Results tagged ‘ West Michigan Whitecaps ’
There are a lot of interesting Minor League promotions scheduled to take place during the first week of the season, from 3D Videoboards to chicken-selling hip-hop stars to the immortalization of snowman decimation.
But to me, the promotion that stands out the most is the one that’s trying to stand out the least. For on April 11, the West Michigan Whitecaps will be celebrating the 57th Anniversary of the “Most Boring Day in History.”
This soporific salute was inspired by the NPR show All Things Considered, but not merely the existence of the show itself. In a segment that aired this past November, co-host Robert Siegel interviewed computer scientist William Tunstall-Pedoe on the latter’s non-explosive assertion that April 11, 1954 was the least significant day of the 20th century (Tunstall-Pedoe had reached this conclusion after conducting a query through the “True Knowledge” search engine he had invented).
This was all the Whitecaps needed to hear, as the club set about planning a tedious tribute to the 57th anniversary of history’s most boring day. According to Whitecaps director of media relations Mickey Graham, interminable innovations on this most monotonous of Mondays will include the following:
Fans will not be asked to sit on the edge of their seats (that’s too dangerous)
Our on-field host, whose day job is a high school math teacher, will lead the fans in solving math problems
The Dizzy Bat Race will be the leisurely ‘Walk to Second Base Race’ – no spinning, falling down or running allowed.
Our ball toss will become a ball handout
Batters will be announced in a monotone “Ben Stein” voice
Fans will be encouraged to “watch the grass grow” as the game progresses
Our IT manager will present to the fans a tutorial on how to properly use your desk phone
We will paint a wall before the game and give everyone the opportunity to watch the paint dry
Boring movie clips will be shown throughout the game on the video board
Elevator music will be played over the PA system
Thank goodness that all this boredom will be balanced out by nine innings of cold-weather Class A baseball on a Monday night! And if even that somehow fails to inspire, then fans can up the excitement by indulging in the Whitecaps’ super-exciting new concession stand addition:
It’s gonna be a long evening…
The West Michigan Whitecaps have been a major player on the concessions scene in recent years, unleashing colossal monstrosities such as the Fifth Third Burger and the Declaration of Indigestion upon the world.
So when the team held its annual fan vote to determine 2011’s new food item, it seemed a safe assumption that the winner would be something meaty and/or massive. Walking Spaghetti, perhaps? Meat Salad and the Bologna Lollipop also appeared to be strong contenders.
But…no. In a stunning repudiation of all that the Minor Leagues have come to stand for, the winner was none other than the irreverently-named “Chicks With Sticks.”
More specifically, Chicks With Sticks is a healthy option consisting of fresh sliced vegetables with a hummus (made from “Chick” peas) or optional ranch dipping sauce.
While I’m surprised that this won a fan vote, healthy eating options at the ballpark are nothing new. Even the Akron Aeros, best known for their new line of meaty behemoths, recently announced their “Farmer’s Market” concession stand, featuring veggie burgers, turkey hot dogs, hummus and chips, fruit platters, veggie platters and salads.
A quote from Aeros food and beverage director Jason Kerton sums up the strategy here:
“The Akron Aeros will offer a caloric counter-balance to our “extreme” menu items and full lineup of innovative carnivorous creations, with offerings of a lighter fare.”
Nonetheless, recent news out of Durham is more in line with what we’ve come to expect from the Minors. The Bulls will be serving “The Bulldog” in 2011, an all-beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and cheese and blanketed in soft pretzel dough.
Along much more ridiculous lines, Charleston RiverDogs announcer Danny Reed has, uh, announced that he will be attempting the “Slammer Pizza Challenge”. This endeavor is described as a gluttonous pizza quest featuring a team of two people attempting to polish off a 28-inch Gilroy’s pizza with five toppings of the team’s choosing, which can weigh in excess of seven pounds.
And, guess what? He needs a partner! Those interested in joining Mr. Reed’s noble pursuit have until May 23 to apply.
I’m pretty sure that Gwinnett Braves mascot Chopper would be up to the challenge, but right now he has bigger concerns. Nudity alert!
And — hey! — it’s Friday. That means its time for me to end the blogging week with a gratuitous video of my choosing.
And what I choose is this:
But even in the winter of my discontent, I must post some of dis content that has accumulated. Not surprisingly, it revolves around promotions and food.
Let’s start with the Stockton Ports, whose 2011 promo schedule includes two top-notch giveaway items. The first immortalizes one of the most memorable recent moments in franchise history.
