Promo Preview: A hard day's night05/25/2010 11:00 AM 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."
Hickory Crawdads (South Atlantic League)
Mustache MAYhem May 26
The Crawdads have been celebrating "Mustache MAYhem" throughout the month, sometimes referring to it as "Mustache MAYnia" just to spice things up a little bit. But no matter what you call it, the premise is simple: Front-office members with the capability to grow mustaches did so, with fans donating money to the mustache that they liked best. The event comes to its dramatic conclusion on Wednesday, with the winning 'stache proclaimed, and all money going to the charity represented by said 'stache. I hope that all made sense, because I'm not sure it's possible to explain in a less convoluted manner.
Peoria Chiefs (Midwest League)
Salute to Road Construction May 26
When it comes to that which should be saluted, "road construction" is right up there with "root canals." But when looked at in the proper perspective, the unpleasantness of both is far outweighed by the long-term benefits. This is the attitude being displayed by the Chiefs on Wednesday, as the club decided to show its gratitude toward Illinois road workers by handing out tickets to the game at a variety of local construction sites. Front-office members will get in on the act by wearing fluorescent vests and hardhats, as traffic signs and cones help fans easily navigate through the concourse. Player headshots on the videoboard will feature players in construction gear, and I can only assume that Men At Work will be in heavy rotation throughout the evening.
Omaha Royals (Pacific Coast League)
Jersey Shore Night May 27
The Brooklyn Cyclones have an extensive Jersey Shore night planned for later this season, and the reality TV show has also inspired the Trenton Thunder's nightly "Fist Bump" promotion. But both of these clubs are located in close proximity to the actual Jersey shore, whereas the Omaha Royals have no such excuse. On Thursday, the club is offering free admission to those who come to the game with a "blowout, bump, spray tan receipt or a bottle of hair gel," and free tanning salon certificates will be handed out during the course of the game. Meanwhile, visiting team headshots will feature cast members from the show, meaning that some unfortunate member of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox is going to end up as "Snookie."
Altoona Curve (Eastern League)
Camouflage Apron Giveaway May 28
The Curve are attempting to reconcile Memorial Day's recreational and militaristic aspects with Friday's giveaway: a camouflage apron bearing the team's logo. The first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive this unique item, briefly turning Blair County Ballpark into a lair of hard-to-detect dark-hued figures. At the very least, these items should allow chastened chefs to easily blend into their surroundings after concocting subpar culinary creations, a luxury that has long eluded them despite their best efforts to the contrary.
Dunedin Blue Jays (Florida State League)
Sex and the City Night May 28
Thursday is "Ladies Night" at Dunedin Stadium, and if there's one thing that the ladies are excited for these days, it's the imminent release of Sex and the City 2. The Blue Jays are celebrating this epochal event with $2 cosmos, tuxedoed staff members, and giveaways that include salon packages, complimentary dinners, weekend getaways, gift certificates for shoes and movie tickets to the big premiere. Furthermore, each of the first 300 women in attendance will receive a gift bag. While 299 of these bags will contain a cubic zirconia, one will feature an actual diamond. The only way to ascertain the legitimacy of one's possibly precious gemstone is to visit the evening's sponsor: Maurice Jewelry in downtown Dunedin.
Brevard County Manatees (Florida State League)
Veterans Appreciation Night May 29
Manatees aren't particularly well known for an abiding love of God and country, probably because their sea mammal minds are unable to grasp the concept of either. But the Manatees residing in Brevard County are a different story altogether, as the team is staging Veterans Appreciation Night on Saturday. American flag-bedecked skydivers will provide an appropriately patriotic start to the evening, and Manatee players will take the field in special camouflage jerseys. Meanwhile, several veteran vendors will set up shop on the concourse, plying a diverse array of goods both practical and collectible. Finally, members from the AVET organization will be on hand, asking fans to donate supplies to troops serving Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jacksonville Suns (Southern League)
Mike Stanton Replica Jersey Giveaway May 29
Very few Minor League stars are shining as brightly as the Suns' Mike Stanton. The 20-year-old outfield phenom leads the Southern League in home runs, RBIs, walks and slugging percentage, and Marlins fans (they do exist) are already clamoring for his arrival in the bigs. The Suns, who know a marketable prospect when they see one, are giving away Mike Stanton home jersey replicas on Saturday. This marks the first of what will likely be many such promotional honors for the California native, who is so close to filling the Mike Stanton void that has plagued Major League Baseball since the middle reliever of the same name last appeared in 2007.
