Going to the ballpark should be enough in and of itself but it isn’t. If it was, teams wouldn’t have to constantly come up with new exciting promotions and giveaways to lure fans in. Sure, it’s fun when they go horribly wrong like “Bat Day” at Yankee Stadium in 1990. Let’s give 55,000 people in the South Bronx a weapon. What could possibly go wrong?
At least with “Bat Day” you could see the disaster coming. Not so much in 1979’s “Disco Demolition Night” in Chicago where case loads of records were destroyed in the outfield, which lead to a riot and the White Sox to forfeit the game.
Other promotions that lead to disasters of a different sort were “Scientology Night” in Fort Myers where it cost a buck to get in, but a hundred to get out. Prominent Scientologists were to be featured on the scoreboard and the seventh inning stretch was to be replaced with auditing. Alas, it was not to be because L. Ron Hubbard’s boys got a court order and shut it down. Turns out Scientologists are extremely litigious (please sue me for saying you’re “extremely litigious.”) and, as anyone who’s seen “Battlefield Earth” can attest to, don’t have much of a sense of humor.
More favorites include the Phillie’s “Harlequin Romance Night” where every female fan, upon entry, was handed a Harlequin romance novel and candle because what says “romance“ more then Veteran‘s Stadium? There was “Kevin Federline Night” by the Fresno Grizzlies which featured a look-a-like contest and a highlight film of K-Fed’s career. Where’s a rain delay when you need one? So, with the 2014 season a scant few weeks away, I implore all teams, major and minor to please not do the following promotions:
10. Dead Beat Dad Day
Usually an announcer says something along the lines of: “it’s a beautiful day, so why not bring the kiddies out to the ballpark?…“ This is kind of the opposite of that. Any dad who’s at least four months behind in child support payments who shows up at the stadium sans child will be admitted free.
9. Anti-Cal Ripken Jr. Day
This event would honor Fran Healy who holds the record for most games in the Major Leagues without a start. Everyone wants to make a lot of money for doing nothing and Fran lived the dream for 470 consecutive games. It’s a testament to how being a slow, white catcher with no power and being at the right place at the right time can pay off.
8. Big Pharma Night
Players have been dabbling with performance enhancing drugs for years until Bud Selig put his old foot down. But, fortunately, there are no laws against the crowd being juiced. That’s why every fan, eight and over, will receive a dosage of steroids with a human growth hormone chaser. Now, when the announcer implores the fans to “make some noise“ it will finally mean something. Instead of players from rival teams having to dodge empty cups thrown at them in the outfield, let’s see their overpaid / won’t run out ground balls asses avoid flying chairs and railings.
Please note: this promotion is different from Ambien Night which was called off by the Houston Astros because management felt it would be too redundant.
7. Too Personal Night
Most ballpark scoreboards have facts about their players relating strictly to baseball. For example, “Last April, F.P. Santangelo hit .354 with 7 home runs.” But wouldn’t you rather learn things like, “F.P. Failed To Make 2 Marriages Work” or “F.P. drinks more then management is comfortable with” or “F.P. is a man-child with severe intimacy issues?” Too personal? Exactly.
6. Laundry Day
Most young boys dream of one day playing in the big leagues. An extremely small subset of those boys dream of one day having their laundry washed and dried in a genuine major league washer and dryer. Well, if they show up early enough with their whites clearly labeled, this dream/boring household chore will become a reality. Please remember to bring quarters.
5. Jerry Springer Night
The life of a ball player can be a busy one with little time to socialize or spend time with the family. This promotion solves that problem. Twenty minutes before first pitch, the wife and mistress of a player will meet for the very first time at home plate. The twist is the player doesn’t know until it’s happening. Sure, the player can hit, catch, run and throw but can he talk his way out of this emotional landmine and not lose half his stuff? It’s times like this when it’s truly a shame that Pete Rose and Steve Garvey are out of the game.
4. Tampa Bay Rays Old Timer’s Day
Having an Old Timer’s Day for a franchise that was founded last week presents unique challenges. Namely, that the old timer’s are in their early thirties and have most likely just been given their release by the team. The solution is the subs play the starters. It’s a promotion with all the excitement of an inter-squad game on the second day of spring training.
3. Gladiator Day
Leo Durocher once said that the worst thing for a ballplayer was job security. This promotion solves this motivation problem nicely. The drunkest fan challenges the worst player to a step into the cage. If the drunk wins, the player gets sent down to the minors. If the player wins, he has the right to the drunk’s car.
2. Day of the Drones
Why wait in a long, slow moving line when cutting edge military technology renders it obsolete? Have the MQ-1 Predator deliver your beer, hot dog and foreign intelligence. And, in accordance with the rules of Major League Baseball, any ball that hits a drone mid-air is in play as is any drone that hits an opposing player.
1. Ignore the Major League Disclaimer Day
On this one day and one day only, “any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this game, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, is not prohibited.” It’s like Mardi Gras meets New Year’s Eve crossed with Flag Day.