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Stephen Colbert throws out the first pint, RiverDogs hit minor league baseball promotional jackpot

Ctephen Colbert
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert prepares to throw out the first "pint" as part of the Charleston RiverDogs' wacky minor league baseball promotion.

By Chuck King

CHARLESTON, S.C. – While many minor league baseball clubs capitalized on July 7th’s numerical significance (07/07/07) with casino night promotions, Charleston hit the jackpot with an appearance from Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert.

A native of the Charleston area, Colbert was in the park along with Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to promote a new ice cream venture – Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream – and to have some fun. In keeping with minor league baseball tradition and Colbert’s comedy, they did it in outlandish fashion.

Instead of throwing out the first pitch, Colbert tossed a pint of his ice cream from the mound to Greenfield, who was behind the plate serving as catcher.

“I ate a pint this morning to fill up (the container) with dirt so I could practice throwing it in the yard,” Colbert said.

His ice cream toss landed just shy of its mark, forcing Greenfield to scoop the pint out of the dirt.

“It came in just chest high and just died,” Colbert laughed.

Obviously amused by the RiverDogs wacky promotional idea, Greenfield questioned whether Colbert had the ability to make it as a professional ice cream tosser.

“Although it was a great pitch, he has no future as a pitcher,” Greenfield said. “I believe his best playing days are behind him.”

Nearly a year ago Colbert received what he called “the craziest phone call of my life” from Ben and Jerry’s telling him they’d like to make an ice cream in his name.

AmeriCone Dream is a vanilla ice cream with chunks of chocolate-covered waffle cone and caramel.

“It’s sweeter than the Bill of Rights, it’s colder than Valley Forge and it has twice as much caramel as the Louisiana Purchase,” said Colbert, slipping into his “Colbert Report” character. “It’s the best flavor of all time – way better than Willie Nelson’s flavor.”

Proceeds from the ice cream’s sale will go toward Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream Fund, which benefits various charitable causes. The first installment will help families of the South Carolina firefighters who recently died in the line of duty.

Colbert was also scheduled to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame – he threatened to do something from Yentil, instead – but that plan was thwarted by a first inning rain delay that ultimately postponed the game.

During the delay, fans with homemade “Colbert” shirts and others with “Colbert” spelled out on their chests serenaded Colbert from below his box with their version of Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

Colbert was also slated to join the radio broadcast for an inning. When the game was called, Colbert went to the radio booth for a one-on-one interview scheduled to be aired between games of Sunday’s doubleheader. During the interview he apparently did real play-by-play of an imaginary game.

Asked whether he thought it was right for such a major celebrity to appear at a minor league baseball game, Colbert slipped back into his Comedy Central character.

“I think I might actually be raising the elevation – the ground might actually be higher,” he said.

Check out my blog for more on wild minor league promotions and minor league baseball.



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