Sunday, August 31, 2008

Daytona proves winning isn't everything

Daytona defeated Jupiter moments ago to claim the Florida State League East Division second-half crown. The Cubs took the title despite failing to win the most games in their division.

Jupiter can make that claim, and the Hammerheads can load that hollow victory into their duffle bags as they depart for their off-season hometowns in the coming days.

Tropical Storm Fay and the afternoon thunderstorms that followed washed away Daytona’s entire series in Vero Beach and all but one game in St. Lucie two weeks ago. Those rainouts can’t be made up and as a result the Cubs played only nine games since August 18.

Sunday’s season finale was only Daytona’s 62nd of the half. Jupiter, by contrast, played 69.

FSL rules dictate that when teams don’t play an equal number of games, the team with the best winning percentage wins the title. That’s Daytona. It’s not a great rule, but there is really no other way to handle it, especially in South Florida where it rains almost every day.

Daytona’s title-clinching game actually began on Saturday. It had to be suspended in the bottom of the fifth with Daytona leading 9-1 when winds from one of those powerful South Florida storms prevented the grounds crew from deploying the tarp.

The game restarted today as part of a doubleheader. Daytona ultimately won the title, but had to wait for the champagne until the completion of the second game. Manager Jody Davis' post-game high fives (photo) was pretty much the extent of the inital celebration.

“We’ve got it for after the second game,” said Ty Wright between games. “I can’t wait for that. Hopefully this next game goes by fast.”


That three-hour bus ride back to Daytona should be interesting…

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Palm Beach bullpen converts National Anthem

video

Palm Beach pitcher Casey Mulligan likely won't remember much from the uneventful seventh inning he threw in the Cardinals 9-1 victory over St. Lucie in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader.

The National Anthem, however, might be something Mulligan tells his grandchildren about.

Mulligan, along with the entire Palm Beach bullpen, stepped to the microphone behind home plate and sang the National Anthem. Lisa Fegley, Roger Dean Stadium’s director of promotions, shot the above video.

It’s unlikely these guys are going to win a Grammy, but they could become Youtube celebrities.

Music critics will point out that some of the harmonies were a smidge off. There were a few notes that, perhaps, shouldn’t have been there. Who cares?

This was the best rendition of the Nation Anthem The Dugout has ever seen. Watching overblown karaoke singers try to have their American Idol moment before every baseball game is like watching a child try to impress its parents with Picasso-like art skill by drawing on a wall – no matter how good it is, they still deserve a whipping.

Listening to famous stars put “their touch” on the Anthem is worse (Except for Carl Lewis – that is the gold standard.)

The Cardinals had apparently been asking to sing the Anthem for a few weeks. Management was hesitant, fearing the Cardinals might try to have a little too much fun.

Those fears were unfounded. The Cardinals were magnificent. Could this start a trend? It wouldn’t be a bad thing?

Kudos guys.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Captains tattoo you; Kost gets fired up

As part of their 80s Hair Band Tribute, which captured the August 21 Promotion of the Day on the main site, the Lake County Captains offered free tattoos of their logo for any fan willing to be pricked hundreds of times with dye-imparting needles.

Five fans actually took the Captains up on their offer.

Other clubs have held similar promotions – Daytona and Brevard County come to mind – and they took it a step further by providing season tickets for life to any fan that got the tattoo. Lake County didn’t make that offer, which is their prerogative, but perhaps they should have.

Buck Rogers, who started the program in Daytona and continued it when he moved to Brevard, figured that anyone willing to provide free advertising for life deserved free admission to all games.

Still, the fact that five Captains’ fans were willing to put a logo on their body functions as a pretty good marketing move. Lake County was kind enough to send the above photo showing one of the tattoos.

Shout it from a mountain top: The Harlingen Whitewings of the United League apparently fired general manager Dave Kost this week. In an odd turn, Kost decided to let the rest of the baseball world know he was now a free agent by issuing a press release about his removal.

Kost seemed like a good enough guy when he offered free admission to WhiteWings’ games to all affected by a Hurricane Dolly earlier this season. This release, though, may go a long way to reinforcing Harlingen ownership’s decision to let him go.

The email Kost distributed is below, followed by the release he wrote. You be the judge:


Gentlemen,

It has been brought to my attention that the current leadership of the Harlingen WhiteWings and United League ownership has decided to not make a formal announcement of my termination on Thursday, July 14, 2008, because they said it doesn't benefit anyone to make the announcement.

I have been in baseball for over 20 years and my reputation is untarnished and I prefer it stay that way therefore, I am releasing the following document for your eyes and would very much appreciate you releasing through the means available to you. It is extremely important to me that the baseball community fully understand that I in fact was relieved of my duties and did not resign. It is fear that the United League may eventually release this transaction as a resignation on my behalf and that couldn't be further from the truth.

