Monthly Archives: March 2011

Horn & Bell Honored as LV’s Best Phillies Blog!

Tonight we received an honor of being named “Best Phillies Blog” by the voters of the Lehigh Valley via the Morning Call’s 2011 mychoicevoice Best Blogs of the Lehigh Valley contest!

Thanks go out to those folks who have supported us all this time, to the person who inspired me to begin this (Sie wissen, wer Sie sind), to the Desk of Decal and all the other contributors and frequent readers over the past year.

Will strive to do my best and as always, I am open to suggestions for improvement.

OinK!

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Live Chat April 6th 7:00pm!

On Wednesday April 6th, sandwiched between the R-Phils/Ironpigs exhibition and Opening night at Coca Cola Park, the Lehigh Valley Live.Com sports writer Michael LoRe will have a live web chat starting at 7:00pm. Questions can be submitted to him, prior to the chat, via the below link:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/ironpigs/index.ssf/2011/03/many_new_faces_storylines_for.html

It’s worth checking out and another fun thing to do on our last night of the off-season!

OinK!

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LV Rollergirls Round-Up!

Photo by Ruth Rohrer

By Deb Boylan, Lehigh Valley Rollergirls Correspondent

I hope you enjoyed the last home bout at Independence Family Fun Center where the Hissy Fits took on the Central New York All-Stars. What? You weren’t there? Well I thought everyone was there because the bout sold out shortly after the doors opened just prior to 5pm on March 19th. We were lucky to have our tickets firmly in hand so we breezed in and secured a super viewing spot near the first turn while most of the crowd was stranded on line going through the ticket purchasing process. I highly suggest pre-ordering tickets for future bouts to avoid lines and delays in entering. Our photographer Ruth and I had our positions secured, equipment set up and I was at the merchandise table before most people had even entered the venue. Kudos to the girls working the ticket sales table in handling a huge crowd and getting their transactions handled swiftly and smoothly.

Both teams took several laps around the track to warm up, and they practiced some of their defensive moves prior to the start of the event. I noticed contingents of visiting Rollergirls in the crowd as well as pockets of friends and family who came out to cheer on their favorite derby girls. It is really wonderful to witness how supportive members of the sport are toward one another. Providing pre-bout and halftime entertainment was local metal favorites Sinister Realm (http://www.reverbnation.com/sinisterrealm ).

Prior to the bout the basic player positions and rules of the game were explained to the fans. Of interest are some of the indiscretions that can get a rollergirl tossed into the penalty box. Pushing, elbowing, holding, tripping, fighting and ignoring the referee are all considered illegal and will have a rollergirl seated lickety split. Penalties only last one minute but when several members of your favorite team are in penalty status it seems like an eternity as you watch the points against your team rise quickly on the scoreboard. Throughout the bout members of both teams could be seen biding their time in the penalty box. Players have to be careful about getting penalties because once a player has landed in the penalty box seven times during the course of a bout they are ejected from the game.

Roller derby is an extremely high scoring sport, this certainly isn’t a soccer match! Final scores can rise upward of 200 points per team and occasionally even above 200! The action is blazingly fast and teams will frequently trade the lead. This bout was no exception and our Lehigh Valley Hissy Fits took an early lead over the Central New York All-Stars in the first half which they were able to maintain over 15 minutes into the 30 minute period. Unfortunately with 2 members of the Hissy Fits in a penalty situation the All Stars managed to mount a strong comeback. Lehigh Valley was stuck at 31 points for several minutes while Central New York rapidly added to their lead. Members of CNY took their turn in penalty mode and Lehigh Valley was able to regain some momentum but the clock closed in and the score was 61-86 in favor of the All Stars at the completion of the first half.

The sellout crowd of 600 dispersed somewhat with many heading to the exit for fresh air, others gathered to enjoy Sinister Realm’s halftime set, and it seemed like the remainder headed for the restrooms. A tip if you are planning on attending a future bout; use the restroom upon arrival as the lines were similar to those earlier for tickets (out the door and long). During the half some Rollergirls from both teams mingled with the fans and their supporters while others retreated to their respective dressing rooms for a much needed break and strategy talk.

It is said (by who I don’t recall) that the second half of a roller derby bout is faster paced and more intense, and the second half of this matchup didn’t fail to disappoint. Unfortunately our Hissy Fits were unable to regain the lead, but they continuously nipped hard at the All-Stars heels and showed aggression and tenacity as they attempted to narrow the gap. With 2:44 remaining in the final half the score was Lehigh Valley 107 – 177 Central New York. The Hissy Fits were able to add an astonishing 35 points in those final minutes of the bout while keeping the All Stars from scoring any additional points for a final score of 142 – 177.

