

Hickory_intern.JPG

Hickory_food.JPG

The answer may surprise you!

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

Notable News from the Eminent Northwest

eugene.jpgThe Eugene Emeralds season won’t begin for another two and a half months, a period of time that hyperbole-stricken bloggers might refer to as “a virtual eternity.”
 
Well, not me. Mid-June will be here faster than you can say “Jack Robinson”, and instead of picking my feet in Poughkeepsie I’m going to stay on top of short-season news with a level of diligent vigilance unprecedented in the world of Minor League Biz Blogging.

So with self-indulgent preamble firmly in the rear-view mirror, let’s take a look at a few highlights from the Emeralds’ recently released 2010 promo schedule. The club is now under the direction of new GM Alan Benavides, who previously served as assistant GM of the always irreverent Lake Elsinore Storm (where perhaps his greatest triumph was THIS). 

Tri”Butte” Night (July 14) — In honor of the steep isolated hills that make the Eugene area soskinner.jpg geographically memorable.

Whine and Wine Night (July 28) — The club is inviting of-age fans to “taste some wine and let us know your feelings — whine about anything!” Certain individuals I know have staged this promotion in their living rooms on a near-nightly basis for the better part of the last decade. 

Simpsons Night/Springfield’s 125th Anniversary (July 30th) — In which the Ems simultaneously celebrate the long-running TV show as well as the nearby town which allegedly inspired it. The team will wear “Springfield Ems” jerseys, all of them bearing the number #125.

Hyphen-hatin’ Night (August 9) — The evening’s opponent is the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. I’m guessing the inspiration for this promo came from Myrtle Beach.

Oregon Trail Night (August 16) — A celebration of both state pride and the iconic computer game. Remember — you can shoot all the game you want, but you’ll only be able to carry 100 pounds back to the wagon.

And lest I forget to mention — the Emeralds will be playing in a new stadium in 2010, taking the field in PK Park after spending the previous four decades in Civic Stadium. Early indications are that it’s going to be an “Em”eroable year.   

– Now let’s travel south to Visalia, CA, an area that is suddenly a hotbed of Conan O’Brien-inspired mascot mobility. Here, Rawhide mascot Tipper realizes that he must get to the ballpark post-haste, revealing an irrational hatred of Carl’s Jr. along the way:

A Blog Post Before the Roof Caves In

carsnow.jpgHello from wintry New York City!

I was going to do a post called “Snow-cial Media”, that compiled all of the weather-related Twitter and Facebook postings I have seen throughout the day. But then I thought to myself that that was a stupid idea, and decided to write about something even more stupid instead: mascot videos.

So here goes nothin’…

In Beloit, the Snappers are once again hot on the trail of their elusive turtle mascot. It’s an enjoyable video to watch, even if I can’t quite fathom a mascot-team relationship in which the former is always on the run from the latter:

Meanwhile, out in Visalia, Tipper is spending some time out on the golf course. This is just a little “slice”-of-life video, giving you a glimpse of how mascots behave when they are away from the bright lights of the ballpark.
 

In closing, let me once again ask the following favor: make me a new blog head shot! Thank you.

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

California to Iowa to Maryland to Michigan to New Mexico

Sometimes, a recap of a Minor League promotion merits its own standalone post. That was certainly the case yesterday. But, sometimes, I must consolidate several disparate promo recaps into one cohesive whole.

That will certainly be the case today.

To begin, let’s stick with yesterday’s theme by taking a brief look at the cow-milking contest that was staged during the Visalia Rawhide’s “Ag(riculture) Day”. I don’t think that any further explanation is necessary.

visalia dairy day 1.JPG  

visalia dairy day 2 kyle greene.JPG
The above shots reminds me of my favorite Nicole Kidman movie — “The Udders.”

Last week, I dedicated a post to the West Virginia Power and their difficulty in obtaining a shipment of Barack Obama bobbleheads from US Customs. I have been assured that the Quad Cities River Bandits will not have the same problem with their politically-themed bobblehead.

