The Fresno Grizzlies are taking an unusual tactic to attract fans to the ballpark for Opening Day this weekend: blackmail.
If the Fresno followers ever want to again see Parker, the beloved orange-and-green bear-like creature that has become a staple a Chukchansi Park, then they’d better come up out in force on Friday night. Or something like that.
As part of a strategy to make Parker the fluffy face of the organization, they launced a promotion on Monday in which Parker walked out of work, exiling himself to the top of a local building unless Opening Night against Tucson is a sellout.
He even left a note.
"Friends," Parker printed on Grizzlier letterhead quite nicely for a three-fingered beast. "I’m going to the top of 1060 Fulton and I’m not coming back until we pack the park on Opening Day."
(Think of the children, Parker. The children.)
Not a bad by move by the mascot–1060 Fulton is the tallest building in Fresno (the top level being converted into luxury condos) and overlooks Chukchansi Park. It’s also not a bad promotion by the Grizzlies. Parker’s exodus is the start of a week’s worth of events centering around the mascot to help create a stir for the weekend’s games. The Grizzlies will announce today that Parker has internet capabilities and that he’s going to blog from his hideaway (maybe he’ll podcast too?). Each day will bring another Parker announcement, presumably culminating with him making a grand entrace on Friday.
The "Pack the Park" promotion also draws attention to the pregame street festival that kicks off an urban renewal project centered largely around the Grizzlies and the new minor league hockey arena (both teams are owned by the same ownership group).
"It’s a weeklong string of promotions centering around Parker," Grizzlies spokesman Paul Kennedy said. "He’s the face of the franchise. In order to be relevant 12 months a year, we position Parker as the star."
Trenton All-Star Tribute
The Trenton Thunder prepared for their 15th-anniversary season by asking fans to cast a vote on the team Website for their favorite players ever to wear the frequently changing Thunder logo. Thousands of fans responded–"It was overwhelming," Thunder GM Brad Taylor said.
The Thunder will honor the 21-player all-star team with a trading card set to be given out over four nights during the season.
"It’s a pretty special item, and since it is so special we decided to put a premium on it," Taylor said. "It’s quite impressive looking over that list at the number of people who have played here."
The first giveaway is on April 14, and will feature cards of the following players: rIghthander Phil Hughes, infielder Tony Clark, catcher Dioner Navarro, outfielder Kevin Thompson, righthander Justin Pope. The rest of the set will be given away on the following nights:
June 23 (infielder Robinson Cano, outfielder Melky Cabrera, righthander Joba Chamberlain, outfielder Brett Gardner, righthander Scott Patterson);
June 30 (righthander Chien Ming Wang, righthander Carl Pavano, lefthander Ron Mahay, lefthander Corey Spencer, manager Tony Frankin);
July 28 (infielder Nomar Garciaparra, infielder Kevin Youkilis, righthander Jeff Suppan, righthander Joe Hudson, infielder Pork Chop Pough).
Pork Chop Pough? If you had the same reaction to the final player listed above, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I too had not heard of Pork Chop before yesterday afternoon, but some of the BA vets set me straight.
"His real name is Clyde," rang out from a back office.
Turns out Clyde had quite a minor league career, but only a brief, yet impressive, stint with the Thunder. He hit 21 homers in 363 at-bats for the then-Red Sox affiliate in 1995. He even homered off Paul Wilson in the Double-A all-star game and was named the event’s MVP. A first cousin of former Sox closer Tom Gordon, Pough never made it to the big leagues.
Apparently, Pough keeps the origins of his nickname a secret. Feel free to post an answer in comments if anyone knows.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog