It may seem hard to believe, but there are only three weekends left in the 2018 Minor League season.
Instead of anticipating the end, this edition of Promo Preview is dedicated to reveling in the present. Contained herein is information on eight notable Minor League promotions taking place Thursday through Sunday. Each one is worthy of your attention as we head into this, the antepenultimate weekend of the regular season campaign.
Thursday, Aug. 16: Mike "The King" Hessman is part of the International League's 2018 Hall of Fame class, and for good reason. Hessman hit 433 Minor League home runs during his career -- an all-time record -- with 288 of them occurring in the IL. Hessman hit the majority of those IL home runs (184, to be exact) as a member of the Toledo Mud Hens, who are staging a night in his honor. The Triple-A Detroit Tigers affiliate is offering a ticket package that includes a "Mystery Hessman" bobblehead as well as the opportunity to meet the man himself, who will be feted on the field during a pregame ceremony.
In conjunction with these festivities, the Mud Hens have unveiled the "Mike Hessman Home Run Alley" at their home of Fifth Third Field.
Meanwhile... The "Minor League teams temporarily rebranding as a food item" craze shows no sign of abating, and on Thursday the Pawtucket Red Sox become the latest entity to salute a regional edible when they suit up as the "Pawtucket Hot Wieners." The PawSox, who play as part of the Boston system, explain that a "hot wiener is a staple of the food culture of Rhode Island where it is primarily sold at 'New York System' restaurants."
There will be hot wieners aplenty at the ballpark this evening, served either "naked," "with sauce and salt" or "all the way." The ballgame will be preceded by a hot wiener (dog) parade, featuring fans and their Dachshunds.
Friday, Aug. 17: The Kannapolis Intimidators are named for Dale "The Intimidator" Earnhardt, who purchased a share in the fledgling franchise shortly before his untimely death. The Class A White Sox affiliate will pay tribute to The Intimidator's son, Dale Jr., during Friday's "Driven to Give Night." A $20 package includes a ticket to the game, a guaranteed bobblehead and a donation to the Dale Jr. Foundation.
Meanwhile... Though five months is a virtual eternity in the world of social media-driven partisan politics, you may remember that in March, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden engaged in a Twitter war predicated on the time-honored question of "who would win in a fight." This inspired the Lowell Spinners to announce the "Slasher at LeLacheur," which will be held on Friday. Although Trump and Biden ignored the Spinners' invitation to come duke it out at the ballpark, the Spinners have a backup plan: Lowell native (and former WBU light welterweight world champion) Micky Ward will be on hand to oversee a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots tournament.
And finally: If you were a child of the early '90s and loved baseball, there's a strong likelihood that the name Billy Ripken still brings to mind a very specific profanity. This profanity, which of course cannot be printed in a family publication such as MiLB.com, was written on the knob of Ripken's bat and clearly visible on his 1989 Fleer baseball card. This profanity cannot be included on Minor League giveaway items either, but the Hagerstown Suns are doing the next best thing by giving away a bobblehead featuring a bat-knob happy face in lieu of the bat-knob profanity.
Saturday, Aug. 18: If you were a child of the early 2000s and loved baseball, there's a strong likelihood that the name Pablo Sanchez still brings to mind a specific strain of pixelated baseball dominance. Sanchez was the breakout star of the "Backyard Baseball" video game, and the Lugnuts are celebrating his 21st birthday by giving away 1,000 bobbleheads featuring his belly-baring likeness. As an added bonus, the Lugnuts are taking the field as the "Mighty Wombats." This beloved "Backyard Baseball" entity beat out the likes of "Humongous Melonheads" and "Super-Duper Rockets" in an online fan vote.
Sunday, Aug. 19: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans' inaugural "Deaf Awareness Night" is headlined by former Major League outfielder Curtis Pride, who played parts of 11 Major League seasons despite being born deaf. Pride will join Myrtle Beach coaches and players in hosting a pregame baseball clinic for local deaf youth. During the game, the team will take the field wearing jerseys featuring "Pelicans" spelled out in American Sign Language.
Meanwhile... In 2001, as he was working his way back to the Major Leagues, the late Roy Halladay pitched in five games for the Tennessee Smokies. He ended that season back in Toronto, on the cusp of a decade of dominance that would result in him being remembered as one of the greatest pitchers of his generation. The Smokies are paying tribute to Halladay via the distribution of 1,000 bobbleheads, to be given out prior to Sunday's game against the Jackson Generals.