Aug 30, 2010

Dandy, the long-lost mascot of the New York Yankees

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Dandy, the one-time mascot of the New York Yankees:
From 1979 to 1981, the Yankees employed a mascot named Dandy. He was big and blue and a spectacular failure—a historical oddity for a proud franchise that has collected 27 world championships but would just as soon forget he even existed.

"It's one of the sadder stories," said Wayde Harrison, who created Dandy with his wife, Bonnie Erickson.

In 1979, the Yankees appeared eager to replicate the success of the Phillie Phanatic, the green, pot-bellied mascot that Mr. Harrison and Ms. Erickson created in 1978. In his first two years of existence, according to Mr. Harrison, Phanatic-related products generated $2 million in revenue—and his popularity has not waned.


Want to know whom to blame for Dandy's premature demise? Look no further than the San Diego Chicken and Lou Piniella.

On July 10, 1979, the Chicken—on sabbatical from the Padres, his regular employer—was working for the Seattle Mariners at the Kingdome, where he threw a hex on Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry as he warmed up. Mr. Piniella, the Yankees' left fielder at the time, considered this to be in poor taste, so he chased the Chicken and, lacking apparent success, fired his glove at him in a fit of rage.

In the wake of that fiasco, Mr. Steinbrenner supported Mr. Piniella by telling reporters that mascots had no place in baseball—this, just two weeks before the Yankees were to introduce their own.

Read the entire article...
Dandy looks like a long-lost cousin of Youppi!, and not coincidentally they were both created by Acme Mascots.

Aug 27, 2010

Guyism: The 7 types of people you'll see on the jumbotron

I would add an 8th: "Oblivious Guy"

Original published on Guyism:

7 The Attention Whore
This person will begin flailing their arms to get the attention of the camera, and then continue making a fool of his or her self once on screen. When they see someone near them on the JumboTron they make a convincing effort to steal the focus of the camera. If they know the person near them, they’ll do the “bunny ears” technique, which somehow has not died off, nor has escaped this person’s imagination despite probably being thirty.

6 The Dancer
Have you ever been to a sporting event and, during a timeout, witnessed an event commonly known as “Dance Cam?” You know, where the people make fools out of themselves by shaking whatever it may be that their respective mothers gave them. Generally this is not a pretty sight, but it can really go either way when the camera captures a member of this group. Regardless if it is time for some dance related event, this type of person is constantly strutting, shimmying, twisting, bopping, or in some cases even boogying down.

5 The Sideline Celebrity
Having a big name in the building at a major sporting event is bound to garner attention. One should expect to see the celebrity on the big screen at least once during the course of the game. But this can become a little tricky. For instance, what do you do when the biggest “celebrity” at the game is some local politician? Sure, he proposed Ordinance 943.2 to eliminate unfair taxes on imported strawberries from a bordering county, but that’s the short term. With celebrities you need to think staying power.

4 The Awkward Waver
This person didn’t want to be on the JumboTron, but now they are and they’re just going to wave until they aren’t any longer. This is also the person that if they are in the shot of the JumboTron when it is focused on someone else, they act as if they are having a conversation or doing something on their phone even if they know they’re on camera.

3 The Duck-and-Hider
A shyer version of the “Awkward Waver.” The duck-and-hider will do anything to avoid being on the JumboTron. As it turns out, this is usually a great way to draw more attention to you. If the cameraman has a sense of humor they follow this person and show them multiple times over the course of the game.

2 The Proposal Maker
There is a lot of fun to be had with this guy (or very, very brave girl. You’ve got to have confidence to be in this category. Not only do you need the balls to speak in front of a huge audience, you better be confident you’re going to get the answer you want. There are few things worse than the image of you failing at one of the most important moments of your life on a fifty-foot screen built specifically to replay memorable events over and over.

1 The Couple
Are couples at games ever not awkward? Especially with Kiss Cam. When it comes on here’s a breakdown of what happens: the guy draws attention to the two of them so he can slip her the tongue on the JumboTron. She hides her face in her hands as if it was some sort of mask that made her boyfriend not act like a tool (Side note: Kiss Cam is the reason you should not go to a game of any sort with a relative of the opposite gender. Prepare for awkwardness). There’s nothing is better than a guy going in for a kiss on the JumboTron and his partner denying him completely. You know they fight about it the rest of the night too. You may say that I’m just bitter and to that I say, “You’re right.”

