Top 10 upcoming promotions05/15/2007 5:01 PM ET
By Benjamin Hill / Special to MLB.com
Minor League teams are known for their game-day promotions. Every Tuesday during the season, we'll preview 10 of the best for the week ahead. If you'd like a particular promotion to be considered for this feature in the future, please send it to email@example.com with the subject line: "Promo Preview."
Oklahoma RedHawks (Pacific Coast League)
"Take Me Out Harry" Performance
Saturday, May 19 vs. Iowa Cubs
Baseball lost one of its most iconic personalities when Cubs play-by-play legend Harry Caray passed away in 1998. Fortunately, his spirit lives on in the form of impressionist Dennis Duffels, who performs at ballparks all over the country as "Take Me Out Harry." At Saturday's RedHawks game (which, appropriately, is against the Cubs), Take Me Out Harry will entertain fans with a litany of Caray-related routines. The highlight of the evening will undoubtedly be the seventh-inning stretch, in which Duffels leads the crowd in a rousing version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
Potomac Nationals (Carolina League)
Outdoor Sports Expo
Saturday, May 19 vs. Kinston Indians
In the most inspired match-up since "Alien vs. Predator," the Potomac Nationals are staging a massive outdoor sports expo prior to Saturday night's contest against Kinston. Potomac's G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium will be transformed into a nature lover's paradise (minus the actual nature), as dozens of vendors will be displaying and selling their outdoor-related products in the parking lots surrounding the stadium. This event should help console forlorn baseball fans in Montreal, as it is living proof that expos still have a place in baseball.
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (California League)
1993 Replica T-Shirt Giveaway
Saturday, May 19 vs. Visalia Oaks
The Quakes played their inaugural season way back in 1993, a hazy, barely-remembered era of American history. 2007 marks the franchise's 15th season, and the club has decided to celebrate this landmark all year long. On Saturday, for example, the Quakes will be giving away T-shirts featuring their original 1993 logo. Veteran Quake fans can gaze upon these garments and wax nostalgic about that long-ago first season, when manager Keith Champion failed to live up to his name by guiding his charges to a mediocre 64-72 record.
Toledo Mud Hens (International League)
Baseball 101 Workshop for Women
Saturday, May 19 vs. Charlotte Knights
Baseball, like Othello, takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master. The game's deliberate pace and infinite complexity can be intimidating, but thankfully the Mud Hens are taking steps to educate the populace (well, at least the fairer half of the populace) on the finer points of the sport. On Saturday afternoon, women who are interested in honing their knowledge of our national pastime can do so by attending the Mud Hens "Baseball 101 Workshop." Toledo players and coaches will be on hand to conduct lectures and hands-on demonstrations relating to all aspects of the game. Workshop participants can then put their newly gained knowledge to use by attending that evening's contest against the Knights.
Corpus Christi Hooks (Texas League)
Rusty Hook Pillowcase Giveaway
Sunday, May 20 vs. Midland RockHounds
A "Rusty Hook Pillowcase" may initially sound like quite a horrific item, but first impressions are often deceiving. You see, "Rusty" is the team's mascot, a delightful silver-tinged baseball-loving chap who can often be seen at Whataburger Field hanging out with his friend (and fellow mascot) Sammy Seagull. A pillowcase with Rusty's smiling visage is sure to induce an idyllic slumber, so arrive early to make sure you get one. They will be given away to the first 1,500 kids (ages 12 and under) to arrive at the ballpark.
Burlington Bees (Midwest League)
Community Basket Day
Sunday, May 20 vs. South Bend Silver Hawks
Burlington's "Community Basket Day" is a much-anticipated annual fundraiser organized by the non-profit Chicken Lip Foundation. The titular basket is a mammoth prize package consisting of products donated by nearly five dozen local businesses, which will be raffled off to one lucky winner during Saturday's game. The raffle tickets are $2 apiece and sold by a bevy of local non-profit organizations, which get to keep $1 of every ticket they sell (the other dollar goes to the Chicken Lip Foundation to cover the costs of the contest). This year's basket includes beer, concert tickets, savings bonds, sporting equipment and much, much more. Plus, if the winner is present at the time of the drawing, he or she will win $1,000. Best. Fundraiser. Ever.
Fresno Grizzlies (Pacific Coast League)
Juan Marichal Appearance
Sunday, May 20 vs. Salt Lake Bees
Anyone looking to be in the presence of greatness should attend Sunday's Grizzlies game, as Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal will be the guest of honor. The legendary Dominican right-hander won 243 games over a 16-year Major League career, nearly all of which was spent with the San Francisco Giants (the Grizzlies' parent club). The 69-year-old Marichal will sign autographs throughout the contest, while presumably fighting the urge to put on a uniform and launch an improbable comeback attempt similar to the one pulled off by his son-in-law Jose Rijo in 2001.
Vero Beach Devil Rays (Florida State League)
Mustache Growing Contest
Begins Sunday, May 20 vs. Lakeland Flying Tigers
The Devil Rays begin an eight-game homestand on Sunday against Lakeland, and the club is inviting fans (presumably males, but you never know) to show up at the game clean-shaven and get their pictures taken. The following Sunday these same fans will return to the ballpark, and whoever has grown the best mustache will be declared champion. The criteria for what constitutes a mustache champion are hazy; the club's website merely says that the winner will be "crowned," whereupon he (or she) will be "the envy of all in attendance."
Trenton Thunder (Eastern League)
Celebrate Sanchez! Giveaways
Monday, May 21 through Wednesday, May 23 vs. Portland Sea Dogs
Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Freddy Sanchez hit .344 in 2006, the best mark in the National League. In 2001 and 2002, however, Sanchez was merely an anonymous farmhand toiling with the Trenton Thunder (who were then a Red Sox affiliate). From Monday through Wednesday, the Thunder will celebrate the success of their esteemed alumnus with a series of promotional giveaways: a Sanchez player statue on the 21st, a Sanchez mini-bat on the 22nd and a Sanchez bobblehead on the 23rd. That's a lot of Sanchez, but you can handle it.
West Virginia Power (South Atlantic League)
Salute to Indoor Plumbing
Monday, May 21 vs. Augusta GreenJackets
The Power's "Salute to Indoor Plumbing" on Monday will be just that: a salute to indoor plumbing. Details on this event are sketchy, but it is sure to be a heartfelt celebration of one of the greatest advancements that the civilized world ever made. Stay tuned for similar events on the Power's promotional calendar, such as a tribute to the hot dog on May 28, a salute to cheese on July 23 and a celebration of bowling on August 13. All of those things help to make America the greatest country in the world.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.