Short-season baseball will begin in about two weeks, which means a brand new set of promotions are around the corner. Promotions Watch has already covered some of the notable theme nights on the docket for this summer, so to switch gears, here is a look at the giveaways to watch from the Appalachian, Pioneer, Northwest, and New-York Penn leagues.
The items that will be handed out this year cover a fairly broad spectrum. Along with unique giveaways that coincide with theme nights and other promotions, this summer will also be full of fans favorites such as bobbleheads, shirts, and more.
As they begin a new season, four teams will take the opportunity to celebrate their 2015 championships, as all of the short season champs from last year have special plans in store. On June 21, the Morgantown Black Bears (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will hand out replica championship rings, while the Hillsboro Hops (Short Season A; Northwest League) will give away trophies.
The Missoula Osprey (Rookie; Pioneer League) will host a special ceremony to commemorate their title of a year ago, and giveaway 2016 magnet schedules. Fans of the Greenville Astros (Rookie; Appalachian League) can look forward to a replica championship banner. The Osprey’s promotion will unfold on June 21, with the Astros following on the 25th.
Fans of the Burlington Royals (Rookie; Appalachian League) will have a chance to celebrate the reigning title of their parent club, the Kansas City Royals, as the World Series trophy will make a two-day stop at Burlington Athletic Stadium. That promotion begins on August 12, with a rally towel giveaway scheduled for the following night.
A title of a different kind will be celebrated on July 23, when the State College Spikes (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will stage a tribute to the 1986 Penn State Nittany Lions national football championship. For that promotion, the Spikes will hand out mini footballs.
As they pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Baltimore Orioles’ first World Series title, the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will hand out commemorative pint glasses. That promotion will be part of Orioles Night on August 11.
Jimmy Buffett-related promotions have always been a draw for the Lowell Spinners (Short Season A; NY-Penn League), and the team is planning a pair of giveaways for this year. A Buffett-themed beach towel will be handed out on June 19, while a jersey will be given away as part of Jimmy Buffett night on August 4.
The Spokane Indians (Short Season A; Northwest League) will fly a helicopter over the field on September 1 and allow their fans a chance to win money. As part of Raining Money Night, fans will be able to take the field post-game and collect as much money as they can as 2,000 $1 bills fall out of the sky. Fans can sign up either in advance through 105.7 NOW FM or at Avista Stadium during the game for a chance to take part in the event, which will be limited to 30 contestants.
Couples with a wedding to plan could receive some help from the Great Falls Voyagers (Rookie; Pioneer League). On August 19, engaged couples will receive free admission to that night’s game, where a special is being promised. There will be a raffle for a wedding prize pack.
Fans will have an early opportunity to stock up for ugly sweater parties. For Christmas at the Yard on July 30, the Billings Mustangs (Rookie; Pioneer League) will hand out Ugly Sweater t-shirts.
The Vermont Lake Monsters (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) have come up with one of the unique theme-related giveaways this year. For Sci-Fi Night on July 9, the Lake Monsters will hand out a Vulcan Salute foam finger. To complete the promotion, the Lake Monsters will don specialty jerseys that pay tribute to Spock. The evening will be capped by a post-game fireworks show.
With his induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame set for this summer, Ken Griffey Jr. is currently a popular subject for giveaways in both the majors and minors. The Everett AquaSox (Short Season-A; Northwest League) will jump onboard the trend with a pair of promotions.
On June 25, the AquaSox will hand out commemorative plaques, with a Griffey bobblehead set for August 12. While Griffey’s time in the Northwest League was spent with the bygone Bellingham Mariners, he does have a few special connections to Everett. As a 17 year old, he hit his first professional homerun at Everett Memorial Stadium and a plaque outside the ballpark commemorates that milestone. That marker will be featured in the plaque giveaway. Griffey will also be the representative of the Seattle Mariners—the AquaSox’s parent club—in the Hall of Fame.
The Williamsport Crosscutters (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will take the traditional player bobblehead a step further on July 9. On that evening, the Crosscutters will not only hand out bobbleheads of Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, but will give away an autographed jersey. The jersey will be one that was worn by Franco when he played for the Crosscutters in 2011.
A non-baseball icon will be celebrated on June 21, when the Idaho Falls Chukars (Rookie; Pioneer League) hand out Smokey Bear bobbleheads. It should be noted that, like the Burlington Royals, the Chukars will be hosting the World Series trophy for a pair of nights starting on July 15.
The Staten Island Yankees (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will honor television personality Tony Reali with a bobblehead on July 23. Reali—a native of Staten Island and host of ESPN’s Around the Horn—will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and sign autographs. The night will conclude with a post-game fireworks show.
Finally, this roundup would not be complete without an acknowledgement of one of the more notable annual events in the short season ranks. Seinfeld Night will make its return to MCU Park on July 2, and the Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) have some interesting plans in store.
As usual the team will hand out a bobblehead that pays tribute to a memorable moment from Seinfeld, with a Roger McDowell “Second Spitter” bobblehead set for this year. The Cyclones also made J. Peterman bobbleheads available through a limited edition ticket package, which is fitting considering that John O’Hurley—the actor who portrayed J. Peterman on the show—will be on hand that night.