Several classic gameday promotions have been expanded to include more nights, while exciting additions such as "'Cats with a Cause" and an appearance by Mountain Man from Duck Dynasty highlight the 2014 promotional schedule released by the Lynchburg Hillcats Tuesday.
The Hillcats open their season Thursday, April 3 at 6:05 pm with the first of 17 giveaways, a pennant to the first 1,000 fans presented by Pepsi and WROV. The following night, April 4 at 6:05 pm the Hillcats will hand out 1,000 schedule magnets presented by local realtor Nadine Blakely and WYYD. On April 18, Lynchburg will give away specially-designed piggy banks featuring a pig with baseball stitching on the side and a Hillcats cap on top of the pig's head.
One giveaway sure to draw some interest later in the season is the Evan "El Oso Blanco" Gattis bobblehead presented by Pepsi to the first 1,000 fans when the Hillcats face Carolina on July 18. After the high level of participation in last year's Battle of Virginia cap giveaway, the promotion returns on August 8, when fans entering the ballpark will have the opportunity to receive a Hillcats cap in the school colors of either Virginia or Virginia Tech, limited to 500 caps for each school to see which is claimed faster.
Mountain Man from Duck Dynasty headlines one of 11 Theme Thursdays, which is an increase from nine a season ago. The television star will appear at Calvin Falwell Field on July 31 courtesy of Wooldridge Heating, Air, and Electrical and Star Country. Additional Theme Thursdays involve Zombie Night on April 17, Superhero Night on May 1 and Turn Back the Clock Night on July 10. For all Theme Thursdays, fans dressing up in the spirit of the theme can purchase a $5 ticket at the ballpark. Turn Back the Clock Theme Night also incorporates a T-shirt giveaway on July 10 featuring the Lynchburg Shoemakers, as the Hillcats will play that night as the team that won the inaugural Virginia League Championship in 1906.
An additional Fireworks Night in 2014 brings the total to 11 for the season, including Friday, July 4 after a game against Frederick at 7:05 pm The first Fireworks Night will be a part of the opening homestand on Saturday, April 5 against Frederick. On May 3, Fireworks presented by Virginia Lottery will be combined with Kentucky Derby Night. Any fans wearing a bow tie or large, fancy hat will receive admission for only $5.
Community awareness and fundraising for non-profit organizations remains a staple of the 2014 Hillcat promotional schedule. The 6th Annual Autism Awareness Night will include a T-shirt giveaway presented by Physicians Treatment Center on April 19, and half of the proceeds from the night will go to Commonwealth Autism Services.
Lynchburg's 3rd Annual Paint the Park Purple Night on Friday, May 2 also gives the first 1,000 fans a T-shirt while donating proceeds to the American Cancer Society. Later that month on Saturday, May 17, the Hillcats will host their 8th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night presented by Centra, handing out t-shirts to the first 1,000 fans, holding an auction for the jerseys and pink bats used that day, and donating money to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
In August, the Hillcats will again raise money for a good cause through the 7th Annual Guns and Hoses Softball Game, pitting the Lynchburg Police Department against the Lynchburg Fire Department in a contest at 4 pm leading up the baseball game against Winston-Salem at 6:05 pm on August 10.
An exciting new item in 2014 designed to expand on the Hillcats' community focus is 'Cats with a Cause. Each Tuesday, the Hillcats will recognize a group at the ballpark in order to generate more awareness for the organization and allow it to raise funds for its mission. The first such Tuesday will be for The Salvation Army on April 15.
In addition to Hillcats baseball, City Stadium will be hosting the USA National Softball Team for an exhibition game on June 13 at 7 pm. Dot Richardson, a two-time Olympic softball gold medalist for Team USA, and current Liberty University head softball coach will manage a team made up of players from local area colleges and universities to compete against Team USA at Calvin Falwell Field.
Book and season tickets for the Lynchburg Hillcats are currently on sale. The home opener is set for Thursday, April 3 against the Frederick Keys at 6:05pm. A Hillcats pennant presented by Pepsi and WROV will be given away to the first 1,000 fans in attendance. Get your tickets by coming to the Hillcats ticket office at City Stadium Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm. Fans can also call the ticket office at (434) 528-1144 or purchase tickets online at lynchburg-hillcats.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.