(Latest release update: April 15, 2015)
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (JANUARY 21, 2015) - The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are pleased to announce #DeflateCancer Night, one of the six nights in the team's Strike Out Cancer Series, on Wednesday, April 15 against the Salem Red Sox. In light of the NFL and New England Patriots "Deflate-gate" scandal, #DeflateCancer Night will focus on raising awareness for testicular cancer and feature an inflatable baseball giveaway to the first 500 fans through the gates. Eleven of every 12 fans will receive a deflated ball, while one in every 12 will receive a "properly" inflated ball.
When fans arrive at the ballpark, they will be greeted by a variety of ball-related promotions. Any fan who arrives in a vehicle with a Massachusetts license plate can request a complementary tire-pressure check from service technicians from Tire Town, who will also be on-site passing out free tire pressure gauges to fans.
The Pelicans staff will offer free ball inflation at Gate 1 to fans that bring deflated balls in need of inflation. If they wish to donate their deflated (but functional) balls (footballs, beach balls, basketball, volleyballs, and soccer balls), the Pelicans will donate them to the Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand.
Once inside the ballpark, fans can take advantage of concessions discounts on meatball sandwiches, chicken bog balls, roasted and boiled nuts, and of course, discounted hot dogs as a part of the yearlong Weiner Wednesday promotion. The team also plans to conduct a Rocky Mountain oyster-eating contest between Pelicans Vice President and General Manager Andy Milovich and one "lucky" fan as a between inning game. Fans can also take deflated hot-air balloon "rides" at the park. Grady's Jewelers will be at the ballpark on April 15 as well, offering complimentary cleaning of tarnished rings (even if it's a Super Bowl or AFC Championship Ring).
The Pelicans will also pass out balloons to fans during the game to engage in a communal deflation ceremony while playing the "Deflate-gate" press conference of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the left field video board.
Music for the night is sure to feature famous ball-related tunes like "Great Balls of Fire," "Cannonball," "Wrecking Ball," and "Balls to the Wall."
Important to note for concerned parents, the Pelicans have opted not to invite the New England Patriots equipment manager to run the Kids Zone. The bounce house, speed-pitch, and obstacle course will, as always, be inflated to the specified safety levels outlined in their respective manuals.
Finally, the Pelicans plan to formally invite Walt Anderson and his officiating crew from the AFC Championship Game to inspect the game balls prior to first pitch.
Word from Splash, the Pelicans mascot, is that Mugsy, the Salem Red Sox mascot, has been hatching plans to film the Pelicans practices prior the three-game series, which begins on April 13 at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
"In honor of the New England sports tradition, the choice of a night in which the Boston Red Sox affiliate was in town was the obvious choice for this night," explained Milovich. "To be able to promote awareness of such a serious disease so early in the season, while having some fun in the process is what we are all about."
#DeflateCancer Night is one of the nights in the Pelicans' Strike Out Cancer series, a six-night series devoted to raising awareness and money to fight different types of cancer. The series was a great success in 2014 and included Ballpark Digest's Promotion of the Year, the Pelicans Prostate Cancer Awareness Night, when Milovich sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in front of the crowd during the seventh-inning stretch while undergoing a prostate exam. Also planned for this year's series are "Spit Seeds Not Tobacco" Night (esophageal cancer), Childhood Cancer Awareness Night, Prostate Cancer Awareness, Coaches vs. Cancer, and Pink in the Park Night (breast cancer and ovarian cancer).
According to the American Cancer Society, almost half of all cases of testicular cancer are in men between the ages of 20 and 34. Testicular cancer can be treated and usually cured, especially when it's found early. Testicular cancer is rare, accounting for about 1% of all male cancers. April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, making #DeflateCancer night a natural fit in the team's opening month of the season.
Fundraising efforts around #DeflateCancer Night will benefit the American Cancer Society, including the 50/50 raffle that night and an auction that the Pelicans are hosting featuring sports memorabilia (for teams that wish to donate an item, please contact Beth Freitas. Current items include donations from the Kansas City Chiefs).
(UPDATE: The Pelicans invited Rob Gronkowski for his own press conference on the subject. You can watch that here.)
The Pelicans return to TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark on April 9 against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, as they begin their defense of their Southern Division Championship Title. The 2015 season marks the 17th season for the franchise and first as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. For information on tickets to see the Pelicans in 2015, please call (843) 918-6000, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.