Category: Minor Leagues

App Review: Lakewood Blueclaws

This is the first in a series of mobile app reviews for the die hard Phillies Phan

Many of us now are carrying a smartphone in our pocket, be it the iPhone, Android, or some other phone with an “App Store”. Many of the minor league teams across the nation have their own app where fans can follow and keep up with the team. A good number of the minor league apps are designed by Critical Technologies Group (CTG). Many team apps share the same features and sections, but each app is different in the way they are maintained. The app for the Phillies single A affiliate Lakewood Blueclaws was designed by CTG and has a good number of features that help fans follow the team.
NEWS
The news section is constantly updated with game recaps from all of the Blueclaws games. Blueclaws broadcaster Adam Giardino pulls double duty here by writing up the game recaps after getting off the mic when the games end. The stories are easily loaded via pop up and you can get about a week’s worth of game recaps and Blueclaws press releases in this section.
Pros: Game recaps easily quickly available after the games
Cons: No way to go back further than a week.
Grade: A

SCHEDULE / PROMOS
Most team apps have a section for the schedule and everyone is different. Here the Blueclaws app could use some improvement. The schedule section only features the calendar of games, and even that is pretty limited. It differentiates between home and away games, but only shows game times for the home games. So if you’re hoping to catch an away broadcast on the radio or something, you’re going to have to find the time somewhere else. I understand it would take a lot of work to update the schedule with linked game results, so the teams will get a pass there. But it would be more convenient for users to have the promotions listed under the schedule section. Instead, there is a section just for “Promos”. This section lists all the promotions fans can enjoy at the home games. When you click on a promotion though, you get an annoying pop up asking if you want to know more about this promotion instead of actually going to the information. The Promos section also has a subsection for coupons, but in a year of having this app, I have yet to see a coupon be offered for Blueclaws fans.
Pros: Easy to navigate
Cons: No away game times, poor arrangement, unnecessary pop ups, coupons section always blank.
Grade: C-

TICKETS
This section gives you a seating chart, stadium guide, and a way to buy tickets to home games right off your phone. You’ll have to sign up for an account with ticketreturn.com to complete a purchase through the mobile app. Make sure and do that before your try and buy tickets for a game you want to go to. The seating chart lets you know where the reserved section seats are laid out at First Energy Park. There’s supposed to be a option to check out the view from the seats but that options seems to be broken.
Pros: Option to buy mobile tickets
Cons: Broken links
Grade: B+

GAMEDAY
Here you can track the action of the game. It’s not as fluid or detailed as the MLB AT Bat app is, but you can get a good idea of what is going on during the game, who is up to bat, the counts, the score, etc. There is also a subsection for box scores of the game, though the calendar view doesn’t show the scores for every game, instead showing a “Final” link to the individual game pages. But once you go to those pages, you can get a play by play breakdown of the whole game, winning and losing pitcher, and the box scores themselves.
Pros: Highly detailed box scores of each game, good filter ability.
Cons: No scores on calendar view
Grade: A

TEAM
In this section you can check out the team roster which is updated on a regular basis, as well as check out the standings for the South Atlantic League. Fans can check out the information and stats on each Blueclaws player on the roster.
Pros: Up to date information
Cons: None to speak of
Grade: A+

EXTRAS
The Blueclaws have a section for social media, with links to the team’s Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube (Bluetube) pages. The Twitter feed is the best feature as it can link to your own mobile Twitter feed. The Facebook page requires a log in so you might not be able to see as much there and it might be a better idea to go to your own Facebook app to check out the Blueclaws on Facebook. There’s also a weather section there but that only gives you the weather of your current location as opposed to showing you the weather in Lakewood or wherever the Blueclaws are playing that day or week. Also missing is a way to listen to the Blueclaws radio broadcast on your mobile phone. Some teams do offer that feature and fans can listen online now at WOBMAM.com and through the radioPup app. Even if the feature is not done through the Blueclaws app itself, it would be good to have the app provide the information on how to listen to the game off a smartphone.
Pros: Good social media section, especially Twitter
Cons: No radio feed
Grade: B-

Overall, the Blueclaws app is a good way to keep up with the team. The news and game results page is quickly updated and it’s always handy to be able to buy tickets right off the phone. With some cleaning up and the addition of radio streaming (or links to such), this app would be even better. Even for the casual Blueclaws fan, this is a good app to get, especially if you are into finding out what promos are coming up.
Overall grade: B+

