July 10, 2002


YOU'RE NOBODY 'TIL SOMEBODY...: Last night's "Nobody Night" promotion, in which the Class A Charleston (SC) River Dogs barred fans from the stadium until after the game became official in the fifth inning, was the latest memorable stunt from the mind of team owner Mike Veeck. The son of legendary baseball owner Bill Veeck (the man responsible for numerous stunts in his long career, most notably the major league appearance of midget Eddie Gaedel in 1951), the younger Veeck got his first shot in baseball working for the White Sox in the '70s, when they were owned by his father. His ideas included "Disco Demolition Night," as well as "Nickel Beer Night," both of which predictably led to near-riots and caused Mike Veeck's decades-long explusion from baseball. Veeck resurfaced in the early '90s as owner of the St. Paul Saints, a team in the independent Northern League that sought to act as a cheaper, more fun, and outdoor alternative to the dome-bound, then-losing Minnesota Twins. The Saints experience included such beauties as a pig who delivered balls to the umpire, a tuba-playing public address announcer, and the "Designated K Man," a player on the opposing team who, if he were to strike out during the game, would entitle every fan in the stadium to a free cheeseburger. The team was also a sort of baseball halfway-house for such former and future major leaguers as Darryl Strawberry, Jack Morris, JD Drew, and Leon "Bull" Durham.
I think, in this time of great peril for the national pastime, the best thing Bud Selig could do is get Mike Veeck in as an owner (hmm, I hear the Twins are for sale...). He could do for baseball what Mark Cuban has done for basketball; after all, Bill Veeck was Mark Cuban before Mark Cuban was.

Posted by Stephen Silver at July 10, 2002 12:02 AM
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