Results tagged ‘ Weird Al ’

On the Road: Doing It All and Then Some in Fort Wayne

So much has been experienced this week in Ohio, and there is still much more to come. I’m in Mahoning Valley right now, fresh off an epic night with the Lake County Captains that will be a lot of fun to document. Saturday finds me in Akron, and then on Sunday I can finally return to NYC’s comforting embrace.

But thoughts of the Big Apple need to be set aside in favor of documenting my time in the birthplace of Johnny Appleseed.

Fort Wayne.

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in this fine metropolis, with the former evening being among the most exhausting and memorable that I have ever spent in a Minor League ballpark. It was a military appreciation night doubleheader, and the team went out of their way to offer an all-encompassing ballpark experience.

An extensive write-up of the evening is available RIGHT NOW at MiLB.com, featuring a photo gallery and video links. I’ll link to the videos from here as well.

After a practice session with the Bad Apple Dance Crew (in preparation for an in-game infield dragging performance), I hustled up to the broadcast booth and spent the second and third innings on the air with broadcaster and blogger extraordinaire Dan Watson. 

We did the second inning on radio and the third on television (the TinCaps broadcast all of their home games on local cable). Watson, to his credit (or detriment) often picks up on the pop culture references I scatter around this blog and as such gave me ample room to riff on important topics such as the impending release of Weird Al’s “Al-Pacalypse.”

WATCH IT HERE

I was also a guest on Watson’s podcast, a discussion that allowed me to pontificate on who I am, what I do, and why I do it. This is often hard to explain (the evolution of my entire career can perhaps best be summarized as “making it up as I go along”) and opportunities to do so are appreciated.  You can check out the podcast HERE.

Immediately thereafter I was hustled to a table on the concourse in center field for the Qdoba Burrito Eating contest. Myself, Private Griffith and Caleb had one minute in which to eat as much of a chicken burrito as we could. I totally eviscerated the thing and made a mess, but was declared the winner.

WATCH IT HERE

I was paired with a season ticket-holder named Michelle soon thereafter, and the two of us were tasked with catching foot-long sandwiches atop a  Subway banner. The sandwiches (in actuality a pair of t-shirts inside a Subway wrapper), were shot across the outfield from a t-shirt gun.

Michelle and I went 0-for-3 at our assigned task.

Between games of the doubleheader, there was a National Guard swearing-in ceremony.

Shortly thereafter, I was one of a seemingly endless string of first-pitch participants. No pictures seem to exist of my ceremonial offering, but let me assure you that it was a strike.

This segued into the main event, an infield-dragging dance performance as a member of the Bad Apple Dancers. We shook our proverbial moneymakers to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.”

WATCH IT HERE

Afterward, we posed for the following photo.

Celebrating my 17th anniversary of pretending to be in the Beastie Boys

Next up was a “Guess the Attendance” contest, in which I stood atop the dugout with on-field host Brad Shank (seen in the above pic on the far right) and failed to guess the evening’s correct attendance. I was then whisked outside the stadium into the outfield groundskeeping area to participate in a “Hamster Ball” race.

These things are bizarre — you enter into them while they are still deflated, and then a leaf blower is inserted. Soon you find yourself in a disconcerting spherical plastic echo chamber, propelling yourself down the third base line with the single-minded intensity of a domestic rodent.

I lost.

WATCH IT HERE

By the time the second game ended, it was past 11:30 p.m. But was it time to shut things down? Of course not!

The TinCaps first staged the standard “Launch-A-Ball” contest. Activate your hula hoops!


And then, dozens of indefatigable children ran the bases.

You’d think that all this would have given me more than my fill of the TinCaps experience, and you’d be correct. Nonetheless, I returned the next day and spent the majority of the ballgame on a extensive food tour with culinary director Scott Kammerer. An article all about it has already appeared on MiLB.com. Read it!

I indeed sampled everything pictured. Clockwise from bottom left: Apple Dumpling, Cincinnati Chili Dog, Brisket Sandwich, Philly Cheesesteak, Turkey Leg. It was uniformly delicious, but Brisket Sandwich with Apple Dumpling for dessert would be my recommended pairing.

As the game was winding down I got a chance to catch up with Tug Haines. A New Jersey native, Haines is spending the entire season on the Minor League trail and documenting it on his website Casual Fan. This is an endeavor well worth supporting.