Blueclaws add three years to radio deal

The BlueClaws and Townsquare Media have extended their agreement to ensure that every BlueClaws game is carried on WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310 through at least the 2015 season. The three year extension extends the partnership that began in 2002, the BlueClaws’ second season of existence.
“Townsquare Media has been a tremendous partner of ours for the last 10 years,” said BlueClaws General Manager Geoff Brown. “This agreement ensures that our fans can continue to hear BlueClaws games on the same stations for more than a decade. We’re ecstatic to be in a situation like this.”
In addition to all games being carried on WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310, all games will also be streamed on ShoreSportsNetwork.com. If that’s not enough, fans of the Blueclaws can listen through the radioPup smartphone app. At this point, it’s unknown if the Blueclaws iPhone app will add the ability to stream the radio broadcasts directly through the app like one can with the Ironpigs app.
“We put such an emphasis on our local, Jersey Shore community, and the BlueClaws are obviously an extension of that,” said Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media’s Shore Sports Network Director. “They’re a big part of our programming and we’re thrilled to extend our partnership.” The previous agreement, announced in 2008, ensured that all games would be carried through 2012, and this three-year extension means all games will be carried on Townsquare’s WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310 through 2015.
Broadcaster Greg Giombarrese will return for his fourth season as the “Voice of the BlueClaws,” broadcasting all 140 games. Starting this season, Adam Giardino joins the broadcast team, serving as pre and post-game show host as well as providing play by play during home games. Each broadcast begins with the BlueClaws Beat Pre-Game Show 15 minutes prior to the scheduled first pitch and concludes with a 15-minute post-game show.

Reading Phillies announce 2012 promotions

In 2012, the AA Reading Phillies have their top 30 promotions of 2012, besting their top 20 of 2011 and top 10 of 2010. The list has reached 30, being leaked out in a six part series. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Baseballtown All-Star Classic
For the first time since 1974, the Eastern League All-Star Game will be coming to Baseballtown. On Wednesday, July 11, the Reading Phillies will be hosting the Baseballtown All-Star Classic where all-stars from the Eastern (Binghamton, New Britain, New Hampshire, Portland, Reading, and Trenton) and Western Division (Akron, Altoona, Bowie, Erie, Harrisburg, and Richmond) will face off against each other. Each team is compromised of at least one pitcher and one position player from each Eastern League team. The teams are selected through a combination of fan balloting and selections from managers, media, and team personnel.

2. Opening Night Double Header Double Bobble Head with Ryan Howard and the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor, Tribute to Deputy Sherriff Kyle Pagerly
In December, a mysterious riddle surfaced regarding the 2012 season’s opening night giveaway. Many fans attempted to solve the mystery, and in January, the Reading Phillies announced that a very unique Ryan Howard and Crazy Hot Dog Vendor double bobblehead will be given away to the first 2,500 adults 21 and over courtesy of All-Star Distributing/Coors Light. The duo both made their first appearance at FirstEnergy Stadium in 2004, with the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor famously surprising Howard at the 2006 Baseballtown Winter Banquet. Along with the double bobblehead, fans are going to get twice the fun on Opening Night, as the R-Phils will be playing the Portland Sea Dogs in a doubleheader. During the first game, the R-Phils will be wearing jerseys honoring the late Deputy Sherriff Kyle Pagerly, with proceeds from a jersey auction and raffle benefitting the Kyle Pagerly Memorial Charity Fund. There will also be a ceremony between the games to pay tribute to Pagerly thanks to Rock Hits Y102.

3. Carlos Ruiz “Chooching” Train,
Last season, sounds of “Chooooooch” filled FirstEnergy Stadium when the Reading Phillies gave away a Carlos Ruiz “Chooching” Owl. In 2012, another “Chooching” giveaway will be rolling around the tracks as the first 3,000 adults 15 and over will receive a Carlos Ruiz “Chooching” Train thanks to FirstEnergy on Tuesday, August 14th.

4. Harry Kalas Talking Bobblehead, Tribute to the Philadelphia Phillies featuring FREE photos with BOTH the 1980 and 2008 World Series Trophies
One of baseball’s all-time greatest announcers will be featured in bobble head form as the R-Phils give away a Harry Kalas Talking Bobblehead to the first 3,000 adults 15 and over courtesy of Unique Pretzels on Monday, August 27th. Kalas started his Phillies announcing career in 1971 and was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award in 2002 by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, recognizing a broadcaster for major contributions to baseball. In addition to the Harry Kalas Talking Bobblehead, Phillies fans will be able to take a free photo alongside the 1980 and 2008 World Series Trophies thanks to 830 AM WEEU. The R-Phils will also be paying homage to the history of its parent club, the Philadelphia Phillies, throughout the night.

