Promotion: Take Meow To The Ballgame
Team: Frisco Roughriders
Date: May 21
Explanation: Nearly every team in the minor leagues holds a Bark in the Park night, where fans can bring their dogs to the game. Now, the Frisco RoughRiders, the team that hosts pool parties in center field near the Choctaw Lazy River, are giving dogs’ most storied foes their own night, too. That’s right, it’s Cat Night at Dr. Pepper Ballpark. Or, as the RoughRiders are calling it: Take Meow To The Ballgame. As a bonus, all cats in attendance will receive a free bandana. The concept is simple: Fans can bring their cat (so long as they can prove it is properly vaccinated) to the team’s game on May 21. Because cats are little faster and tougher to control than dogs (just ask the Riders’ lovable dog, Brooks), there are a few rules.
1. All cats must be on a leash at all times
2. Cats are only permitted to sit in the grass berm area. They are not allowed in the seating bowl. They are permitted in concourse lines, but are not allowed in any of Dr. Pepper Ballpark’s dining clubs.
3. Fans with cats may only enter through the center field gate, and restroom areas for cats will be provided near that area.
Cats have nine lives. Baseball games have nine innings. Sounds like a perfect match, right?
Promotion: John Calipari Bobbleheads
Team: Lexington Legends
Date(s): May 27, June 17, Aug. 11
Explanation: College basketball coaches have been surprisingly prevalent in the minor leagues this year. There was the notable kerfuffle between Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and the city of Greensboro after Boeheim’s negative comments regarding the annual Atlantic Coast Conference basketball tournament, which had been held in Greensboro in the past. That sparked a pair of promotions between the Syracuse Chiefs (Triple-A Nationals) and Greensboro Grasshoppers (low Class A Marlins). Now the Lexington Legends (low Class A Royals) are getting into the act by honor longtime Kentucky hoops coach John Calipari with a series of three bobbleheads. The first version, to be given away on May 27, depicts Calipari in a suit and (very long) tie yelling at (presumably) his team. Ticket packages that guarantee fans the bobbleheads are available on Lexington’s web site. Proceeds from the game will benefit The Calipari Foundation, and the Legends players will wear a special jersey for the final game of the promotion.
Promotion: Ban The Bacon
Team: Rochester Red Wings
Date(s): May 15-18
Explanation: The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are already in the middle of one notable squabble with the Fresno Grizzlies over whether tacos (the Grizzlies’ delicious alter ego) or bacon reigns supreme. Now another team is getting into the act, with Rochester promising a little bit of money off their purchase for games against the IronPigs. Because the average strip of bacon has 3.5 grams of fat, Rochester is offering its fans $3.50 off of online ticket purchases for the teams’ four-game set. They might not play in Buffalo, but Rochester certainly has some wild Wings.
Promotion: Interlocking Bobbleheads
Team: Portland Sea Dogs
Date(s): May 16, June 6, July 7
Explanation: When Baseball America spoke with Alexander Global Promotions at last year’s Winter Meetings, one of the things the bobblehead kingpins said they had up their sleeves were interlocking dolls that had to be collected on a series of games. The Sea Dogs will use that template starting Tuesday when they introduce a series of collectibles designed to honor the Red Sox’s young, talented trio of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley is first up, on Tuesday. The Betts doll will be given away on June 6, and Benintendi will complete the puzzle on July 7. When all of the bobbleheads are put together, the resulting creation will depict the three Boston stars in one of their patented post-win dances in the outfield.
Promotion: Green Chile Cheeseburgers
Team: Albuquerque Isotopes
Date: June 16
Explanation: While the Isotopes already enjoy a bit of brand boost because of their link to “The Simpsons,” the team will join in the parade of one-off identity changes later this year when they become the Green Chile Cheeseburgers for a night. To honor the occasion, green chile cheeseburger sliders will be sold in the concession stands, and green chile peppers will be roasted live on the concourse. Of course, there will be plenty of gear for purchase to honor the occasion. And as an added twist, Albuquerque’s opponent that night will be the Fresno Grizzlies, who will wear their alternate, Tacos jerseys to set up an epic, one-night food fight.
“We wanted to embark on a journey that would be all about what New Mexico is all about,” Isotopes general manager John Traub said. “This is something our fans can really sink their teeth into. After all, we are what we eat.”