Here is a measure of how much Mud Hens fans love the Fifth Third Fanatic Freeze: It won a contest sponsored by Minor League Baseball under an “assumed” name.
The Fifth Third Fanatic Freeze was called the “Fantastic” Freeze when MiLB.com sponsored its “Food Fight” contest on the Internet earlier this season.
“Somewhere along the line the name they put on the Web site was the ‘Fantastic’ Freeze,” said Craig Nelson, president of TMH Concessions, the company that handles all of the food needs of Fifth Third Field. “Nobody caught it until the day we started, and we just rolled with it.”
But the incorrect name didn’t keep the Fanatic Freeze from rolling. It won the “Gutbuster” category of the MiLB.com contest to reach a final against four other category winners, then won that competition as well.
Part of the reason for the success was the team’s strong use of social media, particularly Twitter.
“Minor league baseball has hosted contests similar to this one, and the Mud Hens have always done well,” said Nathan Steinmetz, the team’s director of online marketing and ticket services. “The contests have included online voting, but this one also included Twitter votes.
“If you used the hashtag ‘foodfight’ and included the food item you were voting for, that counted as a vote. We were the beneficiaries of that, because we have one of the largest Twitter fan bases.”
But the success of that food item, which costs $25 and comes in a full-size batting helmet. also is a testament to how much fans at the ballpark enjoy eating it.
“Some people get it to share, and then we have other guests who see it as a challenge to finish it [by themselves],” Nelson said.
Nelson said he remembers when the Fanatic Freeze was first introduced in 2010.
“On Opening Day a man came up to the stand and ordered it,” Nelson said. “He asked if anyone else had ordered one, and he was excited when he found out he was the first.
“Then he proceeded to finish it in 30 minutes.”
The Fifth Third Fanatic Freeze includes five scoops of three different kinds of ice cream — five scoops, three flavors, Fifth Third Field, get it? After you add whip cream, hot fudge, sprinkles, peanuts, and cherries, the calorie count sits at roughly 3,800 calories.
FAMILIAR FOES: The Mud Hens will complete their four-game series with Pawtucket with games today and Monday.
Then Toledo will hit the road for four games against … Pawtucket?
That’s right: The Hens and Red Sox will finish this four-game set at Fifth Third Field, then travel to Providence, R.I., for four games at McCoy Stadium.
Playing four or five-game series against West Division rivals, with games at both cities, isn’t unusual.
But an eight-game series is extremely unusual. In fact, the last time Toledo played eight straight against the same opponent was in 1996, when the Hens faced Columbus in eight consecutive contests.
That crazy series included three games in Toledo, three in Columbus, and then two more at Skeldon Stadium.
Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said he doesn’t pay much attention to such vagaries of the schedule.
“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Nevin said. “But I don’t make the schedule — we just play it.”
VOTING UPDATE: Several Mud Hens are among the leaders in the fan portion of the voting for the International League’s team in the Triple-A All-Star Game.
First-baseman Jordan Lennerton is second in the voting at first base, while outfield Nick Castellanos is second in the outfield and pitcher Jose Alvarez ranks second among starters.
Bruce Rondon stands third among relievers, while Matt Hoffman is ninth. Also Brandon Douglas is fourth among second basemen and Bryan Holaday is fifth among catchers.
The fan voting is one-third of the total that will be used to determine the IL’s all-star team, with the media receiving one-third of the vote and IL field and general managers receiving the final third.
The ballot can be found on-line. Voting ends at midnight on Wednesday.