Ballpark promotions are America's 424,849th greatest invention, behind dipping Wendy's fries in your milkshake, but well above smooth jazz. This week's power rankings are based on the oddest promotion from every team.
The Mariners would have been first with their "Miami Vice" takeoff poster or the Felix Hernandez alter-ego bobblehead, so they pretty clearly have one of the better promotional departments in the game. They even gave out a Chone Figgins poster on Little League day because they hate children. That takes guts, and they should be applauded for taking the risk.
It's the most obvious promotion item on the list -- of course they're going to have a Jose Bautista bobblehead -- but this one makes it because look how happy he is. Bautista isn't on performance-enhancing drugs -- he's on ecstasy.
King George III: So I hereby authorize the Stamp Act to collect extra tax revenue from the colonists.
Phillie Phanatic: sprays silly string everywhere
King George III: GAAAAH. I RELENT.
Sir William Howe: If we capture the southern tip of Manhattan, we shall have these traitorous curs right where we want them!
Phillie Phanatic: sprays silly string everywhere
Sir William Howe: Retreat! Retreat!
4. San Diego Padres - Singles Night
The Padres held Singles Night on May 19th. They then won the game by a score of 1-0. The Padres did not have an extra-base hit. This is the most appropriate team-specific promotion in the history of baseball. Doubles night was cancelled because of lack of interest and hitting ability.
5. Atlanta Braves - Yacht Rock!
The term yacht rock was invented by the greatest amateur show in the history of the internet, so any nod to it is a worthwhile endeavor. Number of people in the greater Atlanta area who understand what "yacht rock" is: two, but it’s still a good try.
6. Oakland Athletics - M.C. Hammer bobblehead
This isn't a silly, random-for-the-sake-of-random kind of bobblehead. Hammer was a good-luck charm for the A's in the '70s, and he got his career started with money borrowed from Mike Davis and Mitchell Page. He also might have gotten Jack McKeon fired at some point in the '70s, too, though McKeon was ready to retire regardless. Get it? Because he was old even back then lololol!!!
The only problem I have with this bobblehead is that it doesn't have "A's" anywhere on it. Or anything to do with baseball at all. Otherwise it would have been closer to the top.
It's a hideous hat, but it's the most obvious Orange County promotion ever, though it's weird that it's coming from a team based in Los Angeles.
If I were assigned an 1,000-word essay in college about "Sports in Texas," I'd submit a piece of paper with that picture stapled to it, collect an "A," and then spend the rest of the day getting drunk.
A DJ kitty puppet is the perfect promotion. The adults won't care, the kids just care that it's a cat, and the adult baseball nerds who know what DJ kitty is are like, "OMG IT'S DJ KITTY." Every promotion should appeal to man-children first and real children second.
10. New York Mets - Jose Reyes Banner
Not an unusual promotion, but it comes after the July 31st trade deadline. Guessing the banners read "We love Jose Reyes!" with a little space between the "e" and "J," and there are a couple of team employees with some "d" stencils, cans of spray paint, and an understanding that they could work some long nights in early August.
11. Chicago White Sox - Twelve different Fireworks Nights
Because thirteen would be too many. And all of them are set to different musical themes -- Motown, "country crossover", "'80s mullet-style." My favorite is the one "set to Popular Music." I'll bet that's the most popular fireworks show of all.
You have to decide early in the Scherzer bobblehead process if you're going for a bobblehead with different-colored eyes. The Tigers chose wisely. It would have been funny if Scherzer played dumb when the Tigers' PR person told him about the promotion. "Different eye colors? What are you talking about? Give me that mirror. I don't have diff-- oh ... my ... god."
These pierogies are a cross between a Hostess Apple Pie and Mr. Hanky. My favorite part, though, is that they have nothing to do with the Pirates on them.
Mrs. T’s Pierogies Rep - Great. So we’ll have some wind-up toys in the shape of a pierogy.
Pirates Rep - Sounds good. You can put them in Pirates gear and everything.
Mrs. T’s Rep - Uh, no, we’re cool. We’ll just, uh, put them in hats that read "O" and "S."
Pirates Rep - Oh, yeah, of course. No problem. What do the "O" and "S" stand for?
Mrs. T’s - Not the Pirates. That’s all we care about. We’re trying to sell pierogies here.
14. Houston Astros - Jackie Robinson Jersey
Okay, so every team has to retire Jackie Robinson’s number. That’s a nice gesture, I suppose. But to give away a jersey for player who never wore one seems off. If there’s any consolation, though, Astros fans can pretend they’re wearing a Bruce Van Hoff, Frank Carpin, Lee Bales, Steve Shea, Jack Billingham, Jim York, Larry Hardy, Mark Lemongello, Bert Roberge, Tom Funk, Larry Andersen, Mark Davidson, Pedro Martinez (not that one!), Jose Lima, or Ron Mathis retro jersey. All of those players wore #42. It has a rich, rich Astros history, that number.
