If any sport knows how to find creative ways to get fans to the stadium, it's baseball. From bobbleheads to pennants, Ten-Cent Beer nights to Disco Demolition, some of the most memorable moments in baseball history involve promotions.
With that in mind, and in the weeks before many teams release their promotional schedules, I decided to put on the hat of a marketer and come up with promotions for each team to offer during the 2012 season.
While not all of these are totally serious, you might find that some should be given some real consideration. Give your suggestions and feedback, and enjoy reading my proposals for a promotion each team should offer this year.
No, like literally, a diamondback rattlesnake. Obviously, there are safety issues involved, but who wouldn't want to take home a cute little baby snake? Aside from the fact that it will grow up to become a venomous, four-foot long rattlesnake, this would be a great keepsake for the first 5,000 fans aged 14 and under.
What's that you say? Liability? Nah.
We all know that staying organized is a key component of success. For the Braves, who have a special connection to all things collapsible, having a Braves-themed file folder would be a great giveaway for the young professionals and students who attend the games. The collapsing feature is great, because when you really need to sail into a big meeting (in October, say) and need to collapse, you're all taken care of!
I've never met an Orioles fan who doesn't like Peter Angelos. In fact, he might be baseball's most universally-loved owner. In that spirit, I think the Orioles should dedicate a game in his honor. Perhaps they can give out Peter Angelos masks and a collectible program noting all of Angelos' greatest accomplishments as owner.
In what is sure to be the least offensive promotion on this list, Fenway Park could have an absolute field day with "Chicken and Beer Night." Not only will fans get discounted prices on all beer and chicken products in the stadium, but they can buy tickets to lounge in the clubhouse during the game consuming these very products with their favorite pitchers. If that isn't a Red Sox fan's dream, I don't know what is.
Trust me on this one, Cubs fans—you are not winning the World Series this year. In that spirit, it's perfectly okay to have some fun with yourselves and enjoy 1908 Beer Price Day. What exactly does that entail? Well, rather than the $7 Bud Lights, you can enjoy a two-cent draft (or three cents for a large). For the little kids, sodas and ice cream will still be full price. But for Mommy, Daddy, and Great-Grandpa Joe who was just a toddler when the Cubs last won the World Series, this day should be a blast.
On July 3rd, the Rangers will visit the White Sox, and one of the greatest promotions in White Sox history will ensue. Before the game, fans can bear witness to a rematch between Nolan Ryan and new White Sox manager Robin Ventura. The fight, which was much more lopsided 20 years ago than it might be today, would take place in the infield grass.
Interested fans can also stay after the game for A.J. Pierzynski versus Mike Napoli.
To welcome Mat Latos into Cincinnati, the Reds should give out temporary tattoos of Latos' wrist tat. The tattoo has seams of a baseball surrounding the MLB logo. It is certain to impress any young third-grader's teacher. Of course, these are temporary, so parents do not have to worry about their children permanently having baseball seams across their wrist, although frankly I think it's pretty cool.
I actually kind of like this one. Given that the Indians have their young star named Carlos Santana, and that he shares a name with one of the great musicians of our generation, the Indians should host Carlos Santana night. Not only will this include a two-headed bobblehead with the catcher and the guitarist, but it will feature a post-game concert with (musician) Carlos Santana.
With your ticket, you get one free plate of Rocky Mountain oysters. These scrumptious snacks will ensure your family has a ball at the Rockies game. No bull here—each fan will get a coupon for one plate of Colorado's most famous food. You could probably just leave Coors Field with a whole sack of them!
In honor of Detroit's big righty, the Tigers should offer a multi-colored contact promotion to all kids in attendance. Whether they have great vision or not, kids will certainly enjoy having two differently colored contacts to put in their eyes to mimic their second favorite pitcher on the Tigers. Plus, imagine how intimidating it would be for an opposing player to look into the crowd and see every single child with different colored eyes.
In a publicity stunt similar to Arizona's diamondback giveaway, the Astros could fill up their stadium with Killer Bee Night. Not only will the evening feature visits from Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, but the first 10,000 fans will get a small hive of killer bees contained in a cage. These are perfect pets to keep in the backyard and never ever let in the house.
Hey, you've got to admit that watching horrified kids look at their new bees would be more interesting than watching the Astros on offense.
This one is just too easy. In honor of Kansas City's rising star at third base, Mike Mous(Moose)takas, the Royals should give every fan in attendance at a certain game a pair of moose antlers. That way, for the rest of the season, every time the Royals' third baseman comes to bat, he will be serenaded not only by "Mooooooose" but also by droves of fans wearing fake antlers. Just like he dreamed, right?
One sure way for Artie Moreno and the Angels to lose a ton of revenue is to host "Are You Older than Mike Trout?" Night. Here's the deal: If you show your ID at the gate, and you were born after August 7th, 1991, you get in the game for free. That's right—anyone older than the Angels' budding star outfielder will get to watch him and that Pujols guy for free.
This is exactly what it sounds like. If you and your spouse are unhappy, you can come into Dodger Stadium and for the price of a ticket, get a free legal consultation and begin the process of divorce. As is Dodger tradition (I'm looking at you, McCourts...), fans can simultaneously battle with their spouse while watching the Boys in Blue. What a charming evening!
