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Ben's Biz: Tacoma Rainiers? It was actually pretty sunny

Ben Hill pays a visit to the oldest ballpark in all of Triple-A
@BensBiz
May 26, 2023

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. Subscribe HERE.

Have bat, will travel: Mike Ford's tumultuous '22

Veteran slugger played for four MLB teams, four MiLB affiliates
@BensBiz
May 25, 2023

TACOMA, Wash. -- When Mike Ford told his current manager, John Russell, about his 2022 season, Russell had an apt response: "That's not a season. That's a career!" That about sums it up. Ford, a heavy-hitting first baseman and designated hitter, is currently a member of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

Hops' Grammes, Ray talk fave video games

Pac-Man? Rocket League? Hillsboro teammates have opinions
@BensBiz
May 22, 2023

HILLSBORO, Ore. -- Dylan Ray and Conor Grammes have a lot in common, at least superficially. They're both right-handed pitchers in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization who currently play for the High-A Hillsboro Hops. They both occupy a spot on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 D-backs prospects list. And, most importantly for

10 years later: Ben's Biz returns to Hillsboro

Ben checks in on the Hops' 10th anniversary at Ron Tonkin Field
@BensBiz
May 19, 2023

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. Subscribe HERE.

From heckler to PA announcer: Cole's unique path

Amplifying the improbable story of Eugene Emeralds' ballpark voice
@BensBiz
May 17, 2023

EUGENE, OREGON -- Jill Cole didn’t apply for the job and had no prior experience. So how did she end up as public address announcer for the Eugene Emeralds, spending her evenings behind a microphone in the PK Park press box? It's kind of a weird story. “I came here

The Show Before the Show: Episode 406

Ben calls in from Pacific Northwest trip, interviews two Hops
May 12, 2023

Check out the latest episodes of The Show Before the Show, MiLB.com's official podcast. A segment rundown is listed below, in case you want to skip to a particular section. Like the podcast? Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts. The podcast is also available via Spotify, Stitcher and other

Emeralds and Exploding Whales in Eugene

Ben's Biz hits the road and explores Pacific Northwest ballparks
@BensBiz
May 12, 2023

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. Subscribe HERE.

Here are the BEST of the best in MiLB ballparks

Best Minor League ballparks, mascots, views, concessions and more
@BensBiz
May 5, 2023

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. Subscribe HERE.

The affix is in: Jumbo Shrimp salute duct tape

Reviewing promotions director Ratz's sticky night at the ballpark
@BensBiz
May 5, 2023

"It was my fault, because it was my idea. I suffered the consequences, so there you go." We've all expressed such sentiment during our lives. In this particular instance, the person speaking was Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp promotions director David Ratz, and the idea gone wrong was to spend three innings

Jerry! Jerry! Springer's night with the Naturals

Remembering the talk show host's visit to Northwest Arkansas
@BensBiz
April 27, 2023

Jerry Springer, daytime TV talk show trendsetter, died Thursday at the age of 79. Springer was a huge baseball fan -- he loved the Yankees, and for a time, had season tickets for the Florida State League's Sarasota Red Sox. In 2012, he made what may have been his only

Going, going, Oregon: Previewing a ballpark trip

Traveling writer's itinerary includes Exploding Whales, Canada
@BensBiz
April 27, 2023

This article is excerpted from the latest edition of the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE. Each Thursday brings a new installment filled with Minor League Baseball business and culture news.

