Talented beer vendor called up to the big leagues

Vince Rainey's shtick impressed the Washington Nationals during spring training. Now he'll use it to hawk their pricey brews.

By Jason Notte Jun 12, 2013 4:08PM
A vendor in the stands displays the water and beer he is selling
© Alan Look/Icon SMI/CorbisHow strong is the connection between beer and baseball? Apparently, so mighty that major league teams are scouting the minors for vendor talent.

Vince Rainey, a 25-year-old beer vendor for the Chicago Cubs' Class-A Advanced minor-league affiliate, the Daytona Cubs, has ridden his barked, improv sales pitches to the majors after becoming a fan favorite in Daytona Beach, Fla.

According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Rainey's loud, self-aware quips like "Ice cold beer. Beer that is cold. . . and in ice" and "Hey kids, if your parent is drinking a beer, ask them if you can have a cotton candy" also worked during spring training at the Washington Nationals' Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla.

That's where he caught the attention of Mark Lerner, Nationals' principal owner, who sent Rainey a handwritten note on team stationery asking him to come work in Washington, D.C. Rainey is headed there in November to train in the marketing department. Next season, he'll also work as a vendor at Nationals Park.

"I think Vince Rainey would be a great addition to Nationals Park," Lerner told The News-Journal. "He's extremely hard-working, has a great booming voice and has an infectious sense of humor, which I know our fans would love."

While a great source of pride for the Cubs, who last made headlines in August when an umpire ejected stadium soundman Derek Dye from a game for playing "Three Blind Mice" after a controversial call, Rainey's impending move has been a long time coming. He started working at Jackie Robinson Stadium as a vendor when he was 13 but had to wait  five years before he could start selling beer.

After years of making between $40 to $150 a night while finishing high school, earning a communications degree from the University of Central Florida and working as a bartender at a brewpub chain to make ends meet, Rainey's vocal efforts earned a shout-out from ESPN during spring training this year, and his legwork brought him some respect from the Cubs' front office.

"He's going to get you to buy something, and he'll make you feel good about it," Cubs general manager Brady Ballard told The News-Journal. "He's a visible guy, has a great personality, and you certainly hear him."

That's all good to have in your marketing department, but it's even better in the aisles selling beers that, according to Team Marketing Report, have the league's costliest starting price at $8.25.

More on moneyNOW

Jun 12, 2013 4:25PM
What is with this "pooper paints" thing anyway? Not nice at all...
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