The biggest trend in minor league baseball is having a busy week.
A dozen teams are scheduled to wear alternate jerseys, the newest fad in which home teams ditch their traditional uniforms to dress up like Star Wars characters, superheroes, Santa Claus or whatever the evening's promotional theme may be. Already this season, the Fort Wayne TinCaps donned tuxedo jerseys, the Toledo MudHens transformed into Ghostbusters, the Inland Empire 66ers turned into blood-stained zombies for Apocalypse Night and the Reading Fightin Phils dressed up as their beloved ostrich-riding mascot.
Future dates to mark on your calendar include the Akron RubberDucks honoring Willie Mays Hays and the other stars of "Major League" on July 19, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs sporting the red jacket Michael Jackson made famous in Thriller on July 24, and the Brooklyn Cyclones wearing the creepiest Star Wars jersey yet on Aug. 2.
— IronPigs (@IronPigs) June 24, 2014
What began as a way for teams to enhance their ever-popular Star Wars night promotions and benefit local charities with postgame jersey auctions has become an opportunity to dress up for nearly any occasion, from the Fourth of July to St. Patrick's Day. They wear uniforms honoring what their team's nickname could have been and what it used to be.
Evidence of the promotion's popularity—which now rivals bobblehead giveaways and calorie-packing ballpark delicacies—can be seen in this week's slate of games, beginning tonight when the Williamsport CrossCutters mark the halfway point to Christmas by wearing sweater jerseys ugly enough to make Clark Griswold and Cousin Eddie blush. The New York-Penn League affiliate's Halfway to Christmas promotion also offers a free ticket to fans who bring a new unwrapped toy to the box office.
Check out what other teams are wearing this week below.
Thursday: The biggest day on the soccer calendar (yes, baseball fans, it's OK to watch the World Cup) is being celebrated in style by the Brooklyn Cyclones and San Jose Giants. Each team will don soccer-themed jerseys for their World Cup Night promotions.
Of course, it will be hard to top the Indianapolis Indians futbol-themed travel attire last week.
— Nick Kingham (@NickKingham) June 20, 2014
Friday: The Everett AquaSox will ditch their usual colorful uniforms to go pink, as part of their Pink at the Park promotion to benefit breast cancer treatment. The Gwinnett Braves will don camo jerseys for Military Appreciation Night and also welcome former wrestler (and current minor league ballpark regular) Sgt. Slaughter. The Cedar Rapids Kernels are also getting into the Christmas spirit a touch early and will wear special jerseys to benefit a local Autism charity.
— Everett AquaSox (@EverettAquaSox) June 24, 2014
Saturday: The Richmond Flying Squirrels will show off their World Cup fever by sporting special soccer-style uniforms.
The Duck Dynasty cast has been making the rounds at minor league ballparks this summer and this weekend the Jackson Generals will welcome Justin Martin. In his honor, the Southern League team will wear these camo jerseys (take note of the patch on the sleeve with a duck in mascot Sarge’s mouth instead of the usual bat.
Star Wars celebrations aren’t just for May the Fourth, and the West Michigan Whitecaps and Wisconsin TimberRattlers will be becoming Wookies and Droids to their ballparks on Saturday. Both teams will be channeling the dark side, with Whitecaps players coming in these Stormtrooper beauties and the Timber Rattlers coming as Darth Vader.
— Whitecaps (@wmwhitecaps) June 24, 2014
Sunday: Yo Holmes, it’s Salute to the ’90s Night and the State College Spikes are welcoming the happy feet of Alfonso Ribeiro, co-star of Will Smith’s hit show “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Ribeiro, who on Friday night will be doing the Carlton Dance for the Great Lakes Loons, inspired the Spikes to wear these graffiti-emblazoned uniforms.
— Jacob Kaucher (@jacobkaucher) June 24, 2014