Following the match the announcers encouraged the fans to gather around the perimeter of the track to give the members of each team a high five as they skated a lap around the track. Rollergirls from both teams stuck around for autographs and posed for pictures with anyone who asked. Roller Derby more so than most other professional sports is accessible and fan friendly. I highly encourage you to check it out and I promise you will become as hooked on it as I have.

The Lehigh Valley Hissy Fits next take on Harrisburg Area Roller Derby (H.A.R.D.) Nuclear Knockouts @ Harrisburg on April 3, at the Olympic Skating Center in Enola, PA Doors open at 5:30pm, bout to begin at 6:00pm. Tickets are $10 in advance with online sales concluding12 hours prior to start. For additional information or to purchase tickets see: http://harrisburgarearollerderby.com/

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Kramming the Suggestion Box Full – Part 5 & 6 of 7

Ahh, those wonderful bobbles. We love them. We hate them. Here are some ideas about promotions (part 5 of 7):

Promotions: We’ve had plenty of discourse about this already, and my thoughts continue to evolve. But, here’s a couple quick things:

a. First, I want to reinforce the continued use of promos. Although I don’t need more cheap plastic junk from China in my house, it absolutely drives attendance and interest in the team. I already have enough hats, and those baseballs are dangerous. However, almost 100% of the time, when I give my tickets away, I hear, “what ‘night’ is it?” Or, “what’s the promo?” Or, “what’s the giveaway?” The fact that there’s SOMETHING every single night is commendable and cool, even if I don’t need it personally. Other teams with miniscule promo schedules don’t have near the attendance we have. Connect the dots. Hats off (sorry) to the employees who work hard to organize and produce these promotions and drum up the sponsorship.

b. One of my previous thoughts was this: even though I had two season tickets, I usually only get one promo item, because I’ve got a kiddo with me. So, if it’s a kiddo giveaway, then I can’t take one home for the other kid. And if it’s an “adult” giveaway, I can give it to only one kid. My thoughts have changed. The obvious solution was to get more tickets—and I did. Now if both kids want the item, they both have to come. If they want the ‘adult’ item–well, start convincing Mom to come along. Plus, the use of “kids only” or “adults only” or “women only” or whatever, makes the items last longer and angers fewer people. I’m good with it now.

c. A second autograph night. Maybe by making it for season ticket holders, like 36-game-plan or more on a different night would cut the crowds for both autograph nights. Everyone would be happier. Well, except the players, who probably find it a drag. Perhaps have the ticketholder one at the beginning of the season and the public near the end. I’ll qualify by stating that I only enjoy saying ‘hello’ and ‘thanks’ to the players as I don’t collect autographs myself–and I have to sign my own name all day long. However, my kids LOVE it. It’s the absolute highlight of the season for them (despite the fact that I couldn’t talk either one of them into going to the baseball camp). The crowds and the aggression are tough to take. The Monday early thing is nice, though—just can’t always make it that early, and don’t always get the (correct) Morning Call insert on time.

Kramming the Suggestion Box Full (part 6 of 7)

For Season Ticket Holders:

A couple of ideas from previous sections include a technology package, a special autograph night, access to a VIP lounge on certain days, more and closer batting practice access, and alternate ticketing options for buying and selling. Here are a couple more that I gleaned from what other teams do:

a. I suggest a better discount plan for Season Ticket Holders to take advantage of at the Majestic Clubhouse Store. I know that there’s a 15% coupon in the clipper book given at seasons’ start, but a more blanket and universal policy would be appreciated from those of us who already spend tons of money on IronPig-related activities.

b. A meet-the-players party. As I mentioned before, a second autograph day would be nice. This could take the place of that, or as an alternative: Full-season holders get a reception and a short time with the players on the Wednesday night before the season starts in the club level lounge. That would be a nice perk.

c. Concierge service for tickets to away games or other baseball games. OK, let’s say I’m in New Jersey for business or pleasure, and I want to take in a BlueClaws game. It would be great if my ticket rep could arrange for some nice seats for me. It would be even better if I could use my “unused” credits to pay for them. Or, let’s say the IronPigs are away, and I’ve got some free time on my hands, and I’d like to go to Philadelphia for a Phillies game. But, they’re sold out. Often, there are seats that are held back for scouts, or reserved for VIPs. Could IronPigs season ticket holders be considered VIPs? I say yes. ;-)

d. A free copy of the media guide? There’s an idea.

