CLOSE
Original image

My Minor League Promotion Roadtrip

Original image

After writing last week's post about failed baseball promotions, I was left a little disenchanted about being a baseball spectator. This wasn't helped by game I attended last week, where the free promotion ended up being a camouflage trucker hat that I will certainly never wear again. Luckily, I remembered the joy that are minor league baseball games, where the tickets are cheap, the games hardly matter and the promotions are extravagant. Here's a look my two-week plan to hit the coolest minor league promotions in America.

July 29: Blair Field, Long Beach, CA

The Long Beach Armada of Los Angeles of California of the United States of North America Including Barrow, Alaska reacted to the recent NFL dogfighting scandal by hosting Michael Vick Animal Awareness Day. Fans were encouraged to bring their dogs to the game and anyone who brought a Vick jersey or shirt was given free admission. The in-game promotions were changed to make the dogs more welcome, including a doggie first pitch, a wiener dog race and dog washes. And don't worry about the dogs leaving a mess on the field. What do you think they did with all those jerseys?

July 31: Edward A. LeLacheur Park, Lowell, MA

I've always thought of baseball as a pretty offensive game, so it's a good thing the Lowell Spinners put on Political Correctness Night. The names of the positions were changed, leaving the Spinners playing "first base-person" or "vertically challenged stop." In a classy touch, errors weren't announced to the crowd so the players didn't get embarrassed.

August 1: Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter, FL

Fans coming to see the Palm Beach Cardinals on My Two Cents Night were each given two pennies at the door. They were encouraged to drop the pennies off at various themed tables around the stadium and spout off about the topic at hand. I'm sure that didn't stop mullet1.jpganyone from sharing their opinions about the umps from their seats.

August 2: PGE Park, Portland, OR

Mullet Night is the kind of promotion only Jeff Foxworthy could love. Fans seeing the Portland Beavers are urged to dress up like rednecks and participate in toilet seat horseshoes and the unofficial hub-cap tossing world championship.

more craziness after the break...

August 3: Ernie Shore Field, Winston-Salem, NC

Drag in Drag Night has been in the works for a long time. Brave volunteers from the Winston-Salem Warthogs front office volunteered to dress up in drag for this game, but only four will get the, um, honor. Throughout the month of July, fans could donate money to one man's jar; the four lucky winners will get to drag the infield in dresses. And no, it's not all for kicks; all the money raised is going to the Special Olympics.

August 4: William Peccole Ballpark, Reno, NV

vote_button.jpgSince all the candidates have already been campaigning for the 2008 presidential race for months now, it's about time we started voting. At Election Night, fans of the Reno Silver Sox will get the opportunity to vote on the candidate they prefer. The declared candidates have been invited to speak before the game, but the team's website doesn't mention if any have accepted. And, because it just wouldn't be a promo without swag, all fans get a commemorative piece of straw.

August 5: Lake Elsinore Diamond, Lake Elsinore, CA

The Lake Elsinore Storm are giving away free toothbrushes for this game. I bet they also hand out "promotional" apples on Halloween.

August 7: Eastwood Field, Niles, OH

Baseball can get quite stressful and I'll admit to losing my cool more than once at a game. The Mahoning Valley Scrappers planned for some outrage on Anger Management Night; all fans will get a free stress ball.

August 8: Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter, FL

It's been my dream job to be GM for a major league team someday (heck, the Devil Rays would probably take me right now), but I can get a step closer at Make Your Own Promotion Night. The Jupiter Hammerheads organization is taking fans' suggestions for future promotions at this even, part of their "Wackier than Normal Wednesdays."
hairy_back1.jpg

August 9: Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville, KY

Flocculent fans can show of their unintentional sweaters at the Hairiest Back in Louisville Contest at this Louisville Bats game. The winner of the contest gets free hair removal courtesy of Avanti Skin Centers.

August 11: Elfstrom Stadium, Geneva, IL

How could anyone pass up the World's Biggest Pillow Fight at this Kane County Cougars game?

Original image
Fox Sports, YouTube
arrow
Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
Original image
Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

Original image
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
arrow
Big Questions
Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?
Original image
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Basketball and hockey coaches wear business suits on the sidelines. Football coaches wear team-branded shirts and jackets and often ill-fitting pleated khakis. Why are baseball managers the only guys who wear the same outfit as their players?

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011, it goes back to the earliest days of the game. Back then, the person known as the manager was the business manager: the guy who kept the books in order and the road trips on schedule. Meanwhile, the guy we call the manager today, the one who arranges the roster and decides when to pull a pitcher, was known as the captain. In addition to managing the team on the field, he was usually also on the team as a player. For many years, the “manager” wore a player’s uniform simply because he was a player. There were also a few captains who didn’t play for the team and stuck to making decisions in the dugout, and they usually wore suits.

With the passing of time, it became less common for the captain to play, and on most teams they took on strictly managerial roles. Instead of suits proliferating throughout America’s dugouts, though, non-playing captains largely hung on to the tradition of wearing a player's uniform. By the early to mid 20th century, wearing the uniform was the norm for managers, with a few notable exceptions. The Philadelphia Athletics’s Connie Mack and the Brooklyn Dodgers’s Burt Shotton continued to wear suits and ties to games long after it fell out of favor (though Shotton sometimes liked to layer a team jacket on top of his street clothes). Once those two retired, it’s been uniforms as far as the eye can see.

The adherence to the uniform among managers in the second half of the 20th century leads some people to think that MLB mandates it, but a look through the official major league rules [PDF] doesn’t turn up much on a manager’s dress. Rule 1.11(a) (1) says that “All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs" and rule 2.00 states that a coach is a "team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach."

While Rule 2.00 gives a rundown of the manager’s role and some rules that apply to them, it doesn’t specify that they’re uniformed. Further down, Rule 3.15 says that "No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club." Again, nothing about the managers being uniformed.

All that said, Rule 2.00 defines the bench or dugout as “the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field," and makes no exceptions for managers or anyone else. While the managers’ duds are never addressed anywhere else, this definition does seem to necessitate, in a roundabout way, that managers wear a uniform—at least if they want to have access to the dugout. And, really, where else would they sit?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios