07/12/2006 9:08 AM ET
Top 10 upcoming promotions
What's going on this week in the Minors?
By Benjamin Hill / Special to MLB.com
Minor League Baseball teams are known for their game promotions. Every Tuesday, we preview 10 of the best for the upcoming week.
If you would like an upcoming promotion to be considered for this feature in the future, please send it to "firstname.lastname@example.org" with the subject line: promo preview.
Brevard County Manatees (Florida State League)
Dress Like a Pirate Night
Wednesday, July 12 vs. St. Lucie Mets
Space Coast Stadium will be filled with a rogue's gallery of menacing characters on Wednesday, as the relentlessly entertaining Manatees are encouraging all of their fans to attend the game in full pirate garb. Prizes will be awarded to those with the best costumes, and sea shanties will be sung between innings. Hopefully the Manatees will make sure to have plenty of orange slices on hand -- it's the best way to ward off scurvy, which pirates suffer from in disproportionate numbers.
Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League)
Kitchen Sink Giveaway
Wednesday, July 12 vs. Hickory Crawdads
The Suns, like the aforementioned Manatees, are among Minor League Baseball's promo elite. The club has staged so many wacky events over the years -- "Free Funeral Giveaway" comes to mind -- that some have accused them of "giving away everything but the kitchen sink." That oversight will be rectified on Wednesday, when a lucky Suns fan will win just that -- a brand-new kitchen sink. If the prospect of winning a home appliance won't get you down to the ballpark, then nothing will.
Altoona Curve (Eastern League)
Awful Night IV -- Beating a Dead Horse
Thursday, July 13 vs. Erie Seawolves
The Altoona Curve's annual "Awful Night" celebrations reach a level of transcendent genius that us mere mortals can only dream of. All night long, the Curve will stage "awful" competitions, contests and giveaways, which in the past have included dunking for onions, the dead fish slingshot catch and autograph sessions with non-celebrities. This year, the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a photo of General Manager Todd Parnell's gall bladder, and one lucky fan will actually win the real thing. That is not a joke -- Parnell underwent gall bladder surgery in the offseason, and now he wants to share.
Danville Braves (Appalachian League)
Harley Davidson Ride-In Night
Friday, July 14 vs. Bluefield Orioles
Large packs of motorcycle riders are generally not welcome in Minor League Baseball stadiums, but on Friday night the Danville Braves will make an exception. As part of "Harley Davidson Ride-In Night," the Braves are inviting all local Harley riders to show off their beloved hogs at the ballpark. Hard-core motorcycle enthusiasts can debate the merits of the XL 883 vs. the XL 1200L, while casual observers can simply marvel at all the glorious noise.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Carolina League)
Baseball: The Musical!
Friday, July 13 through Sunday, July 15 vs. Winston-Salem Warthogs
In a bit of inspired brilliance, the Pelicans teamed up with the Theatre Department at Coastal Carolina University to create "Baseball: the Musical!," an original production that, with any luck, should be headed to Broadway in the near future. Arrive early, fans -- the show will begin at 6:02 p.m., an hour before game time, and then continue during every inning break all the way through to the seventh-inning stretch. A fireworks show will follow Saturday's third and final performance, a fitting culmination to what is sure to be an explosive theatrical run.
Boise Hawks (Northwest League)
Reverse the Curse Night
Friday, July 14 vs. Vancouver Canadians
The Hawks are an affiliate of the long-suffering Chicago Cubs, who have not appeared in the World Series in over 60 years. Many believe the Cubs' epic drought is a result of the "Billy Goat Curse," which was placed on the team by a local tavern owner who was incensed that he and his pet goat were ejected from Game 4 of the 1945 World Series. On Friday, the Hawks will do their best to "Reverse the Curse" by giving out 1,250 Billy Goat Bobblehead dolls and by staging various "curse-reversing" activities throughout the ballgame.