5. Vance Worley “Vanimal” Garden Gnome
Beginning in 2010, the R-Phils started a tradition that saw the team celebrate former R-Phils standouts in one of the most unconventional ways in Minor League Baseball—a garden gnome. It started with Ryan Howard. Then, in 2011, both Howard and starting pitcher Cole Hamels were recognized. This season, it’s Vance Worley’s turn as the Reading Phillies present the Vance Worley “Vanimal” Garden Gnome to the first 2,500 fans 15 and over on Wednesday, July 25. Worley last played in Reading during the 2010 season, where he was 9-4 with a 3.20 ERA. He was named to the Eastern League All-Star team in 2009 and 2010.

10.Mike Schmidt First Professional Home Run Photo T-Shirt, Jimmy Buffet Parrot Head Night, Play Catch on the Field
One of the most prolific players to ever play in Baseballtown will be honored on Tuesday, June 26 when the R-Phils will be giving away a Mike Schmidt First Professional Home Run Photo T-Shirt to the first 2,500 fans courtesy of Texstyles Screen Printing and Embroidery and Keystone Tees. Prior to the game, fans can do their best impression of the Hall of Fame third baseman during an on-field play catch session.

12. WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hitman” Hart Appearance with Autograph and Photo Session, Bret Hart VIP Session, Tribute to Professional Wrestling Night with Post-Game Wrestling and 2nd Annual Ladder Match, Fireworks
The Excellence of Execution. The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be. The Hitman. No matter how you know him, everyone’s familiar with WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart, who will be stopping at America’s Classic Ballpark for an autograph and photo session on Friday, June 15th brought to you by All Star Distributing/Yuengling. For just $20, fans can meet the five-time WWE Champion during a Pre-Game VIP Meet and Greet session. After the game, Xfinity from Comcast will be presenting a fireworks display. Those won’t be the only fireworks, though, as the post-game entertainment will feature a series of wrestling matches from World Professional Wrestling, including the 2nd Annual Ladder Match courtesy of Rock Hits Y102.

14. Father’s Day R-Phils Richie Ashburn Style Hat, All Fans Play Catch on the Field with Dad Post-Game, Prostate Cancer Awareness with Game Worn Jersey Auction/Raffle, Kids Club Free Ticket with Family Play Catch on the Field with Dad, Father’s Day Kids Intro Dad on the Field, Special VIP First Pitch Packages Available where Child Pitches to Dad, Dollar Dogs
What better way is there to celebrate Father’s Day than by taking your dad to America’s Classic Ballpark? On Sunday, June 17th, the first 2,000 men 15 and over will receive an R-Phils Richie Ashburn Style Hat on behalf of Center Urologic Care of Berks County. The team will be donning a one of a kind jersey to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Each jersey will be auctioned and raffled off throughout the game to benefit the “Us Too” Prostate Cancer Support Network. In what’s become a yearly tradition, all fans can play catch on the field with their fathers during the post-game thanks to 830 AM WEEU and 69 News Berks Edition. Kids can also introduce their dads on the field. Going along with the holiday, sons and daughters alike can purchase a special VIP package where they throw a first pitch to their dads for only $50.

15. Belated Mother’s Day R-Phils Pink Jersey Tote Bag, Breast Cancer Awareness with Pink Game Worn Jersey Auction/Raffle, Kids Club Free Ticket Game with R-Phils Player Ice Cream Party and Chat Session, Belated Mother’s Day Kids Intro Mom on the Field, Carnation for Mom, Run the Bases, Dollar Dogs
On Sunday, May 20th, Mother’s Day may have been celebrated a week prior, but that’s not stopping the R-Phils from celebrating Belated Mother’s Day. The first 2,000 women 15 and over will receive a R-Phils Pink Jersey Tote Bag presented by Coventry Corners. As part of the Belated Mother’s Day celebration, kids can introduce their moms on the field before the game. The first 1,000 women who come through the gates will also receive a carnation from Royer’s Flowers and Gifts.