Video links should be added to this post shortly, and some further Fort Wayne odds and ends may appear throughout the next week. But, for now, I must humbly sign off.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Some Dam Good Promos

I’ve written about literally thousands of promotions in my time here at MiLB.com, but it nonetheless took until yesterday until a team finally stepped up and staged this:

The team doing the saluting was the Harrisburg Senators, who had a very good reason for doing so. As the press release so helpfully explains:

This past week, the City of Harrisburg experienced a water main break that affected downtown Harrisburg and City Island. It took a couple of days for city workers and contractors to fix the problem, but fix it they did. After the problem was corrected, the New York based contractors were asked what caused the break. The answer, beavers.

That was all the motivation the Senators needed, and they soon announced a promotion honoring “all fans with a connection to beavers.” This sub-demographic includes the following:

The Senators are giving fans a free box seat if they can produce proof their last name is Beaver or they are from or currently live in Beaver, PA. But that’s not all, the Senators will also give a free ticket to anyone with the last name of Cleaver, in honor of the television show Leave it to Beaver. And if you’re named Theodore, Ward, June or Wally, you can purchase a box seat for just $5. Not to be left out, graduates of Beaver College can also purchase a box seat for just $5.

The Senators are planning special events on Monday including a Dam building competition, a Beaver Cleaver look-a-like contest and a “blind race” since beavers have a terrible sense of sight and depend on smell and sound.

Moving from beavers to quarter-ton garden gnomes, the Reading Phillies recently delivered a life-size and copiously bearded Ryan Howard to one Amy Vandehei of Rosemont, PA (the winner of an Opening Night drawing).

More photos and info can be found on Tommy Viola’s “Philling You In” blog, and this report from WFMZ-69 is well worth watching. The next 550-lb giveaway on the R-Phils schedule is Crazy Hot Dog Vendor on July 10.

Continuing on in the “unorthodox figurines” category — in the wake of last week’s “Ken Griffey Jr. Spirit Bobble-Arm” giveaway, the Inland Empire 66ers have hidden five “gold” versions throughout the surrounding community. More details to be released soon, but in the meantime here’s a gold KGJ doll doing whatever it is a gold KGJ doll does.

Meanwhile, non-gold real-life KGJ is currently back in the Cal League for a two-day stint, assisting High Desert Mavericks players as part of his full-time consultant gig with the Mariners. The Mavs’ opponent during this time are the aforementioned 66ers, who KGJ played with in their previous incarnation as the San Bernardino Spirit. Meanwhile, Ken Griffey Sr. currently serves as manager of the Cal League Bakersfield Blaze. Got all that? I hope so, because there’s no time for further explanation.

Finally, it looks like the Boston Pops w/ Kenny Loggins Minor League ballpark tour has some company this season. Yesterday the Big Apple Circus announced a brief mid-July itinerary, featuring the  mind–bending quintet of Mongolian contortionists, the cavorting canine troupe of American trainer Jenny Vidbel, a phenomenal hand–balancing act by Bulgarian–born Andrey Mantchev, the awesome artistry of the Wuqiao Acrobats from China….and the Big Apple Circus’s very own star clown, Grandma!

The stops on this Minor League extravaganza include Syracuse (July 13), Rochester (July 15), Lake County (July 17) and indy league Lancaster, PA (July 19). The tour was put together by ESI Concerts, responsible for the aforementioned Boston Pops ballpark tour as well as the annual Principal Family Fun Fest.

Number one on my Minor League Ballpark tour wishlist is, of course, Weird Al Yankovic. Please don’t forget that June 21 is the “Al-Pocalypse”, and that it is therefore your duty to ignore all my pleas to schedule a Weird Al promotion on this date.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

The Onus Is On You To Fear the Sea Cow and Let It Snow

evol.jpgOver the past several weeks, I have methodically taken note of all the teams who are planning some sort of Valentine’s Day promotion. My current tally now stands at 33, and I am sure there are some that I am missing.

But, you know what? I’ve written about this kind of thing before, in multiple MiLB.com feature stories (HERE and HERE) and blog posts (HERE and HERE). So at this juncture, I’m just going to make a simple request:

Send me funny photos and videos from your Valentine endeavors, and I will compile a (hopefully) hilarious blog post with the best of what I receive. In the meantime, here’s a video featuring a diaper-wearing mascot playing front office Cupid.

It’s otherwise a pretty slow day here in Minor League Baseball-land, but we’ll get by. We always do.

I do, however, want to highlight an event going on tonight: Minor League Baseball on Ice!

tbl.pngThe NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning will be hosting “Minor League Baseball Night” at the St. Pete Times Forum on Friday. Not much to it, really — a bevy of Florida State League teams will have info booths set up on the concourse, attempting to educate fans on the wonders of Minor League Baseball.

