With Deflategate still unfolding, the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) announced a “Free Brady Friday,” which prompted a quick response from the Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League).
The standoff between the NFL and Tom Brady has been in the news for so long that Deflategate has inspired promotions since last season, when the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High A; Carolina League) and Trenton Thunder (Class AA; Eastern League) both hosted deflated football nights. With a federal appeals court having upheld Brady’s four-game suspension in April, Deflategate remains current and has prompted two interesting offerings.
On June 10, the PawSox will host Free Brady Friday, a Deflategate-inspired take on the team’s Free [Blank] Fridays in which fans named Tom or Brady will be offered free admission. The PawSox announced this promotion on Tuesday, only for the Bisons to roll out “Keep Brady Suspended” night that is planned for June 11.
In Pawtucket, the promotion will include $12 box seats in honor of Brady’s number–proceeds of which will be donated to Best Buddies, a team both the team and Brady support–and ceremonial first pitchers will instead throw footballs. “Tom Brady is one of the region’s most beloved athletes and public figures,” said PawSox Senior Vice-President/General Manager Dan Rea, who announced the promotion in a statement. “This evening allows PawSox fans, so many of whom are Patriots fans, to show their support for him.”
While there will be a pro-Brady spirit in New England, the Bisons are going in the exact opposite direction by barring anyone named Tom or Brady from watching the first four innings of game one of Saturday’s doubleheader. There will also be buy-one, get-one tickets for any fan who brings a properly inflated football to be donated for area youth football programs, a 12.5% souvenir discount for anyone who provides a Brady jersey that can be added to the post-game fireworks show, and an un-destroyed cell phone donation for Cell Phones for Soldiers.
Whether this prompts more Deflategate-themed offerings remains to be seen, but as long as the story is still in the news, it will likely continue to be a topic for minor league promotions.