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Evan Longoria Haircut Night: 10 Crazy Tampa Bay Rays Promotional Ideas

Jamal WilburgCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2017

Evan Longoria Haircut Night: 10 Crazy Tampa Bay Rays Promotional Ideas

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    The Tampa Bay Rays need help putting butts in seats inside their beautiful dungeon of a ballpark, Tropicana Field.

    They have offered fans the ability to bring their own food in the ballpark, free parking for carpooling, summer concerts and amazing promotional giveaways. None of these promotions have made a difference in the team's attendance numbers even though they have fielded one of the best teams in baseball over the past four years.

    Perhaps the Rays staff just isn't being innovative enough to attract the more casual baseball fan.

    Here are 10 ideas that the Rays could use for promotional events for the 2012 season.

Manny Ramirez One-Hit Wonder Night

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    The fact that Manny Ramirez's career with the Rays culminated with only one hit deserves celebration. In honor of his statistical irrelevance to the 2011 season, the team should have a night when every player's at bat song the first time through the lineup is from a one-hit wonder. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch as Johnny Damon mixes in Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" into his at bat rotation.

    Some possible hits include Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5" and Biz Markie's "Just a Friend."

John Jaso Beard Night

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    There is nothing more fun than giving grown men a reason to dress up and completely embarrass themselves. John Jaso beard night is the perfect event for this.

    For the better part of the season, Jaso was wearing what could only be compared to the facial hair of a 1970's adult movie star or a lumberjack. It would be interesting to see a bunch of Jaso's in the stands.

B.J. Upton Sunflower Seeds Night

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    If you have ever watched BJ Upton in the outfield at Tropicana Field you may have noticed the sunflower seed graveyard he leaves on the turf by the end of the game. He plows through a bag of seeds with the same speed he moves around the bases.

    The Tampa Bay Rays could have a lot of fun with a sunflower seed-themed night. Maybe have a sunflower seed spitting contest for upper level seats for a lower level upgrade or give out free seeds to anyone wearing Rays gear into the dome.

Joe Maddon Wine Tasting Night

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    Joe Maddon's appreciation for a fine glass of wine is well documented. He has even earned the nickname of Merlot Joe to some.

    With this in mind, why not have a pre-game wine tasting event where fans can sample 10 of the Tampa Bay Rays manager's favorite wines. Wine tastings are popular events that people get very excited about. Even if people are more excited for the wine than the game, it's at least another butt in a seat.

Sean Rodriguez Hit-by-Pitch Night

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    Sean Rodriguez was hit by 18 pitches in 2011. The Tampa Bay Rays second baseman led the team and ranked fourth in the majors in that category.

    A lot of times fans criticize players for leaning away from inside pitches. Perhaps it's time fans get a feeling for what these players are experiencing. Set up a batting cage and allow a brave fan to take a 40 mph fastball to the ribs. Sure its less than half the velocity of what players like Rodriguez endure, but it will give the fans that player experience.

    Although I know due to liability and the likely low participation level this is far from becoming a reality, but a guy can dream can't he.

Evan Longoria Haircut Night

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    Evan Longoria wore some interesting hairstyles throughout the season. Since kids like to look like their favorite stars, why not help them achieve the look? There are far too many bad mohawks worn by kids with parents who have no cosmetology talents.

    The team could set up some barbers to give the kids the look they want, and allow them to sit in the stands looking like Longoria. Another option could be to allow for a discounted or free ticket to the first fill-in-the-blank number of kids under 14 who show up to the ballpark with the style.

    Growing a fanbase is all about getting the kids to love the sport and team. Here is another way to get them on the Rays bandwagon.

James Shields Complete Game Night

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    James Shields threw 11 complete games in 2011. Since one of baseball's criticisms is the length of the game, why not reward fans who stay through the entire matchup?

    The Tampa Bay Rays could hand out coupons or vouchers up to the first pitch. Then they can collect them back at the conclusion of the final out in exchange for a giveaway, discounted ticket, seat upgrade, discount at the team store or some other incentive to thank the fans who stayed for the duration of the game.

    This would be especially good if the game goes into extra innings like the marathon 16-inning game they had against the Boston Red Sox.

Sam Fuld Missing Tooth Night

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    One of the most memorable moments for Tampa Bay Rays fans in 2011 was when Sam Fuld was toothless in August against the Seattle Mariners.

    Fuld after the game said he had a temporary crown from when he lost the tooth in a previous game in, and while chewing some bubble gum, noticed the gum got crunchy.

    I'm envisioning either a tooth giveaway, a tooth fairy figurine or a toothless Sam Fuld bobble head promotion for the kids. 

     

    Thanks to Steve Carney from 620 WDAE in Tampa for contributing to this idea.

Alex Cobb Ribs Night

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    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb's season ended with surgery that included removing a piece of one of his ribs. Following the surgery Cobb joked about potentially putting the surgically removed rib in his locker as a good luck charm.

    Perhaps a better idea may be to have a good old-fashioned rib cook-off as a pregame tailgate activity. The team could invite the best barbecue spots from the area and have them face off for the right to claim the title of best ribs in Tampa Bay.

    Another option would be to compare ribs from different locations. Maybe when the Kansas City Royals come to town they can compare ribs from Kansas City to ribs from Tampa. Either way, a good food promotion is sure to draw a crowd of fans to the dome.

    For further effect, they can even pair the ribs with a Cobb salad!

     

    Thanks to Steve Carney from 620 WDAE in Tampa for contributing to this idea.

Occupy Tropicana Field

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    Occupy Wall Street has taken on a global following. The Tampa Bay Rays could capitalize on the popularity of the movement and offer the protesters a little space inside of the dome.

    Pick out a good snooze-fest of a match up like a Kansas City Royals day game in the middle of the week and offer them deeply discounted tickets and a special section where they can silently protest. It would draw some attention to their activities and help them promote their movement.

    For the Rays, it would help them do what they have been trying to figure out how to do even with a winning team.

    Occupy Tropicana Field.

     

    Jamal Wilburg is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

    Follow his thoughts, insights, and ramblings on Twitter, Facebook, or his website www.JamalWilburg.com

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