Archive for July, 2007

Want to be in a movie?

July 31, 2007

Here’s your chance to be in the baseball movie that will have some scenes shot here in the middle of August.

Starting at 5 p.m. today, you can talk with a casting director, who will be here at the stadium to sign up 75 extras needed when game-action filming takes place here on August 15. And here’s the kicker: Extras who stay the whole day for filming will be paid.

To learn more about this movie, stay tuned to Bees Blog and http://www.gobees.com, and be listening for more P.A. announcements during Bees home games.

Bees shake off losing streak

July 31, 2007

In front of another big Dollar Monday crowd, your Bees snapped their four-game winning streak with a 4-1 win over Kane County last night.

Mario Santiago (3-7) picked up his second straight win, giving up just one run over seven innings, and Josh Cribb allowed one hit over the final two frames to get his third save.

Outfielders Jamar Walton and Joe Dickerson stayed hot at the plate, chasing franchise marks set by Irving Falu in 2005. Walton doubled and walked twice, extending his hitting streak to 19 games. This is the longest in the Midwest League this season and the second-longest streak in Bees history, trailing only Falu’s 24-gamer from two years ago. Dickerson, who collected two hits and two RBI last night, has now reached base safely in 33 straight games, one shy of Falu’s team record.

The Bees are 6-0 at home against Kane County this season, and 10-3 overall in the season series. They play one last home game against the Cougars tonight at 7 before the series shifts to suburban Chicago for the final two games between the Bees and the Cougars in 2007.

Two new faces join pitching staff
Right-hander Daniel Gutierrez makes his Bees debut tonight. The Moreno Valley, California, native has made one start with the Arizona Royals this season after going 0-4 with a 6.57 ERA with Idaho Falls.
Gutierrez is not the only new right arm in the Bees’ staff. George Biddle has joined the team after Kansas City signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Michigan University. Biddle resides in Newark, Ohio.

Learning the fundamentals

July 30, 2007

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Infielder Kurt Mertins models good fielding techniques for participant’s in the annual YMCA baseball clinic. Nearly 80 boys and girls received lessons from the Bees players here this morning.

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Under the guidance of Jeff Bianchi, these boys practiced turning the first half of the 6-4-3 double play.

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Pitcher Ed Cegarra (4) and catcher Jeff Howell gave children batting instructions. The Little Leaguers and softball players moved from station to station, learning the finer points of hitting, pitching, and fielding. The clinic concludes tomorrow.

July Player of the Month candidates

July 30, 2007

Your Bees will try to shake off a four-game losing streak after getting swept by Quad Cities over the weekend.

The team finishes July with home games the next couple nights against Kane County, which is 15-19, just a game and a half behind the 17-18 Bees.

We have some special promotions on this Dollar Monday. For starters, it’s Reading Club Night. As you stroll through the main concourse tonight, you will see posters from many of the nearly 300 classes that participated in the Buzz Reading Club this past school year. Judi Franklin from Westland Mall will announce the three classes that read the most books in our program, earning cash for their respective schools.

Tonight we will announce the big winner of the mini-chopper that we have been raffling off at home games this month. The prize was donated by Diamond Dave’s, and all proceeds from the $2 raffle tickets go to the Friends of Community Field.

We are also opening up the voting for the July Player of the Month, sponsored by the Drake Restaurant & Bar. Here are your three candidates, listed with their monthly stats through yesterday:

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# 30 OF Joe Dickerson
.323 average with seven doubles, one homer, and nine RBI in 24 games

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#23 RHP Jason Godin
3-1 with a 2.77 ERA, striking out 29 in 39 innings over six appearances

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#40 OF Jamar Walton
.354 average with four doubles, three home runs, and 12 RBI in 20 games

You can vote tonight and tomorrow night when you’re here at the games. Ballots are in the souvenir store, and when you vote you give yourself a chance to win a free meal at our “Baseball Day at the Drake Courtyard” on Sunday, August 12.

Congratulations goes to Brady Everett, voted the June Player of the Month, and to Haley Darnold, the lucky fan whose name was drawn from last month’s ballots. Brady and Haley each win a free meal at the August 12 event.

Burger-eatin’ and diamond-diggin’

July 29, 2007

Our annual Jimmy Buffett Night festivities wrapped up with a pair of on-field promotions — one that was over in just a couple minutes, and another that seemed like it might never end.

