Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
Double-A Affiliate
The Official Site of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Ben's Biz: Triple-A promotional night highlights

Cosmic showdown, legends night, mystery egg rolls and more
March 15, 2024

This is an excerpt from the latest edition of the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter, bringing Minor League Baseball business and culture news to your inbox each and every Thursday. Check out the full newsletter HERE.

This is an excerpt from the latest edition of the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter, bringing Minor League Baseball business and culture news to your inbox each and every Thursday. Check out the full newsletter HERE.

It’s a tedious task, but someone’s got to do it. Each March I comb through every Minor League team’s promotional schedule to compile a comprehensive spreadsheet listing every interesting theme night, giveaway and celebrity appearance of the upcoming season. Over the next several weeks, as time, space and stamina allows, I’ll share some of my findings with you.

Rochester Moon Rocs vs. Lehigh Valley Space Pigs (Rochester Red Wings, April 5-7)
An epic battle of galactic proportions!” Hyperbole? Perhaps. Nonetheless, the “cosmic showdown” taking place in Rochester, N.Y., from April 5-7 is unique. Both teams will adopt out-of-this-world identities, with the hometown Red Wings playing as the Moon Rocs and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs suiting up as the Space Pigs. It’s all part of the Red Wings’ eclipse-related festivities; Rochester is in the path of totality and the team will host an apparently all-caps ballpark SOLARPALOOZA on April 8. Keep an eye out for specialty food items like Solar Fries, Nebula Nachos and, of course, a Planetary (garbage) Plate.

Legends Night (Omaha Storm Chasers, May 11)
The Omaha Storm Chasers, originally known as the Royals, were established in 1969 and have served as Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate ever since. Jack McKeon managed Omaha in that inaugural season and remained in that capacity through 1972; he then was called up to Kansas City to begin a big league managerial career that spanned five decades. McKeon, 93 years young, will be the guest of honor at the Storm Chasers’ May 11 game, during which his number will be retired. The quintessential baseball lifer will be joined at the ballpark by former Royals ace (and Omaha alum) Dennis Leonard, whom McKeon managed in Kansas City in 1974 and ‘75.

Mystery Egg Roll Night (Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, June 26)
Celebrity guests, bobblehead giveaways and alternate identities are all wonderful things, but lest we forget: All it really takes to stage a Minor League promotion is one stupid idea and the wherewithal to carry it through. The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, reigning kings of the “Why not?” theme night, devote a huge portion of their promo schedule to stupid ideas. Case in point: June 26’s Mystery Egg Roll Night. “Our food and beverage department is going to fry up God knows what in a ton of different egg rolls and we’re going to make people eat them,” said Jumbo Shrimp promotions director David Ratz. Are you not entertained?

Jamie Farr’s 90th Birthday Celebration (Toledo Mud Hens, July 1)
Few people, if any, have done more to bring Minor League Baseball to a mass audience than actor Jamie Farr. The Toledo native played Corporal Klinger on M\A*SH and, not coincidentally, Klinger often could be seen wearing a Mud Hens hat. Farr’s Mud Hens fandom -- and his love for his hometown -- has never abated. On July 1, he’ll return to the Mud Hens' home of Fifth Third Field to celebrate his 90th birthday. The Mud Hens haven’t yet announced the full slate of festivities, but a Jamie Farr-themed specialty jersey is on the docket.

Sister Ros bobblehead giveaway (St. Paul Saints, Aug. 1)
“Receive a free massage from a nun” isn’t ordinarily part of a fan’s gameday to-do list but, then again, the St. Paul Saints aren’t an ordinary team. Sister Rosalind Gefre, better known as Sister Ros, became a key part of the Saints’ experience during the Mike Veeck-run independent club’s anything-goes 1990s heyday. She had been banned from her parish for giving massages, so why not give them at the ballpark? Here’s the rub: The Saints -- Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins since 2021 -- are honoring Sister Ros with her own bobblehead on Aug. 1. You knead it.

Razor Shines Weekend (Indianapolis Indians, Sept. 13-15)
Triple-A heroes don’t get much more heroic than Razor Shines, who played parts of nine seasons with the Indianapolis Indians. During that time (1984-89; ’91-93) he was part of multiple championship winning teams, established himself in the franchise record books and became one of the team’s most popular players. During Razor Shines Weekend the Indians will retire his No. 3 jersey and give away T-shirts and bobbleheads. Shines will be there as well, of course, throwing out first pitches, signing autographs and basking in the well-deserved adulation.

Going into the above section, it was not my intent to highlight three nonagenarians (McKeon, Farr and Sister Ros). Speaking of nonagenarians, at least in spirit ...

Ask Ben's Biz

Within this newsletter I am often asking questions of you, the reader. I would like to now turn the tables: Ask me a question. I mean, yes, I often get emails from people asking me questions. But I want to encourage it and formalize it and, yes, make “Ask Ben’s Biz” a recurring feature of this newsletter. I may answer some of the questions on Instagram as well (@thebensbiz), because I need to be on Instagram more in order to grow my “brand.”

Feel free to ask me anything, but obviously the questions I reply to in this newsletter will be largely focused on the world of Minor League Baseball. Be creative, be inquisitive, be ridiculous. It’s all good to me. Just get in touch if you think I’d be able to provide insight on a MiLB topic you’d like to know more about.

Email [email protected], and if you want to get fancy put “Ask Ben’s Biz” in the subject line.

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.