And, according to the Brevard County Manatees website, anyone who visits the team’s booth and utters the words “Fear the Sea Cow!” will receive a special gift.

In my mind, simply having a legitimate reason to say “Fear the Sea Cow” to a total stranger is a gift in and of itself.

Meanwhile, much of the country is still dealing with the after-effects of last week’s blizzard. Instead of stressing out about the situation, the Cedar Rapids have taken a “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach.
    

And since it’s Friday, I’ll close with a video even more gratuitous. Check out who can now add “Children’s Book Author” to his resume:

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

Context Clues, Crooners, Cruises, and Daring To Be Stupid

The previous post on this blog featured the following photo from the Trenton Thunder’s “NFL Kickoff Night.” It is quite possibly my favorite pic to emanate from a Minor League stadium this year:

Thumbnail image for cheer2.jpg

So what, exactly, was going on here? Thunder director of public relations Bill Cook explains:

thundercap.jpgThe kid signing for the cheerleaders was probably one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year. The cheerleaders threw out first pitches and then went over to the wall to sign for fans. After a couple of minutes that kid came down and said “Hey ladies, how’d ya like my autograph?”. The girls laughed and didn’t really know what to say, but since they were still holding the balls from their pitches the kid reached over, took one, and started signing it. As he handed it back, he said, “So, can I have your number?” The girls were speechless.  

Truly, this kid is a role model. He carries himself with confidence and humor, and from here on out I will do my best to emulate his carefree approach to unorthodox social situations.

Also taking a carefree approach to unorthodox social situations are Peoria Chiefs players, who have recently been included in a remarkable trifecta of videos. First came the “Chiefstreet Boys”, then a rollicking Motown homage, and now this:

And it just keeps getting more ridiculous, as I just stumbled upon this:

Clearly, these guys are up for just about anything. Also up for anything are the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, who seem to specialize in unique ballpark innovations. The team is currently staging the “Battlefield Challenge” at Coca-Cola Park, a game-within-the-game that presents the tantalizing possibility of discounted concession stand items.

battlefield.gif  

Sez the team:

The field at Coca-Cola Park has been divided into six battle zones that each team will attempt to
gain control of in an effort to conquer the entire playing surface.

Each team will have the opportunity to gain control of any
battle zone while they are at-bat. A base hit into any zone will give
the hitting team control of that zone until a base hit from the opposing
team lands in that zone
.

And should the IronPigs gain control of all six zones, discounts will go into effect at the concession stands throughout the remainder of the ballgame.

Also, in what I believe is a Minor League first, the IronPigs are offering a week-long fan cruise this off season:

cruise.gif

Sez the team:

The package includes a souvenir IronPigs gift and exclusive
events (including an autograph session!)  with IronPigs All-Star and
2008 World Series Champion Andy Tracy, IronPigs broadcaster Matt
Provence, IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes along with popular
mascots FeRROUS and FeFe! 

This seven-night cruise to the Bahamas and Florida
aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel leaves New York City on
November 14 and includes trips to Port Canaveral, Florida, Great Stirrup
Cay (Bahamas) and Nassau (Bahamas).  While aboard the ship, enjoy all
included meals and entertainment!

Wow. This is way better than the Ben’s Biz Blog offseason cruise, which consists of ’70s rock singalongs on a leaky dinghy imbued with the scent of rotting seagull.

Finally, I am happy to report that the Orem Owlz recently staged a “Weird Al Night”promotion.flex.jpg The master satirist was recognized in the following ways (thanks to Owlz assistant gm Brett Crane for the report):

Middle of the 3rd: Videoboard Weird Al Lyrics (Fill-in-the-Blank)

[The contestant’s] goals was to fill-in-the-blank for three well-known Weird Al songs: “Like a Surgeon”, “Amish Paradise”, and “Eat It”.

Middle of the 4th and 5th: Weird T’Al’ents Contest

eatit.jpgMiddle of the 6th – “Eat It” Chocolate Pudding ContestThis was the messiest eating contest of the night and for
the season by far. Two contestants were chosen to compete against each other in
a timed eating contest. Each contestant was given three mini graham cracker
pies filled with chocolate pudding. Whoever finished their set of three first
won the designated prize from one of our sponsors.  Of course, not all of
the pies were fully eaten and chocolate was everywhere. (“Eat It” was played
during this promotion).

This is a step in the right direction, but of course the ultimate goal is for all Minor League teams to stage at least one Weird Al promo every season. Please, everyone:

stupid.jpg 

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