White Pants Wednesday, Aug. 10
The Original Clunker Car Night, Aug. 11
Pre-Game Midget Wrestling, Aug. 12
It would be tough to find a better triumvirate of promos than the Arkansas Travelers' back-to-back-to-back onslaught of intrigue and hilarity. The team is granting free admission to all fans wearing white pants to the ballpark Wednesday, as after Labor Day such an outfit represents an unforgivable fashion faux pas. The next evening brings another installment of the Minors' first (and still best) "Clunker Car" night, with a used automobile given away every single inning and $3 tickets available through a variety of local car dealers. And, finally, Friday marks the return of pregame midget wrestling, a decidedly un-PC bout between Bobby Dean and Lil Kato. The winner receives the World Midget Wrestling Heavyweight Championship belt, custom designed for the petite waist.
Reading Phillies (Eastern League)
Ryan Madson "Mad Dog" Giveaway, Aug. 10
Phillies bullpen hero Ryan Madson is known in some circles as "Mad Dog," a nickname that he acquired due to his competitive nature and (more importantly) the fact that "Mad" is part of his surname. The nickname has inspired the latest R-Phils' giveaway, a "Mad Dog" statue featuring Madson (in a Reading uniform) with his arm draped around a rather docile-looking canine. The first 2,500 fans in attendance receive the item, which is quite fittingly tied in with a "Bark in the Park" celebration. Not many of the dogs in attendance will remember Madson's time in Reading, however, as he pitched for the R-Phils back in 2002. That was 63 years ago, as far as they're concerned.
Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn League)
Bat Boy Appreciation Night with Charlie Bobblehead Giveaway, Aug. 10
Players come and players go, but at Joseph Bruno Stadium, the bat boy remains. That would be Charles Constantino, a Tri-City ValleyCats veteran who recently reached the 300 game milestone (not bad for a team that only plays 38 home games a season). The ValleyCats are honoring Constantino on Wednesday with his own bobblehead, an honor usually reserved for players, managers and local weathermen. It's all part of a game-long tribute to the job of bat boy, those largely anonymous and often adolescent souls whose dutiful bat retrieval and intuitive ball delivery make the game move so smoothly.
Kane County Cougars (Midwest League)
Night of 100 Promotions, Aug. 11
The Cougars' "Night of 100 Promotions" is exactly what its name implies, as 100 promotions will be staged before, during and after the game. The full list (which fans receive upon entering the ballpark) includes everything from "hug an intern" to "free high five" to the meta "list of 100 promotions," but the most intriguing are those that pay homage to Chicago's baseball history. "The Record Toss" references the White Sox's spectacularly ill-fated "Disco Demolition Night," and the "Ivy Seed Giveaway" commemorates the installation of ivy on the Wrigley Field wall. Presiding over the lunacy will be a trio of local baseball icons: promotional innovator Mike Veeck, legendary executive Roland Hemond and beloved White Sox organist Nancy Faust.
Everett AquaSox (Northwest League)
Spyder Webb Bobblehead, Aug. 12
Bat boys aren't the only unlikely bobblehead honorees this week, as on Friday the Everett AquaSox are paying tribute to their longtime trainer Spyder Webb. The heavily-mustachioed clubhouse guru has worked in the Northwest League for more than 30 years, and as such has become one of the circuit's most well-known and beloved figures (certainly, he is the only trainer in Minor League Baseball to have given away his car as part of a postgame promotion). Only 1,000 bobbleheads will be given away, so fans are advised to arrive early in order to avoid the disappointment of not getting one. Even a skilled trainer can't cure heartbreak.
Lake County Captains (Midwest League)
Willy Wonka Night with Peter "Charlie Bucket" Ostrum, Aug. 12
Peter Ostrum only has one film credit to his name, but it's a significant one. In 1971, at the age of 13, the Cleveland native was plucked from obscurity and chosen to play none other than Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ostrum later eschewed acting and instead became a veterinarian, but on Friday, he'll revisit his past glory as the featured guest of the Lake County Captains. It's "Willy Wonka Night" at Classic Park, and Ostrum will be on hand to pose for pictures and sign autographs. Hopefully Oompa-Loompas will be in attendance as well, cheerily singing about the poor decisions made by each and every vanquished opposing batter.
