Lake Elsinore Storm joins forces with FMX 'Godfather' for X Games 2012June 27, 2012 - California League (CalL) Lake Elsinore Storm
The San Diego Padres' Class "A" Advanced minor league affiliate and 36-year-old Metzger, a Huntington Beach native who has been living in the area since middle school, recently announced an official partnership that will begin with this weekend's X Games in Los Angeles.
Metzger, remembered for his 2002 X Games gold medal for back-to-back back flips, is slated to compete at 6:30 p.m. Friday for "Best Whip." He will be donning the Storm Eyes on his helmet, jersey and his bike's number plates.
"It's just a really cool opportunity, especially right now heading into X Games, to do some cross-marketing with baseball," Metzger said recently. "Being a part of Lake Elsinore and having the Lake Elsinore Storm Stadium come in and team up with Mike Metzger and MOB Syndicate, I think it's touching new territories, breaking new ground. And there's no better place than do it here in my home town. It's one big happy extreme family around these parts of Lake Elsinore."
Metzger and Storm President Dave Oster are looking to extend this weekend's visible partnership at the X Games to helping each other promote local shows as well as creating cross-branded hats and jerseys - "bringing the tattoo flavor to baseball," Metzger said -- with his artist staff at newly opened Mike Metzger's MOB Syndicate Tattoo shop in Lake Elsinore.
For Oster, the pairing with Metzger and entertainment-driven action sports is a natural move, as the Storm prides itself on being entertainment-focused and innovative. The team won MilB's 2011 Golden Bobblehead for best in-game promotions, as well as the Larry MacPhail Award, honoring the team for best marketing and their controversial "Sheen-co de Mayo" promotion.
"We are stoked to be hooked up with Metz. He's been doing 'stoopid' stuff at our stadium for years, so we figured this was a perfect partnership," Oster said recently. "He's the Godfather, and this area has a lot of race heritage Metz, Deegan, McGrath are all local bros that have been riding and creating this scene out here forever. With Mike, we hope to continue to bring more of the industry out here to Lake Elsinore and promote the cool activities and facilities we have here in town."
For Metzger, the partnership is just a new chapter in a long-running history and friendship with the Storm. Metzger performed his first-ever ramp-to-ramp back flips in the Storm's parking lot in November 2002 at the venue's two-day Throttle Sports and Music Festival. He brought a part-street, part-dirt Supercross event to the stadium in conjunction with the festival that year, as well.
"It was pretty cool being able to do back flips in front of my hometown," he said. "Just where my ramp was located up against the back board, there wasn't a whole lot of room for error. But there's never room for error when you're out doing back flips on a dirt bike. Next thing you know, we were in the X Games racing and earning medals. It's kind of cool where everything kind of grew from right here in the Storm Stadium parking lot. It's not just baseball."
Also at the ballpark, Metzger performed a back flip at a private event and participated in Discovery Channel's "Biker Build-Off" with Larry Linkogle in 2006, which aired in August of that year. And he continues to be a supporter and participant in the historical Lake Elsinore Grand Prix, overseen by and held at the stadium. If healthy, Metzger said he will be racing in this year's Grand Prix, running Nov. 10 and 11.
"Being in the city of Lake Elsinore, it just makes sense," Metzger said. "It's pretty much my home town. And being able to work with big businesses like Storm Baseball, it doesn't get any bigger or better than being involved with a big team of people. And a lot of the local baseball fans that come on a weekly basis to hang out with their families not only come to the Storm Stadium, but also at the Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park throughout the week."
The Storm partnership also was a good fit as Metzger's favorite colors, which he is often seen racing in -- red, black and white -- are the Storm's official colors. Additionally, Metzger's own eye logo somewhat mirrors the Storm's eye logo.
"The designs and the way that Storm Stadium markets their baseball team come across pretty hardcore. . And that's kind of the whole deal with motocross; we're out there risking our lives and doing what we enjoy."
And from all that Metzger can see, baseball fans exude that hardcore attitude best.
"I have to say one of my favorite experiences with baseball was just in 2010. I got to watch the Cardinals play in St. Louis. It was my first time seeing a grand slam," he said. "To be honest with you, after seeing a grand slam go down in St. Louis, I think the baseball fans are probably a little more excited and hardcore than watching the reaction of Supercross fans, really."
The X Games run June 28 through July 1. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to televise 21 hours of live competition in HD, and on ESPN 3D. X Games will also be streamed digitally on XGames.com and WatchESPN.com.
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