The individual seen above is Oakland A’s hurler Dallas Braden, a native Stocktonian who threw a perfect game last season. Soon after accomplishing the feat, he visited the Ports’ Banner Island Ballpark and showed off his hometown area code tattoo — you can take Dallas out of the 209, but you can’t the 209 out of Dallas!
On July 17th, the Ports will give away the “Dallas Braden Bobblebelly”. According to the team, this item “features a smiling Dallas Braden lifting his shirt to reveal his “209” tummy tattoo and wiggling at the waist.”
Read more about it in last week’s “Minoring in Business” feature.
The Ports have also immortalized 2010 alumni (and current limo driver) Jeremy Barfield in similarly idiosyncratic fashion: by giving the rocket-armed outfielder a literal rocket for an arm.
July 8 is the Jeremy Barfield Rocket-Arm Figurine Giveaway. It may or may not have been inspired by this sketch.
And now what you’ve all came here for: food news! As they did last season, the West Michigan Whitecaps are asking fans to vote on which of 10 potential new food items should appear on the Fifth Third Ballpark concession menu next season.
A video tour of the items can be viewed HERE, courtesy of Whitecaps promotions manager Brian Oropallo and the ladies of the local eightWest television program. Otherwise, read on for photos galore.
The most bizarre would have to be the Duck, Frog, Hot Dog.
The “Meat Salad” consists of “Beef brisket, hot dogs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, gyro meat, Johnsonville bratwurst and hamburger.”
A “Bologna Lollipop” is self-explanatory:
The “Chicks With Sticks” will surely garner a lot of protest votes from those looking to rebel against the meat-mania currently overtaking the Minors.
But the current frontrunner is “Walking Spaghetti” — a 16-inch loaf of garlic bread with a pound of spaghetti, a pound of cheese, meatballs, and a quart of marinara sauce:
It’s only 5,630 calories — why not order two?
There’s a well-known saying that goes “The way to a man’s heart is to put heart-shaped food into his stomach.”
The West Michigan Whitecaps have taken that to heart, as the team is now offering the world-famous Fifth-Third burger in the shape of a heart. This, truly, is a heart-stopping Valentine’s Day gift.
[T]his Valentine’s day beauty is no ordinary Fifth Third Burger…it has been customized for this one special occasion with a giant heart-shaped bun to please your sweetie.
Nutritionally, you can’t go wrong with this culinary piece of art. Weighing in at four pounds, the Valentine’s Day Fifth Third Burger has 4,889 calories and 299.5 grams of fat. Pound for pound, that’s just a little more than half of the fat and calories in four pounds of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, which contains 9,000 calories and 557 grams of
fat. What a nutritional bargain!…The Fifth Third Burger heart-shaped bomb is available for just $30, but if you want a truly special unforgettable moment, opt for the $100 package and Crash the River Rascal will deliver this winner right to your special someone. He (or she) might even share this delicious dinner with you by candlelight.
I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the below photo is to scale:
As mentioned previously, I’m planning on doing a “Valentine’s Day in the Minors” post next week. But this bit of news I couldn’t resist, as it put my heart in my stomach.
Meanwhile, and stop me if you’ve heard it already, but the Brooklyn Cyclones have offered Christina Aguilera a National Anthem do-over.
Each year, it seems like someone makes a mistake and because it happens in the Super Bowl, the whole world is buzzing about it the next day. This year’s victim is four-time Grammy Award Winner and Staten Island, NY native Christina Aguilera whose slip-up during the Star-Spangled Banner has everyone talking.
With that in mind, the Brooklyn Cyclones have offered Christina Aguilera the opportunity to perform the National Anthem at MCU Park this summer. The team will even provide her a copy of the lyrics to prevent another
mishap from occurring.
I like the phrasing there, that the team will “even” provide Christina Aguilera a copy of the lyrics. Talk about a unique and irresistible bargaining chip!
Thank you for bearing with me yet again as we trudge in lockstep toward opening day. As the Salem Red Sox so eloquently tweeted yesterday:
If Phileas Fogg began his journey today, he’d be 20 days late for the Salem Red Sox season opener. #OnlySixtyDaysAway
And now that number has been reduced to 59. You better get moving, Phileas.
When it comes to covering concessions, I make no concessions. I will scour the furthest reaches of the internet in search of Minor League food news, so that you may read about it within the comfort and safety of this blog.
Here are four items of interest, which, taken together, amply illustrate the democratic ideals that are at the heart of the Minor League Baseball experience.
