Yesterday started about how I anticipated. I was confident the clandestine news conference somewhat hastily called by the IronPigs would have something to do with hats and uniforms. After all, a couple of the planned special jerseys for this season weren’t announced with the promotional schedule, just ‘TBA.’
When I arrived at the park, the first think I noticed was the scoreboard. It was on, with the classic late-night TV “off the air” color-calibration pattern easily visible. All the ancillary boards–save for the new one planned for high in left field–were on as well, in perfect sync. All this wasn’t hard to notice, of course. I hadn’t even left my car yet! That new main board is so big you’ll be able to see it easily from the parking lot (or the parkway bridge for that matter.)
I was a bit early–not the usual for these things as I often wander in at the last minute–and as I rode the elevator I couldn’t help but feel that there were eyes on me, like someone was watching my shoulder….
Once on the club level, I was warmly greeted by Vice President of Marketing and Entertainment, Lindsey Knupp. She welcomed me and gently guided me towards the seating area, nestled behind the support structures and facing away from the field in the back corner of the club level. Always on the lookout for clues, I immediately wanted to get another look at the video boards from the club level. As I am prone to, I immediately pulled out my phone to snap a photo of the beautiful display from the familiar comfort of the club level bar (little known fact: I’m the mayor there ;-))
As soon as I finished my photo I was immediately and firmly informed by an IronPigs
henchman intern that I should not be posting that photo on social media. Hmm. Big announcement coming and restrictions on photos….
As General Manager Kurt Landes quietly moved to the podium, his face looked drawn. The usual look of the huckster and serial promoter was missing. His shoulders were hunched. He looked tired and troubled.
Kurt: “This is the first press conference I’ve ever called out of anger…”
Kram to himself: “Oh, shit. I did it now. Good thing I’m in the back. What did I do? Never mind, there’s still time to get out of here. Despite my age, I can probably outrun most of these interns–I should try to get a head start. I wonder if the back stairwell is locked…Wait, why are my pants moist? I’m out of the view of the TV cameras, right? I better just sit here.”
But, alas, it was all a ruse. We’re putting food on hats again, of course. It’s not the food I predicted (becoming the Philly Pretzels for the day in a salute to Philadelphia) but, food, nevertheless. I went into it expecting it and it’s what I got. They’ll continue to go to that well as long as they’re so easy to promote, people keep buying them, and the money keeps coming out of it.
And, they got me. Last season as we put two different cheesteaks on the hats (wit and witout) as the team attempted to pit fan against fan and generate (free) social media buzz. Certainly some folks who collect the hats probably purchased both for completeness. A stroke of genius? Perhaps. But, I was able to resist. To this day I own no cheesesteak hats or jerseys–even as they predictably went on deep discount earlier this Spring.
But the sight of “Crisp E. Bacon on ‘roid rage” on a New Era 59FIFTY? I couldn’t resist. I’m not going to battle other fans in
IronPigs Nation Bacon USA about onions. But I couldn’t even wait to bring my season ticket holder member discount card with me. I couldn’t wait for loaded ticket credit. I just threw cash at the merchandise intern and the new bacon hat was mine. I feel a bit ashamed, but since the first step is admitting that I have a problem…
And so it goes. Of course the Taco-eaters in California want a piece of the food-on-hats action. We’ll have the “pit-masters” this season by one team in the South–with a pulled pork sandwich on the hat. The Montgomery Biscuits have been around for a while. Clam shuckers, yeah. Somewhere in Hartford, Connecticut, a Yard Goats executive is trying to figure out a way to get chevre on a hat…
- I didn’t get any other inside info–everyone is excited by the new season of course, and with the ‘Pigs opening at home and hosting the ‘222 Showcase’ on Tuesday April 4, there is still much to do around the park. Cases upon cases of T-Shirts and other promos could be seen lining the concourses. The new LED board above the left field billboards hasn’t even been installed yet. The ops guys are not going to have a lot of time to get everything ready for April 4. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the full use of the new video system start out somewhat limited as all of the new back-end system needs to work out the kinks–kinda like what happened with the POS system last season.
- The new nets are going up, and they’re THIN. I didn’t get to go outside to get a closer look, but on glance they were virtually invisible. Could they be shorter than before? I don’t know–maybe an illusion. I hope not because the top of that net saves me a couple times a game from getting beaned by “fouled back into the net.”
- Our own Cheryl Pursell is taking many great photos in Clearwater right now, and I hope to get a photo journal posted in short order.
- Of course, a full roster preview for IronPigs, with photos and player capsules will be on the way, as well as a more brief preview of the Reading Roster. We’ll have coverage from Media Day(s) as well as the 222 game as the season gets started.
See you at the park–soon enough!
PS: Just remember, the IronPigs are in business to entertain and make money. They’re good at it. I’m happy that they are. I’m here to have FUN and to be a bit entertaining as well without making money. I hope you understand and enjoyed my little post.
PPS: Since this isn’t “social media” it’s “our excellent blog” then: