SBJ/20091019/SBJ In-Depth

Wackiness in the minors

Teams in the minor leagues continually push the window when it comes to promotions. Here’s a sampling of some of the offbeat ideas rolled out this year:

NO LOVE FOR THE GOV: The ECHL Las Vegas Wranglers held “Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Prison Uniform Night” during a game against the Bakersfield Condors. The Wranglers sported prison-style jerseys, complete with stripes, while the Condors wore jerseys fashioned after orange, prisoner jumpsuits. On-ice officials wore outfits resembling a police uniform.
CLEAR THE AIR: Befitting a team with a mascot named Thunder, the Lake Elsinore Storm (Class A, California League) gave out free samples of Subtle Butt anti-fart shields at their weekly all-you-can-eat Tuesday home games.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE WEDDING: The Lehigh Valley IronPigs, a Class AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, held BallPark Wedding Night. Players wore tuxedo jerseys and two fans exchanged wedding vows before the game.
OH NO YOU DON’T: The University of Florida e-mailed the Class A Florida State League Fort Myers Miracle a cease-and-desist letter after learning that the team had planned “What Would Tim Tebow Do Night.” The promotion was to include free promise rings and a stunt where a guy named Tim Tebow would try to walk on some water.
NAME YOUR SCANDAL: Several minor league teams lined up promotions in light of recent high-profile sports scandals. The independent Fort Worth Cats held “A-Fraud Redemption Day” at LaGrave Field. Fans who brought in Alex Rodriguez-related merchandise received four general admission tickets to a Cats game. Meanwhile, the AHL Milwaukee Admirals held “Don’t Be Like Mike” Night for a home game against the Rockford IceHogs. Tickets were available for $2 to any fan named Michael, Phelps, Mary Jane, Cheech, Chong, Weed or Wied; any fan who has won an Olympic gold medal; or any graduate of the DARE program.
A SLIMMER YOU: The Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Class A, New York-Penn League) gave one lucky lady a free liposuction treatment. Five finalists were invited to the field, where the grand prize winner was announced.
NO DUDES ALLOWED: The Class A New York-Penn League Hudson Valley Renegades estimated that between 500 and 700 female fans filled Dutchess Stadium at the start of a game that was open to only women. About 100 male fans gathered outside the ballpark for a tailgate, where the Renegades provided them video games and large-screen television sets on which to watch the game.
BUSINESS IN FRONT, PARTY IN BACK: The AHL Manchester Monarchs have sported a mullet promotion for several seasons, this past March offering “Rock the Mullet Night” in honor of the hair bands of the ’80s. The team handed out 3,500 rocker mullet wigs to fans so they could get in on the act, and had a live rock performance to boot.
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