Every summer we at Baseball America publish our Best Tools lists, which ask managers and coaches from around the minors about the most tooled-up players in their league. The list is always met with great interest, so this year we decided to spin it away from the games on the field to atmosphere that surrounds the minors.
Sure, minor league baseball is about, well, baseball, but that’s not all. Not even close. Front offices and promotions teams around the country spend hours thinking of new ways to keep fans entertained. They’re always searching for the best act to bring to their ballpark, a unique (and oftentimes gargantuan) new item for their menu or another beer to add to their selection.
That’s why this year we’ve decided to ask the people around the game—the broadcasters and other front office executives—about the best they’ve seen around their sport. These are the features they see that make them yearn for that extra spark of creativity needed to one-up their competition and make sure that the next time something viral happens in the minors, it’s at their ballpark.
With that in mind, here are the results of Baseball America’s first Best of the Minors survey.
Wool E. Bull | Durham Bulls
From the beginning of every Durham Bulls home game, Wool E. makes his presence known with a tear around the warning track on his go-kart. From there, he’s got more than a few tricks up his sleeve, from the nightly Running of the Kids to being hunted on Durham’s Star Wars Night. No matter what he’s doing, he’s always a hit with the fans.
“Wool E. Bull does everything you want a mascot to do. He proves a magnet for children, he displays a powerfully entertaining charisma and he conveys non-stop fun. I can’t help myself,” one International League broadcaster said. “Every time I’m in Durham, I find myself getting distracted by watching his wizardry at work and have to snap my focus back to the game.”
Others Receiving Votes: Phinley (Clearwater Threshers), Lou E. Loon (Great Lakes Loons), Kazoo (Penascola Blue Wahoos).