Best Promotions

By Norm:

I’m convinced that most people go to Minor League baseball games for the experience and not the games. Sure, the game is why we are all there, but fun brings people in. In this weeks’ blog I will discuss some of the best and worse Minor League baseball promotions.

Promotions are very important because they are what bring people to the ballpark. What makes a good promotion? Entertainment, creativity? With the economy the way it is you need to get creative. Here are a few creative promotions used around MiLB.

Backstabbers Night (Augusta GreenJackets)
In response to the LeBron James “Decision” on ESPN, the GreenJackets hosted a Roast of the former Cavaliers star. Anyone with an Ohio driver’s license was admitted for free and seated in a specially designated section that was staffed by a grief counselor. Augusta inducted James into the Backstabbers Hall of Fame and concluded the evening with Manager Dave Machemer announcing on live TV where he was going to dinner that night. (Fans now wear GreenJackets jerseys while they watch the Super Bowl for fear of being out-casted by the team)

Zubaz and a Monkey Night (St. Paul Saints)
St. Paul brought in a real, live monkey dressed in Zubaz pants (from Screech Powers of Saved by the Bell) to perform the jobs of the regular staff members. The monkey attempted to drag the field with a rake or even manage the concession stands. Try explaining the importance of your job after watching a monkey handle it for you.

Nobody Night (Charleston RiverDogs)
For this promotion, fans who purchased tickets and paid for parking were treated to being locked out of the stadium. The RiverDogs padlocked the doors until the fifth inning to set a Minor League Baseball attendance record of zero. This promotion ensures the RiverDogs will have the lowest single game attendance record of all-time, and a spot in the lower half of our promotions countdown. The big question is, how many people actually stuck around to get into the stadium when the doors were unlocked?

Awful Night (Altoona Curve and Salem Red Sox)
The best and worst promotion in Minor League Baseball (it IS called awful night) begins with the giveaway of “awful” promotional items like a noisemaker, air guitar, free compliment from an employee or bottomless cups. The terribleness continues with music from David Hasselhoff and William Shatner, video clips from Ben Affleck movies, a non-celebrity autograph session and in-game contests like helium balloon toss, a dry water slide, staring contest with the mascot and musical chairs with an abundance of chairs. To cap off the grand celebration, fans are treated to a fireworks display (on the video board). Imagine the fans if the team loses on top of all this.

Ted Williams Popsicle Night

After the story broke in 2002 about the son of the great Boston slugger having his father’s body cryogenically frozen in Arizona, the Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings gave popsicles to the first 500 fans in a 2003 game.

 Here are some of my favorites I have actually seen:

The beer batter used is in a lot of parks. A visiting hitter is selected and if he strikes out there is some sort of a discount on beer.

RoofMan Salem-Keizer Volcanoes

Always a fan favorite at Volcanoes Stadium is the superhero RoofMan.

In San Jose they have Smash for Cash. They bring out an old ice cream truck and a lucky fan and player are selected. The player has 3 throws at the headlights of the truck. If he breaks them out the fan wins a $100.

Lake Elsinore holds a Disney night. Everyone working for the Storm dresses up as Disney characters. They even went as far as calling the visiting team the “Man Bear Pigs.”

Salem-Keizer has “RoofMan.” Now I know this has been used elsewhere. “RoofMan” gets upon the stadium roof and throws shirts, balls, and other things down on the crowd. This year’s Volcanoes team took “RoofMan” to a whole new level with doing the “RoofMan.” When a Volcano would hit a double or triple they would wave with both arms extended in the air — kind of like in the movie 8 Seconds after Lane Frost would ride a bull for the full eight.

There are so many promotions that didn’t get mentioned. What are you favorite promotions? What would it take to get you to a game?  Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.