Top 10 upcoming promotions

Previewing can't-miss events at ballparks across the Minor Leagues

(Reading Phillies)

April 22, 2008 4:00 AM

Minor League teams are known for their game-day promotions. Every Tuesday during the season, we'll preview 10 of the best for the week ahead. If you'd like a particular promotion to be considered for this feature in the future, please send it to benjamin.hill@mlb.com with the subject line: "Promo Preview."

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Carolina League)
Motorboatin' Night, April 24

No team is better suited for nautical-themed promotions than the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, whose BB&T Coastal Field is located a stone's throw from the Atlantic Ocean. On Thursday, the club will stage a game-long tribute to motorboats, which are obviously quite prevalent in the area. Team mascot Splash will make his pregame entrance in one of these fine watercrafts, and several boats will be on display outside the stadium as well. "Water-themed" contests will take place during the game, such as a motor sound effects competition and a water balloon toss. While not confirmed, it is my hope that Motorhead songs will be played over the PA system all night long. That's probably just wishful thinking, though.

Tulsa Drillers (Texas League)
Tulowitzki Two-fer, April 24-25

It may seem hard to believe, given his meteoric rise to MLB stardom, but Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki spent the majority of 2006 with the Double-A Drillers. In honor of "Tulo's" big-league success (24 homers and 99 RBIs last season), the club will stage a pair of giveaways this week. First up is Thursday's Limited Edition Tulowitzki T-Shirt, which will be given to just 500 early-arriving fans. The next night, the first 1,500 individuals through the turnstiles will receive a commemorative Tulowitzki figurine. And, for good measure, on Saturday the entire Drillers ballclub will emulate Tulowitzki and his current teammates by playing the game in a Colorado Rockies uniform. These Major League duds will then be auctioned off after the ballgame.

Trenton Thunder (Eastern League)
A Multitude of Giveaways, April 25-27

When it comes to giveaway items, very few teams operate at the level of the Trenton Thunder. Their promotional calendar is filled to the brim with desirable swag, and fans who attend this weekend's series against New Britain won't go home empty-handed. To wit:

* Friday: Championship Hats to the first 1,500 fans (age 6 and up)
* Saturday: Joba Chamberlain No. 62 Replica Jerseys to the first 1,000 kids (ages 5-15)
* Sunday: Fielding gloves to the first 1,000 kids (ages 5-15)

In short, it'll be a very good weekend for Trentonians between the ages of 6 and 15. Enjoy your youth while you still got it, kids.

Charleston RiverDogs (South Atlantic League)
Let's Go Fly a Kite/Win the Boss' Money, April 26
Cheapskate Night, April 29

The RiverDogs will give away 1,000 kites prior to Saturday's ballgame, and a select group of fans will be invited onto the field to fly them. Then, this same group of fans will put down their kites and take part in a frenzied cash scramble (1,000 $1 bills will be scattered around the outfield). Those who are appalled at such a waste of money will want to come back to Joseph P. Riley Stadium for "Cheapskate Night" on Tuesday. In addition to two-for-one tickets, the club will stage a game-long tribute to those with tight-fisted pecuniary habits. Here's hoping that RiverDogs co-owner Bill Murray is on hand, so that he can reprise his role as Frank Cross in 1988's "Scrooged."

Erie SeaWolves (Eastern League)
Australia Day with Boomerang Giveaway, April 26

From the "Hey, Why Not?" department comes Erie's enjoyably random celebration of the Land Down Under. Boomerangs will be distributed to the first 500 in attendance, and, as SeaWolves assistant GM Rob Magee noted in an email, "We don't have to worry about crazy fans throwing them onto the field -- they'll just come back!" Additionally, the club will stage a Steve Irwin tribute, and Australian-born Major Leaguers will be recognized as well. Finally, expect the music of the BeeGees, AC/DC, Midnight Oil and, of course, Men at Work to be played over the sound system between innings. All in all, it sounds like it will be a very "G' day" in Erie.

Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League)
Naturals-Travs Rivalry T-Shirt, April 26

Those with memories will recall that last week I highlighted the Arkansas Travelers' "Diamond Series Rivalry" T-shirt, which celebrated the newfound animosity that exists between the Travelers and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (who are playing their inaugural season after relocating from Wichita). Well, now it's the Naturals' turn to stage a Rivalry T-shirt promotion, as 2,500 of these fine garments will be given away at brand-new Arvest Field on Saturday. Perhaps a rivalry will develop between this T-shirt and the one the Travelers gave away last week, which would necessitate the production of corresponding "Diamond Series Rivalry T-Shirt Rivalry" T-shirts. Please just take my word for it that this all makes sense.