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League)
Tattoo Night May 29
Tribute to the Marshmallow June 1
Three local tattoo parlors will showcase their skills at Saturday's Squirrels game, creating spray-paint team logos and offering henna tattoos for those unwilling to make a permanent skin art commitment. A bevy of tattoo contests will be held throughout the evening as well, including honors for "biggest," "most colorful" and "most embarrassing." Naturally, this will be followed three days later by the "Tribute to the Marshmallow". In-game contests include "The Human S'more" and "Fuzzy Bunny" (in which contestants stuff marshmallows in their mouths and attempt to say "fuzzy bunny"). But there's such a thing as too much marshmallow, and the team will have the Ghostbusters in attendance in order to ward off an unwanted Stay Puft Man appearance.
Stockton Ports (California League)
Salute to the Beatles w/ Beatles Theme Jersey May 30
The Fab Four are the focus of Sunday's promotion in Stockton, as the hometown Ports will take the field wearing psychedelic-era Beatles theme jerseys. These unique examples of hallucinogenic outerwear will be auctioned off after the game, with the proceeds benefiting -- you guessed it -- charity. The Ports will also incorporate Beatles music into the game, with "We Can Work It Out" accompanying on-field arguments and "Fool on the Hill" signifying a new opposing pitcher. And don't forget the trivia contests that will be taking place throughout the ballgame, giving longtime fans a chance to showcase 45 years worth of accumulated Beatles knowledge.
Bowling Green Hot Rods (Midwest League)
Super-Mega-Prize-A-Thon May 30
Skateboard Deck Giveaway May 31
The Hot Rods' skateboard deck giveaway on Tuesday is one of the most high-end and unusual giveaways of the season. Featuring a flame-augmented Hot Rods logo, it will be distributed to the first 1000 fans in attendance age 17 and younger. But the skateboard decks might not even be the team's best promo this week, as the "Super-Mega-Prize-A-Thon" features more than 100 random giveaways over the course of the evening. These include, but are far from limited to: 467 Hershey Kisses, 250 popsicles, a diamond-studded wedding band, 100 packets of Biofreeze, a dozen golf balls, 100 Kentucky State Fair pins, a set of crutches and -- best of all -- live hissing cockroaches with feeding instructions.
Bonus Coverage Because I can never include everything no matter how hard I try, here are 10 promotions that could have been included in last week's column. Could have been, but weren't:
Adam Loewen Bobblehead Disposal (Bowie Baysox May 21): The Baysox hid their surplus of Adam Loewen bobblehead dolls around the ballpark, in order to commemorate Loewen's return as a member of the opposing team.
Hispanic Heritage Night (Fresno Grizzlies May 21): The team wore "Los Grizzlies" jerseys, modeled after the Mexican National Team's red, green and white uniforms.
Christopher Knight Appearance (Stockton Ports May 21): Once a Brady, always a Brady.
Lucky the Dog Retirement Ceremony (Durham Bulls May 22): After seven years of faithful service, Wonder the Lucky Dog ran his last post-game victory lap. Lucky Jr. makes his debut on June 11.
Tribute to Dan "Dirt" Douglas (Reading Phillies May 22): The R-Phils venerable groundskeeper signed autographs for his legions of turf-obsessed fans.
Korn, Dogs at Rosenblatt (Omaha Royals May 24): Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis threw out the first pitch. Also, hot dogs were sold at a steep discount.
Gotta Get A GigaHIT (Hickory Crawdads May 25): The Crawdads are doing their part to lure the Google corporation to Hickory.