Results tagged ‘ Wisconsin Timber Rattlers ’
As you are most likely aware, the polls for the 2011 MiLB.com “Promotion of the Year” are currently open (and will be for another nine days — it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon).
Because an informed electorate is the bulwark of democracy, I made sure to provide links to as many of the nominees as possible. But one promo that I didn’t link to was Fresno’s “Taco Truck Throwdown” a situation that I will now rectify by featuring it right here and now.
In a post on the “Yardwork” team blog, the Grizzlies described the promotion as follows:
After an extensive search of the Valley, seven local trucks from Fresno, Fowler, Madera and Sanger were invited to Chukchansi Park to take place in the competition, which took place on the final Thirsty Thursday of the season. The buzz surrounding the event picked up as it got closer, generating stories throughout the Fresno media. The local ABC, NBC and FOX affiliates, as well as local radio and a whole smattering of local blogs previewed the event. With the news out on the Throwdown, a stunning crowd of 10,287 swarmed the concourse from the moment gates opened to the general public at 6:05, all the way until 20 minutes after the game had ended.
The Grizzlies offered two taco ticket packages:
- Deluxe Taco Package: $18 — includes four tacos, a ticket to the game and a Taco Truck Throwdown T-shirt.
- Super Taco Experience: $23 — includes eight tacos, a ticket to the game and a Taco Truck Throwdown T-shirt.
Those who purchased one of the above packages were able to choose from the following vendors:
At the end of the Throwdown, winners were named in both the “Judge’s” and “People’s Choice” category.
From what I can gather from reading about this online, the only problem with the promotion was that it was too successful. The lines were long, and those wishing to sample all of the vendors found themselves in an oft-futile race against time. Some logistical improvements could be made, no doubt, but overall this seems to be a no-brainer to return in 2012.
It also seems to be a no-brainer for other teams to adapt this concept to their market. As the Grizzlies demonstrated, such a promotion can generate copious media coverage and resultant increased attendance. But who knows? I also thought that the Frederick Keys’ 2010 “Volt Night” food extravaganza would be adapted by other markets, but thus far none have done so.
Guess my blognostication skills need some work.
Regardless, let me again reiterate that there is plenty of time to vote for the MiLB.com Promotion of the Year. If you work for a team that is nominated, why not mount a promotional campaign? It can make all the difference in the world.
Finally, I concluded yesterday’s post with what I thought might be the best corn maze in all of Minor League Baseball. But one of my informants has since gotten in touch, arguing that THIS is better.
You be the judge.
We are careening toward what is sure to be an eminently enjoyable Holiday Weekend, and strenuous acts like “reading things on the internet” don’t hold much appeal at the present moment. So allow me to take you on out of the work week with a cavalcade of recent video masterworks to emanate from the Minor League landscape.
Let’s start with the one Minor League team that will NOT be celebrating July 4th: the Vancouver Canadians. Our neighbors to the North produced a Major League-spoofing commercial that is rapidly attaining viral status.
If that somehow hasn’t satiated your desire to see Minor League productions of Major League, then check out this recent “One-Minute Movie” put together by the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
Staying within the always rich topic of “Ohio-based Minor League parody”, the Akron Aeros are promoting an upcoming appearance by soap star Patrick Drake by putting words into his mouth.
The next day the Aeros’ are trying to appeal to a younger segment of the female fan demographic with their “Princess Tea Party.” Mascot Orbit is doing his best to learn the proper etiquette.
The Aeros’ Eastern League compatriots Trenton Thunder don’t need to worry about selling tickets to this weekend’s slate of games, thanks to the presence of rehabbing superstar Derek Jeter. But not even Hall of Fame-bound Bronx icons possess the charisma of the team’s endlessly effervescent Bobby Baseball.
Also in possession of copious charisma if Montgomery Biscuits pitcher Chris Archer. Thursday is “Ladies Night” in Montgomery, and one lucky lady will win a date with the dashing right-hander:
Not as desirable to the ladies is new Frederick Keys’ mascot “Frank Key.” The freakishly large cranium might have something to do with that.
