Pretty good haul for two days:
Happy Minor League Baseball Opening Day! I don’t know which I love better: MLB Opening Day or MiLB Opening Day. Maybe it’s possible to love them both the same.
A full schedule of all teams playing today can be found at MiLB.com. Unfortunately, my beloved Baysox will be in Akron today – and the weather reports have not been terribly positive. Nonetheless, I’ll be watching the game on MiLB.TV. (How nice of the O’s to take the day off in honor of MiLB Opening Day so I don’t have to have two TVs going at once!)
This season, there will be many baseball-sociological adventures, including the annual Bobble Quest, as well as sociological analyses of both MiLB and MLB. So stay tuned!
In the meantime, here is a list of this season’s key dates from MiLB.com:
April 6: Minor League Baseball Opening Day for full-season leagues
May 31: 22nd Annual Rickwood Classic, Birmingham, Alabama
June 12-14: First-Year Player Draft
June 15: Pioneer League season begins
June 17: Florida State League All-Star Game, Lakeland, Florida
June 19: New York-Penn League and Northwest League seasons begin
California League All-Star Game, Visalia, California
Carolina League All-Star Game, Salem, Virginia
Midwest League All-Star Game, Midland, Michigan
South Atlantic League All-Star Game, Columbia, South Carolina
Southern League All-Star Game, Pensacola, Florida
June 22: Appalachian League season begins
June 26: Gulf Coast League season begins
June 27: Texas League All-Star Game, Frisco, Texas
July 2: International free agent signing period begins
July 9: Futures Game, Miami
July 15: Deadline for signing 2017 draftees
Aug. 1: Northwest/Pioneer League All-Star Game, Hillsboro, Oregon
Aug. 15: New York-Penn League All-Star Game, Troy, New York
Sept. 19: Triple-A National Championship Game, Moosic, Pennsylvania
Happy 2017 Baseball Season!
Opening Day is in THREE days!!!! Michael Taylor is ready, are you?
I need a pinch hitter for Lucas Giolito Bobblehead Night at the Potomac Nationals, since I’ll be out of town. So, I’ve enlisted the help of my cousin. I figure if I prepare him early, he’ll be ready to come off the bench and get me the coveted bobble. Besides, he has been on several bobblehead and gnome missions before. He’s ready to go out on his own. I’m sure he’ll hit a home run.
Naturally, he needs to know the important details of how to get in the special Season Ticket holder line in order to be one of the lucky 1,500 to get the Giolito Bobble. At the beginning of the season, I purchased the special ticket pack so that I would have the ability to get into the stadium early, potentially ensuring my success at obtaining the elusive P-Nats bobbleheads. He needs to know exactly where to stand and exactly when to get there. The details of the operation are critical. It must be executed according to plan. Nothing can go wrong. We know what happens when things go wrong.
Unfortunately, I did not realize how complicated it sounded until it put it in text message form:
Text #1: You need to get there early. Like 45 min to an hour before. Take someone who can stand outside in the sun that long.
Text #2: The game is at 6:35. Gates open at 5:05. You’ll have my passes to get in 15 min early – so that’s 4:50. Need to be in line by maybe 4:15 at the latest.
Text #3: Unless it’s a double header, because of a rainout or something. Then the timeline will change.
Text #4: Have cold water handy when you stand in line. The line forms on the right hand side of that baseball field in front of the stadium – so take the second path, not the one that leads straight to the gate. Maybe I need to send a map so that makes sense.
Response: Ok. I will need instructions based on double header or not.
Text #5: LOL. Yeah. I’ll make a map.
Yeah. I’m not sure I’d understand those directions even with the map. It’s not that I doubt my cousin’s abilities. I doubt my ability to write decent instructions.
Giolito bobblehead night isn’t until August 6. We’ll have time to prepare. Maybe we can do a dry run. Hopefully, all will go as planned.
Minor league baseball teams compete with a plethora of other entertainment options, not the least of which is Major League Baseball. MLB makes it money from a variety of sources, including TV deals, ticket sales, and official team merch. MiLB teams don’t have the same sources of income, so ticket sales – and the corresponding concession sales – are a HUGE part of their profits. Thus, minor league baseball teams often find unique ways to get people to the ballpark.
Perhaps one of the most ingenious ways of selling tickets is to tie them to bobblehead giveaway days. For example, the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League is offering a Bobble Head Plan for 2016, which includes tickets to five Bluefish games “where only those who purchase the plan will receive a limited edition bobble head at each game.” (Bobbles to be named later.) Plus, with every plan purchased you can select “one of three great prizes,” one of which is a Pete Rose bobblehead. Not bad if you live in Connecticut!
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers also have a 2016 Bobblehead Package, for which they state, “By purchasing this package, fans will guarantee themselves a bobblehead and a ticket for all eleven games.” The 11 “guaranteed” bobbles include: team mascot, Fang; Jake Gatewood, Khris Davis, Orlando Arcia, and David Ortiz. It’s a little unclear how this guarantee will work out, but sounds like deal to me!
The Potomac Nationals have a pretty sweet deal themselves: with any of their season ticket plans or ticket packages, you get an “exclusive” season ticket holder bobblehead (although they don’t specify who that might be). You also get early entry into the stadium (15 minutes) for the games you have game plan tickets for, including giveaway days. This is a crucial benefit because those 15 extra minutes can make or break your ability to claim a bobblehead – especially when they’re only giving out a thousand or so. The P-Nats haven’t announced their bobblehead giveaways yet, but I’m considering a 5-game plan for the benefits alone! (In fact, through January 29, you can vote for this year’s Fan’s choice bobble giveaway – I’m voting every day for Gio and Stitch!)
The Frederick Keys also have a great bobblehead deal this year. They are giving away the coveted “Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop Exclusive High Five Double Bobblehead” with any ticket plan, including the 10-ticket reserved seat flex pack. You don’t have to be one of the first in line for a limited giveaway – you just have to send them your money and voila! the bobble is yours! Awesome! I’ll be picking up my double bobble at the first game I attend there this year.
My favorite bobblehead deal comes from the Bowie Baysox. Every year for the past several years they’ve offered a free bobblehead with a season ticket plan or undated ticket pack. I’ve gotten both Jake Arrieta and Manny Machado this way. This year, they offered Jonathan Schoop, who is now proudly displayed in my bobblehead cabinet.
Of course, Major League Baseball tends to follow MiLB when it comes to promotions. A few teams, including the Dodgers and Cardinals, are advertising mini plans that include dates where bobbleheads will be given out. They don’t, however, include any guarantee that you won’t have to get to the stadium 3 hours early to stand in line to be one of the lucky 25,000 who actually get the bobblehead. Maybe they’ll figure out how to do that for next year…
As the minor league season winds down, it’s time to update you on the latest in minor league theme jerseys. A few weeks ago, milb.com held it’s first-ever “Jersey Joust” competition. Folks could go online and vote for their favorite jersey. Pictures of all 124 jerseys in the contest are on the website.
And the winner was… the Potomac Nationals Lando Clarissian jersey! According to the P-Nats’ general manager, Josh Olerud (as quoted on milb.com): “‘When our players got it, some of them are so young that they didn’t even know who the character or actor was. Once they did a little research, they thought it was the coolest thing ever.'”
I agree the Lando jerseys are pretty cool. But last night, another team wore even cooler jerseys: the Aberdeen Ironbirds donned Cal Ripken 2131 jerseys in honor of the 20th anniversary of Cal’s iron man streak. Of course, it was only fitting since the team is owned by Cal, they are located in Cal’s home town, and they play in Ripken Stadium.
Sorry, Billy Dee Williams, but Cal is way cooler!