Right after the Bees’ 6-4 loss to Quad Cities, we got the post-game fun started with the highly anticipated Cheeseburger-in-Paradise Eating Contest, sponsored by Mann’s McDonald’s.

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In this heated competition, 16 competitors set out to see who could eat five McDonald’s cheeseburgers the fastest.

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Brian Hopkins emerged the winner, completing the task in just 1:44. Simply put, the guy is a machine. Last year, he took second place as a late entry after eating a dinner buffet just hours before, then learning about the contest when he came to our 2006 Jimmy Buffett Night. This time around, Hopkins came prepared, and he un-crowned two-time defending champion Howard Wells.

Second place went to Cory Ligitt, who finished right behind Hopkins. Chris Armstrong took third place, clocking in at two minutes. The top three finishers won handsome plaques that they will no doubt proudly display in their bedrooms or living rooms. Sunny 97.7 FM provided additional prizes. The first-place winner scored a $100 FunCard to FunCity and a pair of tickets to see the Royals place the White Sox in Chicago. Another pair of Royals-White Sox tickets went to second place.

Paul Waring received the “Small-Fries Award” for his last-place finish.

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Right after the successful cheeseburger-eating promotion, we invited all ladies 18 and older to participate in the Diamond Dig, sponsored by Vaughn Jewelers, Inc. and Sunny 97.7 FM in Monmouth. The infield dirt was covered with women, each one armed with a plastic spoon, claiming her own territory.

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In pursuit of a $600 pair of ear rings, the ladies kept digging and digging, then digging and digging some more. After a series of hints, a band of about 20 determined “survivors” congregated on the left side of the infield. Things got pretty intense down there.

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And after nearly 54 minutes of digging, someone finally screamed with excitement that she had found the diamonds! Here, an exhausted but elated Jennifer Herrick waves her treasure as she is interviewed by Sunny 97.7 FM on-air personality Greg Ford.

Bees back in town for four

July 28, 2007

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T.J. is back at it with his on-field artistry. Having mastered the logos of the Royals, Cubs, and Cardinals, he has moved on to the more complex Bees logo. Here’s the start of his latest masterpiece, done with the help of his aptly named brother, Art, who is an artist in Des Moines. You’ll have to come out to the stadium to see the finished product.

Your Bees are back in town to start a four-game homestand tonight. Following last night’s 6-5 loss in Davenport, the Bees host the Swing of the Quad Cities for two more games down here. The home action kicks off on Jimmy Buffett Night, tonight at 6 at The Hive. Your Bees will host the Swing for a 2 o’clock Sunday matinee, then welcome Kane County for games Monday and Tuesday night to close out the month of July.

Getting the Royal treatment

July 27, 2007

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With the splendor of its trademark outfield fountains lit at night, Kauffman Stadium is a great place to catch a game. It’s no wonder that Baseball America once called it “one of the most beautiful places on earth — not just in baseball.”

We just got back from our annual pilgrimmage to “The K,” where we were able to cheer on our Kansas City Royals against the talent-loaded New York Yankees. It was a fun time, and we picked up for some ideas (hopefully some good ones) for our Kansas City Royals Night, set for Monday, Aug. 13.

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Bees head grounds keeper T.J. Brewer and ground crew intern Paul Swafford were able to talk turf with Royals assistant grounds keeper Justin Scott in front of the Royals’ dugout before B.P. on Wednesday.

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Royals all-star Gil Meche delivers to Alex Rodriguez, who hit his 499th career home run later in Wednesday’s 7-1 Yankees win.

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Thanks to Royals head grounds keeper Trevor Vance, we had the chance to get down on the field Thursday morning before T.J., Paul, and I headed back to Burlington.

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The interns and I were walking along the warning track, when Yankee pitchers Andy Pettite and Roger Clemens came out to play catch in the outfield. Pettite is to the left, while Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young winner, is just over Ross’s shoulder. The Royals won last night, 7-0.

By the way, if you want to get down to KC to see the Royals play at Kauffman, you can score free tickets by signing up to play Baseball Trivia, sponsored by the Royals, at Bees home games.

Kick back at The Hive on Jimmy Buffett Night

July 27, 2007

Why is Jimmy Buffett so popular? Why does the singer/songwriter have such a devoted fan base of Parrotheads?

