The Single-A Lake Elsinore Storm (California League) have won Minor League Baseball’s MacPhail Award, which honors promotional excellence. The team will receive the major award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Annual Banquet on Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas (TX).
PRESS RELEASE (Excerpted)
Larry MacPhail Award — Lake Elsinore Storm
The Larry MacPhail Award, symbolizing the top promotion effort in Minor League Baseball, has been awarded annually since 1966. The Storm once again garnered local and national attention this season, despite being located in the challenging Los Angeles market. Their Charlie Sheen-co De Mayo promotion, which contained a bobblehead giveaway and the retiring of the No. 99 jersey from Sheen’s role in the movie “Major League,” among other elements, was featured by national media outlets. The club also revamped its social media campaign for 2011, streamlining its several groups and companies to one location.
Every weekday home game featured a special promotion, and on Sundays kids got to perform various game operations duties, including PA announcing and running the scoreboard and video boards.
The Storm has several mascots and characters that entertain fans throughout the game, including Thunder, the Rally Cop, the Rabbit Jackpot, who celebrates every Lake Elsinore homer, and the Groundscrew Gorilla, who captured Minor League Baseball’s Golden Bobblehead Award this season for best in-game promotion.
Lake Elsinore, the first California League club to win the MacPhail Award, stresses the importance of reading, staying in school and being environmentally smart to more than 60,000 kids through its reading program.
Participants who read “Thunder’s 8 Tips to Going Green” book and nine others receive a ticket to a Storm game. Thunder and some of the staff also act out the book and go over the tips of going green during a 20-minute presentation.
The Storm’s regular season attendance of 225,769 led the California League for the second straight year.
“We appreciate the recognition and feel pride in the accomplishment on being named this year’s MacPhail Award winner,” said Storm president, Dave Oster and vice president and general manager, Chris Jones.
“We understand there are many creative and talented organizations in Minor League Baseball, so this is a reflection of the hard work the Storm staff put in this season,” stated Jones.
“Every year we strive to run an awesome operation in Lake Elsinore,” added Oster. “This is why the Storm organization is way stoked to have won this award.”
“The Lake Elsinore Storm has been successful with its think outside-of-the-box approach to garner attention and attract fans, given their location in the Los Angeles market, for quite some time,” Pat O’Conner, president of Minor League Baseball, said. “A testament to their efforts is the fact that the Storm logo has been one of the most popular ones in Minor League Baseball for a while.
“As one of the first Minor League Baseball clubs to ‘Go Green’ at its ballpark, Lake Elsinore has promoted a sustainable lifestyle to its fans and community, making them a deserving recipient of the 2011 Larry MacPhail Award.”
MacPhail Award Winners
1966 Spartanburg, Western Carolinas
1967 Rochester, International
1968 Cocoa, Florida State
1969 Hawaii, Pacific Coast
1970 Wichita, A.A./Hawaii, PCL (Tie)
1971 Oklahoma City, American Association
1972 San Antonio, Texas
1973 Tucson, Pacific Coast
1974 West Palm Beach, Florida State
1975 Tacoma, Pacific Coast
1976 El Paso, Texas/Cedar Rapids, Midwest (Tie)
1977 Columbus, OH, International
1978 Nashville, Southern
1979 Columbus, OH, International
1980 Nashville, Southern
1981 Nashville, Southern
1982 El Paso, Texas
1983 Arkansas, Texas
1984 Columbus, OH, INT/Billings, Pioneer (Tie)
1985 Richmond, International
1986 Iowa, American Association
1987 Albuquerque, Pacific Coast
1988 Birmingham, Southern
1989 Buffalo, American Association
1990 Richmond, International
1991 Salt Lake City, Pioneer
1992 Ft. Myers, Florida State
1993 El Paso, Texas
1994 Reading, Eastern
1995 Kane County, Midwest
1996 Wilmington, Carolina
1997 Rochester, International
1998 Charleston (SC), South Atlantic
1999 Reading, Eastern
2000 Lowell, New York-Penn
2001 Tennessee, Southern
2002 Lakewood, South Atlantic
2003 Trenton, Eastern
2004 Altoona, Eastern
2005 Brevard County, Florida State
2006 Round Rock, Pacific Coast
2007 West Michigan, Midwest
2008 Ogden, Pioneer
2009 Chattanooga, Southern
2010 New Hampshire, Eastern
2011 Lake Elsinore, California