Even in the heat of summer, Minor League Baseball teams are getting fans into the spirit by staging Christmas in July promotions. In this week’s Promotions Watch, the month of July gives fans plenty of opportunities to deck the halls, with teams staging themed giveaways, Christmas fireworks, and specialty jerseys to get an early start on the holiday season.
Christmas in July is generally employed by minor league teams because it is a multi-faceted promotion. It is a way to stage a fan appreciation night in advance of the final month, while also tying, in a unique giveaway, a toy drive, and even a special jersey. The promotion has been trending across the minors for several years, but this July will be particularly busy, with many teams staging the promotion and a few taking some very interesting approaches.
This year’s promotional slate will allow fans to stock up on decorations. The Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will hand out 4,000 Christmas ornaments on July 24, a night that will also feature a post-game fireworks show. Fans could look to add to their decorations by picking up a free stocking from the Reading Fightin’ Phils (Class AA; Eastern League). On July 16, Reading will give out stockings to the first 5,000 fans in attendance, while the players will take the field in jerseys inspired by the film Elf. A snow globe will come courtesy of the New Britain Rock Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) on July 25. The globe will be available to the first 1,000 fans age 18 years or younger in attendance.
Of course not all giveaways will revolve around Christmas. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League)—who will also wear Elf jerseys as part of their promotion—will give out 2,000 youth replica jerseys to fans 17 and under on July 25. The Battle Creek Bombers (summer collegiate; Northwoods League) will don Elf jerseys July 24th at C.O. Brown Stadium, which will be redecorated to give fans a festive Christmas spirit. As part of their Christmas in July promo on July 19, the Lake County Captains (Low A; Midwest League) will give away 1,500 cowboy-outfit themed bobbleheads depicting their mascot Skipper.
Elsewhere in Ohio is a previously covered promotion that bears another mention. Fans of the film Major League will want to plan for a trip to Canal Park on July 25, when theAkron RubberDucks (Class AA: Eastern League) will host a Pedro Cerrano bobblehead giveaway. An additional component of that Christmas in July promotion is the RubberDucks’ fireworks show, which will be set to the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Look for some other Christmas in July promos that feature non-holiday related giveaways, including a jersey cooler giveaway from the Gwinnett Braves (Class AAA; International League) on July 26. Fans in the giving mood will have plenty of options when it comes to toy drives, with team such as the Tampa Yankees (High A; Florida State League), South Bend Cubs (Low A; Midwest League), Bakersfield Blaze (High A; California League), and Mobile Baybears (Class AA; Southern League) among the many teams staging toy drives over the month of July. On the fireworks side, the Hickory Crawdads (Low A; Sally League) will have Santa Claus in attendance for their Christmas-themed fireworks display on July 18.
Another popular component of Christmas in July promotions is ugly-sweater jerseys. Whether it is buying a game-used uniform top or receiving a free replica when they come in the gate, fans will have many options when it comes to finding a baseball-themed ugly sweater. Starting with the giveaways: The Wilmington Blue Rocks (High A; Carolina League) and the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will hand out ugly-sweater t-shirts on July 15 and July 25 respectively. The Blue Rocks will welcome Santa to Frawley Stadium for their promotion, while the IronBirds will feature a post-game fireworks show. July 25 will see an ugly sweater t-shirt from the Jackson Generals (Class AA; Southern League), who will stage a Christmas-style fireworks show following the game.
The Generals will not be the only Tennessee team getting into the Christmas spirit on July 25. Tennessee Smokies (Class AA; Southern League) will benefit Remote Area Medical by auctioning off jerseys as part of an elaborate Christmas in July promotion. Along with the jerseys, the Smokies will celebrate the holiday by featuring Christmas-themed graphics, promotions, and music, as a well as a snow globe giveaway for the first 1,000 fans in attendance.
Speaking of elaborate Christmas in July nights, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Low A; Midwest League) are making some big plans. On July 25, the Timber Rattlers will wear and auction off a specialty holiday jersey and hand out a stuffed reindeer to the first 500 kids in attendance. The promotion will also feature a blood drive and a post-game fireworks show.
Continuing their year-long trend of interesting theme jerseys, the Round Rock Express (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will have their own ugly sweater uniform tops. The Express will don these jerseys—which incorporate a train and three baseballs into their rather intricate design—on July 24, which will also feature a post-game fireworks show. The Delmarva Shorebirds (Low A; Sally League) are opting for a Santa Claus suit style design for their Christmas in July, which takes place on July 18. Each jersey will be auctioned off to benefit the Shorebirds Community Fund.
Why not get into the Christmas spirit by spending a warm summer day at the beach? The Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High A; Carolina League) will offer that opportunity on July 26 on Christmas Vacation in July.
Inspired by the 250 strands of lights from the film Christmas Vacation, the Pelicans took an all-out approach in crafting their jersey. A green colored font featuring the Pelicans name looks rather subtle compared to the jersey’s main body, which is in the style of a red and white Santa Claus suit. Draped across the jersey is a strand of colorful lights that will cover both the front and the back of the uniform. Fans will be able to obtain the jerseys via auction, while also having the opportunity to donate toys to the Salvation Army.
Also featured in the promotion is a Cousin Eddy-style alpine hat giveaway for the first 1,000 fans in attendance, a pre-game catch on the field, and a post-game fireworks show. The Pelicans are tapping into this promotion at the right time, as it not only provides a high note on the tail end of the Christmas in July slate, but comes just three days before the release of the new Vacation film.
Christmas in July combines the holidays and baseball, making it not only a rapidly growing promotion, but one that is here to stay around the minors. These promotions will highlight this season’s offerings and make July feel that much closer to the holiday season.