Picking the best mascots in the Minors

Costumed characters that'll make you feel warm and fuzzy
@BensBiz
April 25, 2023

In Minor League Baseball, the players come and go. The mascot remains. Mascots are beacons of stability and bringers of joy, and the combination of these two durable traits make them universally beloved. Picking favorites is a thankless task, and while no one has to do it, this writer will

Rise of the Machines? Blue Wahoos embrace AI 

On Artificial Unintelligence Night, mankind takes the evening off
@BensBiz
April 21, 2023

Erik Bremer, broadcaster for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, says the team tries "to stay at the forefront of what people are talking about online." On Tuesday evening, that meant removing people themselves from the equation. It was "Artificial Unintelligence Night" at Blue Wahoos Stadium, during which the Double-A Marlins affiliate

Back for seconds: Even more MiLB food debuts 

Loosen your belt and grab a big pile of napkins, it's time to dig in
@BensBiz
April 21, 2023

(This article first appeared, in modified form, in the latest edition of the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter. Read it here, and subscribe here to have all the fun of the Minor Leagues delivered to your inbox each Thursday.) You may have read Tuesday's MiLB.com article on 2023 concession stand debuts,

Step up to the plate: New MiLB food items

An aromatic roundup of notable 2023 concession stand debuts
@BensBiz
April 18, 2023

Hungry? If not, you probably will be after reading this appetizing article. What follows is a by-no-means comprehensive roundup of notable concession items debuting in the Minor Leagues this season. There's more where this came from, so there'll be a second course if the public is hungry for it. For

The longest active affiliations in the Minor Leagues

Through thick and thin, these 10 partnerships are still going strong
@BensBiz
April 17, 2023

Throughout the history of Minor League Baseball, shifting affiliations, locations and team names have been commonplace. Nonetheless, hallmarks of consistency can be found. This article highlights the 10 longest affiliations between a Minor League team and its parent Major League club. To be included on this list, the Minor League

Been a while: Oldest Minor League ballparks

From Florida to British Columbia, a round-up of historic facilities
April 12, 2023

The majority of Minor League Baseball ballparks were built in the 21st century. Six debuted in 2021 alone, and many more are likely to appear as the 2020s progress. But what about the ballparks on the other side of the spectrum? Those that have been around the longest? The top

Minor League promos to look forward to in 2023

As season begins, an overview of tasty theme nights and much more
@BensBiz
April 4, 2023

When it comes to Minor League Baseball games, are you more likely to attend for the prospects or the promos? While these pursuits aren't mutually exclusive, many fans find their greatest ballpark joys within the latter: the cornucopia of theme nights, giveaways and celebrity appearances that take place at ballparks

Taking in Minor League Baseball's top views

A level-by-level appreciation of ballpark surroundings
March 31, 2023

From rugged mountain landscapes to calming expanses of water to gleaming city skylines, Minor League Baseball stadiums offer a wide variety of scenic and often truly stunning surroundings. Picking favorites is a thankless task, but what follows is this writer's level-by-level attempt to do so. Click on each ballpark's name

13 reasons we're excited for MiLB Opening Day

Prospects, pigs and celery: Staffers share their specific ballpark joys
@BensBiz
March 30, 2023

If you're anything like us, you're excited the Minor League Baseball season is finally here. And if you're not excited, maybe it's time to rethink that position. The joys of Minor League Baseball are many and varied, a veritable "choose your own adventure" when it comes to the ways in

The joys of scorekeeping: A personal testimony

Reader shares his journey to becoming an official scorer
@BensBiz
February 21, 2023

This story was excerpted from the Ben's Biz Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Readers share their MiLB scorekeeping stories

An ode to the joys (and occasional frustrations) of scorekeeping
@BensBiz
February 20, 2023

This story was excerpted from the Ben's Biz Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Fans provide more favorite ballpark views

Take in the sights from Daytona to Albuquerque and back again
@BensBiz
February 10, 2023

This story was excerpted from the Ben's Biz Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Fan-favorite ballpark views offer fresh perspective

From Salt Lake to Bowie, MiLB provides a magnificent spectacle
@BensBiz
February 9, 2023

This story was excerpted from the Ben's Biz Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Minor League exec of the year reflects on career

TinCaps' Mike Nutter discusses leadership within evolving industry
@BensBiz
December 9, 2022

This article was adapted from an interview conducted for The Show Before the Show podcast. Listen to the full conversation with Mike Nutter here. SAN DIEGO -- After more than three decades working in Minor League Baseball, Mike Nutter has seen just about everything. But on Sunday evening, not long