But the true indicator of any Minor League video’s success is how it plays in Peoria. And this one, from the hometown Chiefs, has been viewed plenty of times within the fine Illinois metropolis.
I’d say that the above definitively proves that rhythm is not a prerequisite of professional baseball success. Also not a prerequisite of professional baseball success: being human.
It’s not just a lazy stereotype, it’s the capital T Truth: Anatomically incorrect snakes take their celebrity airport pick-ups very seriously.
And that’s gonna conclude the blogging week. Enjoy the Holiday, and I’ll see you right back here at this very URL on July 5.
This past Thursday, the Tri-City ValleyCats embarked upon their “4 in 24″ project. This ambitious and worthwhile involved the renovation of four local youth baseball fields over the span of 24 hours. Here’s a collage of “after” pictures, taken from an excellent blog post re-capping the event.
The project was spearheaded by the team, and done in coordination with an array of corporate sponsors and community volunteers. As the ValleyCats explain:
Part of our mission as the Capital Region’s professional baseball team is to act as a steward for the game. The 4 in 24 project was a great way to further this initiative by giving back to the community that has supported us since 2002…The biggest challenge that we faced was the sheer size of this project. The ValleyCats organization has renovated a number of fields over the years but completing four within twenty four hours required a well-coordinated effort and a lot of coffee. Each of the leagues and sponsors provided volunteers that were crucial in moving things along.
The field work included “cutting out the entire infield grass, raking and grading the dirt, leveling the playing surface, laying out brand new grass and rebuilding the entire pitchers mound and home plate areas.” The aforementioned blog post includes a plethora of “before and after” photos. Here are two:
An even more current example of MiLB altruism can be found in Durham, as the Bulls are collecting food and clothing for those victimized by the recent tornadoes in North Carolina. The team offered free tickets to Wednesday’s matinee contest for all fans donating five canned goods or a bag of clothing. Here’s the resultant scene on the concourse:
As is often the case in April, poor weather is wreaking havoc throughout the world of Minor League Baseball. Yesterday’s post included snow-filled photos and video from West Michigan, and today the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have postponed their ballgame due to an excess of the white stuff.
This picture appeared on announcer Chris Mehring’s “Rattler Radio” blog today. It appears that the grounds crew workers may be preparing to pelt the broadcast booth with snowballs.
Meanwhile the Quad Cities River Bandits are currently playing a ballgame despite these conditions outside of the stadium (this photo originally appeared in the Peoria Chiefs “Playing in Peoria” blog).
Such is life when you play in a ballpark built on the banks of the Mississippi, but extensive renovations of recent vintage (including berm seating that doubles as a floodwall) have done much to mitigate the damage.
I’ve gotten through this post without a single joke attempt, a rarity in the world of Ben’s Biz Blog. It feels kind of good, actually, so I’ll end this before the urge to pun-tificate becomes unbearable. Thanks, as always, for reading.
My original plan was to devote today’s post exclusively to food (shocker, I know), but you know what they say about the best laid plans:
They are often interrupted by a reversible hat!
The Altoona Curve announced their new logos and uniforms earlier this offseason, and the shape-shifting item seen above represents the final piece of the puzzle. Remarks the franchise:
[T]he Altoona Curve’s new home cap is believed to be the first in Minor League Baseball to feature a specially-designed, rally cap lining. When the Railroad Red cap with the new Engineer head logo is turned inside out, a bright orange lining with large black eyes is displayed to simulate the look of popular Curve rally mascot, Al Tuna.
The cap is the work of Plan B Branding, who are understandably excited by their latest innovation. I chatted briefly with company co-founder Jason Klein over IM yesterday, but all he wrote was “Al Tuna! Al Tuna!” before my connection gave out. But perhaps that’s all that was needed.
But in case you were wondering, the players themselves won’t be wearing the rally caps. Curve manager PJ Forbes told the Altoona Mirror “I can emphatically say no. But it is a nice touch for the fans, and it’s another way to get the fans involved, which is what it’s all about.” Which reminds me, why isn’t there a “Come to the Park in Your PJs” night on the Curve promotional calendar? It would be a great way to honor the manager while getting the fans involved. And that’s what it’s all about!
