Two years after the Orem Owlz announced and then scrapped “Caucasian Heritage Night,” another Utah-based team in the Pioneer League has come forth with a promotion that has incurred plenty of public scorn before it was withdrawn Tuesday afternoon.
The offending promotion this time was “Hourglass Appreciation Night,” which was not a tribute to archaic timepieces or the opening sequence to the soap opera “Days of our Lives.” Instead, this promotion was designed to bring curvy women to Lindquist Field and give fans a chance to gawk at them.
The gist of the promotion went like this: a local modeling agency would provide 18 women for the evening, and each would broadcast a half-inning of the Raptors’ Aug. 11 game against Billings.
The underlying rationale for the promotion was … convoluted.
“Since August is the eighth month of the calendar year, and an 8 looks tantalizingly similar to an hourglass,” the release read, “(Could there) be there a better way to remind the world that baseball needs no clock than to feature 18 hourglass-shaped color commentators?”
The way the rest of the release read, however, it’s clear that the focus of the promotion had little, if anything, to do with the clock-less aspect of baseball than it did finding an excuse to bring 18 models to their ballpark.
“The home team hosts the Billings Mustangs, but the real thoroughbreds will join Raptors broadcaster A.P. Harreld in the booth,” the release said. “Fans will have the opportunity to pose for pictures with the lovely ladies as we showcase seriously splendid visual appeal: Utah's legendary mountains, Dodgers and Reds farmhands—and gorgeous women whose curves rival those of any stud pitching prospect!”
Harreld, it turns out, has connections to both the team and the modeling agency. He is the agency’s director of voice-over work and, according to the website, “assesses prospective talent, teaches classes, provides private lessons, writes custom (voice-over) copy, conducts recording sessions and oversees talent’s demo reels.”
The Raptors refused comment on Harreld’s employment status on Tuesday afternoon.
After the promotion was lambasted across the Internet and social media, team president Dave Baggott issued a statement apologizing and retracting the promotion.
"The Ogden Raptors regret that an unauthorized press release was disseminated over the weekend announcing a promotion that was not approved or scheduled by club ownership or management. This promotion will not take place and steps have been put in place to ensure this will not happen again. The Ogden Raptors offer a sincere apology to anyone who was offended by the promotion itself and the contents of the press release, and in no way supports or condones the objectification of women. It is not reflective of the values of the Ogden Raptors, Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the Pioneer Baseball League or Minor League Baseball."
Caucasian Heritage Night led to the resignation of the Orem’s announcer at the time, but two years later it seems that Ogden didn’t learn the lesson of its Pioneer League brethren.