Buffett’s popularity probably has a lot to do with the “island escapism” lifestyle that he promotes.

What a grand concept, escapism — that notion that we all need to get away from it all, to escape to our own slice of paradise.

With that said, we hope you can come out and relax with a nine-inning vacation at The Hive tomorrow night when we host our annual Jimmy Buffett Night. No, Jimmy cannot make it once again this year. But his escapism spirit will be alive and well. We’ll do our best to transform the ballpark into a tropical getaway, replete with palm trees, parrots, beachside landscapes, and our very own Margaritaville. We’ll be playing all of the popular Buffett classics over the P.A. system during the game, and you’ll give yourself a chance to win prizes every time you buy a cheeseburger or margarita.

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And the fun doesn’t end with the completion of tomorrow’s 6 p.m. game against the Swing of the Quad Cities. If you stay a little bit longer, you can catch a couple bonus on-field promotions after the game. Mann’s McDonald’s is once again sponsoring our annual “Cheeseburger-in-Paradise Eating Contest,” and we still have a few open spots. Immediately following that contest, we will invite all ladies 18 and older for a good old-fashioned Diamond Dig (just like we had last year, pictured above), sponsored by Vaughn Jewelers, Inc. and Sunny 97.7 FM in Monmouth. This year, the buried treasure is a pair of diamond ear rings with a total weight of .6 karats.

Tomorrow is also Western Illinois Community Night. Residents of the Land of Lincoln can show their I.D. to get G.A. tickets for just $3. We’ll also have more loaves of Sara Lee bread to hand out as you leave the park.

Sweeney memories

July 25, 2007

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Today is the one-year anniversary of one of the most memorable days in recent Bees history: the day we were graced by the presence of Mike Sweeney.

On July 25 last year, the five-time all-star arrived into town for the start of a minor league tour rehab assignment that would take him from Burlington to Wichita to Omaha back to KC.

Seeing his first game action in two months, the Royals’ captain went 1-for-7 in two wins against Beloit. Anyone who was here for his second game as the Bees’ cleanup man won’t soon forget his only hit here: an awe-inspiring home run over the left-field wall that fueled a 6-3 win.

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Though his time with the Bees was brief, he made quite an impression with everyone he met around here.

Known for being one of the nicest guys in baseball, Sweeney somehow exceeded his Ned Flanders-like reputation. He was warm and engaging, taking the time to shake hands, sign autographs, talk with fans, and offering to pose for pictures.

Radiating all kinds of positive energy and genuine kindness, Sweeney certainly shined brightly in Burlington. It’s unfortunate there aren’t more professional athletes like Mike Sweeney.

We’re grateful for the two days the Kansas City Royals shared him with us.

Christmas Eve in July at The Hive

July 24, 2007

Your Bees made it two wins in a row — a nice present for the more than 1,000 fans who came out for our annual Christmas Eve in July.

Starter Mario Santiago, who has been dealt some hard-luck losses, picked up his first win in nearly three months, improving his record to 2-7. Catcher Matt Morizio got his first three-hit game of the season, homering and driving in a pair. Outfielders Joe Dickerson and Jamar Walton extended their hitting streaks, now at 17 and 14 games, respectively.

Off the field, it was a pretty good night, too. The ballpark looked the most festive it ever has for Christmas Eve in July, thanks to the hard work of our interns. This was also thanks in large part to Russell and Pam White, who were nice enough to lend us a few of their more than 100 Christmas inflatables. Even in July, it’s hard to not get in the spirit of the holidays when you’re greeted at the main gate by a 12-foot-tall blow-up Santa. We also need to thank the Burlington Kiwanis club for being a big part of this fun night.

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For the second year in a row, this group from Skiatook (Oklahoma) Church of Christ made a Bees game part of their mission-trip activities while visiting the area.

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Handing out Jelly Bellys, summer-style Santa was popular with our fans.

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These children unwrapped presents on the field in a holiday-themed twist to the Napoli’s Pizza-Box Race.

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Just one night after the season’s first perfect game in the Hamburger Helper Skillet Game (by Austin and Devin, pictured with last night’s fan photos), Nick and Zach repeated the feat, giving us back-to-back three-for-three performances.