This is, of course, a boon for minor league teams. By jumping on the craze, they open their doors to a new demographic of fans who might not have otherwise come to a game. And when it comes to fans, you’ve gotta catch ’em all.
“It’s caught the national attention. We’re seeing what’s going on in our community as far as seeing people out walking around, moving around, it seems like everyone’s mentioning and talking about it,” Burtman said. “And what better place to do something, because Municipal Stadium is considered a gym in the Pokemon Go universe. So we have an opportunity here to lure some people in who wouldn’t maybe normally come to a baseball game and get them out for a game and see what we do and play the Pokemon Go game while they’re here.”
Jamie Stone, the Lakewood BlueClaws’ marketing and promotions manager, didn’t play the game before she and her colleagues came up with the idea for their night at the park, but she’s caught on quickly.
“I actually had people in the office who’d played for the couple of days before that, so I was asking them a whole bunch of questions,” she said. “It helped me by asking them questions, but (the game) is pretty easy.”
Of course, what would a minor league craze be without a custom jersey for the occasion? The Richmond Flying Squirrels will host their Pokemon Go night on Monday, July 18, with a little bit of a twist. Fans can, of course, hunt for Pokemon on the field, but there will also be a raffle after the game. The winner will receive a customized Squirrels jersey with ‘Pokemaster” on the back. Tickets for that game are $5 for anybody who shows the Pokemon Go app on their phone.
The Lakewood BlueClaws are hosting their Pokemon Go night on July 21, and they’re pulling out all the stops. Besides inviting fans to play the game at the FirstEnergy Stadium (which is also a gym), they’re incorporating the game into nearly every aspect of the evening. From on-field promotions to unique opportunities to the concession stands, everything BlueClaws will become Pokemon-tinged.
“That’s what my goal is here for all of our promotional nights, is to make the entire night about it so the minute you walk through the gate you know that that’s the theme of the night,” Stone said. “I try to, as the marketing manager, make sure that every aspect of every department is completely involved.”
Some of the night’s planned highlights include: Snorlax-themed sumo match, Ratatta chasing Cheese (a normal participant in Lakewood’s nightly Pork Roll, Egg and Cheese race), Kangaskhan sack race and a Name That Pokemon guessing game. Fans will also have a chance to take a picture at the stadium’s photobooth that will be that will then transformed into a personalized Pokemon card.
And for those fans older than 21 who want to enjoy an adult beverage in between catching, training and battling their Pokemon, the Claws have you covered there, too. There’s the Charmeleon (which is made from grenadine, scotch, Fireball cinnamon, whiskey and ginger ale), the Jiggly Puff (whipped vodka, blue curacao and raspberry lemonade garnished with strawberries) and the Pikachu (orange juice, Red Bull, vodka, grenadine, garnished with cherries).
And although their night isn’t until next week, Stone said the BlueClaws have already seen some traffic thanks to the Pokemon craze.
“It was pretty funny, because the other day I went to leave work and there were two kids in the parking lot, and I said ‘Oh, did you guys catch any?’ and they kind of looked at me funny and said ‘Oh, not yet,” she said. “And they looked at me and said ‘Are you the gym leader?’ and I said ‘No, no, I just work here.”
Pokemon Go is taking over the country, and the minor leagues are happy to join in the fun.