06/02/2009 10:00 AM ET
Top 10 upcoming promotions
This week's Minor League offerings are out of this world
By Benjamin Hill / Special to 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 email@example.com with the subject line: "Promo Preview."
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League)
Pink Floyd Night, June 4
Great Britain's pre-eminent practitioners of progressive psychedelic space rock will be honored in West Michigan on Thursday, as it's "Pink Floyd Night" at Fifth Third Ballpark. The Whitecaps will take the field in "Dark Side of the Moon" theme jerseys, and the band's music and videos will be featured all evening long (including, it is rumored, several bluegrass cover versions). A giant inflatable pig will be set up at the stadium, and one lucky fan wins free pudding (assuming they eat their meat first, of course). The team will stage an on-field Pink Floyd Laser Light Show after the ballgame which, in turn, will be followed by a live performance by cover band "The Division Bell."
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Midwest League)
Salute to Cows, June 4
Wisconsinites are serious about their docile domesticated land mammals, as evidenced by the extravaganza that is Thursday's "Salute To Cows." The night's on-field contests promise to be exceptionally entertaining, as fans will vie to see who is the best milk chugger, beef eater and moo-er (these sort of things demand to be documented for posterity). Contest winners receive a year's supply of cheese curds, which in Wisconsin are worth their weight in gold. A costumed cow is scheduled to throw out the first pitch, and all player head shots on the videoboard will feature milk mustaches (which is about the only facial hair that some of those young pups in the Midwest League can muster). In short, this will be an "udderly" amazing evening (sorry).
Altoona Curve (Eastern League)
Facebook Friday, June 5
The Curve are well aware that the quickest and easiest way to make friends is through the time-tested art of bribery. Therefore, the club is staging "Facebook Friday" on, um, Friday, and it is sure to boost the team's presence on the world's most popular social networking Web site. How it works is simple -- fans who are "friends" with the team on Facebook will receive $2 off the cost of the ticket, and more importantly, will be guaranteed to receive that evening's Diesel Dawg bank giveaway. As someone who once spent 16 hours touching a life-size bobblehead of Diesel Dawg, I can attest that anything bearing his likeness will make for a fine giveaway item.
Bowie Baysox (Eastern League)
60th Anniversary of Peanuts, June 5
Milkshake performance, June 6
I have long held that 1949's most important event was the birth of Mike Schmidt, but I am just now realizing that I had neglected an even more noteworthy occurrence -- the first appearance of Peanuts. On Friday, the Baysox will commemorate this epochal event with a wide variety of Peanuts-themed activities, including appearances by series stalwarts Snoopy and Charlie Brown. The next evening the team will host Milkshake for a special pregame performance. For those not in the know (i.e., myself one minute ago), Milkshake are a Baltimore band whose mission is to create "great rock music for kids." I always thought Guns N' Roses were great rock music for kids, but that probably goes a long way toward explaining why I'm not a parent.
Binghamton Mets (Eastern League)
Star Trek Night, June 5
"Star Wars" promotional nights have been steadily growing in popularity over the past several years; is it now Star Trek's time to shine? The B-Mets sure think so, as they are celebrating the enduring sci-fi series Friday. The team will wear sleek and stylish Star Trek-themed jerseys during the game, perhaps signifying the players' desire to get "beamed up" to a new level of play. All in-game contests will be Trek-themed, and head shots on the videoboard will be doctored so that the players resemble characters from the series. Perhaps most hilariously, the B-Mets' staff will wear replica "Star Trek" uniforms of various colors so that fans can immediately determine their rank in the front-office hierarchy.
Lake Elsinore Storm (California League)
Tribute to SportsCenter, June 5
The Storm have produced a series of SportsCenter parody ads this season with the tagline of "This Is Storm Baseball." Now the club is dedicating an evening to the popular sports highlight show. The front-office staff will pay tribute to the show's original broadcasters by wearing yellow jackets, and player head shots will feature anchors from all eras of "SportsCenter" history. The pregame festivities will be broadcast live from the ballpark, during which fans will be provided with "Bring Back Olbermann" signs. Later on, the theme will be stretched to its breaking point when in-game updates are provided by a male staff member dressed as a female correspondent. Because what's the point of staging a promotion if you can't work a little cross-dressing into it?
