Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hot Dog! Ketchup's wearing "Wild Thing" glasses!

The new Progressive Field sign was hoisted earlier this week to much fanfare.

And that's just the start of the excitement.

While the Tigers were busy adding and signing Miguel Cabrera, the Tribe's front office was cooking up new ways to spice up the already-pants-wetting excitement of the between-innings Hot Dog Race - a bit they stole by the way from Milwaukee, and don't do nearly as well.

But it's going to be so much more exciting this year!

The three contestants - Ketchup, Mustard, and Onion - are getting a facelift.

As the Tribe press release tells us, Ketchup will be sporting Wild-Thing-like black glasses.

"Ketchup continues to be the devious rebel "cheater", which is enhanced through his new facial expression and "Wild Thing" Rick Vaughn style glasses. He will take every advantage to win, disregarding the sanctity of the race."

Really? Who knew these hot dogs had personalities?

Oh indeed they do. Or so says the Tribe's PR machine.

"Mustard remains the all-American boy of the group. Cool, fun-loving and focused on giving the fans his best effort every race. He struggles daily to keep Ketchup in line."

Well, someone has to, and we can't count on that "diva," Onion to do it.

"Onion is the diva. While she will give her best effort in the race, she knows how to strut her stuff and always looks good. She has a crush on Mustard which irritates Ketchup to no end."

Has anyone noticed any of this crap before the PR department told us it's true?

More importantly, does anyone give a rat's ass?

Probably the most ridiculous thing about this is the Tribe hired consultants - and not just any consultants, but the best in the Hot Dog Race business - to add a little zest to the promotion.

"The Cleveland Indians will enhance the brand for the 2008 season. Olympus Flag & Banner out of Milwaukee, WI (creator of the Milwaukee Brewers Sausage mascots) has developed new physical identities for Ketchup, Mustard and Onion."

Enhance the freekin' brand?

Despite being overloaded with crap, the press release never does get around to telling us what new looks Mustard and Onion will adopt.

That's where the Plain Dealer's intrepid reporter Mark Bona comes in, sleuthing the details.

Bona reports Mustard will wear a beanie and eye black.

Sure sounds "cool and fun-loving" to me.

Who doesn't like a guy with a beanie and eye black?

My big concern though is the wind drag the beanie is likely to cause. Won't that put our friend Mustard at a disadvantage during the race?

Onion, it seems, will sport a purse. Very cutting edge. A female character carrying a purse.

The best part of the PD article is the headline.

"Progressive Field swings for fan's needs."

Besides being difficult to decipher, the headline talks about "fan's needs."

But do the "fans" really need a new high-end loge going for 10-grand a game?

The Tribe converted four loges (that they couldn't sell individually in this depressed economy) into this one, high-end loge (for the fans).

The Tibe's top PR man Bob DiBiasio could barely contain his excitement when talking about the new digs with the PD.

"This is going to be the newest, bestest, funnest thing."

Pehaps the second newest, bestest, funnest thing will be the new party deck in the right field corner. Where a "fan" can throw his or her own party for just $50 a head - provided of course they invite at least 24 other heads to the party.

And if you are a loner, and the party isn't maxed out on any given night, you can crash it for just $65.

Clearly something the fans "need."

On the other hand, there is one noteworthy initiative put forth in the Tribe's press release.

The Cleveland Indians High Achievers Kids Club will provide an opportunity for students to be rewarded with tickets and other great prizes for positive efforts and academic success. The goal of this newly developed online venture-which is FREE TO STUDENTS IN GRADES K-8-is to give an outlet for Northeast Ohio students to have fun through learning with a focus on education and citizenship.

It's not clear how the program will work, but anything offering free tickets to kids and an effort to improve academic success is something I can get behind.

The program brings back memories of my grade school years at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary school on Cleveland's southeast side.

On the last day of school the pastor of the parish, Fr. Humensky, would get up in front of the room and carefully examine - and publicly comment on - each students grades as he was handing out their report card.

That was incentive enough to put forth max effort in the fourth grading period.

But for me there was a much stronger motive.

The now-defunct Cleveland Press, in a promotion with the Indians, would give out two tickets for a half-dozen or so games to every elementary school student in Greater Cleveland who got straight A's on their last report card.

If you were lucky, a kindly clerk at the paper would let you slide with one B, as they stamped your report card and handed over the tickets.

You can call me an old grouch (because that is exactly what I am), but I'll take the good old days of the Cleveland Press, single-admission Sunday doubleheaders and organ music between innings and during rallies over today's hyped-up, noisy, two-bit-ad-infested nights at the park.

Not very progressive of me I know.

(By the way, the Tribe's own Hot Dog Race characters - 'til now of course - were so nondescript I couldn't find any pictures of them and had to steal a photo of the same hokey bit at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City)


Anonymous said...

breslow looked good in todays exhbition game !!!

Anonymous said...

moose said

straight A's come on give me a break - you took your sisters report card andpawned it off as yours to get the tickets

how about the free granstand manager tickets

I bet when we were young 14 - under didnt pay for too many drinks

I remember the time grandpa took all the grandson's down on the union avenue bus down broadway to the game and you could take coolers in and he mixed up all the flavors of cool aid andsai - it all goes to the same place anyway

yes sunday double headers were fun - sitting out in RF or LF with your legs over the seat in front of you

Anonymous said...

yikes - that is pay for too many games

Anonymous said...

moose said

westbrook 18 innnigs in spring training without a run -is it real or a mirage

I just traded him in fantasy world !!!