ZEBULON — The local minor league baseball team will celebrate a different type of catfish next week.
Aside from being a fish commonly caught in these red clay rivers, a catfish, in Internet slang, is someone who creates a false persona or identity on social media.
Anthony Weiner, meet Muddy the Mudcat.
The Carolina Mudcats, a single-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians in Zebulon, will hold Carlos Danger Night on Aug. 15 to celebrate the infamous online alias used by Weiner. The former U.S. congressman resigned from office in the wake of a scandal after he sent inappropriate messages to a woman who is not his wife. Weiner is now running for mayor of New York City, but new reports of Weiner’s escapades have surfaced once again.
The Mudcats are offering a discounted $5 box seat ticket to anyone who comes to the game against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans with a mustache – real or fake. The Mudcats also plan to give away prizes to fans with the best mustaches.
“It’s a fun, tongue-in-cheek thing that will have people talking when they come out,” said Joe Kremer, general manager of the Mudcats. “It’ll be something different to spruce things up in the middle of the week.”
Aaron Bayles, director of game productions and creative services for the team, is a native of Rochester, NY who says he thought of the idea one morning while listening to Howard Stern on his way to Five County Stadium.
Weiner doesn’t have a mustache. But that doesn’t mean his alter-ego can’t, Bayles said: “I’m trying to get Muddy a mustache.”
The Mudcats aren’t the first minor league baseball team to try to capitalize on the heightened Weiner exposure.
The Richmond (VA) Flying Squirrels, a the double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, sold hot dogs for $1 during the team’s “Salute to Scandal Night” on Aug. 1.
“We encouraged people to take pictures of their wieners and tweet them at our account during the game,” said Jay Burnham, media relations manager for the Flying Squirrels.
“It was the most (social media) correspondence we had with fans this year,” he said. “And it still remained family-friendly despite the salacious nature of it all.”
Burnham said the Flying Squirrels considered the promotion a success because attendance was only 300 less than the 6,400 season average despite a two-hour rain delay before the first pitch. National media attention on the promotion was key, Burnham said.
“They were talking about us on Mike & Mike in the Morning,” he said, referring to the show on ESPN Radio. “Anything that gets us a national headline like that is a success.”
The Mudcats, who finished the first half of the season with the worst record in professional baseball (22-48), are averaging about 3,200 people at each game.
Kremer insists Carlos Danger Night isn’t a gimmick to boost ticket sales, “but to give people a chuckle, something to talk about at the water cooler.”
Bayles, who runs the fan-cam during Mudcats games, plans to measure success by the number of mustache-wearing “Carlos Dangers” he can get on the screen.
As long as they keep their clothes on, he said.
A spokesperson for Weiner’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.