Buffalo Bisons (International League)
Mystery Ball Night, Aug. 13
The concept behind the Bisons' "Mystery Ball" promotion is simple. In exchange for a $20 charitable donation, fans receive a certificate good for an individually wrapped autograph ball. But as for whose autograph may be on the ball... well, that's the fun part. Baseball players are of course the most predominant (especially those associated with the parent New York Mets), but that's far from the only possibility. The entire pro sports spectrum is represented, but the most intriguing category is "Show Biz Stars." Robert Redford, Katy Perry, Hulk Hogan, Barbara Walters and Steve Carell have all lent their signatures, marking the first and (almost certainly) last time that these five luminaries will have occasion to appear in the same sentence.
Memphis Redbirds (Pacific Coast League)
Organ Donor Night, Aug. 13
The Redbirds' Organ Donor jersey might not be the best theme jersey of the year, but it's certainly the strangest. In order to raise awareness for the eminently worthy cause of organ donation, the team will take the field in jerseys which feature anatomically correct illustrations of internal organs (including the "p" in Memphis transformed into a heart). It doesn't stop there, however -- a local musical instrument store has donated a keyboard organ that will be given away, and "heart-healthy" food packs will be distributed to fans wishing to keep this most essential organ in good shape. Clearly, the "organ"-izers of this event have done a commendable job.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League)
What Could Have Been Night with Gobblers Cap Giveaway, Aug. 15
Minor League Baseball teams have doggedly explored alternate realities since the Bowling Green Hot Rods first introduced the concept, and the latest team to get in on the act are the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Monday is "What Could Have Been Night," in which the team will play as the "Gobblers" (the runner-up in 2007's "Name the Team" contest). The first 3,000 fans in attendance receive a simultaneously awesome and horrifying "Gobblers" cap, featuring a menacing turkey largely obscured by his own giblet. Other highlights include turkey specials at the concession stands, a "Frozen Turkey Bowling" between-inning contest, and the introduction of "Gobbler" the mascot.
Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League)
Nick Adenhart Night, Aug. 16
Nick Adenhart grew up in Hagerstown, Md., starring on the community's baseball fields before making his way to the Major Leagues with the Anaheim Angels. His 2009 death in a car accident sent shockwaves through the area, and the Nick Adenhart Memorial Foundation was soon established in his honor. The Suns' "Nick Adenhart Night" is highlighted by a massive silent auction of autographed memorabilia, with all proceeds benefiting the foundation. Items include everything from Bryce Harper jerseys to a Mike Schmidt autographed bat to Minor League gift bags and fan packs. Teams interested in donating toward the auction can contact the Suns.
Bonus Coverage: Because this format is in no way stagnant, here are seven promotions that could have been included in last week's column -- could have been but, of course, were not:
Zolz On Deck (Hudson Valley Renegades, Aug. 3): In which PA announcer Rick "Zolz" Zolzer performed his duties via Skype, from a pool deck.
Beep Baseball Game (Iowa Cubs, Aug. 3): A pregame demonstration of baseball as played by the blind.
Acorn Mascot Bobblehead (Richmond Flying Squirrels, Aug. 3): This giveaway was a little nuts.
Gordie Howe Bobblehead (Great Lakes Loons, Aug. 4): An undulating figurine in honor of one of the most indomitable figures in professional sports history.
Rudy Owens Perm Hat (Altoona Curve, Aug. 5): Now everyone can look like the impeccably coiffed former Curve hurler.
Unbirthday Big Birthday Bash (Bowie Baysox, Aug. 6): Contrary to popular belief, some people were born outside of the parameters of the baseball season.