Minor League teams are known for the creativity of their gameday promotions. On Tuesdays throughout the season, we'll preview 10 of 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."
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League)
Hangover Night, June 22
The Cyclones pride themselves on being promotional innovators, and previous endeavors such as Bellies and Baseball and Jersey Shore Night have been copied across the Minor League landscape. Hangover Night seems like it has similar potential. Parties of four attending Wednesday's game can opt to purchase the Wolfpack Ticket Plan, which even includes postgame beverages at a neighboring bar. Between-inning contests include the Baby Bjorn Olympics obstacle course and memory games focusing on what happened in the previous night's contest. Zach Galifianakis aficionados can enter the best beard contest, temporary face tattoos will be available on the concourse, and kids receive a $1 off the ticket price for each tooth they're missing. It'll be a night to forget!
Princeton Rays (Appalachian League)
Jeff Niemann Growth Chart, June 22
At 81 inches in length, the P-Rays' Jeff Niemann Growth Chart giveaway is surely one of the most prodigiously sized promotional items of the season. But what better way to measure one's bodily development than by comparing it to that of a 6-foot-9 right-hander? Genetics will keep most fans from reaching the literal height that Niemann has reached, but the (metaphorical) sky's the limit when it comes to growth of a mental and spiritual variety. The first 500 fans in attendance at Wednesday's game receive the growth chart, which will be especially enjoyed by those who enjoy life-size photographs of smiling physical specimens.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League)
Comedy Night, June 22
It might be hilarious, it might be awkward, but the Spikes' inaugural Comedy Night promotion certainly won't be boring. In tandem with a local comedy club, the team has recruited four comedians to each perform four 60-second bits throughout the game. That's 16 minutes of dugout roof-based between-inning comedy, and those craving even more ballpark hilarity can stick around for a postgame show. In the spirit of the evening, I offer the following joke free of charge: In the Gastropod Mollusk Baseball League, all the games are slug-fests. Thanks, I'll be here all night.
Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn League)
NBA Draft Party, June 23
World's Biggest Graduation Party w/Super-Sized Sundae, June 26
It's a classic summertime conundrum: attend a Minor League Baseball game, or stay home and watch the NBA Draft? Leave it to the ValleyCats to finally solve this long-running scheduling conflict, as on Thursday the team hosts an NBA Draft Party. The team will provide draft updates throughout the game, satiating the fans' desire for podium-based action. Fun of a different sort will be on offer three days later, as Sunday's game features a super-sized on-field sundae in celebration of all the recent high school and college graduates in attendance. Nothing helps ease the transition to the real world like a big bowl of ice cream.
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League)
Great Outdoors Night, June 24
The Flying Squirrels' special guest for Friday's Great Outdoors Night is a TV star, which could be seen as ironic. But the star in question is Josh Harris from The Deadliest Catch, a deckhand on the Cornelia Marie who has indeed made his living in the open air. Harris will do a meet and greet with fans and also participate in between-inning contests, hopefully at least one of which will apply the words "Deadliest Catch" to a baseball context. Fans are then invited to spend the night at the ballpark as part of a family camping out, taking in The Sandlot on an inflatable video screen before falling asleep under the stars.
Asheville Tourists (South Atlantic League)
Mr. Moon Bobblehead Giveaway, June 25
One of 2011's most eye-catching new logos can be found in Asheville, as the Tourists are now sporting caps featuring the beaming, sunglasses-wearing image of the self-explanatorily named Mr. Moon. This nocturnal reflector of natural light is being honored with his own bobblehead Saturday, an undulating collectible to be distributed to the first 1000 fans to pass through the gates. Serious-minded individuals are advised to steer clear, as this is a giveaway completely lacking in gravity.
Everett AquaSox (Northwest League)
Mariners Night w/ Throwback Jersey, June 26
The AquaSox underwent a so-called "brand extension" prior to the 2010 campaign that paid homage to Mariners logos of yore, with players taking the field in throwback-style caps during away games. This look is expanded for the hometown crowd Sunday, as the AquaSox will be wearing Seattle-inspired retro jerseys as part of a Mariners Day celebration. And, as is often the case, these nostalgia-inducing duds will be auctioned off to fans after the game. Bidding starts at $100, and after the game, auction winners will be able to have jerseys autographed by the players who wore them. This would seem to preclude ever washing the jersey, but cleanliness is overrated anyhow.
Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn League)
New England Sports Legends Night, June 26
Django the Monkey, June 28
A diverse triumvirate of New England sports heroes will be gracing Lowell's LeLacheur Park on Sunday, giving fans to the chance to relive some of the region's most riveting sports moments. The lineup consists of Red Sox folk hero Kevin Millar, four-time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers and Tom "Satch" Sanders of the Boston Celtics, all of whom will be available for photos and autographs. Two days later, the team welcomes a living legend of an entirely different sort, as versatile performer Jerry Brown and his inimitable companion, the monkey Django, will spend the evening entertaining fans throughout the ballpark.
Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic League)
Brobee and Muno from Yo Gabba Gabba, June 26
Yo Gabba Gabba is a bona fide children's TV phenomenon, owing largely to its crazily infectious musical numbers and parent-pandering humor. Those finding themselves in the vicinity of Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park on Sunday should take caution, as the show's Brobee and Muno characters will surely induce pandemonium among the pre-schoolers in attendance. The hallucinatory-looking duo will pose for pictures and sign autographs, the highlight of a Kid's Club Event that also includes exclusive player autograph sessions and complimentary Pizza Hut pizzas.
Vancouver Canadians (Northwest League)
Roberto Alomar Appearance, June 28
Roberto Alomar is set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame next month, but before this momentous occasion he's making a pit stop in Vancouver as part of the team's Toronto Blue Jays-themed Superstar Series (Alomar, of course, will be the first player to wear a Blue Jays cap on his Hall of Fame plaque). This marks the second season in a row that the club has been able to welcome a newly elected Cooperstown enshrinee, as last season Montreal legend Andre Dawson made the trek to Vancouver. Alomar's presence will perhaps serve as a nice distraction from the Canucks' loss in the Stanley Cup Finals, a defeat that has sent the whole city into a near-catatonic state of despair.
Bonus Coverage: Because why not, right? Here are seven promotions that could have been included in last week's column -- could have been but of course weren't:
Dudes vs. Foods (Gwinnett Braves, June 16): Can't we all just get along?
LeBron James Replica Championship Ring Giveaway (Peoria Chiefs, June 16): In which fans received nothing, absolutely nothing!
Mike Moustakas Bobblehead (Wilmington Blue Rocks, June 16): A team with a moose for a mascot honors a player with "Moose" for a nickname.
Steak Me Out the Ballgame (Huntsville Stars, June 19): A cut of red meat, beer and baseball: the perfect Father's Day triumvirate.
Mega Candy Drop (Quad Cities River Bandits, June 19): Because confectioneries and a helicopter will always be a winning combination.
Father's Day Fedora (Reading Phillies, June 19): Snazzy headwear is the best (some would say only) way to honor our nation's fathers.
Weiner Pics Wednesday (State College Spikes, June 20): In honor of a recent political scandal, the team asked fans to send in pictures of new wiener mascot Colonel Frankfurter.
Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MLB.com.