Saving the best for last?
The 2018 Minor League season wraps up over Labor Day weekend, and most teams are staging the usual array of Fan Appreciation Nights and storage closet-cleaning "Mystery" giveaways. But not the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, who are paying tribute to "The Office" on Saturday.
The RailRiders and "The Office" are a natural fit, as the long-running NBC sitcom took place in the northeastern Pennsylvania locale the team calls home. Five years ago, after the show concluded its run, the club hosted a wrap party at PNC Field that included all of Dunder Mifflin's most well-known employees (even Steve "Michael Scott" Carell, who had left the show two seasons prior to its conclusion). That event, described in an adjective-laden press release as "a fervent conclusion to a day-long homage for the wildly popular program," resulted in the RailRiders winning the Golden Bobblehead for best overall promotion at the 2013 Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar.
The RailRiders will be giving out their own awards Saturday, as the first 2,500 fans receive a Dundie Award bobblehead for being the Very Best Fans in Baseball. This is, of course, a reference to the awards given out by Michael Scott to all of the employees in his office. The team has also solicited nominations for a series of "Dundie Community Awards," featuring categories such as Longest Engagement ("winner gets married during the game"), Jim and Pam Award ("cutest couple"), World's Best Boss and Best Beat Writer ("or beet writer if you know someone who fits that category.")
That's not the only thing the RailRiders' party planning committee has, uh, planned, as they claim that "rumors of ['The Office'] reboot has sparked our creativity." Robert Shafer, who played Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration on the show, will be on hand to sign autographs, and an "Office Olympics" will take place throughout the evening. Events include "Flonkerton, a Pie Eating Contest and The Stickler -- all to win a yogurt lid gold medal."
If all that isn't enough, fans may want to indulge in a postgame meal at the local Chili's. Just go easy on the margaritas.
Approaching the finish line
Looking for other promotional highlights from the season's final weekend? You came to the right -- OK, only -- place! MiLB include
Aug. 30: In the world of Minor League promos, few things are more on-brand than the haphazard celebration of offseason holidays. Case in point: The Potomac Nationals are celebrating "(Almost) Halfway to St. Patrick's Day," featuring food and drink specials as well as an in-game quest for "12 hidden leprechaun replicas." Oh, and it's also "Dating App Night." Maybe the luck of the Irish will bring luck in love.
Aug. 31: The Frisco RoughRiders are celebrating the defensive prowess of backstop Jose Trevino by giving away what might be the first ever "double Gold Glove bobblehead." In the below video, real-life Trevino conducts a riveting albeit one-sided conversation with his bobbling counterpart.
This season, the Staten Island Yankees played as the Pizza Rats during every Saturday home game. These dough-chomping rodents are making a special Friday appearance in a one-time-only "Food Fight" against the Vermont Maple Kings (usually known as the Lake Monsters). And, as an added bonus, this writer will be at the game in order to engage in a Bazooka bubble gum-blowing contest against 1975 Major League Baseball bubble-blowing champ Kurt Bevacqua.
Sept. 1: May the 4th has come and gone, yet Star Wars promos continue on until the bitter end. The Kane County Cougars host their iteration Saturday, just prior to all of us joining the dark side that is the long, cold baseball offseason.
Sept. 3: The offseason is a whole lot of nothing. To usher it in, the Lake Elsinore Storm are offering everything. Everything as in "Everything Night," the all-promos-at-once extravaganza that serves as a counterpoint to their groundbreaking "Nothing Night" promotion.