Reading Phillies (Eastern League)
Tribute to Joey Bago Donuts' 1,000th Game, April 26

Joey Bago "Donuts" is a Reading institution. He first worked for the R-Phils as an intern in 1994, and since 2000 he has been the club's top salesperson. Back in his early days with the team, he became known for his regular participation in goofy between-inning skits and antics, including a particularly memorable lounge-style rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." On Saturday, the team will pay tribute to its longtime employee in many ways. In addition to having Bago reprise many of his old routines, the staff will sport goatees in his honor, play his favorite music over the PA and discount the price of his favorite beer. "This promotion is a very local thing," said Reading director of communications Rob Hackash. "But I think people can relate to it, because every Minor League town has its own version of Joey Bago."

Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League)
Tribute to the Brat Pack, April 28

The Blue Rocks' seemingly unending run of innovative theme nights continues Monday, when they stage their "Tribute to the Brat Pack." Clips from classic 1980s coming-of-age comedies will be shown on the video board, and the illustrious likes of Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy will be honored. Player headshots will be doctored to resemble these "Brat Pack" stars, and the club's staff will dress like them. Between-inning entertainment will include pre-taped film spoofs starring club interns and mascots. Because if there's one thing the world needs right now, it's a version of "Breakfast Club" that stars a blue moose and an anthropomorphic stick of celery.

Altoona Curve (Eastern League)
Leip Day Celebration, April 29

Inspired by the fact that their manager is Tim Leiper, and that 2008 is a "Leip" Year, the Curve will be doing the following (and much more) during Tuesday's game:

* Those born on Feb. 29 receive free admission and will have the honor of throwing out a ceremonial first pitch to Tim Leiper.
* The first 150 fans to buy a ticket in Section 29 (the "Leip" section) receive a 29 percent discount.
* Famous "Leaplings" (those born on Feb. 29) will be saluted throughout the evening.
* If any player is batting .366 upon the conclusion of the ballgame, he will be awarded $366 by the Curve.

Space considerations compel me to stop now. For more information, please visit this helpful and informative blog post.

Savannah Sand Gnats (South Atlantic League)
Lou Brissie's Number Retirement Ceremony Replica Jersey Giveaway, April 29

One of the most famous and distinguished individuals in Savannah's long professional baseball history is Lou Brissie, who suffered a devastating leg injury in World War II but nonetheless went on to pitch in the Major Leagues. Brissie's improbable comeback began with the Savannah Indians in 1947, where he won 25 games before making it to the Majors as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics. On Tuesday, the Sand Gnats will honor the South Carolina native's place in local history by retiring his No. 3 jersey in a pregame ceremony. In addition, the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a Lou Brissie replica jersey, courtesy of the Philadelphia A's Historical Society.

Bonus Coverage
A bittersweet look at some Minor League promotions that didn't make it into last week's column:

High Five Day (Hagerstown Suns, April 17) -- The Suns celebrated "National High Five Day" in many ways. Coaches and players greeted fans with high fives at the front gates, and various high five-related contests were staged throughout the afternoon.

Guaranteed Rainout Night (Harrisburg Senators, April 17) -- The game was NOT rained out, so all fans received a free ticket to the April 21 game against Erie.

Pat Burrell Bobblehead (Clearwater Threshers, April 18) -- In which fans took home dolls bearing the likeness of the streaky Philadelphia Phillies' slugger.

Cameron Maybin/Gorkys Hernandez Dual Bobblehead (West Michigan Whitecaps, April 18) -- Last Friday, the Whitecaps immortalized two of their most promising alumni. They did this in bobblehead form, of course.

David Cone Figurine (Omaha Royals, April 19) -- Having been voted the O-Royals' "Player of the '80s," the club honored Cone with his own figurine.

Don Baylor Appearance (Stockton Ports, April 20) -- Fans were able to get up-close and personal with the renowned former player and manager.

Immunization Records Night/Bus Drivers Appreciation Night (New Britain Rock Cats, April 22) -- This is perhaps the greatest promotional one-two of all time.

Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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