This is my personal favorite on the list. For those who don't know, Ultra Music Festival is a three-day event in downtown Miami (usually in late March, but we can push it into April) that features electronic, house and dubstep music to go along with 100,000 intoxicated college kids. That said, what better way to bring in the new Marlins stadium than with one of the world's largest music festivals during a game.
Yep, that's right. While Hanley Ramirez cleanly fields a ground ball, you can listen to the mind-numbing noise of a Skrillex dubstep song. It's baseball, America's pastime.
I was debating between this and Ryan Braun Needle Night, but this event isn't what you think. This has absolutely nothing to do with Prince Fielder. All the promotion will be is bringing in your favorite Prince album (you know, the singer) and throwing it to first base, where a small amount of explosives will be placed to destroy those albums. No connection to Prince Fielder, I promise.
Since Minnesota clearly has a huge connection to the Jersey Shore, this promotion makes tons of sense. Actually, it doesn't, but if you watch the show, there is a "Twinning" episode. I won't discuss the actual episode, but the fact that it has the word twin in it makes this a logical giveaway. All fans will receive a DVD of that specific episode for their viewing pleasure.
In what would be groundbreaking territory for baseball, the Mets could turn a regular game into a financial education seminar. Led by owner Fred Wilpon, the Mets could have various announcements and activities throughout the night to educate fans about the dangers of Ponzi Schemes and potential trouble from investing. Fans will get not only a ticket to a baseball game, but a free investment handbook and an autographed picture of Bernie Madoff and Fred Wilpon.
You know, because last night was amazing.
All 253 A's fans in attendance at this game will get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a quick chat with the men who portrayed pivotal members of their favorite team in the movie Moneyball. With Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman in attendance, this game is sure to be as much of a hit as the movie. Rumor has it that Chris Pratt (the guy who played Scott Hatteberg in the movie) will be in attendance as well.
Each fan at this game will receive a nifty deck of cards. You probably know where I'm going with this. Yep, each ace card will have the face of a different Phillies pitcher on it. Appearing on the cards will be Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and...Vance Worley? Either way, this is sure to be a hit as Phillies fans will have a new favorite deck of cards for years to come.
Each fan in attendance at this game will get baseball's coolest head of hair. Andrew McCutchen's famed dreadlocks will be immortalized in this giveaway, a full wig for fans of all ages to wear. Think of how cool McCutchen will feel looking up into the stands of PNC Park and seeing everybody wearing his hairdo.
Not that the Reds were completely ripped off by the Padres, but San Diego got some very, very good players in return for Mat Latos. With Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Edinson Volquez now in San Diego, the Padres could return the favor by hosting Reds Appreciation Day. When Cincinnati comes to town, all Padres fans will be asked to dress up in Reds gear and cheer for the visitors thanking them for a lopsided trade.
Okay Giants fans, this is the moment you have all been waiting for. Ever since closer Brian Wilson revealed "The Machine" (0:43 in the video, by the way), Giants fans and baseball fans alike have been itching to find out the true identity of this mysterious man. At this game fans will get the opportunity to meet the Machine (not Brian Wilson) after the game. He will not be wearing what he's wearing in that video.
Given that Chone Figgins did not earn one penny of his $9.5 million salary in 2011, I am proposing a Chone Figgins Contract Money giveaway. On a randomly selected date during the 2012 season, the first 9,500 fans will get $1,000 in cash. This could be absolutely disastrous if the date is announced, but if it is totally random, this will be the greatest promotion ever.
St. Louis' new favorite player, David Freese, made a huge name for himself during last year's World Series. With temperatures in St. Louis capable of getting pretty hot during the summer, I thought a good idea would be to give out Freese Pops to anyone interested. They're cheap, tasty and nothing is quite as refreshing on a hot summer day. I'm so clever. Freese Pops.
Much has been made about Tampa Bay's inability to sell out Tropicana Field no matter how good the on-field product is. Well, I have the perfect solution. Take a Tuesday afternoon game against the Athletics, a game that would normally draw no more than 10,000 people. But now, put a twist on it— one seat will be chosen at random to receive $1 million. I guarantee the seats would be filled, and one lucky fan will be going home with almost one-quarter of David Price's 2012 salary.
While deciding between this promotion and a "Third Time's a Charm" t-shirt, I wondered how anyone could turn down a Chuck Norris bobblehead. Not only will his head be movable, but he will have special roundhouse-kicking action that will make this an instantly legendary giveaway. Not that the Rangers have trouble selling tickets, but this would have people lining up for days.
Take this to mean whatever you want. Personally, I'd interpret it as paying homage to the Blue Jays' GM, Alex Anthopoulos, better known as AA. But hey, you can have your Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, bring in AA batteries or even flaunt your AA degree. No matter what, this is sure to be an interesting night.
Just imagine this— for one game, a few U.S. Congressmen come over to watch a Nationals game. But after the game, fans can stay to watch these lawmakers debate with Nationals players. Have you ever wanted to see Stephen Strasburg debate Barney Frank about U.S. economic policy? Have you ever wanted to see Jayson Werth and Charles Schumer talk about China? Me neither. But it would be kind of fun.