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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: "Promo Preview."
Altoona Curve (Eastern League)
The Curve and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans are part of the same ownership group, which leads to interesting promotions like this one. On Wednesday, April 9, 20 lucky Altoonians (Altoonites?) will win a bus trip and hotel accommodations for two in Myrtle Beach from April 23-26. Once these fans have arrived in Myrtle Beach, they will be able to take in a Pelicans game at beautiful BB&T Coastal Field. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Shockingly, Myrtle Beach does not seem to be running a corresponding "Win a Trip to Altoona" promotion.
Also taking place in Altoona on Wednesday: "As the Curve Turns," a game-long salute to the soap opera.
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League)
On Thursday, April 10, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals aren't just playing their first home game of the season -- it's their first home game in franchise history. This historic day needs to be properly celebrated, obviously, and what better way to do that than by distributing commemorative tickets to all fans in attendance? These souvenir beauties will be handed to fans as they pass through the gates, ready to enjoy the first regular-season contest in the history of brand-new Arvest Ballpark.
Trenton Thunder (Eastern League)
In 2007, after 14 seasons in Trenton, the Thunder finally won an Eastern League championship. On Friday, April 10, the club will commemorate this achievement by distributing replica rings to the first 2,000 fans in attendance at their home opener. These oversized replica rings are not designed to be worn, however. Instead, they are designed to be displayed on the shelf or desk of your choice. I'm a desk man myself, but it's all a matter of personal preference.
Also in Trenton: Championship Logo Baseball Giveaway on April 13.
Dale Earnhardt's Car on Display (April 11)
The Suns kick off their home season on Friday, April 11, in a 6:35 p.m. contest against the Lake County Captains. Fans will want to make sure they get to Municipal Stadium early, however, in order to spend as much time as possible basking in the beatific glow of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 National Guard race car. This most special automobile will be parked in the stadium concourse, and fans will be able to pose for pictures whilst standing beside it. Earnhardt himself won't be in attendance, unfortunately, probably because seeing so many people standing near his car makes him nervous. At least that's how my dad used to get about his 1982 Subaru.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League)
Remember that Northwest Arkansas Naturals write-up near the top of this column? Of course you do. Well, much of the same information applies to this write-up as well. Just replace "Thursday" with "Friday," "Northwest Arkansas Naturals" with "Lehigh Valley IronPigs" and "Arvest Ballpark" with "Coca-Cola Park." And while you're at it, go ahead and replace the "Special to" in my mlb.com byline with "Detrimental to." I think that just about covers it, so let's move on to the next promotion, shall we?
Lexington Legends (South Atlantic League)
From April 24-27, the annual Transformers "BOTCON" convention will be taking place in Cincinnati. To promote the event, the Hasbro Corporation is sponsoring the Legends' opening weekend festivities. On April 11, 12 and 13, the first 250 kids to enter Applebee's Park will receive the quite awesome-sounding "Transformers Legends AllSpark Battle Pack." Legends players will have a part in this promotion as well, by attempting to transform into a winning ballclub after a subpar season in 2007.
Reading Phillies (Eastern League)
Philadelphia's Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins have won back-to-back National League MVP Awards, so it's only fitting that a double bobblehead featuring the two teammates would have them standing back-to-back. On Friday, April 11, the Reading Phillies will distribute these sure-to-be-coveted dolls to the first 2,000 kids in attendance as part of their Opening Day festivities. And there are a lot of festivities taking place, including three vacation giveaways (to Chicago, Cancun and Las Vegas), a performance by illusionist Wayne Hoffman and a poster giveaway featuring the brand-new Reading Phillies Dance Team. Hey, anyone want to give me a ride to Reading on Friday?
Sacramento River Cats (Pacific Coast League)
On Sept. 14, 2007, Sacramento completed a sweep of the New Orleans Zephyrs in the PCL Championship. On Friday, April 11, the River Cats will begin their 2008 home season by celebrating this momentous occasion. Last year's returning players will participate in a pregame autograph ceremony, and fans will have the opportunity to get their picture taken with the championship trophy. The players will then receive their rings, which will most likely be of a higher quality than the replica versions slated to be distributed to the first 3,000 fans. Finally, the first pitch will be thrown out by the recently retired Lou Merloni, a Major League veteran who served as the River Cats' captain last season. Way to go out on top, Lou.
Indianapolis Indians (International League)
On Monday, April 14, the parking lot of Indianapolis' Victory Field will be filled with horse-drawn carriages, and the stands will be packed with antiquarians, fuddy-duddies and old-timey fetishists. That's because there will be a game between the Indianapolis Blues and the Indianapolis Hoosiers prior to that evening's Indians-Tides match-up. The Blues and the Hoosiers are members of the Vintage Base Ball Association, which plays the sport according to the rules and customs of the 19th century. Therefore, expect a contest that includes gloveless fielders, underhand pitching and, most appealingly, the complete absence of the designated hitter.
Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League)
On ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," a team of designers, contractors and volunteers are given one week to rebuild an entire house. In February, an episode of the show was shot in Wilmington, Del., and a massive amount of goodwill was generated by this expansive group project (which resulted in a brand-new home for a single mother of four and the family's adopted grandmother). On Monday, April 14, the Blue Rocks will honor Wilmington's "Extreme Makeover" volunteers by giving them free admission to Frawley Stadium, then celebrating their many achievements all evening long. And, as an added bonus, it's also Bingo Night at the stadium. Don't forget about Bingo Night.
It's very early in the season, but already there's more going on in the Minors than I can keep track of. Here's a brief rundown of seven unlucky promotions that didn't make it into last week's column:
Master's Degree Giveaway (Lakeland Flying Tigers, April 2) -- One lucky teacher won a master's degree from a local university.
Ozzie Smith Appearance (Mobile BayBears, April 4) -- After the game, Smith reportedly did back flips all the way home to St. Louis.
10th Anniversary Salute to 1999 (Altoona Curve, April 5) -- As part of their 10th anniversary season, the Curve are systematically paying tribute to the past. On "1999 Night," former player Kory DeHaan was the guest of honor.
Flower Seed Packet Giveaway (Clinton LumberKings, April 6) -- Even better than a replica championship ring.
35th Anniversary of the Designated Hitter (Columbus Catfish, April 6) -- During which one of the darkest moments in baseball history was officially commemorated.
2004 and 2007 World Series Trophies on Display (Pawtucket Red Sox, April 6) -- Red Sox fans will never get tired of staring at those things.
Little Legend of 2008 (Lexington Legends, April 7) -- The very first baby born in Lexington after the season's first pitch was named "Lexington's Little Legend of 2008." More details from this season-long promotion will emerge shortly.
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.