Promo Watch: Grizzlies spin the black circle

Fresno turns the tables with first-ever 'Classic Vinyl' ballpark promo

By Benjamin Hill / | May 3, 2016 10:00 AM

You say you want a revolution? This past Thursday, the Fresno Grizzlies were offering them up at speeds of 33 and 45 per minute.

Thursday was "Classic Vinyl Night" at the Grizzlies' home of Chukchansi Park, during which local stores and private collectors set up shop on the concourse for what was Minor League Baseball's first record trade show. Record stores from all over California's Central Valley -- "from Merced to Visalia" as Grizzlies director of marketing Sam Hansen put it -- participated in the event.   

"Classic vinyl, it really appeals to two different niches," said Hansen. "There are the hipsters -- the Portland transplants and Record Store Day crowds. And then there a lot of [Fresno neighborhood] Tower District old-school guys, bringing their collection and showing it off.... The whole thing had a comic book convention feel to it."

All of the available records were used, with a variety of genres represented (classic rock being the most prevalent). DJ Mr. Leonard was on hand to spin records as the fans browsed, juxtaposing classic Hip-Hop tracks with the songs that were originally sampled. After the ballgame, Beatleville, a Beatles tribute band, took the field to play a set that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' Shea Stadium appearance.

Hansen sees the potential to expand "Classic Vinyl Night," both in the number of vendors as well as the involvement of Beatleville. 

"Next year, June 1 is the 50th anniversary of [The Beatles'] Sgt. Pepper's," he said. "I think we can really blow that one up."

Free baseball

The Quad Cities River Bandits offered free admission to April 26's contest against South Bend as a way to "thank the Quad Cities community ... while also providing a chance for those who may have never been to a game." A cool, cloudy Monday evening in April might not be the ideal circumstance for one's first game, but nonetheless a crowd of 2,057 took advantage of the complimentary ducats.

Meanwhile, on the same night in Harrisburg, the Senators staged a similarly wallet-friendly promotion: "Pay What You Will." Fans were allowed to set their own ticket prices ($1 minimum) with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. The game drew a crowd of 1,095, which, technically, wasn't even a Senators home contest. The opposing Hartford Yard Goats, whose stadium is still under construction, are currently playing all of their home games on the road.   

Playing for the name on the back

Pink breast cancer awareness jerseys have long been a promotional staple, but the Salt Lake Bees are taking this time-honored endeavor in a new direction on Saturday, May 7. For a minimum contribution of $300, fans can purchase a VIP experience that allows them to customize the name on a jersey that will be worn by a Bees player that evening. The individual represented on each jersey is someone who is battling or has battled cancer.

Coming soon!

Before you know it, the moment will've arrived for these promos.

Today: Star Wars promo season is in full effect. The Charlotte Knights are going all out with a theme jersey and Matt Davidson Jedi bobblehead.

Wednesday: Following in the footsteps of the Binghamton Mets, the Richmond Flying Squirrels are referencing a streaming TV-inspired libidinous slang term via their "Ballpark and Chill Night." The whole evening has been dubbed "Date Night at the Diamond" and will feature a fleece blanket giveaway and wine specials.... Sick of Star Wars promos? The El Paso Chihuahuas are going from the Force to the Schwartz with "Spaceballs Night." 

Thursday: It's "Star Wars de Mayo Night" in Arkansas, and as if this baffling amalgam wasn't enough the team is also celebrating National Hoagie Day. I don't know where to begin.

Friday: The Charleston RiverDogs are throwing a surprise 50th birthday party for sans-Blowfish country star Darius Rucker. Keep it a secret.... It's the 40th anniversary of Bad News Bears, and the Fort Myers Miracle are celebrating by wearing theme jerseys and welcoming Gary Lee Cavagnaro (aka "Engelberg") to the ballpark.

Saturday: On "Hispanic Heritage Night" the Sacramento River Cats are celebrating "Halfway to Dia de Los Muertos."… The Durham Bulls' "Star Wars Night" pays tribute to Han Solo. (And, as an added bonus, I will be in attendance.)

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

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