Below is my offical release on this matter for your use as you see fit. Thank you.

PRESS RELEASE

8/26/2008 6:56 PM

Kost Fired as General Manager of WhiteWings

Harlingen, TX – The Harlingen WhiteWings Baseball Club relieved Dave Kost of his General Managerial duties on Thursday, July 14th.

When Kost was announced as the new General Manager of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings back in October of 2007, he made it very clear that his mission was to change the overall attitude about WhiteWings’ baseball in Harlingen, surrounding communities, and the Rio Grande Valley. It was very obvious that Kost meant business by changing with team name from Rio Grande Valley to Harlingen which included team logo, color, and uniform changes. “It made sense to make those changes then and it appeared to work because we had a lot of fans visit the clubhouse store this year to buy their favorite team apparel”, Dave Kost said.

Despite the fact that the WhiteWings were the worst team, on the field, this year in the United League finishing the 2008 campaign with a record of 20-62, which included the cancellation of the final 3 regular season games in Amarillo, fans seemed to buy into this new attitude created by the WhiteWings front office under the direction of Kost. Part of the mission statement included providing the community with affordable family entertainment and with attendance much higher than last year, fans certainly agreed. “Since day one of my tenure I made it known that our goal was to get families back to the ballpark by providing affordable family entertainment and we enjoyed seeing our hard work payoff”, Dave Kost said. “We were experiencing great crowds right up until Hurricane Dolly changed the landscape of the valley and particularly Harlingen”, added Kost. “Attendance was light for the 3-4 days after that but picked up nicely for the remaining home games”.

So to recap, a new name, new logo, new uniforms, new attitude, new General Manager, and higher attendance creates the mystery of why would you fire the person who created a successful trend. “Of course I was given a reason as to why I was relieved of my duties and it’s important for me to have people understand that it had nothing to do with nothing, in terms of the explanation I was given by ownership”, Kost said. “Several issues remain unresolved regarding my contract but I am more concerned that our fan base, season ticket holders, and community know that I was fired and I did not resign”, Kost said. “I made a commitment to turn this organization around and we were well on our way to doing that so I don’t want anyone to think, for a second, that I bailed on this project because that couldn’t be further from the truth”, Kost added.


“I want to take this opportunity to personally thank our fans, vendors, season tickets, City of Harlingen, and the entire community for their outstanding commitment to the WhiteWings during my tenure”, Kost said.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The pie is big, Fay may be bigger

Let’s start with the photo. The Lancaster Barnstormers grabbed the August 8 Promotion of the Day honors on the main site with their Salute to the Whoopie Pie. As part of that special night, one of the local bakeries pledged to create a 150-pound version of the pie.

The photo shows the giant whoopie pie as it was displayed at the ballpark. While it’s big, The Dugout isn’t quite sure it reached the stated weight goal – that cake would have to be awfully dense. Still, it is impressive.

Kids and staffers must have enjoyed that post-game treat.

All day Fay: Tropical Storm Fay simply won’t go away from Florida. The Florida State League postponed or canceled most Monday games because of the storm. A well-timed off day kept the league from losing any games on Tuesday, but the storm stalled halfway up the state on Wednesday, washing out a couple more games.

Jupiter’s scheduled doubleheader started an hour and a half late, but the skies are nearly clean now so there’s reason to believe both games will be played. Major kudos go out to the grounds crew, which pulled the tarp at least five times Wednesday afternoon and made a soggy infield and warning track playable.

The FSL always has its share of rainouts – especially in August. The addition of Fay on top of the wetter-than-normal summer will make for difficult schedules the rest of the way.

With this doubleheader out of the way, Jupiter is the lone contender for the East Division crown to have only one doubleheader remaining. That’s against Daytona, who entered Wednesday tied with the Hammerheads, on the final weekend of the season. The Cubbies will play at least two more doubleheaders, and that’s if they can get back on the field tomorrow at Vero Beach. The town of Port St. Lucie is still underwater. Schools have already been shut down for the rest of the week. The Mets say they will play on Thursday, but that field doesn’t drain well.

The schedule isn’t any better for Palm Beach. The East Division’s first half winner will enter the playoffs after playing five games on the final three days of the season. How’d you like to set that rotation?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Woodstock's rain extends past Brockton


Brockton started its weekend-long ode to Woodstock off properly – with a thunderstorm. It came on so quickly that the staff was unable to completely cover the infield. Friday’s series opener against Worcester couldn’t be played. The teams split a doubleheader on Saturday before Brockton claimed the series with a victory on Sunday.