Fresno Grizzlies (Pacific Coast League)
As Seen on TV Night with Shammy Cloth Giveaway, June 6
Whether its Ron Popeil hawking a Chop-O-Matic or Billy Mays touting the virtues of Mighty Putty, it's a fact that infomercials have become an inescapable part of the American television landscape. On Saturday, the Grizzlies are paying homage to these legendary pitchmen and their legendary products with "As Seen on TV" night. Clappers, Chia Pets, and Snuggies will all get their due during this special evening...but you should wait. Because there is more. The first 2,500 fans through the gate will receive a free Grizzlies Shamwow. That's right, free! This product generally retails for $29.95, so get yourself to Chukchansi Park in order to take advantage of this amazing one-time offer. Also, there will be a baseball game, if you're into that sort of thing.
Lancaster JetHawks (California League)
KaBoom "Scrubs" Bobblehead, June 6
It's one thing for a team mascot to don a pair of scrubs as part of a tribute to medical professionals, but it takes another level of commitment to give out a bobblehead featuring said mascot wearing said scrubs. According to my therapist, this would be an example of "giving permanency to the impermanent." That's what the JetHawks are doing Saturday, as the first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive a "KaBoom Dressed in Scrubs" bobblehead. Hopefully this will be the first in a series of bobbleheads, and that KaBoom will one day be looked on as the Barbie of the mascot world -- constantly reinventing himself and always on the lookout for new and exciting occupations at which to try his hand.
Memphis Redbirds (Pacific Coast League)
Stubby Clapp Bobblehead, June 8
For the uninitiated: yes, Stubby Clapp is a real ballplayer. And yes, now that you mention it -- the name Stubby Clapp is pretty hilarious. Do we have that out of the way now? No? OK, go ahead and take the time to riff on his name a little bit more. Savor the off-color puns that result, and marvel at how the inherent comedy keeps revealing itself in new and beautiful ways. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. At any rate, the Redbirds will be giving away Stubby Clapp bobbleheads Monday. During his time in Memphis, Clapp was more than a punchline -- he was one of the best players in franchise history.
Stockton Ports (California League)
Fish with a Port, June 8
It's one thing to fish from a port, but it's quite another to fish with one. That's the opportunity the Stockton baseball club is offering Monday, as fans will be able to go fishing with one of the team's players and a Bass Professional Fisherman. This experience can be yours for $200, or as I like to call it, "two Franklins." This is admittedly a nice chunk of pocket change, but proceeds benefit the Ports' Anchor Fund (which goes toward a wide range of charitable projects within the community). The fishing portion of the day lasts from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m., and is followed by a luncheon and awards ceremony.
Bonus Coverage: If you read "Promotion Preview" on a regular basis (uh, hello? Anyone?), then you know what I do here. It's the part of the column where I desperately wish I could be done writing and just go home. So without further ado, here are seven promos that could have been featured in last week's column. They weren't, though. They just weren't.
Kirk Gibson Bobblehead (Great Lakes Loons, May 27): It's been 25 years since 1984, and that's reason enough.
Travis Snider T-Shirt Night (New Hampshire Fisher Cats, May 27): As opposed to giving away t-shirts formerly owned by Travis Snider, the team distributed shirts bearing his likeness. I guess that makes sense.
Worst Bridesmaid Day (Mobile BayBears, May 28): In my experience, bridesmaids have always been perfect models of decorum and civility.
Yo! Pimp My Ride Clunker Car Night (Reading Phillies, May 29): After much pimping and even more clunking, the evening was ultimately deemed a success.
All-American Girls Professional League Night (Bowie Baysox, May 30): In which members from the famous all-female baseball circuit graced Prince George's Stadium with their presence.
Kay Masser First Pitch (Sacramento River Cats, May 30): In 1950, Masser played for her local Little League team while passing herself off as a boy and using the alias "Tubby." True story.
Petco Park Doubleheader (Lake Elsinore Storm, June 2): The Storm traveled to home of the parent Padres in order to take part in an unorthodox Major League/Minor League doubleheader.
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.