Youppi! Makes History


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Youppi! (Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia)

On August 23, 1989, the Montreal Expos’ mascot, Youppi!, became the first MLB mascot to be ejected from a game. In the 11th inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Youppi! leapt on top of the visiting team’s dugout, landing noisily and annoying Tommy Lasorda. Lasorda complained to the umpires who ejected Youppi!

Youppi! (whose name is French for “yippee!”) was allowed to return to the game later, but was confined to the home team dugout. The Expos eventually lost the game 1-0 in the 22nd inning.

Youppi’s MLB career came to an end when the team relocated to Washington, DC, for the 2005 season. However, Youppi! continued his career with Montreal Canadiens where he has been the mascot since 2005. Youppi! is the only mascot to sign with two teams in different major sports leagues.

~ baseballrebecca

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Films on Friday: Baseball Fan, Astronaut


Earlier this week, the Baltimore Orioles posted this video of O’s fan and astronaut, Ricky Arnold, chatting with Buck Showalter and some of the Orioles’ players from outer space:

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

Mobile BayBears’ Second-to-Last Season


DSCN7583In November 2017, it was announced that the Mobile BayBears had been sold to BallCorps LLC. Upon completion of the sale, the CEO of BallCorps stated, “We are thrilled to start a new chapter with this team today. The BayBears have had a great relationship with the City of Mobile and its fans for over 20 years. We want to build on that history and make this team as successful as possible. We are excited about what is next. The Southern League and Minor League Baseball have granted us exploration rights to investigate north Alabama, which is an exciting market, but the organization is still considering all options at this point, including the team remaining in Mobile.” In February of this year, it was confirmed that the BayBears would be moving to Madison, Alabama, which is right next door to Huntsville, Alabama, former home of the Huntsville Stars. When it was confirmed that the team would remain in Mobile through the 2019 season, I knew I had to visit before it was too late.

DSCN7588According to MiLB.com, in 2017 the BayBears averaged only 1,498 spectators per game, the lowest in the Southern League, and well behind the league leader in attendance, the Birmingham Barons who drew 5,935 fans that year. The league average was 4,835. Five years earlier, the BayBears drew the third lowest attendance at 2,112 people per game, with Jackson and Huntsville behind them with 2,052 and 1,973 average attendance, respectively. In 2007, Mobile was drawing 1,000 more fans per game than Huntsville with 3,466 average attendance, yet still had the third lowest attendance in the league.

Just last year I was lamenting the fact that Huntsville lost its minor league team after the 2014 season when the team moved to Biloxi, Mississippi. So why the move back? According to Ballpark Digest, the City of Madison is constructing a multi-use venue and ballpark. The site will include a hotel overlooking center field. A feasibility study conducted by the city estimates attendance of 4,700 people per game and net income of $2 million in the first year.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this over the next several years. Several questions still remain including, what will become of Hank Aaron’s childhood home, which is currently on the grounds of the BayBear’s Hank Aaron Stadium, and will the new team be called the Trash Pandas?

~ baseballrebecca

Losing is Exhausting


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Washington Nationals’ Friday night giveaway: Anthony Rendon bobblehead

I’m tired today and, honestly, couldn’t decide what to write about for today’s post. So, I decided to address why I’m so tired: my teams were kinda lousy over the weekend. Lately I’ve been keeping an eye on four teams: the O’s, Nats, Yankees, and Dodgers. Out of 12 games these teams played, they lost 8 games. The opposing teams scored 61 runs to the 32 my teams scored.

Its exhausting losing that much. Of all the teams I watched – either in person or on TV – only the Nats managed to win 2 of their 3 games – and that was only after we had the disappointment of a non-rain postponement on Friday.

At least I got my bobblehead.

~ baseballrebecca

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Patriotism at the Park


DSCN6251If you’re still in that 4th of July mood, never fear. There is more patriotism waiting for you at your local baseball park. Throughout the season, many teams have Military Appreciation Nights and special events to honor veterans and members of the various branches of the U.S. military. Such events often include demonstrations by military drill teams and other groups, and almost always include a member of the military singing the national anthem.

Check out the schedule below for the list of Military Appreciation Nights scheduled for July through September. This list includes all dates scheduled for Major League teams and a selection of Minor League teams as well.

Happy 5th of July!