West Michigan Whitecaps Want Ideas! For the second straight year, the Whitecaps are asking fans to suggest new Fifth Third Ballpark menu items.In 2010, this endeavor yielded the Yooper sandiwch as well as the spectacularly-named Declaration of Indigestion:
Sez the team: The food idea submissions will be whittled down to approximately 10 finalists, and starting February 22 fans will be able to vote for their choice on the new 2011 concessions items. Voting will take place on the Whitecaps website, whitecapsbaseball.com, and will end March 4. The winning entry will be on the menu for all fans to enjoy.
Clash of the Concessions in Durham: The Durham Bulls are offering fans the chance to “create, select, and win” a new food item to be served at the ballpark in 2011.
Sez the team: Clash of the Concessions will allow fans to submit their ideas or recipes from now until February 18th for a new food item at the DBAP for the 2011 season. The Bulls will select the three best ideas, then make them available for the fans to sample and vote on at Fanfest on March 4th and 5th at the ballpark. The winning submission will become the new featured item at the ballpark this summer and the person who made the submission will win a season’s worth of the new food item!
The press release doesn’t specify what constitutes a “season’s worth”, however. My guess is that the Bulls will use the highly complex formula of 1×72, in which one represents the food item and 72 represents the number of home games on the schedule.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Want ‘Home Run Recipes: The Pelicans have announced a contest that will be overseen by food and beverage director Brad Leininger, who “is inviting his colleagues to submit recipes that would appeal to
baseball fans. The dishes much be quick and easy to prepare and simple for hungry Pelicans fans to consume while sitting in a stadium seat. Recipes that exhibit regional flair are encouraged.”
Leininger will select five finalists, who will then go head-to-head at a competition held at the stadium. The winner receives Pelicans tickets and merchandise, as well as advertising in prominent local news publications.
My suggestion would be a deep-fried hard-boiled egg:
My guess is that this night will be part of an emerging trend in 2011, one inspired by the Frederick Keys quite amazing “Volt Night” last season.
Got a lead on interesting 2011 concession items? Drop me a virtual line:
Greetings from Orlando, FL, home of the 109th Annual Baseball Winter Meetings!
And helloooooo industry!
To the extent that the Winter Meetings exist in the popular imagination, they are viewed as a simmering cauldron of Major League hot stove activity. And while the lobby of the Disney Swan resort is admittedly teeming with agents, scouts, managers, and big-name sports media personalities, the bulk of the attendees are associated with good ol’ Minor League Baseball.
But the assembled media cares not about such individuals. And why should they? Minor League business news doesn’t sell. Right guys?
But who needs them? I’ve got you, whoever you may be. And what I’d like to tell you about is my time in Orlando thus far.
Upon arriving on Sunday evening, I was whisked away in a Party Bus and driven to Disney property. Anyone have any idea who these people were and how this happened?
But all that’s in the past now. My day started bright and early at the Bob Freitas Business Seminar, designed to “bring together the best minds in the industry…and making their thoughts available to the industry as a whole.”
Last year I was able to present at the Seminar. But my mind isn’t the best these days, so this year I simply existed as audience member. Then, I wrote about it.
One of the highlights of the morning was courtesy of Jim Jarecki and Steve McCarthy of the West Michigan Whitecaps. They gave an informative and highly detailed presentation on specialty theme jerseys which I found to be very interesting (the team does 10 each year, five for a cause and five for fun).
Here’s McCarthy and Jarecki in action, modeling their wares (Led Zeppelin and ’70s Night, respectively).
Some much better shots of the Seminar, courtesy of MiLB.com’s photography wunderkind Danny Wild.
This is Brooklyn Cyclones general manager Steve Cohen, detailing “Promotions That Pop.”
In between the morning and afternoon portions of the Seminar was the Opening Session, featuring league by league executive of the year awards and speeches by Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner, vice president/COO Tim Purpura, and vice president Stan Brand. More on this can be found in my article on MiLB.com, which will go live any minute now. Go check it out, as some interesting stuff was said.
But save for the feverish typing (and even more feverish cursing of the internet connection) of the assembled media hordes, Day One has largely come to a close. We’ve now arrived at the portion of the evening in which attendees enjoy expense account steak dinners at Shula’s and then adjourn to the hotel lobby for alcohol-fueled conversation within the clamorous din of the Swan Lobby.
Check back in Tuesday afternoon for more, as I’ll have lots of info from the Trade Show and beyond. In the meantime, I’ll be hanging out in the Coronado, listening to THIS.
To the itinerary!
9/2 — Omaha Royals (their last-ever game in Rosenblatt Stadium!)
