The end is near, but it's not here yet. This edition of Promo Preview takes a look at some of the top promotions taking place during the penultimate weekend of the Minor League regular season.
The Syracuse Chiefs are staging a "spud-worthy" weekend, as they'll be suiting up as the Salt Potatoes in four consecutive games. It all starts on Thursday, when the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals continues its season-long celebration of Central New York by giving away an "upside-down traffic light/Salt Potato snow globe." This green on top, red on the bottom aberration commemorates the famous upside-down traffic light in nearby Tipperary Hill.
The spudworthiness ramps up from Friday through Sunday, when Syracuse welcomes the Rochester Red Wings for a "Duel of the Dishes." Rochester will suit up as its "Plates" (as in garbage plates) alter-ego for all three games; on Saturday the Chiefs are giving away another one-of-a-kind item: a bobblehead featuring a salt potato standing triumphantly atop Rochester's Plates logo.
- Another day, another regional food identity. This time it's the Abderdeen IronBirds, who for the second year in a row are taking the field as the Steamed Crabs. These theme night uniforms feature a cap-wearing crab clutching a mallet; the crab is apparently unaware that that very same mallet or one just like it will soon be used to smash its body so that humans can enjoy its tasty innards. Speaking of tasty innards, $56 buys an all-you-can-eat crab feast as well as a team-logo mallet. This writer will be in attendance as part of this month's New York-Penn League tour, so make sure to follow along on Twitter and at Ben's Biz Blog.
- Prior to the 2004 season, the Clearwater Phillies rebranded as the Threshers. This shark-themed identity wasn't the only one the team considered, of course; the front office staff was also enamored with the idea of becoming the Beach Dogs. This leads us to Friday's "What Could Have Been" promotion, in which the Threshers suit up as, yes, the Beach Dogs. Threshers general manager John Timberlake describes the occasion as "a throwback to another possibility," in which the team could have had a Dog Pound seating area and made "Who Let the Dogs Out" a de facto theme song. On this special evening, other possibilities become reality.
- Speaking of "What Could Have Been" promotions, the Bowling Green Hot Rods initiated the concept when they transformed into the Cave Shrimp in 2009. Saturday, the team is ushering in a new concept: "What We Were Night." On this evening, they'll take the field bearing the uniforms of their franchise's previous incarnation, the Columbus Catfish. A South Atlantic League entity, the Catfish lasted six seasons before moving to Bowling Green. The team won its lone championship in 2007, buoyed by the strong pitching of staff ace Jeremy Hellickson.
- Toys 'R Us may have gone bankrupt, but its spirit lives on with the RiverDogs' "Toys foR Us" celebration. The Yankees' Class A affiliate will "celebrate their fans' favorite childhood toys," welcome Geoffrey the Giraffe to the ballpark and even dedicate an entire section of seating as "toys only." The team, meanwhile, will take the field in toy-themed jerseys. There's a strong philanthropic element to the evening as well, as the RiverDogs are conducting a toy drive to benefit MUSC Children's Hospital and the Salvation Army.
- Corny Dogs are a culinary staple of the Texas State Fair, and the Frisco RoughRiders are a Texas-based team. What more motivation could they need to suit up as the Corny Dogs? It's all part of Frisco's "State Fair Night," which, per the team, includes "a carnival ride, inflatable midway games [and] special state fair video and music." And, of course, corny dogs will be for sale all evening long.
- The first iteration of the Leigh Valley IronPigs' "Salute to Philadelphia Night" featured the team taking the field as the Cheesesteaks. This year, they're celebrating the reigning Super Bowl champions by wearing Eagles-inspired gear. The team's jerseys -- as well as other merchandise sold in the team store -- feature a diagram of the Philly Special. This, of course, was the improbable trick play that gave the Eagles a 22-12 lead over the Patriots at the conclusion of the game's first half.