23. Jimmy Rollins Old School Bobble Head, National Hot Dog Day Celebration with $1 Hot Dogs, Jimmy Buffet Parrot Head Night, 4 for $49 Family Night
On Monday, July 23, the first 2,000 fans 21 and over will receive a Jimmy Rollins Old School Bobble Head thanks to All Star Distributing/Labatt Blue. The R-Phils will also be honoring everyone’s favorite cased meat with a National Hot Dog Day celebration. The concession stands will be grilling up dollar hot dogs throughout the night courtesy of 830 AM WEEU. While fans may be thinking hot dogs on the 23rd, VIST Financial Plaza will be filled with the sounds of “Cheeseburger in Paradise” because it’s Jimmy Buffet Parrot Head Night thanks to 830 AM WEEU as well. The night is also one of the 4 for $49 Family Nights.

Lakewood Blueclaws announce bobbleheads and signers

The Lakewood Blueclaws, the A-level affiliate of the Phillies, have announced who will be coming out to sign autographs for fans this summer and who will be having a bobblehead night. It’s quite an interesting list, mixing everything from local Olympic heroes to political hodgepodge.

 

2012 Bobblehead Giveaways
Chrisite Rampone – June 25th, 7:05 pm – Rampone, a Point Pleasant native and the captain of the United States Women’s Soccer team, will be “bobbled” by the BlueClaws in advance of the Olympics. The former Point Pleasant Boro High School and Monmouth University star has represented the United States in four World Cups (capturing the title in 1999) and this summer in London will be her fourth Olympics (including gold medal wins in 2004 and 2008). (Please note that the ZOOperstars appearance scheduled for June 25th has moved to June 26th)

Vance Worley “Made the Phillies” – July 14th, 7:05 pm – Worley becomes the 14th former BlueClaw to be “bobbled” as part of the “Made the Phillies” series. A 3rd round pick in 2008 from Long Beach State, Worley joined the BlueClaws later that summer and went 3-2 with a 2.66 ERA over 11 starts. He became the 34th player to go “From the Shore to the Show” when he made his Phillies debut in 2010 and in 2011, after going 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA with the Phillies, he finished second in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. His bobblehead is presented by Central Jersey Blood Center.

Bobblection – August 21st, 7:05 pm – BlueClaws fans will cast their votes for President on August 21st when a “Bobblection” comes to Lakewood for the first time. There will be 500 bobbleheads of both Barack Obama and the Republican nominee for President. As they enter the park, fans choose one bobblehead. Whichever bobblehead runs out first is declared the winner.

Mickey Morandini – September 1st, 7:05 pm – Morandini, who was named BlueClaws manager in November, will be “bobbled” for the first time by the BlueClaws on the final weekend of the regular season. He played 11 years in the big leagues including eight with the Phillies. He was an All-Star in 1995 and a member of the Phillies 1993 National League Champions club.

The “Bobbleection” should prove interesting. You find crazies on both sides of the aisle. I wonder what happens if the GOP has no nominee by the time this night happens? Their convention begins on August 27. Maybe they will just give out a generic Elephant repping the Republicans. Also Vance Worley is quite the popular dude this year. In addition to his Blueclaws bobblehead night, the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs will have a Vance Worley bobblehead night on May 1st as well as a Vance Worley replica glasses giveaway on May 17.

2012 Autograph Signers
Jim Kaat – April 26th, 6:35 pm – Kaat won 283 games over 24 Major League seasons, pitching for the Senators/Twins, White Sox, Phillies, Yankees, and Cardinals. After his playing career, he spent 22 years in the broadcast booth, calling Yankees and Twins games, and now works for MLB Network.

Mark Ballas – June 6th, 7:05 pm – Ballas, of Daning With the Stars fame, has been competing on the show since the fall of 2007 and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography in 2011. He was twice won the competition, with celebrity partners Kristi Yamaguchi (season six) and Shawn Johnson (season eight).

Bret “The Hitman” Hart – June 16th, 7:05 pm – A five-time WWE Champion, Hart follows in a long line of professional wrestlers who have signed autographs at BlueClaws games, including Mick Foley, Sgt. Slaughter, and King Kong Bundy.

Doc Gooden – June 30th, 7:05 pm – Gooden joins Kaat as a former baseball star to sign autographs at a 2012 BlueClaws game. He pitched for six teams in his career, including the Mets and the Yankees, winning World Series titles with the 1986 Mets and 1996 and 2000 Yankees. He became the youngest player to appear in an All-Star Game when he made his first of four appearances in 1984. In 1986, at age 21, he became the youngest pitcher to start an All-Star Game. In 1996, he threw a no-hitter while pitching with the Yankees, a game that was ironically broadcast by Kaat.

I always like WWE Superstars. Bret Hart is my all time favorite. This is not one to miss.