Results tagged ‘ Wisconsin Timber Rattlers ’

Late, Better Than Never

scales.jpgI 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.

orby.jpg

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.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Esconced in the Northeast

seattle.jpgI 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.

Moving from Appleton to Apps, last week the Sacramento River Cats announced the launch ofsacapp.gif a team iPhone application. Sez the team:

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.

wayne.jpgFinally, 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).

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

Greetings Before the Meetings

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.

2010meetings.jpg

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:

indy125.jpg    
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?
 

Logos On and On and On

2011_Fisher_Cats_Script_Logo.JPGI’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:

NHold.gif

And now it looks like this:

2011_Fisher_Cats_Primary_Logo.JPG

The re-tooled home cap, with enhanced re-tail value:

2011_Fisher_Cats_NH_Logo.JPG

Alternate cap logos abound. This batting practice design would also work well in nearby Paw-tucket:

2011_Fisher_Cats_Paw_Logo.JPG

This highly-stylized “FC” should appeal to discerning high-society types.

2011_Fisher_Cats_FC_Logo.JPG

And this? This is just awesome. Me to this Uncle Sam logo: I want you!

2011_Fisher_Cats_UncleSam_Logo.JPG

Don’t take that one for granite, New Hampshire!

————————————————————————————————————————————

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:

tr.jpg

Now that’s something you can take for granite.

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

Suspense in the Land of Snakes

In the previous post on this blog, I mentioned my willingness to feature new logos. But like any good internet survivalist, I can make do with less than that.

Today, my biggest piece of news involves a team’s intent to soon unveil a new logo. That team would be the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who will be releasing three new marks to the public on November 12.

In order to whip said public into an anticipatory frenzy, the Rattlers are releasing a series of countdown videos. Rarely has the inexorable passage of time been so exciting:

 

In tandem with the above video, T-Rats broadcaster Chris Mehring has written a column detailing the last time the team changed their identity. The year was 1994, and this name and logo was apparently in the running.

The Fox River Phantoms, represented by what appears to be a homicidal umpire:

frphantoms.jpg

At the very least, the insensate arbiter depicted above would make for a good horror movie character. His dispassionate but unstoppable pursuit of his victims would culminate in a coldhearted bat bludgeoning, one bringing new meaning to the phrase “Three strikes and you’re out.”

Sticking with the horror theme, the Trenton Thunder have dusted off a video that purports to reveal a ghostly presence emanating from the innards of Waterfront Park:

In considerably less horrifying news, the State College Spikes will soon be announcing the winner to their inaugural “Ike’s Wacky Weekly What Are They Saying Moment?” The fan who provides the funniest caption to this photograph wins a team-autographed baseball.

clam.jpg
Pass me the horseradish.

Finally, it’s time for another installment of Gratuitous Video Friday, the least anticipated feature of the internet’s least-commented upon blog.

This video features the rap stylings of one of the most deeply eccentric sports broadcasters of all time. “Sister Sledge can fall off a ledge!”

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

So What'd I Miss?

ketch.jpgThe “Southern Swing” yielded plenty of blog content, but one unfortunate side effect of the traveling life is not being able to keep up with the overall Minor League scene at the level to which you’ve been accustomed.

So consider this entry an attempt to get partially up to speed. Playing “ketchup”, if you will.  

Let’s begin with what is undoubtedly baseball’s biggest story at the moment, a young Washington Nationals pitching phenom who goes by the name of Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals’ gain is the Minors’ loss, as Strasburg’s starts resulted in sell-out crowds no matter where he took the mound. A pair of artifacts from one such start is now available on the MiLB auction site — an autographed camo hat and autographed camo jersey from May 22′s “Armed Forces Celebration” in Syracuse. With four days left in the auction, the former is going for $326 and the latter for $755.01.

That, of course, is pocket change to readers of Ben’s Biz Blog, who according to demographicstras.jpg research are affluent tastemakers with good looks as ample as their disposable income.

A more affordable (read “free”) piece of Strasburg memorabilia was given away at Blair County Ballpark yesterday — a poster commemorating his first professional start (which took place at Altoona’s Blair County Ballpark as a member of the visiting Harrisburg Senators). This highly collectible item sparked a debate on the Curve’s Facebook page, as some fans took issue with a giveaway honoring a member of the opposing team. I’d be curious to hear opinions on this — did the circumstances warrant such a giveaway, or is it always “wrong” to commemorate the “enemy”?

Of course, I have more to talk about than Mr. Strasburg. Plenty of chattering craniums are already engaged at this task, and it is generally my goal to  be zigging while the others are zagging and to then zag in reaction to the zig.

So how about a couple of videos?

