Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Tip of the Cap 2012: Getting the Word Out

Every year we tip our cap to the folks in the media who cover and promote Missouri Tiger Baseball.

Viral Mizzou

2012 was the year Mizzou Baseball went viral.  The media that got people's attention the most this season weren't the newspapers or the TV stations or even the blogs and websites online.

My Twitter feed was exploding this season with information and promotions and links to other media about Missouri Tiger Baseball.  Some of the tweets originated within the MU Athletic Department - the Ticket office, Strategic Communications (even the new title reflects a new approach), the Baseball office.  But others originated with members of the team, the Tiger Crew, student fans, the new Tigers on Deck and more.

If you wanted to know about a rain delay or a schedule change or special events, the place to be the first to know was on Twitter.

And online videos also came into their own for Mizzou this season.  The Mizzou Network literally flooded their website with updates, interviews and features.  And other videos popped up all season long on YouTube and other venues.

And so we tip our cap to some of the people who made Mizzou Baseball "pop".

Shawn Davis, leaning on what
appears to be a toilet.

I reflexively think of Shawn Davis as ShawnDizzle, because I see/read/interact with him most on Twitter, where he goes by @ShawnDizzle77.  I have to be honest that at first this 55 year old traditionalist thought Shawn was a little too "out there" to be an SID.  Of course, he's not an SID, he is an Assistant Director of Strategic Communications - Media.  And, of course, he's he's exactly the kind of young lunatic MU Baseball needed.

I've complained for years that the Baseball program doesn't get enough promotion and publicity.  Here's a Tip of the Cap to "Big Time" Shawn Davis (as Tex and Hunter call him) and to the rest of the staff and interns in the "Strategic Communications" department for daring to think outside the box.

@ShawnDizzle77 on Twitter:
June 3rd: 'Tiger' is trending nationally on twitter. People really must be pumped up for our game against Loisville today. Watch live on ESPN3
June 2nd: Arizona: Where umbrellas are sold for sun instead of rain.

June 1st: I love baseball more than any sport I think.

June 1st: I can't believe I had to leave the pool to go write a press release. #ToughLife

May 29: Screw nameplates...this is how people know who's office this is

May 27th: I love the fire that Ben Turner plays with.

May 15th: In honor of that walkoff, I am shaving my head and growing a mohawk like #Yadi

May 13th: The best part of #Mizzou baseball games is when the crowd gets loud and proud for the Stadium grill t-shirt toss.

May 1st: I think Tex just insulted me on the air. Something about my height

April 28th: Tex makes like 19 different noises when he snores. #HowAmISupposedToSleep

April 13th: Awesome. Tornadoes and baseball.

April 5th: Alright tweeps: What are some of the best songs you like to hear at baseball games?

MArch 21st: Apparently my students thought it would be a good idea to create a twitter with the crazy things I say. Follow it @IshShawnSays
Ashley Arp
Ashley Arp
I've never actually spoken to Ashley Arp, but I've seen her a lot.  I've seen her at nearly every home game as co-captain of the Tiger Crew.  I saw her on TV, celebrating at Bricktown after the Tigers won the Big 12 Championship.

Mostly, though, I've seen through her videos.  She's a broadcast journalism major at MU, and has produced several videos promoting Mizzou Baseball this year, which have found their way onto Twitter (@AshleyArp92), YouTube, to her own blog, and anywhere else modern media could take them.

Here's some samples of her work (you can see more at her blog):

And an attention-grabbing still shot promo by Ashley:

So here's a Tip of the Cap to Ashley Arp.  This summer she's a media intern with the Texas Rangers.

While we're on the subject, here's a Tip of the Cap to the rest of the hard-working ladies of the Tiger Crew. They not only are bat girls, but they do the promotional games and t-shirt tosses and such during the games, they assist the grounds crew, and they do a lot more to promote Mizzou Baseball. They even were represented at the Big 12 tournament.

2012 Tiger Crew

Tiger Crew on Twitter:
@B_Turner18: Big shout out to @mutigercrew for there great work this weekend. #MIZ

@MUTigersOnDeck: We will be handing out flyers and candy with @mutigercrew today in Speakers Circle at 1:30 Stop by and see us! #OneTeam #OneField #OneMizzou

Word on the Tweet
Hunter Mense: Go ahead everyone and jump on that @MUTigerBaseball bandwagon. There's still some room...

Jesse Santo: @BSQUARED39 1....parking garage 0.

James Abey: @MUTigerBaseball do me a huge favor and sweep the trash talkin chicken hawks #MIZSEC#big12bust

@MZUMAT: Mizzou probably won't win this game, but it's better than being kansas.

@Hunter_Mense: Tremendous effort from the Tigers today... I get goosebumps watchin stuff like that!

@B_Turner18: Unbelievable game today. Great win with everyone battling. #winaseries #hewasout #MIZ

@KendallRogersPG: #Mizzou takes both ends of a doubleheader at #Auburn to win that series today. Tim Jamieson always has his #tigers ready to play. #Big12

@EASports44 (Eric Anderson): A cowboy rode into town on Friday, stayed 3 days and 3 nights and left on Friday.. how is this possible??

@GavinStark30: To all the people who watched me push my car off stadium today in traffic. You suck.

Dan Pietroburgo: Just found a bum sleeping in our stadium... That's a first! Kinda looked like this guy...

Talking Heads

James Abey, aka Jim Shorts, debuted this year as the PA Announcer at Taylor Stadium.  He brought some life and energy to the job, perking up the stadium atmosphere.