Aug 24, 2010

Quick round up of new video scoreboards

  • Brewers Going With Massive Hi-Def Display for Miller Park Next Season
    "The new video board features a single screen, pure high definition display, and will be the third-largest scoreboard in Major League Baseball at 5,940 square feet. The only larger boards in Major League Baseball are Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium (8,900 square feet) and Phoenix’s Chase Field (6,200 square feet).
    In addition, the new video board will be just the third true 1080 display in baseball, and the fifth in existence in all major US sports venues. Other facilities featuring 1080 displays include Yankee Stadium (Yankees), Target Field (Twins), Cowboys Stadium (NFL Dallas Cowboys) and American Airlines Center (NBA Dallas Mavericks).
    The video display system will utilize Daktronics newest 15 millimeter LED technology, featuring a tighter resolution and improved image quality, and will measure approximately 54 feet high by 110 feet wide. This technology and its control system allow for complete flexibility in programming. The video board can operate as a single giant display, or be divided into multiple zones (windows) to show a wide variety of statistics, information, graphics, animation and live and recorded video."
  • Photos of the new FedEx Fields Scoreboards
  • Baltimore Ravens get new HD Scoreboard (video)
  • Red Sox eye $10M upgrade to Fenway scoreboards
    Team officials are seeking approval from the Boston Landmarks Commission to replace Fenway’s main video board above the bleachers with a 38-by-100-foot flat screen

Aug 21, 2010

Guy plays national anthem on an electric baseball bat fiddle


"Glenn Donnellan, who plays for the National Symphony Orchestra, created an electric violin from a Louisville Slugger bat. He played the National Anthem Aug. 8 (2009) at the game between the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks."

Aug 18, 2010

LA Dodgers 8th inning tradition: crazy guy dancing and lyp-sincing to Journey

Credit to Brian Gainor for finding these videos:
"During the 8th inning of Los Angeles Dodgers games, the team calls on Jameson Moss, a talented season ticket holder to perform a unique dance rendition of the famous Journey song title, "Don't Stop Believing" on the scoreboard at Dodger Stadium."

Aug 15, 2010

More from from the Onion: Cubs Organ Player Getting Into Heavier, Darker Stuff

From The Onion:
Over the past several weeks, longtime Cubs organist Gary Pressy has gradually stopped playing the light ballpark-organ riffs that typically fill Wrigley Field's stands in favor of more broody, chilling songs. "I have to say that lately the sounds coming out of that organ have made me anxious and sad and in no mood to clap along," said season-ticket holder Mike Preston, adding that instead of playing "Hava Nagila" or using his organ to start a "Let's Go Cubs" chant, Pressy will strike an oppressive minor chord and sustain the unsettling tone for up to an entire minute. "Yesterday he played a really slow fugue on 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' in this dark, funereal key. It was haunting." When asked for comment, Pressy drove reporters away by playing a demented arrangement of "Happy Birthday" on his newly installed 20,000-pipe, seven-story-tall organ.

Aug 14, 2010

The Onion: Padres Grounds Crew Dims Stadium's Lights For Romantic Night Game

This would be a great idea for the next Valentine's Day game ... from The Onion.
SAN DIEGO—In an effort to reignite the fading passion between the Padres and Dodgers, the Petco Park grounds crew set the mood for a romantic night game Tuesday by dimming the stadium's lights, arranging rose petals along the baselines, and softly playing Al Green's I'm Still In Love With You over the speakers. "Everything is just so lovely," said Padres center fielder Tony Gwynn, Jr., admiring the glow of 4,000 slow-burning candles atop the outfield wall as he sipped from a champagne flute and took practice swings in the on-deck circle. "It's nice to turn off the JumboTron for once and spend some quality time together. The red silk draped over the dugout really adds to the ambience and the bowl of potpourri totally eliminates the stale crotch smell in there." Umpires later ejected Casey Blake when the Dodgers third baseman charged the mound and attempted to stuff a chocolate-dipped strawberry into pitcher Jon Garland's mouth.

Aug 12, 2010

Aug 11, 2010

All about Beer Cup Snakes (aka Cup Stacking), the lastest craze

I know I am late on this but it has to be documented:

Like The Wave and "Potvin Sucks!", in latest in the great tradition of fan-created stadium fun comes Beer Cup Snakes, also known as Cup Stacking.

That's where fans, usually at outdoor stadiums, collect empty plastic beer cups, and stack them together into huge "snakes" that span dozens of rows of seating.

The activity came to prominence earlier this summer when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers banned the practice from their stadium:

The beer snake slithered into existence at the Bombers’ first home game of the season and is the pride and joy of the notoriously rowdy Section S at Canad Inns Stadium, but the team worries it poses a threat to fan safety.

