A challenge to Baseball America readers: Find a minor league team at home tomorrow night not launching postgame fireworks. Doesn’t exist, I say. You’d have better luck finding a New York tabloid ignoring A-Rod’s dating life.
Several teams around the minors are going beyond a simple Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza with some creative promotions. Here’s a quick look at what’s happening around the minors this weekend.
• Triple-A Buffalo will hold its 14th annual Independence Eve Celebration with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra following tonight’s game against Rochester. The event is set to top 250,000 spectators in its history. This year’s program will include a rendition of "O Danny Boy" in honor of the passing of Buffalo mayor Jimmy Griffin and NBC veteran newsman, and Buffalo native, Tim Russert.
"This milestone represents what an amazing event our Independence Eve Celebration is and how it has grown into a must-see summer tradition for the families of Western New York," said Buffalo GM Mike Buczkowski said. "Every year, Paul Ferington and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus put on a world-class show for our fans."
• Double-A Tulsa gets ready for the weekend with a Salute to Seinfeld tonight, including video clips, soundbytes and Seinfield trivia (as a tuneup, here’s a simple Seinfeld brain teaser: Who was Keith Hernandez’s accomplice in the famed "Second Spitter" episode? Answer below).
FRIDAY, JULY 4
* Triple-A Durham has managed to stay relevant on The Fourth despite the Bulls being on the road. The team is welcoming back Kevin Costner, the man who helped start the minor league craze 20 years with his role as Crash Davis in the film Bull Durham. As part of a Bull Durham 20th anniversary celebration, Costner is performing with his band Modern West at the DBAP, and will be followed by (what else?) a fireworks display.
• Double-A Altoona is unveiling its 10th anniversary team before tonight’s game. The team was selected by fans through online and in-stadium voting, and will be honored through six ‘photoball’ giveaways over the course of the season.
• Several teams will wear special uniforms in honor of the Fourth and will auction them off during the game to benefit various charities. Double-A West Tenn will wear red, white and blue jerseys to be auctioned as part of a benefit for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Bidding ends during the seventh inning of Saturday’s game . . . Triple-A Albuquerque also will wear red, white and blue jerseys that will be auctioned off for Healthcare for the Homeless . . . Triple-A Oklahoma will wear green camouflage jerseys to be auctioned during the game as part of a benefit for the Limbs for Life Foundation and its Dominican Republic project. Limbs for Life is a non-profit organization that buys prosthetic limbs for amputees who can’t afford them in the United States. It also takes donated used limbs and distributes them to amputees in foreign countries, like the Dominican Republic.
• Return of the Primaries. There is strong sentiment at the BA headquarters for Double-A New Hampshire’s failed moniker, the Primaries, which the team was tabbed in 2003 only to be overruled by fan sentiment for Fisher Cats. The team will wear Primaries red, white and blue jerseys to commemorate the Fourth.
SATURDAY, JULY 5
• High Class A Winston-Salem will hold its second annual "Drag in Drag" promotion, satisfying the public’s apparent desire to see the team’s male front-office personnel raking the infield while gussied up in women’s clothing. Fans were able to donate money over the last two weeks to the front-office member they most wanted to see in drag, with the four biggest fund raisers earning a spot on the dragcrew for Saturday’s ballgame.
SUNDAY, JULY 6
* Double-A Bowie, Renew Your Vows Night. Any chance a road trip to Bowie could serve as a fifth anniversary present to my wife? Didn’t think so. Regardless, the Baysox are welcoming married couples to renew their vows during a pregame ceremony. Participants also receive a $100 voucher on a six-night vacation.
Seinfeld trivia answer: Roger McDowell.
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