Baseball's Best Promotions of 2010
Giveaway promotional items.
Poor McCutchen. He's a budding star on a team, the Pirates, without much to sell. So Pittsburgh has scheduled McCutchen canvas photo wrap day (May 21), McCutchen replica alternate jersey day (June 26) and McCutchen bobblehead day (Aug. 6).
No pressure there.
Once upon a time, teams pretty much just had cap day and bat day. Then minor league teams, always looking for ways to attract more fans, got creative with their promotions.
Then came bobbleheads.
Now teams are way past that. Which inspired us to present a sampling of some of our favorite promotion days in the majors this year, gleaned from teams' schedules.
The bobbleheads now have competition from "garden gnomes," which are being given away by at least three teams: the Diamondbacks (May 22), the Angels (May 25) and the Reds (Aug. 14).
And if you don't love L.A., you have company. The Padres are giving away "Beat LA" T-shirts on May 15, and the Giants will hand out "Beat LA" beach towels on July 30. (If you hate LA, why give out beach towels? The closest decent beach to San Francisco is in Los Angeles.)
And there are still plenty of bobblehead days. Even in San Diego, where the Padres are giving away Clayton Richard bobbleheads on July 31. What's it say when you produce bobblehead dolls for a guy with 11 career wins and a 4.80 ERA? It's not like the Padres can have Adrian Gonzalez bobblehead day -- they aren't -- because he could be traded any day.
So it's David Eckstein, Chase Headley, Kyle Blanks, Everth Cabrera and Richard.
(A better bet on July 31 is up the road, where the Angels will give out Rally Monkey soap dispensers.)
The rest of our list:
April 5, Mets: Home run apple replica banks. The apple in center field emerges on any Met homer, so if you want to see what it looks like, get the bank.
April 6, Angels: Hideki Matsui blankie. Cause nothing is more comforting than a full-time DH.
April 11, Orioles: Plush Chick-Fil-A cows. Mooo rhymes with booo.
April 17, A's: Roy Steele bobblehead. This has to be a first -- a bobblehead of a public-address announcer. Steele has done the PA for the A's since they moved to Oakland in 1968.
April 18, Cubs: Cubs winter scarf. For the cold day in you-know-where when the Cubs win the World Series.
April 24, Reds: Ballpark turf grower. "Grow your own pot of Great American Ball Park turf." Tim Lincecum doesn't need it, thank you.
May 2, Rays: Flying Carl Crawford action figure, with parachute. Before he flies away to a big-market team.
May 7, Pirates: "Established in 1887" Cap. Was that their last winning season?
May 15, Reds: Chuck Harmon 1954 Mesh Jersey. A replica of Harmon's jersey from his debut as the first African-American player in Reds history, similar to those Reds players will wear for the game against the Cardinals.
May 16, Giants: Willie Mays "The Catch" Bobblehead. The Indians are making bobbleheads of Kenny Lofton's home run-robbing catch against B.J. Surhoff in 1996. We're going with Mays.
May 21, Dodgers: "The Empire Strikes Back" night. Commemorative poster celebrating the 30th anniversary of the movie's release. Who can forget Darth McCourt?
May 23, Pirates: Pierogy wind-up racers. Potato Pete, we hope.
May 30, Rays: Carlos Pena toothbrush holder. 'Cause Carlos Pena is all about dental health.
June 3, Mariners: Girls Night Out. "Manicures, massages and more!"
May 6, Phillies: Red foam finger in the shape of the customary Hawaiian "Hang Loose" or "Shaka" sign. In honor of Hawaiian outfielder Shane Victorino.
May 22, Royals: Willie Wilson Classic. Before the Royals-Rockies game, 1985 Royals alumni will face 1985 Cardinals alumni in a softball game, commemorating the word series of 25 years ago. Don Denkinger not invited.
June 8, White Sox: Hawk Harrelson Night. You can put it on the calendar, yessssss!
June 10, Mets: Senior Stroll. Fans 60 and older can take a "leisurely stroll" around the bases at Citi Field. Up-to-date Medicare recommended.
June 11, Giants: Tim Lincecum "rally hair." Two-year contract not included.
June 13, Giants: "Peanuts" Lucy bobblehead. She pulls a playoff berth away from the Giants at the last second. (Hit the Tigers on June 20 for the Charlie Brown bobblehead.)
June 19, Astros: Nolan Ryan bobblehead. Memo to Astros: Ryan is a part owner of the Rangers.
June 26, Rangers: Rangers dip and chips platter. For those "Salty" snacks.
June 28, Orioles: World champion 1970 Orioles 40th-anniversary caps. Cool old cap with orange bill, black top and bird-head logo.
July 10, Diamondbacks: Greg Schulte 2,000th game bobblehead. Schulte, the team's radio play-by-play man since it started in 1998, will call his 2,000th Arizona game this year.
July 10, Rays: Post-game Go-Gos concert. Belinda Carlisle. Enough said.
July 17, Marlins: Marlins cow bell. The "Latin" cow bells will be given away Sept. 18. Not sure if a cow bell sounds different in Spanish.
July 31, Cardinals: Whitey Herzog bobblehead. First team ever to give away white rats.
July 31, White Sox: Rat Pack night. Juan Pierre is Sammy Davis Jr. Paul Konerko can be Joey Bishop. A.J. Pierzynski probably considers himself Frank Sinatra. But Bobby Jenks is not allowed to play Dean Martin.
Aug. 5, Tigers: All American Girls Professional Baseball League reunion celebration. No crying.
Aug. 8, Brewers: Italian sausage bobblehead. From the famous sausage race. I never sausage a bobblehead.
Aug. 14, Giants: Bruce Bochy bobblehead. Head actual size? (Bochy wears a size 8 cap.)
Aug. 15, Indians: Plush doll of the mustard bottle mascot from the scoreboard hot dog race. This is what it has come to in Cleveland.
Sept. 12, Padres: Padres Hot Wheels car. Smaller than the real thing and needs a push to move. Like the San Diego franchise.
Sept. 17, White Sox: Halfway to St. Patrick's Day. Green White Sox caps given away. Ozzie O'Guillen throws out the first pitch.
Sept. 18, White Sox: Faust Fest. A "bobble-hands" doll giveaway, honoring team organist Nancy Faust.
Sept. 19, Marlins: Marlins ponchos. This promotion can be discontinued in 2012 when the retractable-roof stadium opens.
Sept. 27, Nationals: Team photo and "early bird" 2011 schedule. Because it's always better for Nats fans to look ahead.
Oct. 1, Reds: Scout night campout. Boy and girl scouts and their families can camp out on the field after the game. And when they wake up, it will be Hispanic Heritage Day.