"Regretfully, we witnessed the beer cups being thrown at the conclusion of our home game of July 9, which resulted in several minor injuries to our fans as well as many emails and communications to our office voicing concern and displeasure from our fans," the team said in a news release today.

On Monday, Bomber spokesman Darren Cameron said some fans had been cut by plastic beer cups that frequently rain down from the upper decks of the stadium as jubilant fans pitch in to assemble the beery behemoth, flinging cups from above and below the faux-serpent.

And of course, Beer Snake now has its own entry in Wikipedia.

Aug 9, 2010

NYT: "To Pack a Stadium, Provide Video Better Than TV"

Derek Dawley tweeted about this article in the New York Times about video strategies at the new Meadowlands Stadium. Some highlights:
How do you keep football fans as regular visitors to stadiums when the television coverage of every play is so good?

For the Giants and the Jets, the answer, perhaps surprisingly, is more and better video than people can get at home. This season, the New Meadowlands Stadium will offer fans free smart-phone applications that they can glance at to see video replays, updated statistics and live video from other games — and that will work only inside a stadium.

Over the next few years, stadium officials say, the applications will provide fans with statistics on the speed of players and the ball, and fantasy games that will allow them to pick players and compete against other fans.

A real-life game no longer seems to be enough.

In recent years, television coverage of the National Football League has become so rich and detailed that teams and stadiums have no choice but to respond with their own technology plays. Last spring the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, said the experience for fans in stadiums needed to be elevated to compete with television broadcasts, to keep fans engaged — and to keep them buying tickets — in a challenging economic climate.

To do that, stadium officials here have taken steps few other N.F.L. stadiums have. About $100 million has been spent on the stadium’s technology, and a former television production executive was hired to oversee the fan experience to offer more than fans can get sitting at home on their couches in front of their high-definition television sets.

...It is unclear how the smart-phone applications will change the atmosphere of games. Fans praised Cowboys Stadium, which opened in Arlington, Tex., last year, for its twin video boards that are suspended over the field and stretch nearly from one 20-yard line to the other so that fans can watch the action live both on the field and on a big screen.

The four video screens at the New Meadowlands Stadium are smaller, but officials say the stadium’s innovations go further than at Cowboys Stadium or any other in the country.

...Security officials will have special bracelets that parents can have placed on their children. In the event that a child is lost, the stadium’s video security system can immediately locate the child on a television screen.

“Teams shouldn’t have an imbalance in the television experience and the stadium experience,” said Vince Gennaro, who is a marketing consultant to several sports teams and teaches sports management at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education. “Once you raise the bar on one, you have to raise the bar on the other. I think it’s really important now that high definition and DirecTV have innovated, that teams compete essentially with themselves and bring that experience to the seat.”

Read the entire article...

Aug 6, 2010

All about the Twittering organ player from the Atlanta Braves

Public Broadcasting Atlanta recently had a good piece about Matthew Kaminski, the stadium organist for the Atlanta Braves. He's using Twitter to share his music selections, and to solicit suggestions from fans. A preview:
"Baseball is a game filled with tradition--like singing along when the organ plays "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." But in many major league ballparks, technology has replaced that tradition. The organist is gone, and fans sing to a recording. At Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, live organ music is making a comeback--with a 21st century twist. Philip Graitcer has the story..." Listen here.
Check out the most recent posts from Matthew on his Twitter feed, @bravesorganist

Minor league baseball team to recreate Eddie Gaedel at-bat

Darren Rovell reports:
One minor league team is intent on re-living Eddie Gaedel’s moment.

On Aug. 19, the independent River City Rascals will recreate the famous moment as part of its “Salute to Bill Veeck and St. Louis Baseball History Night.”

In honor of the 59th anniversary of the famous stunt where the St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck sent the 3-foot-7 little person to bat against the Detroit Tigers, the team says it has signed a person who is “barely over four feet” to re-enact the moment in the bottom of the first inning.

As an added touch, the small person the Rascals hired will wear a 1/8th jersey, just like Gaedel had worn that night.

Funderburg said that the team will give away 27 items, one for each out the opposing team makes, from 1951. The biggest prize is an authentic autograph of Frank Saucier, the man who Gaedel replaced that day.

The team says it has extended an invitation to St. Louis Cardinals president Bill DeWitt, who happened to be the bat boy for the game where Gaedel came to the plate.

Funderburg hopes the re-creation goes off without a hitch, but admits that he has no control over what the pitcher for the Oakland County Cruisers, the opposing team that night, does. Gaedel famously walked on four pitches that flew over his head.

Said Funderburg: “They agreed that they would work with us. But I’m still afraid they are going throw at him.”

Read the entire article...