Top 10 upcoming promotions09/01/2009 12:03 PM ET
By Benjamin Hill / MLB.com
Minor League teams are known for their game-day promotions. On Tuesdays for the remainder of 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: "Promo Preview."
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League)
Kosher Kaboom, September 2
The Cyclones, like most Minor League teams, have an abundance of fireworks shows on their promotional calendar. And, like most teams, the Cyclones schedule these colorful bursts of pyrotechnics for Friday or Saturday night. That's all well and good, except for one thing - weekend fireworks displays take place during the Sabbath, meaning that the observant Jewish segment of the fan base perpetually misses out (and perhaps no Minor League team has a larger demographic of Jewish fans than does Brooklyn). The Cyclones have decided to rectify this pyrotechnical imbalance by staging Wednesday's "Kosher Kaboom". Fans -- Jewish or otherwise -- are advised to not "Passover" the chance to observe one of the more unorthodox fireworks displays of the season.
Everett AquaSox (Northwest League)
Key Dig for New Car, September 2
AquaSox trainer Spyder Webb (yes, this appears to be his real name) must be a very generous guy. Just last year, the AquaSox gave away his 1995 Chevy Blazer by burying the keys somewhere along the warning track. Then, after the game, tent stake-wielding fans were let loose onto the field in a mad scramble to locate them. Well, a year has passed and Spyder is once again up to his old car-relinquishing tricks. After Wednesday's game, fans will attempt to unearth the keys to his Saturn automobile (as well as a variety of other prizes). Digging utensils can be bought during the game for just $1, which is a very small price to pay considering what's at "stake."
Orem Owlz (Pioneer League)
Joe the Plumber's Prostate Cancer Awareness Night, September 2
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and teams across the Minor Leagues are doing their part to assist this most worthy of causes. One of the more creative prostate promos is taking place in Orem, as the Owlz will be staging a variety of games and contests related to the plumbing profession (this is because examining one's prostate is euphemistically referred to as "checking the plumbing." Did I even need to explain that?) Opportunistic Republican firebrand "Joe the Plumber" will be referenced in several of these games and contests, marking perhaps the final time he will be referenced in regards to anything at all.
Idaho Falls Chukars (Pioneer League)
Sausage Party, September 2
In a dramatic upgrade from the traditional "Dollar Dog" night, the Chukars are offering five varieties of sausage at the concession stand -- bratwurst, Italian, Polish, cheddarwurst, and chorizo -- for $2 a pop (a $2 sampler platter is available for those who want to experience the full range of this delectable smorgasbord). This promotion marks perhaps the first time in recorded history that a sausage party is something to be desired; in my experience it's simply been the unfortunate and inevitable result of not knowing how to extend an invitation to members of the opposite sex.
Toledo Mud Hens (International League)
Chia Pet Bobblehead of Groundskeeper Jake Tyler, September 3
Groundskeeper Jake Tyler has accumulated a mound of accomplishments in his distinguished career, leading the Mud Hens to celebrate his dirty deeds in unprecedented fashion. Those attending Thursday's game will receive a Jake Tyler Chia Pet bobblehead, featuring the turf-tender standing triumphantly atop a pile of dirt. Fans with a green thumb (or, at the very least, access to a regular water supply) will then experience the subtle thrill of seeing beautiful grass turf sprout from the dirt. Such an experience could very well inspire a whole new generation of groundskeepers, those lured into the profession with grandiose thoughts of eventual Chia-bobble immortality.
Mahoning Valley Scrappers (New York-Penn League)
Browns-Steelers Night, September 4
It may not be quite as dangerous as staging "Crips-Bloods Night" or "NRA-PETA Night," but the Scrappers' annual "Browns-Steelers Night" still seems like a recipe for disaster. That is, until one considers the fact that every evening in the Mahoning Valley is "Browns-Steelers Night," as the team is located halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Therefore, this promotion simply gives Scrappers fans the chance to show their true colors within an acceptably neutral location. Many of the evening's between-innings games and contests will be themed around the Browns-Steelers rivalry, and guests of honor include former Cleveland running back Greg Pruitt and former Pittsburgh linebacker Robin Cole. If those guys can get along, then everybody else should too.
