Manti Te'o and independent league baseball are making for a very interesting ballpark promotion.
The Florence Freedom of the independent Frontier League is offering their first 1,000 fans a genuine Manti Te'o Girlfriend Bobblehead Thursday night, May 23. When initially announced on May 20, their website included information on the additional giveaways and festivities:
Thursday night’s promotions will also include an air guitar contest, a pretend kiss cam, an imaginary food fight, and fans with imaginary friends, girlfriends/boyfriends or spouses are encouraged to sit in section 115, the section furthest down the left field line.
Now that all of the hysteria surrounding Te'o's "girlfriend", the fake Twitter account and the guy running it is all out in the open, you can't fault anyone for trying to exploit the profitability in all of this.
The Freedom ranked in the bottom five of 14 teams in attendance last year and second-to-last in 2011, according to Frontier League statistics), so it's no surprise why this is happening. It's obviously old news since this was reported way back in January, according to CBS Sports, although you can guarantee it's certain to draw a crowd.
Baseball in general is no stranger to wacky and off-the-wall promotions.
The Brockton Rox of the independant Can-Am League broke a Guinness world record by selling an $80 hot dog in 2011. The Lowell Spinners held a Political Correctness night a few years back, but Spinners spokesman Jon Goode wasn't taking things too seriously:
We just pay attention to what's in the news, and it seems like you're always hearing about people getting upset over what seem like the silliest things to the vast majority of people. So we thought, why not have some fun with it?
Yes, the Freedom having a bobblehead night is not supposed to be taken seriously. It's all in good fun. It's like toilet humor—lame but funny. However, you can guarantee people will be talking about this and isn't that the whole point?
Look at the now-defunct London Rippers, of Ontario, who played in the Frontier League. Their logo was getting ripped apart six ways from Sunday because of their "Jack the Ripper" logo. The London Free Press noted that women's abuse center's were in an uproar among others because of it. Still, the logo garnered national attention throughout the U.S.
Sports is entertainment, plain and simple. That's what the Rippers were about and that's what the Freedom's bobblehead night is about. Nothing more, nothing less.