Across the summer collegiate baseball ranks this season, there are several unique theme nights. While staples such as specialty jerseys are on the docket this year, there are also some unique ballpark festivals to note. Those items are covered in the latest Promotions Watch.
One trend that is evident this year is the use of specialty jerseys in a localized way. Some instances of that development have already been covered here, such as the cheese jersey from the Green Bay Bullfrogs (Northwoods League), which will be worn on August 14. In addition, the Battle Creek Bombers (Northwoods League) will honor Battle Creek’s status as Cereal City with Cereal Night, a promotion that is highlighted by a Fruity Pebbles-inspired jersey. As part of the event—which takes places on July 9—the Bombers will feature a cereal bowl giveaway.
Along with those two promotions, there are several other specialty jerseys to keep an eye on this season. The Medford Rogues (Great West League) will pay homage to the Medford A’s on throwback night with fireworks on June 4. The A’s (Northwest League) were a short-season team that played in Medford from 1979-1987.
The Duluth Huskies (Northwoods League) are planning a similar promotion with Superior Day on June 23. Superior Day is a nod to the Superior Blues, a minor league team that played in Superior, WI from 1933-1955. Following the 1955 season, the Blues merged with the Duluth Dukes, thereby becoming the Duluth-Superior Dukes.
A similar promotion comes from the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (Northwoods League), who will wear Wisconsin Rapids Twins jerseys for Turn Back the Clock night on June 28. The red and powder blue jerseys were chosen in a fan poll. The Twins (Low A; Midwest League) played in Wisconsin Rapids from 1963-1983.
On three separate nights this year, the Bellingham Bells (West Coast League) will recall their community’s baseball past through Decade Nights. This three-part promotion will feature special guests as the Bells celebrate a particular decade. It all kicks off with a tribute to the 1980’s on June 22, followed by the 1990’s on July 8, and concluding with the 2000’s on July 24.
Many teams this season will take the opportunity to lend a hand to charity by wearing specialty jerseys. The Florence Redwolves (Coastal Plain League) will contribute to the fight against Alzheimer’s by auctioning off limited edition jerseys following their game on June 20.
There will also be an Alzheimer’s benefit from the Fayettville SwampDogs. As part of Bringing Home Memories Safe, the SwampDogs will wear purple jerseys. The uniforms will be auctioned off following the game to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.
To advance research to cure melanoma, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters will host a black out promotion on June 12. As part of the event, the River Rafters are encouraging fans to dress in black for that afternoon’s game. The team will take the field in black jerseys, which will be made available in a post-game auction.
There are also several teams across the summer collegiate ranks that will don pink jerseys to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer. The Wilson Tobs (Coastal Plain League), Waterloo Bucks (Northwoods League), Holly Springs Salamanders (Coastal Plain League), and the St. Cloud Rox (Northwoods League) are among those teams. We will have more on those promotions—as well as similar events around baseball—during our upcoming pink at the park editon of Promotions Watch.
For fans in the Coastal Plain League, there will be several options for ballpark festivals. This year, many teams are incorporating pre-game festivals to make the trip to the ballpark an all-day experience, with each event featuring a unique theme.
The Tobs will host a Beer and BBQ fest on June 4. That afternoon will feature food and several beer and wine options prior to the game, with a band scheduled to play in Fleming Stadium’s beer garden. Gates will open for the pre-game concert at 5:30 p.m.
On June 18, the Gastonia Grizzlies will feature the Great Gastonia BBQ Fest. Sims Legion has hosted beer festivals in the past—including one that was held last week—but this is the first year for the BBQ event. The Grizzlies will play that night, as they face off against the Savannah Bananas.
Savannah will have a festival of its own on June 1, which is marked for a country fest at Grayson Stadium. The promotion will feature live country music, with the gates to Grayson Stadium opening at 6:00 p.m. for that evening’s game.
Another festival to watch comes from the Florence Redwolves, as the afternoon of June 11 with feature an elaborate pre-game tailgate. As part of the event, the Redwolves will reward one tailgate with two season passes. In addition, the Redwolves are partnering with Seminar Brewing on a beer taste testing.
Rounding out this list is a promotion that received brief coverage from us a few weeks ago. To spice up their social media night, the Kalamazoo Growlers (Northwoods League) will wear a special emoji jersey on August 13.
The jersey stands out in more ways than one. With the Growlers name emblazed across the front, the uniform is designed entirely of emoji faces, giving it a bright yellow appearance. This theme continues around to the back of the jersey, where bold blue letters serve as the foreground to the emojis. This is not the first time that the Growlers have taken a bold approach to celebrating social media. For one game in 2014, the team took the field in a jersey that feature fan-submitted selfies for Salute to the Selfie night.
With this mix of theme nights, fans in the summer collegiate circuits will have a lot from which to choose. Given that the array of jerseys covers everything from cereal to social media, 2016 will be a notable season on the promotions front.