Promo Of The Month Nominee: ValleyCats Roll Out Prom Night

Minor League Baseball Golden Bobblehead

The Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar released the five finalists for its top promotion for the month of June. The winner, to be announced next week, will receive an automatic berth into the coveted Golden Bobblehead competition at the Promo Seminar this September in Des Moines, Iowa. This month’s finalists include . . . 

Going to prom is a rite of passage for any teenager—good, bad or indifferent. Since the Tri-City ValleyCats turned 17 this year, they decided it was time to bring prom to Bruno Stadium.

The team decorated the ballpark, created a prom court and invited all teachers and educators out for Teacher Appreciation Night. They even had an on-field “promposal” back in April, when a staff member asked his girlfriend to prom with a special scoreboard message. The ValleyCats also organized a dress drive, offering any fan who donated a lightly used prom dress, bridesmaid dress, formal or semi-formal dress or suit a ticket to Prom Night.

 

Promo Of The Month Nominee: IronPigs Strike It Big With #LVWantsLeBron

Minor League Baseball Golden Bobblehead

The Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar released the five finalists for its top promotion for the month of June. The winner, to be announced next week, will receive an automatic berth into the coveted Golden Bobblehead competition at the Promo Seminar this September in Des Moines, Iowa. This month’s finalists include . . . 

In the end, LeBron James picked L.A. over L.V., but the IronPigs did their best to sell King James on the majesty of the Lehigh Valley. The LVwantsLeBron promotion reached its crescendo with a night devoted to courting the free-agent NBA star, but the build up had already been going on for more than a month.

LeBron James and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs
The IronPigs offered LeBron James almost everything to come to Lehigh Valley—including his own locker.

The IronPigs created a social media buzz when they debuted a highway billboard courting LeBron James and made their first pitch suggesting that he follow in Michael Jordan’s footsteps by playing a season of minor league baseball—for the IronPigs. The tweets promoting and courting LeBron were among the most-viewed in IronPigs history, and the story was picked by many mainstream media outlets, including ESPN, Bleacher Report and Bandbox News (of course).

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Promo Of The Month Nominee: Jumbo Shrimp Take Father’s Day To Another Level

Minor League Baseball Golden Bobblehead

The Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar released the five finalists for its top promotion for the month of June. The winner, to be announced next week, will receive an automatic berth into the coveted Golden Bobblehead competition at the Promo Seminar this September in Des Moines, Iowa. This month’s finalists include . . . 

Why limit Father’s Day to just one day? The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp made an entire weekend out of it—in true minor league fashion.

The Jumbo Shrimp kicked off Father’s Day weekend with Awkward Family Photo Night, offering families to get a head start on their Christmas cards by setting up a photo booth on the concourse for families to take their worst shot. The results were . . . interesting.

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Promo Of The Month Nominee: World Cup Fever Comes To Charleston

Minor League Baseball Golden Bobblehead

The Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar released the five finalists for its top promotion for the month of June. The winner, to be announced next week, will receive an automatic berth into the coveted Golden Bobblehead competition at the Promo Seminar this September in Des Moines, Iowa. This month’s finalists include . . . 

The U.S. may have bowed out of the World Cup before it even began, but that hardly dampened the Charleston Riverdogs’ World Cup fever. The Riverdogs made good on their “Fun is Good” motto with a crowd-pleasing soccer promotion (no really, soccer can be fun, too).

Charleston Riverdogs passed out soccer jerseys during World Cup Night.

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Triple-A National Championship Could Be In Jeopardy After This Year

The Triple-A National Championship faces an uncertain future after the event’s sponsor and television partner opted not to renew their contracts once they expire following this year’s game in Columbus, Ohio.

Triple-A Baseball, which is a separate entity from Minor League Baseball and puts on the National Championship and Triple-A All-Star Game, will continue to pursue a new sponsor and television contract for its postseason game, International League President Randy Mobley said. However, Mobley said, team owners will discuss potential courses of action if they are not able to secure new contracts when they gather for the All-Star Game next week in Columbus. This includes the possibility of not holding the game in the future.

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Born To Be A ZOOperstar: Life As A Traveling Minor League Entertainer

Dominic Latkovski knew he was destined to be a ballpark entertainer the moment he first dressed up as Billy Bird, the mascot of the old Louisville Redbirds franchise, three decades ago. Often with the help of his brothers, Brennan and Lex, Latkovski made a name for himself by entertaining crowds with a variety of on-field skits and stunts—often channeling his own childhood heroes like the San Diego Chicken and Max Patkin.

A few years later, Dominic and Brennan branched out on their own by creating BirdZerk, a traveling ballpark prankster who steals gloves from opposing infielders and dances with umpires and fans.

 

That act led to the birth of the ZOOperstars, the dancing inflatable animal caricatures of athletes and celebrities ranging from Cal Ripken, Jr. (Cow Ripken) to Ichiro Suzuki (Ichiroach) to LeBron James (LeBronco James) to Tiger Woods (Tiger Woodschuck). Together, Dominic and Brennan have traveled to more than 300 ballparks and stadiums, performing at minor and major league baseball games, NBA halftime shows and even making it to the finals of the hit TV talent show “America’s Got Talent.”

What follows is my conversation with Dominic Latkovski about the origins and highlights of his career as a ballpark entertainer. The transcript has been edited in spots for length and clarity. Previous interviews with other movers and shakers in minor league baseball can be found here.

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Potomac Nationals Announce Plans for a New Ballpark in Fredericksburg

Perhaps Art Silber and the Potomac Nationals have finally found the perfect match to end a decades-long pursuit of a new ballpark by agreeing to move to a planned new stadium in Fredericksburg, Va., a city that has sought a minor league team for several years only to come up empty.

The Carolina League franchise and the City of Fredericksburg announced a plan on Tuesday evening to build a new ballpark for the P-Nats in a massive retail and residential development just off Interstate-95 in the growing Northern Virginia city roughly an hour south of Washington, D.C. The move would end the team’s nearly 40-year tenure in Woodbridge, Va., but would also bring to a close Silber’s two-decade pursuit of a ballpark to replace outdated Pfitzner Stadium.

A proposed new ballpark for the Potomac Nationals in Fredericksburg, Va.
A rendering of the proposed new ballpark for the Potomac Nationals in Fredericksburg, Va.

Despite past failures, Silber, the longtime owner of the P-Nats, is confident that the proposed $35-million ballpark in the expansive Celebration Virginia South development will become a reality and the home of his beloved ballclub beginning in 2020. The proposal calls for the team to finance, design, construct and own the ballpark in exchange for an annual $1.05 million payment for 30 years from the city, which would be the multi-purpose stadium’s primary tenant and have use of it on non-gamedays.

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