The Buzz: Pelicans’ execs put the ‘pro’ in promotions

If you’ve ever been to a Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ ballgame, you know the game itself is only part of the attraction.

It’s “the show” – not what the minor-league players refer to as the majors, but what minor-league executives consider the butter to their baseball bread. S0me people love baseball, but everybody loves a good show.

The Pelicans organization is among the best in the baseball business at serving up some good-time entertainment to go with America’s pastime. There’s more action between the innings than during them.

So it’s no surprise that Myrtle Beach hosted the annual Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar last weekend. It’s a chance for MiLB execs to trade ideas about what worked (and just as importantly, what didn’t work) at their ballparks.

The good ideas are a dime a dozen. Most promotional nights we;ve seen in Myrtle Beach have been borrowed or loaned or modified from previous attempts to entertain the minor-league masses.

But it’s the bloopers, the promos that went bust instead of boom, that drew the most laughs at the meeting. Here are a few examples of what not to do to pack them in at the ol’ ballgame:

* The Hickory Crawdads billed one night as the worst fireworks show ever, displaying video of fireworks on the Jumbotron. However, the Albuquerque Isotopes may have accidentally stole their thunder by staging a daytime fireworks show after wildfires in New Mexico forced the game time to be moved up. Talk about a dud.

* Not sure what this says about the good people of Idaho, home of the Unabomber and potatoes, but a “Superhero Night” in Boise saw some fans come dressed as their favorite serial killers. I’ve never really considered the Son of Sam to be a superhero, but then again I don’t live in Idaho.

* The Colorado Springs SkySox inadvertently double booked a pair of Elvis impersonators for the King’s birthday, and the two apparently took their roles a bit too seriously. An increasingly intense rivalry broke out between the dueling Elvises (or is it Elvi?). Fortunately, neither ended up learning the true meaning of “Jailhouse Rock.”

* Staying one step ahead of their fan base’s wishes, the Pawtucket Red Sox moved up a game time so the crowd could watch the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup playoff game on the Jumbotron. Great idea, but the baseball gods and Mother Nature had other plans. After a two-hour rain delay, the 3 1/2-hour game ended after the Bruins game was already over.

* A postgame performance by the tribute band Mini-Kiss failed to rock the house in Vermont when the band was missing Mini-Gene Simmons. But, just like baseball, the show must go on.

And it did all over the country, but especially here in Myrtle Beach. The standards like Bark at the Park Night, when fans bring their four-legged furry friends to the game, and Cowboy Monkey Rodeo, featuring tiny chimps riding on the backs of shepherds and corralling sheep in the outfield, were once again huge hits for locals.

The Pelicans put on a lot more fireworks than duds, and the product on the field in the 2011 season was greatly improved now that the team’s affiliation has changed from the Atlanta Braves to the Texas Rangers, who are going for their second straight World Series appearance.

So as the Major League Baseball season slowly winds down (and I do mean slowly, as pitchers seem to take a month between pitches during the playoffs), be thankful we have the Pelicans in our own backyard. It’s minor-league baseball, but with a big-time show.

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