When the independent South Coast League drew 5,033 fans to Macon for the league opener, it was pretty surprising. Short of the Georgia football team deciding to leave Athens to play in Macon, nothing draws 5,000 fans in Macon. And the opening weekend drew an impressive average of 3,600 fans a night for three games. The league also reported impressive openings in Charlotte County (Fla.) with a three-game draw of more than 2,600 fans per night and an average of more than 1,700 in Anderson, S.C. [...] Continue Reading »
Stories Making Headlines Around Baseball
• International League team owners approve the sale of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to a private ownership group headed by Mandalay and the Yankeesâ€”the first of three steps to complete the sale. Two Lackawanna County board members called for a reconsideration of the purchase after the recent Harrisburg sale, which was completed for just $250,000 more than the proposed deal.
• Trenton draws a team-record 9,134 spectators for Clemens’ appearance last night. Meanwhile, a pair of former players in attendance could recollect what it’s like to face The Rocket and the national media was out in force for the event.
Stories Making Headlines Around the Minors
• Acquiring Triple-A Portland is a dream come true for 34-year-old Merritt Paulson, son of U.S. treasury secretary Henry Paulson and the new majority owner and general manager of the Beavers.
“I have long had the goal of owning and operating a sports franchise,” Paulson said in a press conference the day after news of the surprising purchase made headlinesâ€”Paulson’s ownership group is Portland’s third owner in six years.
Meanwhile, Paulson plans to make his first community service appearance today when he joins 10 players from a local minor league soccer team included in the purchase as they deliver soccer balls to a Portland-area elementary school.
• The day Brad Taylor told the Biz Blog he was hoping for has finally arrived: Roger Clemens will be gracing the mound at Mercer County Waterfront Ballpark tonight against Portland and the Trenton GM is pulling out all the stops. Taylor is doubling the food at concession stands, bulking up security and adding a parking shuttle for the event. The folks up in Scranton may be pulling for the Sea Dogs tonightâ€”a strong showing by Clemens may send him straight to the majors without a Triple-A appearance.
The New York media has ramped up its coverage for Clemens’ second outing of the season. Kevin Kernan of the New York Post writes that while pitching in Trenton is great, Clemens needs to reach the big leagues as soon as possible to wake the Yankees out of their mid-spring slumber. One Thunder fan reports being offered $300 for his front-row seat; he turned down the cash to judge Clemens himself. [...] Continue Reading »
The West Virginia Power certainly are not re-inventing the wheel with its promotional philosophy of keeping things as wacky as possible at the ballpark, but it has become one of the more entertaining and creative clubs in the game.
The latest proof is coming this Thursday when the low Class A Power host “the world’s largest tighty whitey race.” The event, with prizes still to be determined for the winner, will feature a race with teams of three inside size 100 briefs (which may be better known as tighty whities to some). The same night the Power will try to find “the world’s fastest fat guy” with a race of 300-pound plus fans from center field to a foul line. [...] Continue Reading »
Stories Making Headlines Around the Minors
• It seems unusual that the sale of an affiliated team could come as a complete surpriseâ€”news of Harrisburg’s recent sale had been making headlines for monthsâ€”but there had been no reports of Triple-A Portland being on the market before this morning. The franchise was sold for the second time in two years when an ownership group led by Merritt Paulson, son of U.S. treasury secretary Henry Paulson, bought both the Beavers and the local minor league soccer team from developer Abe Alizadeh and the Portland Baseball Investment Group.
Terms of the deal were not released and the purchase still needs to be approved by the Pacific Coast League and Minor League Baseball. The Sacramento Business Journal estimates that previous sale of the team in 2005 was for between $7 million and $12 million.
It will be interesting to see how much the team appreciated in the short period of time. Portland appears to be a market on the rise, with attendance improving by 40,000 from 2005 to 2006.
• Liberty Media makes its first personnel move since purchasing the Braves from Time Warner, naming Greg Heller vice president and general counsel. Heller has been the assistant team counsel for the Braves since 2000 in addition to serving in a dual role as senior counsel for Turner Sports and Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (“TBS”). [...] Continue Reading »
Stories Making Headlines Around The Minors
• The Vero Beach Devil Rays have yet to catch on to the Dodgers’ tradition. Fans don’t seem to be welcoming the new affiliate at the gate.