9/3 — Iowa Cubs
9/4 — Burlington Bees
9/5 — Quad Cities River Bandits
9/6 — Kane County Cougars
Feel free to get in touch with any content suggestions or inside tips regarding the teams/cities in question. And if you’ll be at any of these games, please say hello. As always, I’ll be the guy in the shirt.
And not only will tomorrow be the Omaha Royals’ last game at Rosenblatt Stadium — it may be their last home game as the “Omaha Royals.” In conjunction with their 2011 move to nearby Sarpy County, the organization is currently staging a “Name the Team” contest. Over 400 names have been suggested thus far, let’s go to the press release:
Names relating to the weather and to the military have been leading the way so far. Some of those suggestions include Storm, Hail, Heat, Blizzard, Twisters, Bombers and Commanders. Some fans have just tweaked the name to vary slightly from Royals, suggesting Monarchs and Kings. Other fans, no doubt sad to see the demise of Rosenblatt Stadium following the 2010 season, have submitted the team name Blatts for
I would like to suggest a return to the moniker employed by the city’s long-defunct Western Association franchise: the Omahogs.
And while I am excited to be visiting the Iowa Cubs on September 3, I’m disappointed that I will not be in attendance for September 5’s giveaway: the Player to Be Named Later Bobblehead.
Finally, one of the sport’s most unsung characters gets his due:
A parody video in which a G-Funk classic is repurposed as a celebration of a California League baseball team. It’s Bo’z N Da Hood with “Nothin But A Storm Thang”:
The lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” are incorporated into one of the verses in the above video, but for a truly unique interpretation check out this adorable dispatch from Lansing.
It’s a good thing that Ryan was in Lansing and not West Michigan, because he would probably have been terrified by first pitch honoree Ronald McDonald:
(photo credit: Emily Jones)
Sweet dreams! I’ll be sending out dispatches from the Midwest as soon as I can.
Let’s change things up today. Instead of a rambling preamble, I’m going to go straight to a picture from Peoria:
This man’s freakishly florescent facial hue comes courtesy of one of America’s most essential and beloved foods: Mac and Cheese. Lucas Smith, the Peoria Chiefs’ events and entertainment manager, explains how this all came about:
Of course, you can’t hold “Mac and Cheese Night” without a “Mac and Cheese Eating Contest.” The details on that:
Each bowl held eight pounds of Mac and Cheese mixed with hot dogs
and a side of peanuts. (Wednesdays are our Free Hot Dog and Peanuts
nights). The winner ate over three pounds of mac and cheese in a half
hour. After the half-hour was up, two friends of the guy with the hat
decided that a full stomach wasn’t enough, so they buried his face into the hot
mac and cheese. It was one of those “had to be there” moments.
More “had to be there moments”, which, more than anything, convey how unfun it is to participate in an eating contest:
Much lighter promotional fare could be found the very next evening, as the Chiefs staged Motown Night. Fresh off the success of their “Chiefstreet Boys” performance, a quartet of Peoria players took to the tunnels and engaged in an exuberant choreographed dance routine.
Corey Martin, Luis Flores, Anthony Giansanti and DJ Fitzgerald, I salute you:
Another worthwhile video to emanate from the eminent Midwest League is this time-lapse look at four very busy days in the history of West Michigan’s Fifth Third Ballpark. Witness a baseball game, the Great Lakes Irish Music Festival, and three concerts, all in under two minutes:
Watching time lapse videos generally evokes an existentialist malaise in the viewer, but depressive feelings precipitated by the inexorable passage of time writ large are no match for the in-the-moment joy provided by the Memphis Redbirds’ new rally mascot:
I don’t possess any additional information about this brine fellow, but that’s not going to stop me from assuming his name is “Dill-bert”.
I just studied Led Zeppelin’s entire discography and yet the only other potential headline I could come up with for this post was “Whole Lotta Glove”. So with wordplay opportunities already exhausted there’s nothing left to do but get to the point.
And the point is that on this special evening the team took the field in Zeppelin-themed jerseys.
Tea For One:
Led Zeppelin IV:
For those scoring at home, this marks the second time in as many seasons that the Whitecaps have enjoyed a walk-off victory on a rock and roll theme jersey night. In 2009, Pink Floyd was the honored group:
Finally, the Lake County Captains are one of two Cleveland-area teams staging a “Please Stay Lebron” Night on July 1. I’ll certainly be providing more info on this in the near future, but among other things the team will be changing its name to “LeLake LeCounty LeCaptains.”
Hopefully the evening will include plenty of James Gang played over the PA.