By Jonathan Leshanski and Laura Nist.
Some teams will try any gimmick to get fans into the seats; it is actually amazing the lengths that they will go to. Several of the Minor League attention-grabbers that we have seen in recent years such as “Nobody Night” for the Charleston Riverdogs have set attendance records - for the lowest attendance that is. (They locked the gates of the stadium, holding a party in the parking lot and not letting fans in until the sixth inning when the game was official.) The Riverdogs have also had such promotions as “Call-in-Sick Day” (the team will send a note to your boss for you) and “Tonya Harding bat night”. Recently the Hagerstown Suns, a San Francisco Giants minor league team, announced that they are teaming up with a funeral home to offer a free funeral service to the fan with the most creative idea concerning his or her ideal funeral. We can only hope that they are planning their own funeral; otherwise the County Sheriff’s Department may be sponsoring the next promotion.
Typically the more unusual stunts are found in the Minor Leagues but Major League Baseball has had a few of their own over the years. In a 1979 game between the Tigers and the White Sox there was a “Disco Demolition” promotion. Fans brought disco records to demolish and got so excited that they rushed the field and things got out of hand. Also in the works in Detroit this season is “Tape me out to the Ball Game Night” which will feature the many uses of duct tape. (Although, I doubt that even duct tape can fix the Tigers’ season.)
With that being said, our staff of writers decided to come up with our list of the worst promotions.
15. A burial in the Detroit outfield – this way you can spend eternity on the baseball diamond with the rest of the dead and perhaps risk being confused as one of the actual outfielders.
14. Small Arms night at Yankee Stadium. - Sponsored by the Boston Red Sox Booster Society (strangely enough on a night the Sox were not in town).
13. Expos Fan Appreciation Day - 2,000th fan to come through the gates gets to start for the Expos - canceled due to the fact that Montreal didn’t feel they could compete with only 8 men on the field. Perhaps the fans were confused and went to San Juan?
12. Renaming the Popsicles at Fenway Park after Ted Williams - "Ted-sicles, Ted-sicles... get youh tedsicles heah!" (we hear that a similar promotion is actually being planned in the Arizona-Mexico League)
11. Compare Your Salary to A-Rod’s night. Every fan gets a chart that shows them based upon their salary just how long it would take to earn what A-Rod gets per at bat.
10. Steve Phillips appreciation night at Shea - every fan through the gate will be given either a torch, pitchfork, shovel or bucket of tar. Directions to his office will be posted on the scoreboard during the 6th inning.
9. Clothing optional night at Wrigley.
8. The Shuck your own Oyster night with 5 cent beers.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers Fan Appreciation Night (to accommodate the most visible Dodgers fans) - Free cell phones for everyone that arrives prior to the 6th inning when the Dodgers will forfeit the game so that everyone can go home.
6. Prostate Awareness Night at Camden Yards. Visiting fans can bend over, get their exam, and understand what it feels like to be an Orioles fan.
5. for Mets Fans 14-years old and younger - Win a chance to compete with Rey Ordonez in an inside the park home run derby.
4. Bud Selig Bubblehead (or was it Bobblehead?) night in Milwaukee.
3. Bartolo Colon-ic night at Fenway Park - Sponsored by the NY Yankee booster club (They’ll flush that idea right out of your system)
2. Jeff Torborg pitching clinic sponsored by the University of Miami Medical Center.
1. The Pete Rose re-instatement celebration - sponsored by the Las Vegas Sports Book Association.