• The Scranton Times Tribune follows up on an earlier report questioning why Lackwanna County isn’t getting more for their Triple-A team in a pending deal with Mandalay and the Yankees.
• It’s Dollar Night tonight in Syracuse, with everything from tickets to hot dogs costing just 60 cents, and the Chiefs are hoping the promotion will provide a lift to sagging attendance figures. [...] Continue Reading »
A quick update on Colorado Springs senior vice president of marketing Rai Henniger, who is in serious condition in a Denver hospital after being injured May 12 when a pyrotechnics display he was setting up prior to a game exploded.
The SkySox sent out a release today with information regarding a fund for Henniger’s family to help offset medical and cost-of-living expenses.
Below are a few paragraphs from the release [...] Continue Reading »
Come On Down . . .
For the Price Is Right Night at Triple-A Fresno.
On June 2, the Grizzlies will honor Bob Barker’s impending farewellâ€”the beloved game show host is stepping down after 35 years. The first 2,000 fans will receive a Bob Parker bobbleheadâ€”in which the team mascot, Parker, will be dressed in a Barker-style outfit replete with a microphoneâ€”and all spectators will be given nametags to don in hopes of being asked to “Come on Down” and participate in on-field pricing games between innings. The grand prize: a seven-day cruise.
Grizzlies players will wear Price Is Right themed jerseysâ€”no Barker Beauties, I imagineâ€”which will be auctioned off in a silent auction during the game.
Stories Making Headline Around the Minor . . .
• Renovations on Double-A Connecticut’s Dodd Stadium are put on hold after the City of Norwich claims the team is late on several payments, including $350,000 in back rent. To make matters worse, the Defenders are having a tough time drawing fans, averaging just 1,868 through 16 games.
• Triple-A Harrisburg’s recent sale for $13.25 million has some wondering why Lackawanna County is not asking more than $13-$16 million in a proposed sale of Triple-A Scranton to SWB Yankees LLCâ€”a partnership between Mandalay Baseball Properties and the New York Yankees.
• I missed this one yesterday: The Charlotte City Council approved a land swap deal to build a new baseball stadium for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights.
• Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Thomas is thankful that the Devil Rays trip to Disney was a brief oneâ€”and in the same column he calls out Sentinel writer Mike Bianchi for calling the three-game series against the Rangers a hit. Thomas says the Devil Rays “cannot be saved” and that the team’s players are “pathetic.”
So much for having young talent.
Meanwhile, Marc Topkin blogs that the D-Rays are calling the Disney experiment a successful trip. [...] Continue Reading »
One game does not a season make, but the South Coast League has reason to be thrilled after its league opener in Macon on Thursday night.
Fans had to be turned away at the gate as the Macon Music had a sellout for their 5-3 win over the Bradenton Juice in the season opener for the South Coast League. The new independent league is trying to succeed where several other leagues have failed–bringing independent baseball to the Southeast. The Music drew 5,033 fans to the 4,000-seat Luther Williams Field. For fledgling independent leagues, you can’t ensure long-term success on opening night, but you can prove that your league is going to fail–the South Coast League passed it’s first test with an A. [...] Continue Reading »
TP Night at Knights Stadium
There are so many potential puns with this oneâ€”after all, does bathroom humor ever get old? Anyway, we’ll just say Charlotte wiped away the competition to win our daily promo honors.
The Triple-A Charlotte Knights are backing rock star Sheryl Crow’s recent call to minimize unnecessary toilet paper usage (apparently she can’t spare a square).
Fans will receive $1 off admission to a May 24 tilt against Ottawa for bringing a roll of TP to the ballpark, and it will be donated to a local shelter. Restroom attendants will be on hand to encourage toilet paper management, toilet paper trivia is scheduled between innings (apparently unused books are often turned into toilet paper; good thing this is a blog), and only music from Lance Armstrong’s ex-girlfriend will be played over the loudspeakers.
Remember to send any Promotion of the Day submissions here.
The SkySox are in a state of shock following the tragic accident involving longtime front office executive Rai Henniger, who was injured on May 12 while setting up a fireworks display before a Pacific Coast League game against Nashville.
Henniger, the team’s executive vice president of marketing, handles the team’s on-field promotions and was setting up a fireworks display underneath a scoreboardâ€”where pyrotechnics are also launched following the national anthem and home runsâ€”when an explosion occurred. He was rushed to a local hospital in Colorado Springs before being airlifted to Denver. Team spokesman Mike Hobson said Henniger sustained severe facial injuries, though his condition was been improved from critical to serious.