The Rox wore special uniforms in honor of Woodstock Weekend. The uniform design is located in the above photo. Brockton auctioned those game-worn unis to its fans.

FSL double time: August afternoon thunderstorms occur almost as frequently as sunrises in Florida, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t raining chaos into the Florida State League schedule. With Tropical Storm Fay ready to turn toward the Florida peninsula, life may get even wetter.

That shouldn’t have too much of an effect on the West Division, where Dunedin holds a 10-game lead with two weeks remaining in the regular season. That’s not the case in the East.

Jupiter, which leads the East by one game, already has two doubleheaders left on its schedule. One of those is against second-place Daytona during the season’s final weekend – the only two-gamer currently on the Cubbies’ schedule.

Third place St. Lucie, which enters Monday 2 ½ out of first, completes a stretch of four doubleheaders in seven days on Wednesday. If history is any indicator, all teams should have at least one additional rain-aided doubleheader added to its schedule before the end of the season.

Free delivery: St. Paul’s Extra, Extra… promo didn’t grab Promotion of the Day honors on the main site, but it still deserves a little recognition. Apparently the Saints public address announcer has gone weeks without picking up his paper from the curb. He’ll bring all of them to the ballpark on Monday as a prize for one lucky fan. He’ll also be doing a crossword puzzle throughout the ballgame.


Several famous newspaper comic characters like Superman and Dennis the Menace will be at the ballpark. The highlight, though, may be the Saints take on Dear Abby, where one of their staff members will give advice on how to deal with some uncommon problems.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Miracle want to help Ohio St. win

Each spring the folks at Fort Myers entertain a class from nearby Florida Gulf Coast University to talk about the business side of minor league ball. During this season’s meeting one student, who hails from Michigan, sarcastically suggested that the Miracle hold a night where Ohio State, losers of the last two NCAA football championship games, is finally allowed to celebrate a victory.

The Fort Myers area is loaded with transplants from Michigan and Ohio, so the Miracle decided it was worth a shot. Thursday is “It’s a Miracle: Ohio State Finally Wins” night in Fort Myers.

In theory, Fort Myers is going to rig every between-inning contest so that a representative wearing OSU clothing will win. Beware, though. At least one Miracle staffer doubts that even with the advantage the OSU rep will be able to pull off the victory.

Fans dressed in college gear will be automatically eligible to win tickets to various college contests, including this season’s Ohio St. vs. Michigan football game.

The Dugout heartily approves of poking a little fun at universities that take themselves so seriously, but should the Wolverines really be the ones giving the first nudge? After all, at least OSU made it that far.

Jammers a hit: As mentioned in yesterday’s entry, Jamestown stacked a couple of pretty nice promos together last week. Their “Salute to 1-Hit Wonders” on Friday Night just missed out on the Promotion of the Day. They did compile a pretty good list of 1-hitters and were kind enough to send them along. Enjoy:

One Hit Wonder Songs:

1. “Who Let the Dogs Out” –Baha Men
2. “The Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats
3. “Groove is in the Heart” –Deee-Lite
4. “Mmm..mmm…mmm…mmm”- Crash Test Dummies
5. “It’s Raining Men”- The Weather Girls
6. “Video Killed the Radio Star” – Buggles
7. “Turning Japanese” – The Vapors
8. “Mambo No. 5” – Lou Bega
9. “My Sharona” – The Knack
10. “Louie, Louie” – The Kingsmen
11. “The Final Countdown” – Europe
12. “How Bizarre” – OMC
13. “Just A Friend” – Biz Markie
14. “Ice Ice Baby” – Vanilla Ice
15. “And I Ran” – Flock of Seagulls
16. “Cars” – Gary Numan
17. “Funkytown” – Lipps, Inc.
18. “Whip It” – Devo
19. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell
20. “Jump Jump” – Kris Kross
21. “What Is Love” – Haddaway
22. “Come on Eileen” – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
23. “I Wanna Be Rich” – Calloway
24-30.The Kazaam Soundtrack
31. “Achy Breaky Heart” – Billy Ray Cyrus
32. “Life is a Highway” – Tom Cochrane
33. “I’m Too Sexy” – Right Said Fred
34. “Jump Around” – House of Pain
35. “Whoomp There it is” – Tag Team
36. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Nicki French
37. “Breakfast at Tiffanys” – Deep Blue Something
38. “Cotton-Eyed Joe” – Rednex
39. “I Wish” – Skee-Lo
40. “Macarena” – Los Del Rio
41. “Absolutely” – Nine Days
42. “Back Here” – BBMak
43. “Days Go By” – Dirty Vegas
44. “Heaven” DJ Sammy
45. “All the Things She Said” t.AT.u
46. “Girls of Summer” – LFO
47. “Why Can’t I” – Liz Phair
48. “The Reason” – Hoobastank
49. “Everytime We Touch” – Cascada
50. “Bad Day” – Daniel Powder


Salute to One-Hit Wonder Celebrities, Athletes, etc.

