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Barons returning to Rickwood for Classic

Birmingham to host 20th anniversary game at America's oldest park
May 26, 2015

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 [email protected] with the subject line: "Promo Preview" or send a Tweet to @bensbiz, hashtag "#promopreview."

An annual tribute to old-fashioned baseball will take place this week as fans tip their caps to nostalgia at historic Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Barons played at Rickwood Field for 78 years from 1910 to 1987, and the stadium stands as America's oldest in-use ballpark. On Wednesday afternoon, the Barons will turn back the clock once again when they meet the Jacksonville Suns in the 20th anniversary of the Rickwood Classic.

From front-office staff members wearing suspenders to press box personnel sporting top hats and umpires wearing bow ties, the game will showcase baseball as it was more than 60 years ago when the Barons won a Southern League championship.

"We are excited to celebrate the 20th annual Rickwood Classic by revisiting the first Classic and honoring Birmingham Baseball during the 1948 season," said Barons general manager Jonathan Nelson. "This is a very special event in the Birmingham community and has gained national recognition. It is a must-attend baseball game, and we are looking forward to another fun and memorable afternoon at America's oldest ballpark with the Friends of Rickwood and State Farm Insurance."

The uniforms to be worn are replicas of the 1948 flannels. The white jerseys feature "Barons" written across the chest in red, outlined in navy blue. The jerseys and pants include navy trim, and the hats the same blue with a white "B" on the front. The Barons were a Red Sox affiliate at the time.

Last year's Classic celebrated the 1920s, a decade in which the Barons capture two Southern Association titles and set numerous records ranging from attendance to on-field achievements.

The special guest this season is Darryl Strawberry, who will throw out the first pitch and sign autographs throughout the game. The Barons have already sold tickets to fans in 18 different states and hope to challenge the 8,696 attendance -- third-highest in Classic history -- from last season.

"The Friends of Rickwood are extremely excited about the 2015 Rickwood Classic," said David Brewer, director of the Friends of Rickwood. "Celebrating the 20th anniversary of this great event is significant in terms of the ballpark's history but also in terms of our community's history."

Promo Preview Extra: Goonies Night in Akron »

Since 1996, the Barons are 9-10 in the Classic. Past guests have included members of the 1983 Barons, Industrial League players, Minnie Minoso, Tommy John, Harmon Killebrew, Dale Murphy and Ferguson Jenkins.

The best of the rest

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (California League)
Beckett/Kershaw Bobblehead Night, May 29

A pair of pitchers forever a part of Dodgers history will be immortalized together in a dual bobblehead on Friday.

Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett both pitched for the Quakes on rehab assignments in 2014 before going on to throw no-hitters in the Majors later that summer.

Beckett fanned five batters over four innings for the Quakes last April 4, while Kershaw recorded six punchouts over five two-hit frames for Rancho Cucamonga on April 25.

The right-handed Beckett went on to fire a no-hitter on May 25 in Philly and southpaw Kershaw achieved his no-no vs. Colorado on June 18.

"While it was exciting that the Dodgers had two no-hitters so close together, it wasn't lost on us that they also played for the Quakes just 21 days apart and mere weeks before throwing their respective no-hitters," Quakes promotions coordinator Bobbi Salcido said. "Because of the significance of the dates, we chose to include them -- the date of their appearance and no-hitter -- on the actual bobblehead, which is a first for us."

According to Salcido, their pose on the bobblehead -- available to the first 1,500 fans -- is from their celebration after the final out of their no-hitter. Fittingly, their heads only move left to right -- in other words, they only shake their heads no.

It marks the first of three Kershaw Quakes bobbleheads this year. His individual bobblehead is on July 2 and the MVP double bobblehead with former Quake Mike Trout is on Sept. 4.

Fort Wayne TinCaps (Midwest League)
LEGO Night (is awesome), May 29

Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you're part of a team. So why not head on over to Parkview Field to celebrate the colorful blocks that went from a childhood toy to a box-office smash.

Since its inaugural year in 2007, Brickworld -- a convention and expo showcasing LEGO designs -- has increased in popularity so much that the creators added new events in, among other places, Fort Wayne.

There will be plenty of interactive displays for fans to build their own LEGO creations, and there will be plenty of in-game LEGO-themed promotions, headshots and video board fodder.

In addition, the TinCaps will wear specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game to benefit a charity called Little People Matter, an organization raising funds and awareness to help the 4,000 children that die worldwide every day because of a lack of access to clean water.

Akron RubberDucks (Eastern League)
Look! My Hot Dog is Green Night, May 29

Never has a hot dog been so tasty … or lucrative.

The RubberDucks will give away $1,000 in randomly selected frankfurters during their game with the SeaWolves on Friday.

Before the game, staff members will place green certificates inside the wrappers of dozens of wieners, which cost just $2. According to the club, the certificates will be marked with values between $2 and $100. No matter which prize you win, you'll have covered the cost of the dog.

Even if you don't win, there'll be postgame fireworks, so really, everybody will go home a winner.

Quick hits

May 27: Two teams will celebrate the summer Wednesday with a theme night bashing the harsh winter that impacted much of the Eastern Seaboard in early 2015.

The Frederick Keys welcome all Red Sox fans who endured New England's "snowmageddon" to celebrate at the ballpark when they host their first series against Boston affiliate Salem. The first 500 fans through the gate on Snow Problem Night will leave with a packet of grass seed, just in case they had forgotten how beautiful a lush green lawn can look. It fittingly also doubles up as the Keys' beach theme night, and the team will be holding a winter coat drive where fans can exchange their jacket for a free ticket to that night's game.

On the same night, Bowling Green will host Snow Delay Night in memory of the 20-plus inches of powder that coated the ballpark twice last winter. The Hot Rods will tailor in-game promos towards a winter or school theme and the club is considering food and drink specials for the evening.

May 30: Inspired by the long-running Clunker Car Night, the Arkansas Travelers floated a new idea last year by introducing a Clunker Boat Night. Fans took to the promo like a duck to water, so it's back for a second year.

As with the battered and worn-down cars, the concept for the boats is the same. The only rule is that the boat must float to be donated -- some of them run and function fine. Last year a winner even took his boat on Lake Maumelle the next day. Any other rules are thrown overboard.

When fans arrive, they're given a bingo card with a unique number on it. The Travs will play in-game bingo for prizes and glory, and the unique number atop the card is used to give away the boats, usually one per inning.

May 30: The Burlington Bees are encouraging fans to dress to impress when they host Michael Jackson Night. Nothing but MJ's greatest hits music will be played at the ballpark! Michael Jackson themed attire is encouraged, so whip out the black dress shoes, white gloves and black hat and moonwalk your way to first base as you dance along to "Bad," "Beat It" and "Thriller."

June 1: The Carolina Mudcats will host their June Fool's Night on Monday. The promotion is a play on April Fools' Day when practical jokes, hoaxes and shenanigans reign supreme for the afternoon. With that in mind, the Mudcats are perfecting a range of pranks played on the contestants, front-office staff and on-field hosts.

June 2: Bring your bros to the ballpark when Charleston hosts Augusta on Bromance Night. Part of the RiverDogs' Tuesday Date Night series, guys and their bros can take part in the 2-for-$20 deal that lands two tickets, two tacos, two fountain drinks and a nacho tray. What's better than seeing a ballgame with the boys?

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB.