(This post originally appeared on Bus Leagues Baseball.com)
Besides seeing the future of Major League Baseball, and besides the game’s casualness and coziness, one of best things about baseball in the Bus Leagues is promotions. Every year there are some great promotions throughout the Minors, from cannon-shot stuntmen to actors masquerading as former Mexican legends and of course dozens, if hundreds, of culinary exhibitions.
Although I won’t be attending any minor league games this year, there are a several promotions I would like to see happen. I’m far from a promotions expert, so some of these may have actually happened, but if so, then I would like for them to happen again, because I think they are great ideas.
Minor League Movie Day
This is an easy promotion I am surprised I have never seen done yet. There are a lot of movies out there that do with minor league baseball, from the great Bull Durham to the not-so-great Summer Catch. The team could hand out blank forms numbered 1-18 to every attendee and the PA announcer would say a quote from a minor league-based movie between each inning and asks the fans what movie the quote is from. The fan who fills in the most answers on their answer sheet wins free movie tickets to a local theater. The team could even bring in an actor or actress from one of the movies to throw out the first pitch. Seriously, what is Freddie Prinze, Jr doing these days?
Major League 3 Demolition Day
Major League 3 is by far the worst minor league baseball movie ever made. Whereas Major League is a classic in baseball cinema and Major League 2 is passable, Major League 3 is a scar upon our collective cinema consuming culture. Therefore it should be removed from public consciousness forever.
Taking a page from Disco Demolition Day and the Shaq-Fu Liberation Movement, I would like to see one team, or maybe more, promote a Major League 3 demolition day. Fans that bring in a copy of Major League 3 would get in for free and all the copies would be put in a giant garbage pail. During the seventh inning stretch, this garbage pail would be wheeled out to centerfield and all the Major League 3 copies would be smashed by a trash compactor. Of course, all the contents would be brought to the most convenient recycling facility.
Traveling Gnome Day
Like the Travelocity Gnome, gnomes are always popular. And people love taking pictures of them in different places. I even have one and will be taking it to Afghanistan with me.
From my little bit of research, I think the origin of the traveling gnome lies in a combination of the Swedish folklore of Tomte, a little man who looked over the home and protected the people from misfortune while they were away or asleep, and the Australian-derived practice of “liberating” (aka stealing) garden gnomes and taking them on trips. Perhaps the thieves believe that Tomte needs a vacation from house protecting.
Minor league teams can capitalize on this odd phenomenon by creating traveling (18in or so) gnomes emblazoned with the team’s logo. (They have them for Major League teams.) Teams can then encourage people to take their gnomes with them on trips and email the pictures to the team or post the pictures on Facebook and tag the team. Perhaps the best picture, or the fan who brought his or her gnome to the most or most exotic places can a sponsored trip through a local travel agency. Bonus points for taking pictures of the team’s traveling gnome at other stadiums.
Date a Mascot Day
Although the buzz on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is not as high as they used to be, if they haven’t done so already, I think there is a lot of potential in having “mascot dating” shows. Teams could work with local modeling agencies, local Hooters, or other areas where people are trying to put themselves over and could use the publicity of “dating” a mascot.
First, fans could make videos on why they should date the mascot. Teams could have filming rooms at the ballpark and the fans could “star” in videos similar to those hilarious 1980s personals videos.
Then there could be vote to select the top candidates to”date” the mascot. Which opens a whole other world of possibilites.
Picture this: a romantic beach backdrop, a beautiful woman, a candlelit dinner, and slowly emerging from the dark, a big-nosed, goofy walking representative of your local minor league team. The youtube possibilities are endless. Teams could post the videos on their websites and have fans votes on the best “match”. It would also be great to see mascots be on their “best” behavior at the ballpark with their “date”.
Although the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs had a Foursquare special last season, I think Foursquare is completely undertapped as a promotional tool. Teams can incorporate Foursquare to raise the “buzz” of their games. Fans who “check in” the most in a month, half-season, or through the whole season can win a gift certificate or other exclusive prizes. Teams can post check-ins on their website or on a board at the ballpark. The check-in contest would add an element of competition to attendance.
Here is a list of all the stadiums on foursquare.
Star Wars Day (FSL only)
Although there have been Star Wars-themed days across Minor League and Major League Baseball, there has not yet been a Star Wars Day in the Florida State League. As a huge Star Wars fan, this bothers me greatly. I still get chills when I see Darth Vader and company and I really want to see them throw out the first pitch. I know there is an element of the 501st Battalion in the Sarasota area and I know they have done museum openings and pro wrestling shows in Florida. They might have even also done the Florida Marlins Star Wars Night last season. So there is no reason why a team of the Florida State League can’t make the call to a galaxy far, far away and host a Star Wars Night.