MY FIRST TIME AS CAPTAIN CORNELIUS

7-18-16IMG_7463Before I started my internship here at IL Corn this summer, I was informed that I would have to dress up as Captain Cornelius at several events this summer. While I did not look forward to sweating profusely in a costume in 90 degree heat, I was excited for the opportunity. I mean, who doesn’t want to dress up and act crazy while dressed as corn? No one? Just me? Okay…

After several stints in the costume for various photos and videos we did here at the office, which you can see on our YouTube channel, I came across my first event to attend as Captain Cornelius. Last night, we had an event at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood, a south suburb of Chicago. The Normal Cornbelters were playing the Windy City Thunderbolts.

An hour before the game was to begin, we were set up on the main concourse. Myself, dressed as Captain Cornelius, waved to children and took pictures with many kids for a chance to win a gift card to Mariano’s. Along with me was a farmer, Jim Robbins, from Will County, to help pass out freebies and talk with consumers about our fields and environment.

7-18-16IMG_7493Right before the game was to begin, I was able to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. It was not a strike, but it did make it across the plate, or somewhere close to it. That wasn’t too bad for being inside the costume and not really being able to see out of it. Throughout the game, we walked around and spoke with kids and their parents about farming and their chances to win a gift card. I took numerous photos with kids, and even signed a few baseballs. It was pretty hard being the center of attention.

As we walked around, I heard many people talking about how I was just a piece of sweet corn, before being told that there are different types of corn, like dent, sweet, and popcorn. While there were many who called me sweet corn, there were also a good number of attendees who immediately told their children that I was field corn, and that I’m not the same thing as what you would eat at dinner time. It was refreshing to see and know that some efforts by the agriculture community are working to educate and communicate our practices with the consumers of the food we raise.

The best part of my night was when a little girl walked up to me and said, “My last name is Cornfield, so this is the best thing ever,” and then took a picture with Captain Cornelius. It’s the little things, I guess!

Want to come out and see Captain Cornelius in action? He and the crew will be out on August 2nd at Daley Plaza in Chicago and Silver Cross Field in Joliet, and also on August 13th at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. For a full schedule and other information, check out watchusgrow.org/corn

Cowger_Dakota_IL CORN INTERN 2x3 16

 

Dakota Cowger
Communications Intern
IL Corn

PLAY BALL!

It is that time of year again!

The Normal CornBelters had their season home opener on Tuesday, May 19th.

The final score was 9-2 with a victory for the CornBelters.

Corn Belters

“Take me out to the ball game
Take me out with the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack
I don’t care if I never get back
Let me root, root, root for the home team
If they don’t win it’s a shame
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out
At the old ball game”

CORNBELTERS OPENING NIGHT, FRIDAY MARCH 16

There is a lot going on at the Corn Crib and around town surrounding the Normal CornBelters presented by Illinois Corn Growers. There are a lot of new additions in the stadium and to the players’ roster this season.

There are many promotional nights scheduled and we’ll have fireworks nights every Friday night! Check out all of our great promotions HERE.

Play BallThis week we’ve been playing exhibition games and the 2014 CornBelters baseball season gets underway on Friday, March 16 at the Corn Crib in Normal, Ill. The Corn Crib and the CornBelters are entering their fifth anniversary season in Normal. The CornBelters will take on the Evansville Otters at 7 p.m. in the opener of what promises to be an exciting season.

Our manager Brooks Carey has really been excited about all the new players we have added to this team. We have lots of players here with experience playing in affiliated baseball at the Double A and Triple A levels. He says this is by far one of the best and most experienced teams we have had on the field in all his years of coaching.

One of the things I enjoy doing is meeting people when I take Corny, our mascot, out into the community. We recently went to Saybrook, IL for their annual balloon flyaway. It’s great to get out in front of the smaller surrounding communities to show and teach them about the CornBelters.

We are really looking forward to the DuPont-Pioneer Summer Concert Series this year, starting with Gary Allen June 20 and later this summer Tim McGraw on September 12.

It is our mission to be the number one summer sports entertainment choice in Illinois. We strive each year to achieve this by building trust with our fans and partners, providing professional baseball, superb customer service and a fun and affordable experience every time they come to the ballpark.

Over the past our seasons, we have come a long way by consistently keeping this statement in mind. This season we look forward to continuing to build upon the relationships we’ve built with our fans and partners.