Speaking of getting the fans involved, the Huntsville Stars are going to be broadcasting games in a most interesting fashion this season:
The Stars will be replacing the traditional radio broadcast with a live web show for every home game. The webcast, “The Living Room Show”, will bring a different level of entertainment to the ballpark, putting the broadcast in the hands, and seats, of fans. Ryan “Pokey” Hayden, a former voice of Troy University athletics, will host the show and keep things rolling. He’ll also be in charge of calling the play-by-play, and it won’t be from the press box. Hayden will be seated on a couch in the seating bowl, calling the game with the people who love it most: the fans.
I’m definitely interested to hear (and see) how this turns out. It could be the future of Minor League Baseball broadcasting, or it could be a crazy and quickly-forgotten anomaly. But it won’t be both. I’d also curious to hear YOUR thoughts. Yes, you.
Believe it or not, I have not embedded a video since MLBlogs made its momentous conversion to WordPress (who, according to the logic of Rob Neyer, must be doing something wrong). That situation is going to be rectified right now, with a video that just happened to fall into my lapse. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, here’s the offseason condensed into 118 seconds.
But the offseason, in real time, was approximately 4.2 billion years. I, for one, am glad that it ends tomorrow. It’s time to not enjoy life in a whole new way!
Oh, and that food-related post is coming soon. I think I’m going to call it “Appetite For Destruction” because how is it possible that I have never written a post with this title?
There’s just a little more than a month to go before Opening Day. Truly, the clock is ticking on the offseason:
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, “The Offseason” has officially come to an end. The Timber Rattlers unveiled the last episode of their weekly series today, and it’s a doozy. In addition to skillfully referencing a recent hit comedy (“Brat Tub Time Machine”), it explains mascot Fang’s strange anatomy AND features a character who happens to go by the name of “Ben Hill.” What an honor:
Over on MiLB.com, “Offseasoning” has come to an end. This was a bi-weekly column profiling players’ offseason jobs and activities, and the final installment features current free agent, Twitter champion, and all-around nice guy Michael Schlact.
I’m hoping to soon do a few articles in the “Offseasoning” mode, but this time featuring Spring Training. Let me know if you are aware of any interesting stories taking place in Minor League camp.
But while some things are coming to an end, others are just beginning (sunrise, sunset, etc etc). This is the case in Pawtucket, as the Red Sox have just unleashed a whodunit “Scavenger Hunt” onto the world.
Yes, the villain in this adventure is a gorilla wearing a Yankees hat. The Paw Sox will release clues each week that will guide fans toward a “Golden Soft Toss” ball redeemable for team-related prizes.
Earlier this week I noted some of the interesting giveaways the Altoona Curve have on tap for this season. There’s more where that came from, as yesterday the team released their Theme Night schedule. The highlight is “What We’re Watching Wednesdays,” explained as such in the press release.
The first “What We’re Watching Wednesday” will take place on May 4 vs. Akron and lampoon the now retired ABC phenomenon “LOST”. The team’s working title of “LOST – Locke & Locke” plays off of 2010 Curve pitcher Jeff Locke, who actually was a huge fan of the cult series, and the mysterious character John Locke from the show itself.
After attempting to decipher the mysteries of the island, the Curve will try their hand at crime solving on June 8 vs. Erie with “NCIS/CSI: Curve, Pa. – Law & Order SVU” night. Other “What We’re Watching Wednesdays” include “How I Met Your Mascot” on June 15 vs. New Britain, “Glenn’s Kitchen” (which will place Curve Manager of Concessions Glenn McComas in the role of Chef Gordon Ramsay) on June 29 vs. Reading, “Lawn Stars” (starring Head Groundskeeper Brian Soukup) on August 17 vs. New Hampshire and “Only in Curve, Pa. with Bill the Comic Guy” on August 24 vs. Richmond. That should “Git ‘R Done” for the WWWW theme series.
There might be remarkable parity in Major League Baseball these days, but no one tops the Minors when it comes to parody.