Williamsport Crosscutters (New York-Penn League)
The Yo-Yo Show, September 4
The "Yo-Yo Show" may sound like an old man's pet name for a television program he particularly despises, but it is in fact the moniker of a high-energy touring entity. The Yo-Yo Show is John and Rebecca Higby, a husband-and-wife team that travels the world performing spectacular feats of yo-yo skill. The betrothed duo has performed in 18 countries and appeared on national television, but a new high will be achieved on Friday as they take their act to the illustrious confines of Williamsport's Bowman Field. Now, please allow a gratuitous observation: in doing research for this write-up I discovered that the Higbys have recently welcomed a child into the world. That would make Rebecca a "Yo-Yo Ma."
Augusta GreenJackets (South Atlantic League)
Fair or Fowl Night, September 5
Augusta was the site of this season's most spectacular managerial tirade, as Rome Braves manager Randy Ingle was sent into a gesticulating fury after an apparent home run by Matt Kennelly was ruled foul. With the R-Braves back in Augusta, the GreenJackets have decided to use this outburst as an excuse for fans to get some free chicken. The first 1,000 individuals through the turnstiles on "Fair or Fowl Night" receive gift cards from fried-chicken joint Bojangles, and all on-field games and contests will be based on the "Fair or Fowl" theme. Additionally, any fan who catches a foul ball in the stands will be given the opportunity to run the bases, since this was the very privilege that Kennelly was denied.
Bowling Green Hot Rods (South Atlantic League)
Pregnant Fans Get In Free on Labor Day, September 7
When teams offer complimentary admission to a particular segment of the fan base, proof that one belongs to said segment is generally required. Otherwise, unscrupulous individuals would buck the system in order to get into the ballpark for free. But when the fan segment in question is expectant women, it's best to just take everyone at their word. Asking for positive pregnancy tests or signed notes from a doctor would be seen as unnecessarily intrusive, and would surely result in an avalanche of negative publicity. So now's your chance, unscrupulous baseball fans! Those who stuff a pillow under their shirt stand a good chance of gaining free admission to this Monday's "Labor Day" baseball game in Bowling Green.
Stockton Ports (California League)
ESPN 30TH Anniversary Tribute, September 7
It was 30 years ago today that ESPN first went on the air, satiating a desire for an all-sports cable network that the general public didn't even know it had. The Ports, fans of sports information overload that they are, will commemorate this Pearl anniversary with audio and video clips as well as a wide array of between-inning games and contests. The end result will be an evening with more catch phrases than a loquacious fisherman. I don't think that last line made sense, but this is the last write-up of the season and I am therefore immune from your criticism. So long, suckers!
Bonus Coverage: Because I'm not in the business of writing up 17 promotions each week, here are seven promotions that were physically unable to be shoehorned in the previous edition of this column:
Kids Run the Show (New Hampshire Fisher Cats, August 26): Causing many a disgruntled parent to roll their eyes and ask "Isn't that every night?"
Gluttony Night II (Reading Phillies, August 26): This one included cheeseburgers.
Stone Broke College Student Night (State College Spikes, August 28): They might not have any money, but college students still have their glorious youth. Don't lose sight of that, kids.
Longest Egg Toss World Record Attempt (Charleston RiverDogs, August 30): I get the feeling this one wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Jay Buhner Buzz Cut Day (Everett AquaSox, August 30): The chrome-domed slugger visited Everett in order to shave some heads.
Detroit Lions Day (West Michigan Whitecaps, August 30): A celebration of the worst team in the NFL that included a paper bag mask-making station on the concourse.
Sam Houston Bobblehead Giveaway (Round Rock Express, August 31): As if having a major Texas metropolis named after him wasn't enough.
Double Bonus Coverage: Because this is the last column of the year (excluding the inevitable year-end round-up), here are seven promotions that could have been included in this week's column. Could have been, but weren't:
Midget Wrestling (Charleston RiverDogs, September 2): Political correctness is overrated.
Fans Pick the Promo Night (Bowie Baysox, September 4): The fans are leaning toward picking "Give Everyone a Billion Dollars Night."
Matt Wieters Bobblehead Night (Delmarva ShoreBirds, September 4): This guy has potential, apparently.
$40,000 Chip Shot Challenge (Kannapolis Intimidators, September 5): I've got to work all year to even sniff at that kind of cash.
Andrew Layman Bobblehead Giveaway (Wilmington Blue Rocks, September 5): People will be camping out overnight in order to secure a bobblehead in the likeness of the assistant GM.
Commemorative Final Game Ceramic Ticket Giveaway (Tulsa Drillers, September 7): This giveaway did not come with a print-at-home option.
World's Largest Cookout (West Virginia Power, September 7): Assuming your definition of "world" is "Minor League stadium in West Virginia."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.