Over the last three nights, the NY-Penn League's Tri-City Valleycats hosted division rival Vermont, and had a little bit of fun on their video screen with the Lake Monsters' lineup. 4 different players had their pictures substituted with others of significantly higher value. To wit:
Outfielder Connor Rowe had cable personality & Ford pitchman Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) appearing on the video screen. Catcher Cole Leonida was subbed with "King Leonidas" from the movie "300". Infielder Blake Kelso was replaced on the board by actor-producer Ashton Kutcher ("Killers"), who played Michael Kelso on That 70's Show, and Stephen King, another infielder, had his pictured subbed with that of the more famous author of the same name. Oh, sure, the 'Cats' graphics department thought they were being cute and clever, and had the joke only been used the first night (Wednesday), it'd have been fine, but as I found out after talking with some random team staffers, they stretched it across all three games. Vermont won Wednesday & Friday's games, taking the series 2-1. Karmic justice, you would think, but since the Lake Monsters are due to return to Troy later this summer, I would expect more of the same. Fun is fun, but this kind of joke is best kept in smaller doses.
Of course, the Valleycats are the same team that hired a Bob Sheppard impersonator to do one inning of PA announcements when the Staten Island Yankees were in town in 2006 & 2008.
In hindsight, the joke might actually have worked better had the team had a deal in place with Time Warner Cable to have their games shown on TV. The Valleycats discontinued radio broadcasts after the '08 season, and don't even have their internet broadcasts issued over the loudspeakers in the restrooms this year. Since they're a consistently solid draw, it's not a real issue, but don'tcha think they could spare a little extra coin to service the fans that can't go on the road with the team? Food for thought.