Brooks Carey has built a team will be competitive in the Frontier League and we will once again provide outstanding customer service; focusing on fun and affordability.

Hopefully you have your tickets for the home opener this Friday night and the home stand already but if not there are still some available. They start at only $6 each! Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office, or by phone at (309) 454-2255 (BALL), during normal business hours. They can also be purchased online anytime by visiting http://www.normalbasball.com.

This will be my first season with the CornBelters and I am excited to get the games started. I hope to meet any of you and if you have an idea for a partnership I’d love to talk to you, come on up and introduce yourself.

See you at The Corn Crib this summer!

mike rainsMike Rains
CornBelters

 

2013 NORMAL CORNBELTERS SEASON COMING TO AN END

normal cornbelters logoIt is hard to believe the 2013 Normal CornBelters season will be wrapping up soon.  Following their longest road trip of the season, the team begins a three-game home stand at The Corn Crib tonight against the Schaumburg Boomers at 7 p.m.  Including tonight’s game, there are only 18 regular season home games remaining this season.

The team currently has a 35-34 record.  They are six and a half games behind the division leading Gateway Grizzlies in the Frontier League West Division, but only four games back of a wild card playoff berth.  While they have improved from last season’s 29 wins, there is still work to be done in their remaining 27 games.  They are looking to finish the season strong and earn our first-ever playoff berth.

Case IH CombineWith the team on the road for nine of the past ten days, our front office staff continued with business as usual at the ballpark.  On my way into the administrative office earlier this week, I viewed a family taking photographs next to the Case IH combine outside the Barker, Buick, GMC, Cadillac Main Gate (a common occurrence).  It reminded me of the unique and beneficial theme we have had since our inaugural season in 2010.

Of all the 50 states, only Iowa planted more acres of corn than Illinois in 2012.  With Normal being located in the heart of Central Illinois (inside the “Corn Belt”), corn production is essential to our way of life.  It only makes sense we call ourselves the CornBelters, and we play our games at The Corn Crib.  It makes even more sense we partner with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) to help educate our fans on corn production in our home state.

Among other things, visitors to the ballpark cannot miss the corn planted outside and inside The Corn Crib, the Case IH combines at both gates, the corn signage throughout the ballpark and the corn facts shared during CornBelters games.  Plus, our fans can even purchase $1 ears of roasted corn throughout our games!  Without question, we have one of the most unique themes in all of professional sports.  More importantly, it is a win, win for everyone involved (Illinois corn farmers, ICMB, our fans and us)!

If you have yet to catch a CornBelters game this season, there is no better time to do so!  As usual, we have some fantastic promotions scheduled for this home stand…

Wednesday, August 7 – “Dog Night / Meijer Wednesday / Web Wednesday

Thursday, August 8 – “Miller Thirst Quenching Thursday

Friday, August 9 – “CEFCU Fireworks Friday / Facebook Friday / Salute to Armed Forces

To purchase tickets, simply visit the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office at The Corn Crib, or call (309) 454-2255 (BALL), during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. / Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.).  You can also purchase tickets on-line anytime at:  https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/team.asp?SponsorID=4098#.UbjDC_lQFid.

kylekregerKyle Kruger
Normal CornBelters

CORNBELTERS EXHIBITION GAME AND EDUCATION DAY

Today, the Normal CornBelters hosted an exhibition game and their first education day.  Area schools were invited to attend the game, and many schools brought their students as an incentive to finish out the year strong.  If you remember being in school, you might recall that the nearer students get to summer break, the more distracted they become, so the baseball game incentive was a win-win for local schools.

And a win for Illinois farmers, as it turns out.  Illinois Corn staff was present at the game to provide teachers with packets of corn Ag Mags, featuring the Normal CornBelters, to share in their classroom.   The benefit of the Ag Mags is that they often make their way into the hands of the parents, teaching the young and old alike about corn farming in Illinois.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does seeing an Ag Mag interest you?  Click here to view a smart board ready version of the Corn Ag Mag and click here to see the list of all the Ag Mags available FOR FREE to Illinois teachers!

Becky Finfrock
IL Corn Communications Assistant

NORMAL CORNBELTERS LOOK FORWARD TO SECOND SEASON

The Normal CornBelters are now 2-1 in exhibition play following their win over the Joliet Slammers yesterday.  After a fourth exhibition game tonight, the Normal CornBelters celebrate their home opener on May 27.

Become a fan of the Normal CornBelters on Facebook to learn more about their players and their season!