Ronald Murray, Seattle Sonics
Richard Hatch from Survivor
William Hung from American Idol
Ryan Leaf
Doug Williams from Washington Redskins
Brian Bosworth
Timmy Smith, all-time Super Bowl rushing record then disappears
2007 1-win Miami Dolphins
Mark FidrychGeorge Mason Patriots

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kane County and Jamestown receive their due

There has been an error in The Dugout. Several clubs held some pretty good promotions over the past couple of weeks. They weren’t the Promotion of the Day, but they still deserved notice.

Kane County was kind enough to send this photo of its attempt to break the world’s record for the largest pillow fight. The Cougars gave away 1,000 pillows in an attempt to get 4,000 fans on the field to fight. Though they didn’t quite reach their goal – 3,872 took the field to batter each other with sleep aids – they did break the existing record by more than 100 people.

Of course the folks at Guinness still have to ratify the record, but it appears the Cougars have a sufficient amount of photos and video to back up their claim.

Kane County actually tried to break this record last season, but came up about 600 participants short. Congrats to the Cougars for sticking with the idea and pulling it off. It’s a record that should stand – at least until next season.

Jammin’ Jammers: Jamestown had two great promos last week, but both happened to land on a day where some other club offered something a little more brilliant. Still, the Jammers deserve their props.

Lancaster’s Salute to the Whoopie Pie barely edged Jamestown’s Night of 42 Promotions last Wednesday. The Jammers posted 42 wins in their best season ever. To celebrate the number, the Jammers’ staff came up with a promotion for each win. Below is a list of the promos.

Two nights later the Jammers saluted 1-Hit Wonders, but more on that in the next entry. For now enjoy the 42 promos.

1. Answer some fun and exciting trivia and win a small prize that will last forever!
2. Through out the game so you do not forget the stats or your favorite players, we will be giving away colorful post-it notes!!!
3. Free Bubba Hugs (mascot)
4. 42 people will Learn the Robot Dance with Bubba!
5. Receive 100 of this special prize and you will have a $1.00 aka Penny Giveaway!
6. Number 1 music hits from around the world on the PA all night long
7. Meet the wonderful Jamestown Jammers staff of 2008!!!
8. Attempt to start the largest Wave in Chautauqua County history
9. Join in while we do the Macarena
10. Bull-pen player name game
11. You have been wondering? Ask the GM one question of your choice!
12. Salute to the chia pet
13. Watch your Jamestown Jammers interns take on one another in the Intern Olympics
14. 42 bugle calls
15. 15% of a non-sale item in the Gift Shop
16. Salute to the Yodel
17. Jammers Card set toss into crowd
18. Electric Slide on the field
19. Look out for flying peanuts! Catch them if you can!
20. Wrestling theme music
21. Tribute to 42nd President Bill Clinton
22. Pay tribute to your hometown girl by doing I Love Lucy impressions!
23. J-E-L-L-O toss on-field
24. Kids bring your muscles to join in on a tug of war challenge
25. Test your running skills by running in backwards clothes
26. Anyone who throws 42 at Speed Pitch wins a prize!
27. Water balloon toss
28. Salute to our manager, Darin Everson
29. Salute to baseball caps
30. Meet the grounds crew
31. Meet outfielder Ray White
32. Moment of silence for our troops
33. Come to the game with your blue tooth and win a small prize
34. Salute to the Eggplant
35. Free high fives
36. Spend a fun filled inning with Bubba!
37. Jr. PA Announcers
38. Free T-shirt toss
39. Salute to Boy Bands
40. Salute to the 42nd state, Washington
41. Free stadium tours

42. Free pocket schedules

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The passing of Buck Kinnaird

The normal press box jocularity and (somewhat) witty banter ended abruptly during last night’s game at Roger Dean Stadium when the staff learned of the passing of Buck Kinnaird.

Buck was a fixture at the ballpark, operating the scoreboard and acting as its ambassador since RDS opened more than 11 years ago. Before that he was one of the most recognizable sports personalities in Palm Beach County. A longtime sportscaster for the local NBC affiliate, at one time Buck was also the spring training public address announcer for the New York Yankees. He died in his home of heart problems.

It didn’t take any effort to like Buck. He always seemed to be in a good mood, smiling even when criticizing decisions or policies worthy of criticism. Upon meeting a new person, Buck immediately considered them a friend.