On June 27, the club will be distributing bobbleheads featuring Secretary of State Hilary Clinton decked out in a River Bandits jersey:

river bandits clinton.JPG 

As it turns out, Hilary isn’t the only global superstar sporting River Bandits’ gear these days. Check out this screenshot from Lil Wayne’s “Every Girl” video:

riverbanditwayne.jpg

Lil Wayne would have fit right in with the Bowie Baysox and their “Sunglasses At Night” world record attempt that was held a few weeks back. Unfortunately, the Baysox fell short in their bid for nocturnal eyeshade immortality. Fortunately, those who participated in the stunt nonetheless seemed to enjoy the experience:

baysox -- sunglasses at night 1.JPG

Another recent promotion “of note” was the West Michigan Whitecaps’ “Pink Floyd Night.”

Whitecaps -- floyd, drawing.JPG

In the bottom of the 12th inning, Brandon Douglas scampered home with the winning run after Ben Guez struck out on a wild pitch. Celebrations ensued:

whitecaps -- floyd, walkoff.JPG

And the party extended well into the night, thanks to the Whitecaps’ post-game Pink Floyd Laser Light Show:

whitecaps -- floyd, laser show.JPG

In closing, I would like to make a note of the following information. From the Albuquerque Isotopes web page: 

Always a fan favorite, the second and final 50-Cent Hot Dog of the 2009
season was a huge success once again. In fact, it was record-breaking.
With a season-high 11,010 fans in the stands, 37,669 hot dogs were
consumed trumping the old record of 35,468 set back on June 11, 2003…That means that each fan averaged 3.4 hot dogs each.

Now, what I would like to know is this — Is the Isotopes’ new team record also the all-time record for all of Minor League Baseball? Let me know if you possess any info on this subject.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
 

Good For What Visalia

visalia.jpgI have not done the most thorough job of highlighting team uniform and logo changes this offseason, but I must draw everyone’s attention to an announcement that was made in the fine state of California yesterday afternoon:

The Visalia Oaks are now the Visalia Rawhide. Sez the team:

“The name change, along with a sweeping rebranding of club logos,
colors, mascot and uniforms, and the renovation of Recreation Ballpark,
represents the start of a new era for the 63-year-old ballclub.”

Well, that’s a lot of changes! Let’s investigate further (in this case, “investigate” means “readcowbell.jpg the press release”). Here’s a quote from team president Tom Seidler:

“[Rawhide] invokes the agriculture and dairy industries’ prominence in Tulare
County, it’s fun and family-oriented, and it even comes with a
ready-made theme song. Not to mention that ‘Rawhide’ has always been a
slang word in baseball; both baseballs and baseball gloves are made of
rawhide. We also like the way it gives a nod of respect to another
local sports institution — the historic Cowhide football rivalry. We
believe it all ties in very nicely, and we think it’s going to be great
fun for everyone involved.”

You got to love when a team name comes equipped with a built-in theme song. Perhaps the club could also play clips from the 1938 western “Rawhide” on the videoboard — the movie stars Lou Gehrig in his only film role! It would certainly be a good idea to steer clear of the 1981 “adult western” of the same name, however.

Rawhide.jpgThe press release goes on to note the team’s growing tendency to align itself with Visalia’s Dairy industry, and illustrates this fact by mentioning the coverage it received from yours truly. I have finally made it to the big time! Lastly, Visalia fans have some stadium improvements to look forward to as well:

Other additions include new concessions and a new merchandise store. A
grass berm seating space, where families can spread out a beach blanket
and watch a ballgame, will also debut, as well as a kids’ play area
that will include a whiffle ball field, speed pitch, picnic table
seating and a host of inflatable games. Renovated skyboxes, new team
dugouts, and a re-laid playing surface will round out the myriad of
positive changes at the ballpark by Opening Day.

All in all, it looks like 2009 is going to be a memorable season for Visalia fans. As the club so brilliantly puts it — It’s going to be a whole “moo” ballgame.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 468 other followers