Henniger has been with Colorado Springs for 17 years and was described by Hobson as the heart and soul of the team.
“He is a wonderful person and very outgoing and enthusiastic, and a pleasure to be around and work with,” Hobson said. “He does so much for this organization. He does the on-field promotions and works with our sponsors and is one of our top salespeople. He’s a fixture in the community and on the ball field.” [...] Continue Reading »
Stories Making Headlines Around the Minors . . .
We’ve been up to our elbows in pre-draft coverage the past two days at Baseball America but we’re back to business as usual here at the biz blog, with plenty of news to update.
• Harrisburg sells Senators to an Illinois partnership led by Michael Reinsdorf, son of of White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, for $13.25 million and includes a provision to keep the team in town for 29 years.
• Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed turned a nice profit on the sale.
• Time Warner’s sale of the Braves to Liberty Media is finally complete and the transaction values the team at $450 million.
ST.PAUL–When you walk into the St. Paul Saints’ Midway Stadium, you know youâ€™re going to be in for a unique experience. It’s been the team’s trademark for 15 seasons, and any doubts are quickly erased by the large number of tailgaters who show up an hour or more before the game.
For my first chance to see a Saints game, I expected some zany promotions. I knew there would be a ball-toting pig (Garrison Squealor) and a nun giving massages.
But I never expected “Challenge A Grizzly Bear”. [...] Continue Reading »
Usually this space will be designated for a minor league club, but I thought the Blue Jays should get credit for a creative promotion worthy of the minors.
Perhaps B.J. Ryan’s $47 million shoulder going under the knife was the final straw, as the team is asking fans to help in their road to recovery with “Jays Anatomy Night” on Wednesday against the Orioles.
The spoof on the hit ABC television series, a favorite of BA college guru Aaron Fitt, asks fans to bring first aid supplies to the ballpark as a symbolic gesture “to help stop the bleeding”–the team’s DL includes Roy Halladay, Victor Zambrano, Gustavo Chacin and Reed Johnson.
The first 5,000 fans to make a donation will receive a complimentary Blue Jays baseball cap. Donations will go to the Canadian Red Cross.
Stories Making Headlines Around the Minors . . .
• Triple-A Colorado Springs senior vice president Rai Henniger was in critical condition late Saturday after an explosion while he was preparing a fireworks display for an afternoon game. According to team officials and the Colorado Springs Fire Department, Henniger was behind the scoreboard around 3 p.m., preparing the small fireworks display that is launched when home runs are hit or the team wins. Employees heard an explosion and found Henniger with severe injuries.
• After getting approval by the local school board on a land swap, the Charlotte City Council will provide the decisive vote on a project that would include a new stadium in uptown Charlotte.
• Ballpark negotiations are also heating up in Reno. The Washoe County Board of Commissioners will discuss Tuesday a recommendation to enter into a pre-development and finance agreement with an investment group to build a baseball stadium. [...] Continue Reading »
A look at some stories making headlines around the minors.
The waiting list for partial- and season-ticket plans for low Class A Dayton (Midwest) has grown to over 6,000. The team is trying different ways to keep in touch with its fan base hoping to land a seat in Fifth Third Field.
High Class A Brevard County (Florida State) fired media relations director Scott Pinner for making “representations in the community about sponsorship agreements that were disingenuous.” [...] Continue Reading »
What better way to launch the Baseball America Business Blog than with The Rocket and the impact of his impending tour of Yankees minor league affiliates?
The financial implications of Clemens’ return go beyond the prorated one-year, $28 million deal the 44-year-old signed last week–which some estimate will pay him roughly $1 million per start. Folks at the Yankees affiliates are holding their breath that Clemens’ road back to the majors will go through their ballparks–a guaranteed gate-buster with no promotions necessary.
“We’ll just sell a billion tickets,” Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre general manager Jeremy Ruby said. “We’re crossing our fingers and hoping it happens.”
Yankees’ brass have yet to set a timetable for Clemens’ tour–both Ruby and Double-A Trenton GM Brad Taylor have heard nothing on a potential minor league schedule for the seven-time Cy Young winner. [...] Continue Reading »
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