If there’s one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that a lot of snow has fallen from the sky this week. For Minor League teams, it can be tough to capitalize on a weather phenomenon so antithetical to ideal baseball conditions. But that doesn’t mean they’re not going to try!
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are certainly capitalizing, as now is a most apropos time to unveil a snow-themed Opening Day bobblehead.
It’s Scooter Vs. The Snowman!
This truly unique item was inspired by the Rattlers’ Opening Day snowout this past season. With no game to play, the players took to the snow-covered field in order to let off some steam. And during this unsupervised free time, Scooter Gennett unleashed a brutal attack upon a hapless snowman.
And now, that moment has been immortalized for all time! The “Scooter Vs. The Snowman” bobblehead will be given away to all fans attending Opening Day at Fox Cities Stadium on April 7. Hopefully it will inspire a “player vs. inanimate object” bobblehead subgenre.
Gennett’s snowman attack took place more than nine months ago, but fans of the now will be gratified to know that there are plenty of more recent snow-covered ballpark photos floating around the internet. My colleague Danny Wild has done the world a tremendous service by compiling many of them in an MiLB.com photo album, but it’s the ones from Spokane that really stand out.
And then there’s snow-covered FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, a 60-year-old facility in the midst of an extensive $10 million renovation project.
I apologize for the lack of fresh blog content this week. The reasons for this are varied, ranging from a brief jury duty stint to an all-consuming desire to spend my time memorizing the Nicki Minaj verse in “Monster.”
But I’m going to end the week on a high note, speeding into the weekend with grace and aplomb. Who wants to ride with me? I’ve got plenty of room in the jalopy!
In this week’s previous post, I wrote about the Trenton Thunder’s 1-obsessed ticket offer. Clearly, they are serious about promoting this, as evidenced by today’s announcement that they have re-signed the inimitable Bobby Baseball as internet spokesman.
Here’s a new and mature Bobby, seemingly ready to disavow his frenetic past.
And since we’re on the subject of ticket offers, it’s worth noting that the Bakersfield Blaze are currently running a “season tickets for life” promotion. As explained in the shortest press release of all time: The Bakersfield Blaze are giving one lucky fan FREE SEASON TICKETS FOR LIFE! All you have to do is purchase a ticket plan by January 31st and you will automatically be entered into the drawing.
And since we were on the subject of videos, take a gander at the latest episode of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers “Offseason” series. This is imperative viewing for those who have never seen a mascot go through airport security before. It’s a very labor intensive process.
And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the latest video series out of Montgomery is most flattering indeed.
I’m pretty sure that this recent Vancouver Canadians video is a total original, as discovering that familial ties exist between front office members must be an exceedingly rare occurrence.
To paraphrase Nat King Cole, the Reading Phillies latest video is “Unembeddable.” But it’s well worth watching, seeing as how it’s a detailed look at the NFL playoff picks of Reading Phillies players. Click HERE to see the rampant prognosticating, all the more amazing due to the fact that the video must have been filmed some four months ago.
Having exceeded my video quota for the day, allow me to transition to one of many favorite Minor League news sub-genres — Mascot Feats of Endurance On Behalf of Charity.
From the Akron Aeros:
Akron Aeros mascot, Orbit, will be participating in this year’s “Tackle the Tower” event. The annual event benefits Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. On Saturday, February 5th, Orbit will climb 38 flights of stairs at the Tower at Erieview in downtown Cleveland. Orbit’s personal goal is to raise $1,500.
Orbit is up for it.
And — hey! — I almost forgot that it’s “Gratuitous Video Friday” (so forget what I said about having exceeded my video quota). Today’s selection is a touching duet featuring Bobby Bare and his son Bobby Jr. The song was written by Shel Silverstein.
I wish I was vacationing in Seattle right now, because then I could use “Back In Seattle Again” as the title for this post. That would be a solid ‘70s-era Aerosmith reference, and that’s the kind of thing that makes me happy.
But I’m in New York City — a world away from the Pacific Northwest — and coming up empty in regard to a clever title. But the important thing is I made it back from the Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando with my dignity intact, and can now focus on that which I missed while I was gone.
