In 1993, The Sandlot was released upon an unuspecting movie public. While the film wasn't a hit initially, it slowly developed a devoted base of young fans who thrilled to the baseball antics of "Smalls," "Ham," "Squints," "Benny the Jet" and many more.
This season, Minor League teams across the country are capitalizing on the enduring popularity of The Sandlot by staging 25th anniversary promotions. The first was held by the Columbia Fireflies on April 7. As for the rest? Let's take a look:
April 16: Richmond Flying Squirrels
The Flying Squirrels are staging a whopping five The Sandlot promos, four more than any other team, and it all begins Monday. On this The Sandlot-themed "Bark in the Park Night," the first 1,000 fans receive a Babe Ruth baseball "slightly chewed by The Beast." That's one of three Beast-related giveaways: there's also a dog bowl on May 7 and a bobbledog on Aug. 20. In addition, the Flying Squirrels are giving away a Benny "The Jet" 3/4-sleeve shirt on June 22, while actor Chauncey Leopardi [who played Michael "Squints" Palledorous] makes a ballpark appearance on Aug. 30. As you soon shall see, Leopardi will be a familiar face at Minor League stadiums this summer.
April 21: Biloxi Shuckers
Chauncey "Squints" Leopardi makes his first ballpark appearance of the season, paying a visit to MGM Park.
April 28: Jupiter Hammerheads
The Hammerheads invite fans to come to Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium for "a movie character look-alike contest, Sandlot trivia, special in-game audio clips and much more!"
May 25: Delmarva Shorebirds
Leopardi, last spotted in Biloxi, will have made his way to Maryland. He'll interact with fans at the Shorebirds' Perdue Stadium.
June 9: Frisco RoughRiders
The RoughRiders have scedhuled six celebrity appearances at Dr Pepper Ballpark this season, and "Squints" is, of course, among them. But that's not all, as the team's The Sandlot celebration includes "team dog Brooks dressed as 'The Beast,' s'mores at concession stands, a PF Flyers giveaway autographed by Squints, Big League Chew given out as prizes and, fittingly, a Wendy Peffercorn look-a-like on lifeguard duty at the Choctaw Lazy River."
Brooks, Frisco RoughRiders team dog, will become "The Beast" for the team's June 9 The Sandlot celebration.
June 24: Montgomery Biscuits
The Biscuits will pay tribute to The Sandlot via audio and video clips and in-game contests. It's also "Bark in the Park," meaning that "fans are encouraged to bring their own versions of 'Hercules/The Beast.'"
July 1: Reading Fightin Phils
After this Sunday game against the Hartford Yard Goats, fans [and their dogs] are invited on to the field for a postgame showing of The Sandlot. Additionally, the first 2,000 kids in attendance will receive an extended bill "Sandlot-style" hat.
July 6: Everett AquaSox
The first 400 fans in attendance receive a Funko Pop! figurine featuring -- you guessed it -- Squints. If you squint, you can see this figurine in the bottom right portion of the below tweet.
July 12: Hickory Crawdads
Fans who dress up as their favorite character from The Sandlot receive free admission to the game.
July 21: Brooklyn Cyclones
Step aside, Squints. Patrick Renna, who played "Ham" in the film, is visiting the Cyclones' MCU Park. The team is also giving away "The Great Hambino" bobbleheads. (This promo was initially excluded from this column. Hence, the below tweet.)
July 21: Salem Red Sox
Information on Salem's The Sandlot extravaganza has yet to be revealed. Stay tuned.
July 27: Wilmington Blue Rocks
"Squints," last seen in Frisco, will be in attendance. The Blue Rocks also are giving away copies of The Sandlot 25th Anniversary on Blu-Ray and DVD.
July 28: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
The RailRiders are welcoming Patrick "Ham" Renna to the ballpark and giving away "one-of-a-kind 'Hambino' bobbleheads." There will also be a hot dog-eating competition and "s'mores activities."
Aug. 2: Charlotte Knights
Five days after appearing with the RailRiders, Renna heads south to Charlotte to "Ham" it up with Knights fans.
Aug. 4: Potomac Nationals
The P-Nats are going all out. Not only will "Squints" be in attendance, the team will give out "Squints" bobbleheads. Meanwhile, the players will take the field in The Sandlot-theme jerseys.
Aug. 7: Lowell Spinners
Not planning on attending this game? "Don't be an L7 weenie!" reply the Spinners. "Squints" will be there, three days after his night in Potomac.
Aug. 10: Salt Lake Bees
The Bees report that "cast members from the film" will be at the ballpark, but their identities remain secret. The team is giving away "Ham" bobbleheads, so maybe one of the cast members will be "Ham" himself?
Aug. 12: Augusta GreenJackets
Details are scarce, but the GreenJackets promise a "fun-filled night."
Aug. 31: Binghamton Rumble Ponies
The Rumble Ponies are inviting youth baseball and softball teams to attend this The Sandlot celebration. More details to come.