Kram’s Korner is a guest post to the Horn & Bell blog offering a perspective “From the Club Level.”

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Steel Hawks Game Preview Friday April 1st

From the Steelhawks Media Dept.

The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks head back to Reading this Friday to take on the division rival Express at 7:30 p.m. at the Sovereign Center in downtown Reading. The matchup is the second of four between the two teams this season. The Steelhawks fell 33-26 in their first meeting, which was also the first game in team history.

The Express enter the game at 2-2 following an impressive 34-14 victory over the Arizona Adrenaline last week. Led by Quarterback Chris Malleo, the Express boast one of the league’s top rushing offenses at close to 100 yards per contest. The Rookie Quarterback is also a threat in the passing game, with his favorite early target being Wide Receiver Nate Romig. An Express victory would put them in the driver’s seat in the Atlantic Division.
The Steelhawks (1-2) enter the game fresh off a bye weekend. In their last game, which was also the teams home opener, the Steelhawks fell 48-45 at the hands of the Richmond Revolution in Overtime despite over 100 yards on the ground by Running back Isaiah Grier. Through the air, Quarterback AJ Roque is averaging four TD passes per contest, five of which have gone to Quintin Lopez and four to Irani DeArujo Jr. A Steelhawks victory would put them at .500 and give them a half game lead for first place in the Atlantic Division.

“Our bye weeks are over for the season, so we really need to put the pedal to the metal from here on out,” stated Steelhawks Head Coach Rich Britt. “We have had the opportunity to see this team once now, and can adjust our plan accordingly to bring back a victory and even our record. We hold our destiny in our own hands, and this divisional matchup is about as big as they come.”

Can’t wait for the next home game on April 9th! Let’s Bring the Noise to Stabler Arena!!

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Questions Answers / Created – Seats Still Remain

I stopped over to Coca Cola Park yesterday to pick up my ticket to the 222 Classic, exhibition game between the AA Reading Phillies and AAA Lehigh Valley Ironpigs on April 5th.

I had a few questions answered and came up with some more..

First, there are still tickets available to Opening Day on April 7th. Even some seats for those who don’t care for the grass in April.

While waiting for a very helpful intern to locate my ticket, I took the opportunity to check out the team store. Still no media guides, (March 31st I am told they will be there) but the Majestic team store has finally received a stock of Ironpig flags! Trust me, this is huge. After waving that 5′ x 8′ Red Ironpig flag in the outfield for two years I was asked countless times where they could be purchased. Now I can tell them, “Over at the team store!” This is good news for me and for the fans who want one. The flags are a medium blue with “Ironpigs” on them and of decent quality. Although the logo is screenprinted on, the base of the flag is sewn with metal grommets. At $36.00 each this may seem pricey, but it’s not. I went price shopping when creating our Noise Nation flag and can tell you that custom flags are not cheap. Granted it costs less to produce in quantities, but most places wanted close to $150 for a custom flag of the same size. I would get one before they sell out.

Also saw a new Ironpig’s bandana. Looks ok… might not fit my 7 3/4 hat size head.. but I overheard a mention that they could have been used during the “Intern Survivor” event. Makes me wonder if there will be a new promotion or Big Screen feature for this season? Speaking of promotions, those 2 Ferrous and FeFe themed racecar/go-carts are rumored to be included in the Toyota 500 race. Should be interesting how they are incorporated.

Get one question answered and open another question up.

Kudos and a special thanks to the intern who made an extra effort to get me my ticket yesterday as well.

Still not overly enthused with the “Pig Out” theme of 2011. Would much rather see a “Pig Safe” on the basepaths.. but maybe others are being realists about the team’s previous year’s performance.

Either way, opening day at The Coke is in 9 days; 7 days until the 222 Classic exhibition game.

OinK!

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Phillies Sign Kevin Frandsen to Minor League Contract

Per Major League Trade Rumors, the Phillies have signed infielder Kevin Frandsen to a minor league contract and will assign him to play with our Ironpigs.

Frandsen, 28, was drafted in the 12th round of the 2004 draft by the Giants. He has played in portions of the Major League seasons between 2006 and 2010 with the Giants and last year with the Dodgers. He also has experience at every position except Catcher/Pitcher.

Guess we know another for the 2011 Ironpig roster!

OinK!

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