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Akron heroes get bobblehead treatment

West Virginia hosting 'Redneck Night,' Naturals aim for silent crowd
May 20, 2014

Minor League teams are known for the creativity of their gameday promotions. On Tuesdays this season, we preview the most intriguing for the week ahead. If you'd like a particular promotion to be considered for this feature in the future, please send it to [email protected] with the subject line: "Promo Preview" or send a Tweet to @bensbiz, hashtag "#promopreview."

Q: Are we not a Minor League Baseball bobblehead giveaway?
A: We are DEVO!

On Saturday, some 35 years after the release of their debut album, DEVO will be honored by their hometown Minor League team. The instantly collectible DEVO bobblehead, which features a member of the band wearing a yellow hazmat suit and red energy hat, will be given to the first 1,000 fans in attendance at Saturday's Akron RubberDucks game.

The DEVO bobblehead marks the first of four "Rock 'n' Bobble" giveaways that the RubberDucks are staging this season, each of which honors a famous musician with Akron ties. Joe Walsh (James Gang), Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders) and the Black Keys will be similarly immortalized later in the season.

"We changed our name to the RubberDucks because Akron is the rubber capital of the world," said RubberDucks director of promotions Christina Shisler. "Tying our promotions into the city's heritage is a big thing that we wanted to do, and [DEVO] are from right here in Akron."

Bob Mothersbaugh, one of DEVO's founding members and indeed a native Akronite (Akronian?), will be in attendance at the ballgame. For $35, fans can join him for a pregame "VIP Meet and Greet," during which he'll pose for pictures, sign autographs and chat with fans. (After the VIP portion of the evening, Mothersbaugh will adjourn to the concourse and sign autographs for the hoi polloi.)

$10 from each meet-and-greet ticket will go to the family of Bob Casale, a founding member of DEVO who died of heart failure in February. Additional funds for the Casale family will be raised during a silent auction, which features collectible items such as a limited-edition T-shirt designed (and signed) by DEVO singer Mark Mothersbaugh.

"This will be a great night to raise funds for Bob Casale's family and celebrate the music of DEVO," said Shisler. "We've been told that DEVO fans travel well and like to dress in costume, so we're excited to see that."

Best of the Rest

Delmarva Shorebirds (Carolina League)
Wild Game Night, May 22

The Shorebirds' Wild Game Night has nothing to do with their expectations regarding what might take place on the field of play. Rather, the team is celebrating lesser-known culinary treats via an imposing Wild Game ballpark buffet. Fans can feast (or at least tentatively nibble on) frog legs, alligator, rattlesnake, muskrat and ostrich as part of a $34 ticket package that also includes a team-logo orange hunter's cap. The Shorebirds are playing the Kannapolis Intimidators that evening, but it's kind of hard to be intimidated after just having eaten a rattlesnake.

Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League)
Quietest Ballpark World Record Attempt, May 23

Last football season the Seattle Seahawks' uber-vocal fan base established a new record in the coveted category of "Loudest Sports Stadium." This ear-shattering accomplishment inspired the Naturals to go in the opposite direction -- on Friday they will attempt to set a record in the heretofore undocumented category of "Quietest Ballpark." While the visiting San Antonio Missions bat during an as-yet-to-be-determined half inning, the Naturals will display signs and videoboard messages asking fans to remain silent. Once the final out is recorded this absolute stillness will transition into a moment of cathartic release, resulting in an atmosphere that will make Seattle's CenturyLink Field seem like a mausoleum by comparison. Or at least that's the plan.

West Virginia Power (South Atlantic League)
Redneck Night, May 24

The West Virginia Power is reveling in regional stereotypes again, as on Saturday they're staging the third annual Redneck Night celebration. Fans will be greeted at the gates by a bluegrass band, receive a mason jar upon entering the stadium and then line up to meet NASCAR legend Bobby Allison. Throughout the ballgame the Power is staging a series of "Redneck Olympic" events, which fans can watch while enjoying specialty items at the "Redneck Sushi Shack" (featuring Spam, hot bologna, Twinkies and beef jerky). Finally, a redneck couple will get married at the ballpark and -- even better -- one will get divorced. The latter couple, winners of a radio contest, will each receive party deck passes and celebrate their freedom with 24-ounce cans of Natural "Natty" Light beer.

West Virginia will be staging the third annual "Redneck Night" celebration on May 24.

Binghamton Mets (Eastern League)
Salute to the Sticky Note, May 27

The B-Mets' front office often uses sticky notes as a way to communicate, and this is apparently motivation enough for Tuesday's promotional salute. In-game endeavors include a sticky note trivia contest, an attempt to locate a miniature golf hole on a course covered by sticky notes and, best of all, a competition between two fans in which they try to shake as many sticky notes off of them as possible. And since this is a Binghamton Mets game, spiedies (a regional marinated meat delicacy) will be involved as well. During the nightly spiedie race between Meat, Marinade and Chef, the contestants will have to follow a series of sticky note directions in order to make it to the finish line.

Charleston RiverDogs (South Atlantic League)
Re-Opening Night, May 27

The RiverDogs' April 7 home opener was postponed due to rain, but no matter. The team is holding "Re-Opening Night" on Tuesday, during which they'll try, try again. Cheerleaders, marching bands, local mascots, facial hair enthusiasts and Santa himself will all be part of a pregame parade, but no one will make a grander entrance than mascot Charlie T. RiverDog. The team isn't divulging specific details, but it is saying that fans should "keep an eye on the sky."

Quick Hits

Because there is more to write and you have the right to more, here is a quick rundown of even more notable promotions taking place this week:

  • May 22: The Bowie Baysox pay homage to their home state with a "Celebrate Maryland" beer dinner. Crab is on the menu. … Tim Salmon, the second-best Angels player named after a fish, will visit the Inland Empire 66ers on the night they give away bobbleheads in his honor. … The Syracuse Chiefs celebrate Boardwalk Empire by establishing speakeasies around the ballpark.
  • May 23: Another week, another Star Wars promotion. This one is in Fort Wayne. … Yasiel Puig played only 14 games for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, but that's not stopping the team from giving away Yasiel Puig bobbleheads.
  • May 24: It's Midwest League baseball in a Major League setting, as the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers face off against the Beloit Snappers at Milwaukee's Miller Park.
  • May 26: The San Jose Giants honor legendary concessionaire Turkey Mike by giving away a "Turkey Mike BBQ set."

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.