Readers may remember that I wrote up the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ “Tribute to the Marshmallow” in a recent edition of “Promotion Preview.” One of the between-inning contests was the “S’More Relay”, which is to be commended for its creativity and commitment to the theme:

Another example of above-and-beyond promo commitment can be found in Binghamton, as the Mets put together a video promoting their upcoming “Twilight Night.” Never has the line “You have baseball bat antlers” been uttered with more sincerity:
 

Moving from antlered mammals to poisonous reptiles, I’d like to note that on Monday the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will be giving away a figurine featuring mascot Fang driving a NAPA race car.

fang car.JPG

Sorry to be a broken record when it comes to Fang and his unorthodox snake anatomy, but I just can’t get over it. Putting aside the feasibility of a reptile being granted a driver’s license, how is it possible that a snake possess both hands and feet and can use them with enough dexterity to both steer a wheel and operate pedals?

I’ll have more “ketchup” material tomorrow, unless someone out there provides me with some totally must-see, can’t-wait blog items.

Do it!

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

Bringing It To You Straight, No Taser

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Altoona_Curve.gifOn-field fan incidents have been a big topic of conversation ever since the controversial tasering of a fan at a Phillies game earlier this month.

Perhaps this explains why the Altoona Curve have made national headlines today, after a bizarre incident at Blair County Ballpark last night. After sneaking into the stadium via a parking garage, an intoxicated homeless man wandered across the outfield during the bottom of the ninth inning of a contest between the Curve and Akron Aeros.

The man, who lacked identification but gave his name as “Tyrone R. Squires”, was detained by Curve security without incident and then turned over to Altoona police. A detailed write-up of Squires’ misadventures appeared in today’s edition of The Altoona Mirror, and this account served as the basis of an Associated Press article that has been picked up by The New York Times among other outlets.

Curve media relations director Dan Zangrilli said the team was a bit perplexed over the national attention.

“It wasn’t that big a deal, quite honestly. It was just a guy who decided to take a little cruise along the warning track,” he said. “The whole thing was uneventful, and posed no threat to players or fans. That said, we do take this kind of thing seriously. Trespassing is a serious offense, and we turned him over to the authorities.”

But right now the team has bigger issues on its mind: preserved meat products. Tonight’sBraunschweiger.jpg Wacky Wednesday promotion at Blair County Ballpark is “Livin La Vida Lunch Meat”, a comprehensive salute to all things meaty that received a write-up in the most recent edition of “Promotion Preview.”

“It’s all about the Braunschweiger, baby,” said Zangrilli.

– I hope to continue yesterday’s classification-based post in the near future, but for now I’ll dispense with such formalities in order to share a couple of most-interesting Minor League developments.

The Brooklyn Cyclones have released a sketch of what is sure to be one of 2010′s most-sought after bobbleheads: Mets rookie sensation (and former Cyclone) Ike Davis in the midst of one of his now trademark dugout-tumbling snags:

ikers.jpg

     
The giveaway is on August 2, distributed to the first 2500 fans — get your tickets now and arrive early.

In other intriguing bobblehead news, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have announced the finalists for September’s “Fan’s Choice” bobble.

In my mind, the choice that stands out above the rest is “Scooter Vs. the Snowman”, commemorating a particularly memorable moment that occurred during the club’s whitewashed Opening Day.

Thumbnail image for wisconsin snow 3.jpg

Finally, I wanted to share this video I received from the Memphis Redbirds, featuring a Baby T-Rex throwing out the first pitch. It’s going to be a long time before I tire of watching this:

The Baby T-Rex is scheduled to make its next appearance in Reading on May 25, once again throwing out the first pitch and then spending the remainder of the game ambling through the stadium. This will allow fans plenty of time to contemplate the genetic links between dinosaurs and the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor’s loyal ostrich:

chdv.jpg

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

Snowpening Day

Ah, Opening Day. A yearly ritual of re-birth and renewal, as the oppressive shackles of winter are cast aside in favor of the comforting rhythms and sun-drenched atmosphere of the professional baseball ballpark. 

Or not. 
The Timber Rattlers of Wisconsin were forced to postpone their Opening Day festivities due to weather that was most decidedly inclement: 
wisconsin snow 1.jpg
The players were undaunted by the facility’s frosty condition, as they took to the field in order to enjoy their unexpected Winter wonderland:
wiscsnow2.jpg
But perhaps this shot belies their true feelings: 
wisconsin snow 3.jpg
The scoreboard message in the above photo illustrates the positive mindset of the Timber Rattlers staff: “Well, our Opening Day might have been snowed out, but this is going to be one awesome Christmas Card!”
The Rattlers’ indomitable production department even put together a video featuring the player’s snowbound antics:

Wisconsin’s weather woes added an extra layer of ridiculousness to the day’s scheduled giveaway, a “beach bobblehead” featuring Timber Ratters mascot Fang and and Milwaukee Brewers mascot Bernie. Hey, guys, a little under-dressed for the occasion don’t you think?
berniefangbeachbuds.jpg
Regardless, I refuse to let this meteorological malfeasance distract me from the real issue at hand: How is it possible for a snake to have legs? 
benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 394 other followers