Promo Preview: Billy, King Mike and Pablo

A look at top promos of 2018 season's antepenultimate weekend

Billy Ripken, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mike Hessman, Hot Wieners and Pablo Sanchez are all being honored at the ballpark this week.

By Benjamin Hill / | August 16, 2018 10:00 AM

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.  

Tweet from @MudHens: An Alley fit for a King. Celebrate with Mike as he makes his return to Toledo on Thursday, August 16 ��������

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. 

Tweet from @PawSox: Still don���t have your Pawtucket Hot Wieners gear? The PawSox Baseball Store has you covered. We���re changing our team name for one game on August 16th.

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.

Tweet from @Intimidators: Look what arrived today @DaleJr! Don���t miss this one-of-kind bobblehead giveaway on Friday, August 17th!

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.    

Tweet from @LowellSpinners: ICYMI: We're giving @realDonaldTrump and @JoeBiden a chance to settle their differences at LeLacheur Park with a good 'ol fashioned boxing match! Former world champ and Lowell native @RealMickyWard has agreed to officiate!

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, 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.

Tweet from @HagerstownSuns: Hey @MLBNetwork how about giving Bill Ripken the day off this Friday to stop by Hagerstown and pick up one of these? No issues w/ the bat end on this.

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. 

Tweet from @LansingLugnuts: Don't forget this Saturday is your chance to get a bobblehead of the original GOAT, Pablo Sanchez! The first 1,000 fans will receive a bobblehead powered by @mistudentaid. GATES OPEN AT 5:00PM!🎟�����

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.

Tweet from @Pelicanbaseball: Deaf Awareness Night with former MLB outfielder @CurtisPride is August 19!������: Free youth baseball clinic👋: Sign language jerseys���: Q&A with Pride🎆: Postgame fireworksMORE ������

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.

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

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