Fans set to be 'Travoltafied' in Myrtle Beach

Lake Elsinore, Memphis spotlight cancer awareness, organ donation

Fans will get "Travoltafied" on April 17 in Myrtle Beach in a nod to John Travolta's Oscars gaffe. (Charles Krupa/AP)

By Benjamin Hill / | April 15, 2014 11:00 AM ET

Minor League teams are known for the creativity of their gameday promotions. On Tuesdays this season, we preview the most intriguing for the week ahead. If you'd like a particular promotion to be considered for this feature in the future, please send it to with the subject line: "Promo Preview" or send a Tweet to @bensbiz, hashtag "#promopreview."

On Thursday, the Marley Borfes Nicholas host the Dominic Warshington at Theodore Florzes.

Unless you speak the language of a notoriously marble-mouthed Hollywood A-Lister, than a bit of translation is in order. Here's that sentence again, de-Travoltafied: On Thursday, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans host the Potomac Nationals at Field.

No matter how you say it, Thursday is "Travolta Tribute Night" in Myrtle Beach. This promotion was inspired by Travolta's famously confused appearance at this year's Oscars, in which he referred to actress Idina Menzel as something resembling "Adele Dazeem." This memorable malapropism in turn inspired an Internet meme, which, in turn, has inspired Thursday's promotion. Why not?

"It seems like something that happened six months ago, but it was just six weeks ago. That shows how fast things have been moving around here," said Pelicans president Andy Milovich (whose Travoltafied name is "A-Jay Migiller"). "We'll remind people throughout the night about Travolta's gaffe and make sure to tie it in to a lot of the fun stuff we do."

That "fun stuff" includes "Travoltafied" player introductions and video graphics as well as clips and contests revolving around Travolta's long and (sometimes) distinguished acting career. Milovich also notes that the team will be celebrating public speaking gaffes in general, such as playing a clip of Rick Perry prior to introducing the third hitter in the lineup.

Unfortunately, a notable instance of Travolta fandom from Milovich's childhood won't be included in the promotion.

"My brothers and I once re-enacted the dinner table scene from Saturday Night Fever, where the father questions Travolta about what he hopes to accomplish in life, and I played Travolta," said Milovich. "I had my father dig through his VHS tapes, but finding it has been a problem. The fans will be spared when it comes to that one."

The best of the rest

Bowie Baysox (Eastern League)
Pi(e) Night, April 17
Bellies and Baseball, April 18

Bowie's "Pi(e) Night" has been a "constant" on the team's promo schedule, similar to how the use of that joke has been a "constant" in this column. Area scholars boasting Pi-recitation prowess will be honored on the field prior to the game, and, even better, staff members will be pied in the face throughout the ballgame. The Baysox might want to save some pie for the next evening for inclusion in the "craving station" that is a key component of Friday's "Bellies and Baseball" promotion honoring pregnant women. The team will also stage in-game promos honoring the "under-appreciated works Moms do on a daily basis" such as goading their mathematically inclined offspring into Pi-digit recitation competitions.

Lake Elsinore Storm (California League)
Testicular Cancer Awareness Night, April 17

In recent years, irreverent awareness-raising campaigns have saturated the Minor League landscape. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs annually give away foam fingers on "Prostate Cancer Awareness Night," while several teams have partnered with the "Save Second Base" breast cancer awareness campaign. On Thursday, the Lake Elsinore Storm join the fray, promoting testicular cancer awareness during a game against -- who else -- the Modesto Nuts. As an added bonus, drinks will be just $1 due to the fact that "nuts make me thirsty."

Charlotte Knights (International League)
Charlotte O's Tribute Night, April 18

The Knights have just begun a new era in franchise history, moving across the state line and into brand-new BB&T Bank Ballpark in downtown Charlotte. But such a shift isn't precluding them from celebrating their illustrious past as Friday's "Charlotte O's Tribute Night" makes clear. The O's competed at Charlotte's Crockett Park from 1976-87, and more than 30 of the team's alumni will be in attendance (here's hoping that Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray are among them). The first 2,000 kids in attendance receive Charlotte O's replica jersey, allowing them to feel nostalgia for an era of baseball history that well predates their existence on this planet.

Memphis Redbirds (Pacific Coast League)
Organ Donor Night, April 19

The Redbirds' "Organ Donor Night" has a lot a heart; it's a lung-derful promotion that always de-livers. This year's iteration doesn't need much ex-spleen-ing as the team has partnered with the National Foundation for Transplants to raise awareness regarding the selfless and eminently worthwhile act of organ donation. This year's iteration will be more muted than in years past, however; in 2011 the Redbirds actually took the field in jerseys bearing true-to-life re-creations of their internal organs. Here's hoping that, next year, the team will summon up the intestinal fortitude to do that again.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (International League)
"This Fan" T-shirt giveaway, April 22

The RailRiders are giving away T-shirts prior to each and every Tuesday home game this season with the first such "T-Shirt Tuesday" giveaway occurring -- you guessed it -- on Tuesday. This week's iteration features the words "This Fan Loves the RailRiders," along with a pair of hands pointing upward toward the head of said fan. This irreverent tone sets the stage for "T-Shirt Tuesdays" to come with perhaps the most notable being July 1's distribution of "Friends Don't Let Friends Be IronPigs Fans" tees. Your move, Lehigh Valley.

Quick hits

Because everyone on the internet is blessed with a long attention span, here's a down and dirty roundup of even more notable promotions taking place this week.

  • April 16: It's "Random Acts of Kindness Night" in Mobile. Maybe the BayBears will let you into the game for free.
  • April 17: The Binghamton Mets stage "Gilligan's Island Night," a "three-hour tour" in celebration of everyone's favorite stranded-on-a-desert-island sitcom.
  • April 18: In Daytona, the Cubs are celebrating last season's Florida State League championship by giving away replica championship rings mounted on a stand… Fresh off of having a former member of R.E.M. write a song extolling his Hall of Fame credentials, Dale Murphy visits the Mississippi Braves.
  • April 19: It'll be a night of festering resentment in Akron as the RubberDucks exhort fans to "Take Your Mother-in-Law to the Game"… Christmas in July is played-out, so the Carolina Mudcats are staging "Christmas in April." Entirely different concept… As a post-script to their annual "Run Forrest Run" charity race, the Charleston RiverDogs will have a select group of fans try to do a "walk in place" marathon. That's approximately 52,000 steps, for those keeping score at home.
  • April 20: The Richmond Flying Squirrels host "Salute to Constuction." Bring your road rage.

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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