  • Watching baseball should be a requirement to even be American #lovethisgame
  • Baseball is a great way to spend the evening

Hunter Mense and Tex Little
at 2012 Big 12 Tournament
Tex & Hunter

Tex Little & Hunter Mense gelled in their second season together in the KTGR broadcast booth.  So much so that sometimes they sound like big brother and little brother, pushing each other's buttons, needling each other.  And Hunter figured out how to tactfully and gently correct the occasional malapropism that escapes Tex's lips (although now and then, like a true sibling, Hunter uses the skewer a bit more directly).  All in all, it makes for a great listen for MU Baseball fans.

No word yet on whether Hunter will be back - not sure he himself knows.  But considering it has taken him 8 years to get this far in his pursuit of a degree, we should maybe expect to have him around for awhile longer.

Tex Messages

A few of my favorite quotes from Tex on the air this years:

  • "That's a hooker down the left field line!"
  • "Swing and a smash hit to Conner Mach at third!   He rights himself and throws to first for the out.  That ball was hammered! Conner hung in there and put his nose on it and picked it cleanly."
  • "He fills that uniform out very nicely!"

And a tweet from @Hunter_Mense:
This kid has been staring at @TexLittleSS with the "Are you my daddy" look for the entire game.

Nattering Nabobs of the Press

Caitlin Sweica
Columbia Missourian
Best Newspaper Article of 2012
Missouri baseball player prepares to move on to medical school
(by Caitlin Swieca, Columbia Missourian)

When Plackis was a redshirt freshman, he traveled with the baseball team to a series at Kansas State because the team needed a bullpen catcher. Wiederholt made the trip to Manhattan and invited her son out for dinner after the game.

"He said, 'I can't, I've got two tests on Monday, but I'm going to stay in my room and you can bring me a sandwich,'" Wiederholt said.

Sure enough, when Wiederholt found his hotel room, Plackis was sitting with his computer, studying. His teammates were nowhere to be found. (5/8)
Quotes and Snippets from 2012

Columbia Daily Tribune
"When I heard someone was trying to bring shells on the plane, I was thinking, 'OK, it's gotta be Dusty,' " sophomore pitcher Rob Zastryzny said. "Because he's the most country kid I know. His name's Dusty."

Although teammates say they never know what kind of high jinks to expect from Ross off the field — a dollar bill, a fourth-floor perch, a reel of fishing line and Nebraska hotel bar patrons feature prominently in another tale — once the senior right-hander enters the game, they know they can breathe easy (4/27)
Columbia Missourian
“Do you ever get tired of chasing foul balls?” an usher asks as a winded Joens jogs back into the stadium.

“Never,” he says. He returns to his post in the right bleachers.

A lot goes into Joens’ ballhawking hobby.

Whether it means scaling fences, sprinting across parking lots or outwitting a kid or two, Joens is willing to do almost anything to get that elusive foul ball. He even disguises himself by staying clean-shaven and wearing ball caps and T-shirts from his high school to make himself look younger. Kids get more tosses from players. (4/26)

The Maneater
With the bases loaded and two outs, Champagne walked up to the plate. He fell behind the count early but battled back to earn a full count. In front of a jam-packed Taylor Stadium and with the game on the line, Champagne watched as the 3-2 pitch came in and a ball was called and the winning run walked to the plate. The run sealed the team’s first sweep of a conference opponent since 2010.

“Any way you get the win is always nice,” Champagne said. “You want to hit and you want to be aggressive but you also have to keep the same mindset and be patient.”

Champagne’s streak of reaching base in 30 straight games is the second-longest active streak in the Big 12, a feat Jamieson said is a result of all of Champagne’s attributes. (4/24)
It’s opening day for the Missouri baseball team, and it finds itself inside Samford Stadium in Auburn, Ala., facing its Southeastern Conference foe, Auburn.

The teams played in front of 3,577 people into the late afternoon, and Auburn walked away with the 5-2 win. Of the 44 games Missouri has played this season, most would view its first contest simply as one extra tally in the loss column. For Shawn Davis, the team’s sports information director, something else was taken from that game.

“They had a great student section,” he said. “They were loud. They had pom-poms and T-shirts, and they were cheering. The thing I noticed was that they really added to the overall feeling of the ballpark.”

Following the Tigers’ opening road stretch, the atmosphere changed when Davis and the team returned to Columbia. Soon after the trip, Taylor Stadium hosted a two-game set with Central Arkansas that attracted an average attendance of just 376.

“If you talk to people who are really attracted to collegiate sports, they come for the atmosphere,” Davis said.
. . .
An SEC-type atmosphere is exactly what Tigers on Deck is striving for, Davis said.

“We want to start doing tailgates,” Davis said. “We want to encourage kids to come out to the games and tailgate, grill out, have a barbecue, play catch in the parking lot, play washers or play bags. We want to create a football Saturday type of atmosphere. That’s the way it is in the SEC.”

Duggan reiterated Davis’s thoughts, saying the growth of Tigers on Deck and the team as a whole depends largely on the fan base itself.

“Tigers on Deck is a step toward getting a similar atmosphere to the SEC,” Duggan said. “We realize we are starting from a very low fan base, but we know that there are students on this campus that love baseball and are interested in Mizzou baseball. We know that Taylor Stadium is not up to par with other SEC schools, but the stadium will only grow as the team and the fan base grows.” (5/4)

KBIA Sports Extra has always distinguished itself with great photos and graphics, including this one from a May 8th article:

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