His love of sport – particularly baseball – was never challenged. Buck's father owned part of a minor league team, the Clarksburg Generals. When the Cardinals moved their High A team to Jupiter to share RDS with the Jupiter Hammerheads, Buck attended all 140 games at RDS.

There are many at RDS who were lucky enough to know Buck far longer than I did. What was truly amazing was that even in his 80s, Buck got along just as well with the 20-something interns as he did with the older media, press box workers and baseball men. The Grandfather of Roger Dean Stadium treated all warmly and with respect. He had a story for every occasion.

Buck’s memorial service will be held at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday at 10 a.m. RDS would do well to rename its press box Buck’s Box at that time.


I’m not a believer in ghosts, but if they do exist, RDS would be graced to have Buck back in the ballpark – if only for a few innings.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Yankee Stadium wrecking ball, meet racing sushi


Brockton claimed today’s Promotion of the Day honors on MinorLeagueDugout.com for its unique remembrance of Yankee Stadium. For those who missed it here’s the write-up as it appeared on the site:








Yankee Stadium Wrecking Ball Giveaway – Brockton Rox

Saturday, August 2, 2008
Not everyone is getting all misty over Yankee Stadium’s last
season. Some, like the folks in Brockton (Mass.), can’t wait. In anticipation of
the stadium’s razing, the Can-Am League’s Rox are giving away miniature replicas
of the old ballpark that features a crane parked in the infield swinging a
wrecking ball. Will more than 50 percent of those giveaways make it home
intact?

There isn’t room allotted on the site for photos that accompany the Promo of the Day, but there is plenty of room here. As you probably already guessed, that top photo is a picture of the giveaway, courtesy of Bailey in Brockton.

Also heard from a friend north of the boarder, where they are apparently turning Japanese. Instead of racing sausages, presidents or even a pork roll, egg and cheese, Vancouver has chosen to race raw fish.

There is apparently a growing population of Japanese in Vancouver and they appreciate a race between Mr. Kappa Maki, Ms. BC Roll and Chef Wasabi. The running gag is that Chef Wasabi never wins, and you can see why in the video below.















Friday, August 01, 2008

Brandon Moss, friend of The Dugout, becomes a Pirate

Sure, Boston traded Manny for being Manny and the White Sox got older by adding Junior. Brandon Moss, however, is the player involved in yesterday’s deadline deals that means the most to The Dugout.

Moss spent most of 2004, his third year as a professional, with the Augusta GreenJackets. Prior to one of their games that summer, Moss and then teammate Brett Bonvechio, who began this season with Camden of the Atlantic League, sat on the bleachers with The Dugout and offered the following story, which ended being published in The Funniest Thing I’ve Ever Seen: More than 100 crazy stories from minor league baseball.

Enjoy.

Jamming Up Jammer
Playing for the Augusta GreenJackets is almost a home-field
advantage for outfielder Brandon Moss. The 20-year old grew up in
Monroe, Georgia, about an hour and a half drive from Augusta.
Moss compares his teammates to family: “It’s like having 25
brothers all together. Everybody makes fun of everyone.”
He also experiences the comfort of having his biological family and
hometown friends visit and watch him play.

For a high school draftee especially, playing close to home makes
for a smoother transition into professional baseball. Moss is able to
concentrate more on baseball because he is operating in familiar
surroundings.

As much as Moss enjoys playing close to home, he actually prefers
being on the road.

“We don’t have to spend our own money – we get meal money,”
Moss said. “I like playing in different parks. I like sleeping in hotels
better than our apartment because [hotels] get cable for free.”

Moss also looks forward to seeing the fans in different baseball
towns and especially likes getting booed by them. He’s interested to
hear original criticisms because, he says, it makes him laugh.

One sure fire way to incite a home crowd is to take on the home
team’s mascot. That’s what Moss did one night while playing against
the Jamestown Jammers of the New York/Penn League.

Brandon Moss: Remember when Randal Simon hit that
[Milwaukee Brewer’s sausage] mascot last year? All that
controversy was going on.

During the fifth inning the mascot always ran around the bases.
[The mascot] was a dog, because they are the Jammers and they
had a dog for some reason. I don’t understand why.

He was running around the bases and I tackled him on the
ground and started hitting him and all that stuff. It was great. The
general manager for the other team and I were the only one’s who
knew [what was going on]. I wasn’t supposed to be hitting him, but I
was trying to get the crowd to go wild. I got in a lot of trouble with
the fans on that one. The whole time they thought I was just doing it
to be a showboat, but I wasn’t. I was told to do it.