Rattlers to commemorate the paper making industry of past
By Benjamin Hill / MLB.com | July 31, 2012 1:31 PM ET
Minor League teams are known for the creativity of their gameday promotions. Every Tuesday we'll preview the week ahead, highlighting the best and brightest (not to mention strangest) that the industry has to offer. If you'd like a particular promotion to be considered for this feature, please send it to email@example.com with the subject line "Promo Preview."
In a journalistic coup comparable to Neil Sheehan's 1971 acquisition of the Pentagon Papers, I have obtained an inter-office email packed with confidential information related to what is perhaps the most anticipated promotion of the 2012 Minor League Baseball season.
I am speaking, of course, of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers' "Salute to Toilet Paper," which is scheduled to take place Wednesday evening. Though a salute to such an intrinsically worthwhile product really needs no justification, the Timber Rattlers' extravaganza was born out of a desire to commemorate Wisconsin's paper-making industry as well the history of Minor League Baseball in the region. The Wisconsin State League once fielded a team called the "Appleton Papermakers" in the city where the Timber Rattlers are now based.
But let's get to the good stuff! The email that I have obtained (my source, by necessity, remains anonymous) contains the following information on just how the Timber Rattlers will salute Toilet Paper during Wednesday's contest:
The first 1000 fans in attendance receive travel tissue packs, and they will be entering a stadium that has been thoroughly decorated with toilet paper throughout the concourse. Fang, the mascot, will be carrying a plunger throughout the ballgame and, of course, toilet paper will be perpetually stuck to the bottom of his oversized shoe. Meanwhile, the "ball" used for the ceremonial first pitch will, of course, be a roll of toilet paper.
Between-innings contests include a "Minute to Win It" tissue grab, in which an entire box of tissue must be emptied out, one-by-one, within 60 seconds (I am a veteran of this endeavor). There will also be a "Longest Continuous Roll" contest, a "Toilet Paper Pyramid Building" competition and the hopefully self-explanatory "Mummy Wrap" race.
Other initiatives under consideration include prizes for fans with the initials of T.P., the tossing of "Rally Paper Towels" into the crowd during the seventh inning, and a game of "Red Neck Toilet Seat Horseshoes." One idea that will not come to fruition is having radio announcer Chris Mehring start his pregame show after emerging from a portable toilet. Mehring, when reached for comment, stated "That's not how I roll."
Sit in it to win it
The Huntsville Stars' "Car Survivor" promotion returns for the third consecutive season Wednesday, and, if it's anything like previous iterations, then get ready for some world-class sitting. The premise is simple: Just prior to the start of Wednesday's ballgame, five hardy souls will enter a used Honda, and the last one to leave wins it (a 15-minute break is provided every six hours, out of respect for basic biological necessity). Last year's winner, Mr. Shawn Harris, lasted just shy of nine days, and similar endurance is expected from 2012's eventual champion. To see how it all plays out, check out the riveting streaming video of the contest at carsurvivor.com.
An Eastern League promo of their own
From 1943-54 more than 600 women competed in the All-American Girls Professional League (AAGPL), and their experiences were later immortalized in the film A League of Their Own. In recent, years the Bowie Baysox have taken it upon themselves to keep these women in the public consciousness through their "All-American Girls Professional Baseball Tribute" promotion, and this year's version is scheduled for Saturday. Five alumni from the league -- Sarah Jane "Salty" Ferguson, Jo McComb, Gertie Benner, Esther Ann Hersey-Reeser and Jean Manina -- will throw out first pitches and then sign autographs and meet with fans during the ballgame.
Get ready to Wobble
Those who feel that bobbleheads come up short in the all-important cranium to body ratio would be well-advised to check out wobbleheads -- gigantic heads spring-mounted to an otherwise-in-proportion body. The Kernels are distributing Mark Trumbo wobbleheads on Thursday, but this giveaway won't have quite the impact of what is taking place in Sacramento. The River Cats are staging a so-called "Wobblection," during which fans will have the choice of either an Obama or Romney wobblehead. The candidate whose wobblehead supply runs out first will be declared the winner.
Biscuits and booze
The Montgomery Biscuits are putting a new twist on the standard "Thirsty Thursday" promotion with Aug. 2's ballpark "pub crawl". There will be four distinct alcohol specials during the game, at four distinct locations, and the team explains that "flyers with the locations of each drink special will be handed out at the gates." So, quite literally, this will be a case of "pick your poison:" $3 frozen margarita pouches, $1 Natty Ice cans, $3 spiked lemonade and $2 craft beer.
Designate your driver now!
The last time the Lowell Spinners gave away a bobblehead featuring local boy turned literary icon Jack Kerouac, the line formed hours in advance and stretched from the main entrance all the way to (not-so) nearby University Bridge. Fans will be queuing up in similar fashion on Tuesday, as the team is giving away 1000 Jack Kerouac "On the Road Bobblethumbs" featuring the peripatetic author attempting to hitch a ride. For those unable make it to the ballpark, the Spinners are selling an additional 1,000 bobbleheads online for $20 (with $10 of each purchase going toward the Kerouac Scholarship Fund.
Into the ellipse...
An exceedingly brief rundown of other notable promotions taking place this week...
Aug. 1: The Binghamton Mets reach out to the unemployed in their community with their annual "Workforce Night." ... The multi-tasking State College Spikes are "Guys Night Out" on the same evening as a tribute to former Penn State president James Beaver.
Aug. 2: A true hero becomes immortalized, as the Cedar Rapids Kernels give away bobbleheads of their equipment manager Ron "Roady" Plein. ... The Jamestown Jammers pay tribute to legendary local Hugh Bedient, who was a member of the 1912 World Champion Boston Red Sox.
Aug. 3: The Everett AquaSox celebrate the unorthodox career path of pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen by giving away a bobblehead featuring the pitcher wearing a bartender's apron. ... The legendary Casey Stengel guided the 1927 Toledo Mud Hens to a pennant, and 85 years later the team honors him with a bobblehead. ... Protect your brain! The Buffalo Bisons are attempting to set a world record in the category of most people dressed as zombies in one place at one time.
Aug. 4: The legend of Nolan Ryan and the snow monkeys continues to grow, as the Round Rock Express are giving away "Nolan Ryan Snow Monkey Snow Globes." Believe it. ... The Lancaster JetHawks pay tribute to the local aerospace industry with -- what else? -- "Aerospace Appreciation Weekend." ... Orem Owlz mascots Hootz and Holly are still married, and still in love. The team, therefore, is staging an anniversary celebration for the two lovebirds.
Aug. 5: The Beloit Snappers honor a famous alumnus with a "Prince Fielder Beast Mode" bobblehead. ... The latest (and therefore greatest) Crazy Hot Dog Vendor souvenir will be given away by the Reading Phillies. That souvenir? Bath mats.
Aug. 6: Not all that much is happening, really.
Aug. 7: Cal Ripken gets inducted into the International League Hall of Fame, prior to that evening's Rochester Red Wings game.
Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.