~ baseballrebecca

Date Event Team
3-Jul Military Appreciation Night A’s
3-Jul Navy Appreciation Night Rangers
4-Jul Salute to Veterans Phillies
4-Jul Air Force Appreciation Night Rangers
8-Jul Armed Forces Appreciation Day Twins
14-Jul Military Appreciation Day White Sox
15-Jul Military Appreciation Day Rockies
28-Jul Military Appreciation Night Richmond
29-Jul U.S. Army & Army National Guard Appreciation Day Padres
31-Jul U.S. Marine Corps Day Nationals
2-Aug Navy Day White Sox
4-Aug U.S. Coast Guard Day Nationals
9-Aug Military Appreciation Night Aberdeen
15-Aug Military Appreciation Night Cardinals
16-Aug Coast Guard Appreciation Night Rangers
18-Aug Military Appreciation Night Trenton
2-Sep U.S. Air Force & Air National Guard Appreciation Day Padres
9-Sep Military Appreciation Day White Sox
11-Sep Armed Forces Night Royals
20-Sep U.S. Air Force Day Nationals
30-Sep Salute to Veterans Padres
Mondays Military Monday Norfolk

Cowboys and Monkeys and Baseball (Oh My!)


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Capuchin Monkey (photograph courtesy of Wikipedia)

I’d never been to a game where the scheduled entertainment was the “Cowboy Monkey Rodeo,” so I never much thought about it. However, as we drove up to the Frederick Keys’ stadium on Friday night, all of a sudden it became an important issue. Outside the stadium was a small group of protesters, At first we weren’t sure what the people with the signs outside the stadium were doing. I thought maybe it was just folks stirring up support for local politicians ahead of the primary election to be held in a few weeks. But as we walked through the parking lot and approached the stadium, I realized what the protest was all about: the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo was at the stadium over the weekend, and animal rights activists weren’t happy about it. Similar protests have been aimed at minor league baseball teams in Lancaster, PA; York, PA; Harrisburg, PA; Kalamazoo, MI; and Wilmington, DE.

The Cowboy Monkey Rodeo consists of capuchin monkeys dressed as cowboys riding on dogs and herding sheep. To be honest, it was just weird. Nonetheless, the crowd seemed more excited about this spectacle than the actual game, and lots of folks were taking pictures and filming it with their cell phones. But I just felt uncomfortable. I mean, monkeys dressed as cowboys riding on dogs herding sheep just isn’t a naturally occurring phenomena. The outfit alone would be humiliating enough.

But even worse, according to organizations like the Human Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the show is abusive to the monkeys. A Humane Society fact sheet on “Cowboy Monkey” acts states that the monkeys are “tethered to a saddle on the back of border collies who run at high speeds around a field herding sheep. The dogs can reach speeds of up 30 m.p.h. and abruptly stop, start, turn, lie down, and stand up, causing the monkey to be violently jerked forwards and backwards and slide wildly from side to side.”

Earlier this year, the Hartford Yard Goats cancelled plans to host the monkey rodeo after being contacted by the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance and other organizations, including the Connecticut-based Our Companions Animal Rescue. The Yard Goats weren’t the first team to do so. In 2013, the Lexington Legends cancelled the act because the proper permits for the monkeys to enter the state of Kentucky were not obtained. The Humane Society of the United States also had sent Legends chief operating officer an email asking the team to reconsider the promotion. Once the team was made aware of concerns surrounding the event, the director of marketing said they would likely not schedule the act in the future. Similarly, the York Revolution decided to discontinue the event in 2017.

In August 2016, Minor League Baseball issued the following statement: “Minor League Baseball neither supports nor encourages the practice of using animal acts of any kind, especially animal acts for which the Humane Society has expressed serious concerns, to entertain our great fans. We encourage clubs to ensure that the promotions they host do not endanger the health or safety of any animal, but respect the rights of our teams to make decisions regarding their promotional events at the local level.” Nonetheless, teams like the Frederick Keys and Wilmington Blue Rocks continue to schedule the act, noting that it draws a big crowd and is one of the most popular promotions they have.

A recent article condemning the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo on NPR.com quoted Erika Fleury, program director of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance as saying: “Monkey rodeos are nothing more than star-spangled animal abuse. What is most cruel is the force necessary to make the rodeos possible. Monkeys are normally inquisitive and independent. It is highly unnatural for them to be dressed in clothes and strapped to the back of another animal, and for what? For a few minutes of base ‘entertainment’? These monkeys have no choice but to literally go along for the terrifying ride.”

Have you seen the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo? What do you think?

~ baseballrebecca

Films on Friday: Joe Maddon and the Santa Clara Padres


In doing research on the Lake Elsinore Storm and the Santa Clara Padres, I stumbled upon a video of a 2016 NLDS post-game interview with Joe Maddon where he was asked about his time with the Santa Clara Padres:

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca