Minor League Ballpark Wins Jumbotron with Costanza Graphic
Several weeks ago, I wrote a cover story for the print edition of the Houston Press that focused on the marketing-centric, "color outside the lines" culture of Minor League Baseball.
In a world that is as much, if not more, about the events and effects surrounding the game as it is the game itself, hilarity sometimes ensues. It can happen with the use of music during the game, with a show on the field between innings or with a certain promotional item.
Or, in the case of the Toledo Mudhens, the fans' collective night can be made with something as subtle as a mere graphic on the Jumbotron.
The Toledo Mudhens (a solid 9.4 on the "Minor League Team Mascot" scale, by the way) are the Triple A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, and this week they play a series at home against the Gwinnett Braves, obviously the Triple A affiliate of Atlanta.
The left fielder and leadoff hitter for the Braves is a 29-year-old by the name of José Constanza. Constanza appears to be on track to become one of those "high minor league/stopgap when someone gets hurt in the major league"-type players as he's had a few cups of coffee with the big club, including a recent stint for about a month that ended on August 10 when Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer (remember him?) returned from the disabled list.
While getting demoted stinks for Constanza and certainly you feel for him, it was fantastic for the rest of us that he was sent back down to the minor leagues when he was because it meant that he would be in the lineup when Gwinnett made this trip to Toledo.
And it means that we would get this picture on the Jumbotron Tuesday night:
I love you, Minor League Baseball.
Seriously, would it be too much to ask the Astros to start doing stuff like this for the balance of the season? Trolling players on the other team with funny pictures of last-name doppelgängers? Or hell, trolling their own players, what do I care? Are you telling me you wouldn't drop ten or 15 bucks for a ticket just to see what Jumbotron guy would do with names like Jason Castro, Joshua Zeid or L.J. Hoes?
If you say "no," you're lying.
Astros president Reid Ryan made his bones in this business coming up the hard way -- running Minor League Baseball teams. As long as the hometown nine is going to continue to "win" at a .333 clip the rest of the way, let's at least have a few laughs. Make this happen, Reid; you have it in you.
It's time to unleash the Astros' Jumbotron guy and let him download some pictures of hoes.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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