Jerry Springer, daytime TV talk show trendsetter, died Thursday at the age of 79. Springer was a huge baseball fan -- he loved the Yankees, and for a time, had season tickets for the Florida State League's Sarasota Red Sox. In 2012, he made what may have been his only
Jerry Springer, daytime TV talk show trendsetter, died Thursday at the age of 79. Springer was a huge baseball fan -- he loved the Yankees, and for a time, had season tickets for the Florida State League's Sarasota Red Sox. In 2012, he made what may have been his only promotional appearance at a Minor League game, spending an evening at the Northwest Arkansas Naturals' home of Arvest Ballpark.
What follows is an edited version of a 2012 Ben's Biz Blog post chronicling Springer's visit with the Naturals (then, as now, the Royals' Double-A affiliate).
Jerry Springer's Aug. 10 Arvest Ballpark appearance came courtesy of the Arkansas CW, the network that airs "The Jerry Springer Show" in the Naturals' market. So what happened? Naturals marketing and PR manager Regina Van Henkelum was kind enough to send along photos and descriptive text, so I'll hand the reins over to her (her words are italicized).
[Jerry] was a hit! We didn’t even need to call [bodyguard] Steve Wilko to keep fans in check. Prior to the game, the local CW hosted a launch party but Jerry took time from taking pictures with fans to take BP on the field with the Naturals.
Little-known fact about Mr. Springer, he is a switch-hitter.
As the Naturals left the field, Jerry wished them luck as they headed back into the clubhouse. After wrapping up BP, Mr. Springer visited the Naturals clubhouse and discussed strategy with skipper Brian Poldberg. Poldberg was also kind enough to take Jerry into the batting cages and work on his form for the first pitch. That practice must have helped because the pitch was right down the middle.
Following the first pitch, Jerry took time to sign autographs and take pictures with the fans. Jerry finished off his evening by singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch and tossing t-shirts to fans. And you know it’s a good night when you are escorted out by local authorities so a mob scene does not ensue.
Because too much is never enough, Van Henkelum later sent over some more photos from this most memorable night in Northwest Arkansas.
It truly was a night to remember, for how often does an irrefutable icon of the entertainment industry deign to visit a Minor League Baseball stadium?
Not enough, is all I can say to that query.
Not nearly enough.
Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.