Dunedin Blue Jays (Florida State League)
Friday, July 14th vs. Sarasota Reds
Friday's contest between Dunedin and Sarasota is sure to be an exciting match-up. But the real action will begin once the game is over. Then, the Florida Pro Wrestling Association will stage a live show, the highlight of which will be a 10-man "BaseBrawl" elimination match. During the match, each wrestler will be wielding a "baseball-themed weapon." While pondering over just what these weapons might be (a rosin-bag slingshot? poisonous batting gloves?), check out this awe-inspiring quote from the Blue Jays' press release: "Usually baseball bats are meant to inflict pain on baseballs, not people. Well, the Florida Professional Wrestling Association (FPWA) asks the simple question, 'Why can't it be both?'"
Hickory Crawdads (South Atlantic League)
Moshi Pillow Giveaway
Saturday, July 15 vs. Delmarva Shorebirds
Get ready, America -- the Moshi Pillow revolution is ready to begin. Unlike the boring old pillows of our youth, Moshi Pillows are filled with thousands of Styrofoam "micro-beads," resulting in a previously unheard level of comfort. The Hickory Crawdads are already on board the Moshi Pillow bandwagon, and on Saturday will be giving them away to the first 1,000 fans in attendance. Those who are lucky enough to get their hands on one will be able to reach previously unattainable levels of head-resting ecstasy.
Vermont Lake Monsters (New York-Penn League)
Tribute to Montreal Night with Dennis Martinez
Saturday, July 15 vs. Brooklyn Cyclones
This past offseason, Vermont's New York-Penn League franchise changed its name from "Expos" to "Lake Monsters," thereby severing professional baseball's last remaining link to the defunct Montreal Expos. The re-christened Lake Monsters haven't forgotten their roots, however, and on Saturday the club will hold its second annual "Tribute to Montreal" night. Former Expo great "El Presidente" Dennis Martinez will be on hand to throw out the first pitch, sign autographs and intimidate passers-by with his steely glare.
Louisville Bats (International League)
Lunch Box Giveaway
Sunday, July 16 vs. Norfolk Tides
It's a proven fact that food tastes better when it is attractively presented, which is why so many restaurants gussy up their dishes with a sprig of parsley on the side. But food is never more attractively presented than when it is enclosed within a fashionable lunch box, and the Louisville Bats are well aware of this fact. On Sunday, the team will give away 2,000 lunch boxes to fans age 10 and younger. The boxes feature a brilliant rendering of the team's mascot, the one and only Buddy Bat, riding in a UPS truck. It doesn't get any more fashionable than that.
Upcoming Promos: Realtor Appreciation Night (Dunedin, July 17), Time Capsule Night (Lowell, July 20), Jeff Clement T-Shirt Night (San Antonio, July 20), Jerry Lawler Appearance (Columbus, July 21), Used Car Night (San Antonio, July 21), Collectible Baseballs (Quad Cities, July 23), Soap Opera Saturday (Syracuse, July 24), Unorganized Cookie Monster Protest (Charleston, July 26), Big Dig Night (Lowell, July 27), Mullet Night (Portland, July 27), Guns and Hoses Softball Classic (Myrtle Beach, July 30), Portable Chair Giveaway (Lowell, August 2), Tim Wakefield Bobblehead (Buffalo, August 3), Appearance by Survivor's Rudy Boesh (Buffalo, August 5), Soccer Ball Giveaway (Hickory, August 5), Halloween at the Ballpark (Ottawa, August 5), Mayberry Deputy Bobblehead Giveaway (Princeton, Aug. 8), Rodney McCray Bobblefence Night (Portland, August 12), Stopwatch Giveaway (Lowell, August 19), Ball Park Replica Giveaway Night, (Buffalo, August 23), Tony Perez Appearance (San Antonio, August 26), Plunger Giveaway (Brevard County, August 26), Appearance by Sgt. Slaughter and George "The Animal" Steele (Columbus, September 1), World Record First Pitch Attempt (Brevard County, September 2), World's Largest Game of 'Duck-Duck-Goose' (Hagerstown, September 3).
Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.