SPRING TRAINING TOWN, USA – Baseball season is finally upon us; Spring Training is in full swing, and it’s time to earnestly look ahead to the season. So, in honor of our esteemed former colleague Grote2DMax, who used to write something along these lines each year, I thought I’d pick up the mantle and take a peek around the league for the best promotional giveaway days.
Face it – they work. The stands always swell whenever there’s some crappy bobblehead to bring home and keep mint in its box until its price on eBay creeps up past $1.75. There’s just something about “free stuff,” that overrides the parts of our brain that processes if adding more cluttery junk to our lives is a good idea. Normally I’d probably just make up different pieces of trash for each team, but I thought I’d actually do some research this time. It wasn’t exactly inspiring, but the following is all true:
Weather Education Day – April 21, Progressive Field: What better place to learn about weather than from a ballpark in Cleveland in April? Joba Chamberlain plans on attending, to learn what kind of pattern brings out those damn midges.
Focus on Driving Night – April 21, Kaufman Stadium: When you’re the World Champions with a fired up fan base but not a lot of money, you don’t need cheap giveaways to draw them in…so you work on your important message days instead. Because there are so many distractions on the roads in K.C., this night is Focus on Driving Night. May 3rd is Nurse’s Appreciation Night. May 13 is Colan Cancer Awareness Night. May 17 is Tourism Night, but if you want to avoid the tourist traps and feel the real pulse of the city, come back September 3rd, because that’s “Bacon Day at the K.”
Mixing Things Together That Shouln’t Be Mixed Night – April 30th, Various: At Dodger Stadium, it’s a Justin Turner Chia Pet (because hipster beards have made Chia Pet relevant again). At CitiField, a Noah Syndergaard-en Gnome. At the O.co Park in Oakland, a Sean Doolittle Metallica Gnome giveaway (it’s as though Oakland realizes they might not have the A’s much longer, and are starting to combine their promotions in strange mash-ups. This is the weirdest one since two weeks earlier when they offered a Stephen Vogt 1981 Replica Jersey. Stephen Vogt was born in 1984).
Selfie-Stick Giveaway – May 6th, Angel Stadium: Because fans simply on their phones isn’t annoying enough. The Angels need to take a page from Kansas City and follow this with a “Focus on Walking” night.
Sunscreen Day – May 7, Yankee Stadium: The elitist tag is a tough one to break, so the Yankees are offering no less than seven “half price” nights this season, seemingly in lieu of cool giveaways. Early in the season they’re coddling the peasants with… sunscreen? Okay fine, but May 7th in New York is far from a guaranteed sunny day. Somebody ought to attend the Weather Education clinic in Cleveland.
Neck Pillow Night – May 23, Dodger Stadium: Should come in handy by the ninth pitching change.
Dusty Baker Bobblehead – June 22, Dodger Stadium: Just don’t keep him near your bobblehead pitchers, their arms will crack off!
Fedora Day – July 9, Citi Field: Like last year’s garden gnome, the Fedora seems to be the new “it” giveaway as nearly every team has one of these this year. There hasn’t been this many hats being worn since the Kennedy Administration, and frankly if it was a fad on the verge of coming back, the MLB may have just quashed it.
Dusty Baker Bobblehead – July 19, Nationals Park: Just don’t keep him near your bobblehead pitchers, their arms will crack off! Hey wait a minute, what gives? Are the Giants and Reds having Dusty Baker bobblehead nights this year too?
Taco Tuesday – August 2nd, Petco Park: San Diego is one of the few places I would trust with such a promotion, and it gets points for being brought to you by Cholula Hot Sauce, which I prefer to Tapatio. Where are the Sriracha themed giveaways?
Jerry Garcia Tribute Night – August 18: AT&T Park: (against the Mets!): Too bad hippies can’t afford to live in San Francisco anymore.
Star Trek Night – September 16, AT&T Park: While every other stadium is falling over themselves trying to be cool with Star Wars events, leave it to the future home of Starfleet to show them how it’s done.
Jacob deGrom Hair Hat – September 17, Citi Field: This caps off a season of odd Met player apparel inspired promotions, from Curtis Granderson Sock Night to a Yoenis Cespedes Compression Sleeve Giveaway. Perhaps there’s still time for a David Wright back brace.