Like, the debut episode of “The Offseason” (season two). As you’ll no doubt recall, this is the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ “Office”-inspired web series.
The above video is really a video within a video, making it possible to write a sentence in which the word “video” appears four times.
Are there any other teams out there doing (or planning on doing) an offseason video series? Teams who have done so previously, such as the Fresno Grizzlies and Omaha Royals Storm Chasers, have refrained this time ’round. The pickins, therefore, have been slim.
The River Cats are the first Minor League Baseball Team in the country to release an iPhone application that allows fans the ability to purchase tickets directly through the app.
I have often found it to be the case that whenever a Minor League team claims it is the first to do something, another steps forward to dispute that claim. Any self-appointed industry fact checkers want to file an official disputation?
Regardless, team iPhone apps are becoming and more and more common around the Minors. The River Cats’ was designed by Critical Technologies Group, who have also worked with the likes of the Toledo Mud Hens, Lakewood Blue Claws, and Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Finally, I would like to note that this blog is #10 in the latest MLBlogs “Latest Leaders” rankings (“Pro” category). This ranking is satisfactory, but there is PLENTY of room to grow.
I am always open to suggestions regarding how growth might be accomplished. Please, get in touch with ideas related to content, collaborative projects, and general observations or advice (even if it’s just to lay off the belabored Aerosmith references).
It’s a quiet Friday here at MiLB.com headquarters, and my thoughts are turning toward the future.
The immediate future, as it were, as on Sunday I’ll be traveling to Orlando in order to attend the annual schmooze-a-thon that is the Baseball Winter Meetings.
As for what I’ll be doing there, to an extent that is still “up in the air.” My overarching goal is to provide coverage that serves as an alternative (or complement) to the usual breathless reporting on trade rumors and free agent signings, looking at the Meetings experience from a variety of Minor League perspectives. At the very least, I’ll make sure to once again document Trade Show lunch options.
So, if you’re in Orlando next week make sure to say hello and give me an update on what you’ve been up to. As usual, I’ll be the guy with the haircut.
Last year’s Meetings were in Indianapolis, which allows me to segue somewhat smoothly into NEW LOGO NEWS.
We are 125 days from the 125th season of professional baseball in Indianapolis, and to celebrate this sesquicentennial the Indians will be displaying the following logo on the outfield wall and sporting it on the uniform:
While new logos have been prevalent this offseason, weekly web-based Minor League comedy series have been on the decline. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are doing their part to reverse this trend, as season two of their highly-acclaimed “Offseason” series debuts next week.
Here’s the tear-jerking teaser video. Get psyched!
Meanwhile, this amusing video from Everett just made it’s way on to my radar. It’s the “Bullpen Olympics”, with events including “spitting, chugging, shooting, and flicking.”
All I’ll say about this is that these guys seem confused when it comes to the specifics of throat anatomy.
And — hey — it’s Gratuitous Video Friday! Here’s a clip of Tony Orlando at the Epcot Center, as soon I’ll be in tony Orlando near the Epcot Center. Close enough, right?
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past week writing about logos. This may seem like a frivolous endeavor, but not when you consider that within philosophy the word “logos” is defined as “the rational principle that governs and develops the universe.”
Not so frivolous after all, is it? Thus justified, let me move on to the changes that have taken place in New Hampshire.
Before taking on the “Fisher Cats” moniker, Manchester’s Eastern League franchise was briefly (and controversially) known as the “Primaries.” It’s fitting, then, that the team has changed its primary colors to ones which evoke the American democratic process: red, white, and blue.
Now that I’ve made things as confusing as possible, as is my m.o., let’s go to the visual evidence. The team’s primary logo used to look like this:
And now it looks like this:
The re-tooled home cap, with enhanced re-tail value:
And this? This is just awesome. Me to this Uncle Sam logo: I want you!
Meanwhile…The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, one of last week’s blog subjects, have announced a contest in which fans are asked to take a picture of themselves with any of the new logos.
In order to help promote the contest, the team has created some Photoshopped classics of our 26th President to serve as inspiration. Classics such as this:
Now that’s something you can take for granite.