As a member of the 1996 Harrisburg Senators, Vlad Guerrero was a force to be reckoned with. The 21-year-old compiled a 1.050 OPS over 118 games en route to making his Major League debut with the Montreal Expos later that season.
Some two decades later, Guerrero has become the first inductee into the Senators' Hall of Fame. And not just any Hall of Fame, but the first "Life-Size Bobblehead Hall of Fame." Guerrero's bobblehead was unveiled during a ceremony before Saturday's game against Reading, and this massive replica is now bobbling proudly on the ballpark concourse. The real Vlad Guerrero was on hand for the event; after his number 27 was retired by the team, he threw out a first pitch and signed autographs for an hour and a half. The first 1,500 fans received standard seven-inch Guerrero bobbleheads, some 68 inches shorter than the "life-size" version.
Senators assistant general manager Aaron Margolis said the idea for the life-size bobblehead Hall of Fame had been percolating for quite some time.
"Five years ago, when we were going into our 25th season, we put together an all-time team," said Margolis, speaking by phone Monday morning. "That's when the conversation started, and Vlad was one of the first guys whose name came up. ... But while retiring a jersey is great, and a Hall of Fame is great, it's not very visual and, more so, it's buttoned-up. And that's not us.
"So we started asking ourselves, 'What's something that's quintessentially baseball?' And that's when the giant bobblehead came to mind. The 30th season was coming, now is the time. ... One of the inspirations for this came from when I was a kid, seeing the [life-size] statues outside of Bob's Big Boy. How can we create that here?"
To bring the life-size bobblehead to, uh, life, the Senators partnered with design firm Brandiose (with whom the team has a long working relationship). It was then manufactured by Washington State-based Alexander Global Promotions and shipped across the country, encased in what Margolis called "really annoying giant blocks of soft foam." It all resulted in Saturday's gala event, which was highlighted by the enthusiastic participation of Guerrero himself.
Later this season, two more former Senators will join Guerrero in the Life-Size Bobblehead Hall of Fame: Cliff Floyd on July 9 and Bryce Harper on Aug. 13. Like Guerrero did, Floyd will attend the induction ceremony. Harper will not, as he is currently occupied with the task of being one of this generation's best players.
Nothing Doing in Altoona
On April 11, the Altoona Curve became the latest team to stage a "Nothing Night" promotion. There were no PA announcements, between-inning contests or walk-up music; in other words, there was a whole lot of nothing. I asked the Curve to send me pictures or videos from the evening, and they obliged by sending me nothing. I now share that nothing with you:
Watching movies on a cold night in Binghamton
When the Binghamton Mets announced April 12's "Netflix and Chill" promotion during the offseason, they received a barrage of "Don't you know what that means?" responses via the Internet. Unperturbed, they clarified that they would simply "pay tribute to fan-favorite Netflix shows on a chilly night in April."
They also found time to stage a Spiedie Race (spiedies are a Binghamton delicacy) despite the fact that Chef took the night off so that he could "Netflix and Chill." You can't make this stuff up.
A brief look at notable promotions set to occur in the very near future.
Today: The Fresno Grizzlies stage the first of what will be 10 "Taco Tuesdays," in which they suit up as the "Tacos."
April 22: The Fightin Phils honor their "50 Greatest Players," all within a single jersey giveaway. Talk about efficient:
April 23: It's "Halfway to Halloween" Night in Toledo, resulting in a startling Stephen Moya transformation.