... without 34 different moving parts. Which would be awesome. So here it sits at #15 until we know if it's awesome or a missed opportunity.
17. San Francisco Giants - (tie) Fedora hat; Country/Western belt buckle; Wearable blanket
You might think that somewhere in San Francisco, there’s a hipster getting ready to see an unknown band named The Famous Archaic at some club you probably haven’t heard of, and he’s wearing a Giants fedora, a Giants wearable blanket, and a Giants country/western belt buckle at the same time. You’d be wrong. I haven’t listened to The Famous Archaic since their first e.p., so I’m totally not even going to that show.
False advertising. Not a good duffel bag for kids. It can barely fit one of them. No airholes, so you have to make your own. Tried to use it to sneak Olivia on board our flight home -- they found us out and made us buy an extra ticket. Useless.
19. Milwaukee Brewers - Hot dog bobble head
Hot dogs do not have a head with which to bobble, so this can't be a true bobblehead. It's also kind of creepy -- one part anthropomorphic hot dog, one part broken sex toy from Paul Reubens' garage sale.
Other, similarly themed bobbleheads:
- Guy with binoculars in center-field stands stealing signs for the '51 Giants bobblehead
- Scoreboard operator screwing with the stadium pitch-speed display to mess with Armando Benitez's head bobblehead
- Shane Victorino punching a middle infielder in the junk bobblehead
21. Kansas City Royals - Superhero cape
Rob Neyer had tickets to this game until he saw the "ages 14 and under" fine print. And you'd better believe his writing will suffer without the cape. He was counting on that cape. The future of this site is kind of in question. So if someone could be so kind as to send him a cape ...
22. Florida Marlins - Thundersticks
Least-needed fine print of all the promotions on this list: "First 10,000 fans only." Also, thundersticks are always stupid, but there’s a special kind of sadness that comes with a quarter-full stadium banging them together to sound like a third-full stadium.
23. New York Yankees - Ford Focus toy with a Yankees logo
I don't know ... seems like the Ford Focus promotion is more of a Rays or Padres thing. The Yankees should have worked something out with some sort of disposable Bentley dealership, assuming there's such a thing.
So, yeah, that picture is horrifying, and there’s a chance it’s the worst thing in the history of worst. But the picture’s kind of small, so you google "Bronson Arroyo plush" to make sure you’re not being unfair and judging it too harshly. That search leads you to HIS COVER OF STONE TEMPLE PILOTS’ "PLUSH." That makes you apologize to the doll for thinking it could be the worst thing in the history of worst -- it’s not even the worst thing in the history of plush-related Bronson Arroyo factoids.
26. Colorado Rockies - "We want tacos" shirt
So without context, I’m going to guess that Taco Bell has some sort of promotion that involves fans getting free tacos if the Rockies score seven runs. If I had to pick out what really bothers me about this shirt, it's that it's totally against the spirit of promotional giveaways.
Typical promotional giveaway: Something with team logos all over the place, with a small logo to let you know who the sponsor was.
This giveaway: A Taco Bell shirt about tacos written in Taco Bell font with Taco Bell logos, sponsored by the Rockies
The other bad thing is Taco Bell.
When I die, I picture myself being greeted by a nice, older gentleman with a friendly countenance. "How was the trip," he’ll ask? I’ll respond by looking around in wonder and asking, "Where am I?" He’ll disarm me with his warm smile, and then he’ll say, "Welcome to Eternity." I’ll feel safe and comfortable. Then he’ll put on a Dodgers hat with Lakers colors, and he’ll say, "Follow me," and I’ll drop my head in defeat, knowing that I shouldn’t have picked my nose in church that one time.
28./29. Washington Nationals/Baltimore Orioles (tie) - Nothing interesting
The PR people from the Nationals and Orioles know each other, apparently, and they had concert tickets the day the promotional schedules were due. Bobbleheads from players you'd expect. A mug. Some hats. The hats are different colors. Throw in a fireworks night, and call it a day. This is the promotional equivalent to copying and pasting a Wikipedia article for your term paper.
30. Boston Red Sox - Nothing at all
Oh, the arrogance. Look for yourself. The promotional schedule has New Hampshire Day, which gets you excited -- "Wow, a free New Hampshire!" -- but it's actually just a day for people from New Hampshire. Then there's the "Socks for Sox" promotion, which is a charity drive where you give the team free stuff.
Every ticket should just come with a punch in the throat, too -- it's not like people would stop buying them. That's the message a team gives when it doesn't dish out free disposable plastic crap with team logos on it. Come on.
Previous Power Rankings:
6/21 - Health inspection reports
6/13 - Random ex-major leaguers in minor-league system
6/6 - Awesome names in draft history
5/31 - Team logos
5/24 - Annoying people
5/17 - Song titles
5/10 - Hair metal bands
5/3 - Sitcom locations
4/24 - Team names