Though Christmas Day is more than five months away, many teams around Minor League Baseball are decking the halls with Christmas in July. This is the time of the year in which numerous clubs celebrate the holiday, with promotions including giveaways, specialty jerseys, and other unique offerings that will be covered in this week’s Promotions Watch.
Christmas in July has been growing steadily over the last few seasons, and has led to some creative ideas. Past summers have seen numerous teams roll out ugly sweater-themed jerseys, and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High A; Carolina League) took it to another level last year with Christmas Vacation in July.
This summer marks another time for creative Christmas-themed offerings. A few teams have rolled out the promotion in the early phases of July, including the Visalia Rawhide (High A; California League), Memphis Redbirds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), Norfolk Tides (Class AAA; International League), and the Lancaster JetHawks (High A; California League).
Over the upcoming weekend, several Christmas in July offerings will be available, starting with the Round Rock Express on Friday. That will precede a busy Saturday that features several notable promotions.
The Louisville Bats (Class AAA; International League) will be featuring one of the busiest promotions of the month. For their Christmas in July, the Bats will take the field in Christmas-themed jerseys (shown above). Also included in the promotion are photo opportunities with Santa, nine innings worth of giveaways, a Toys for Tots Drive, and a Wonderopolis Christmas Creation Station.
Also on Saturday is a unique offering from the Winston-Salem Dash (High A; Carolina League). The Dash’s Christmas in July is being combined with several other promotions, including a fireworks show, kids run the bases, and Food Truck Saturday, so it should be a busy night at BB&T Ballpark.
Rounding out the weekend are the Gwinnett Braves (Class AAA; International League), and the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League). The Braves will celebrate Christmas by incorporating a post-game kids run the bases candy drop, as well as a pre-game catch on the field. The RoughRiders, meanwhile, will offer free ugly sweater t-shirts to the first 1,500 fans in attendance.
Later in the month, there will be several unique twists on the promotion. As a tie-in to Seinfeld, two teams are celebrating Festivus. On July 18, the Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League) will welcome Larry Thomas—the actor who played the Soup Nazi—who will sign autographs for the fans.
The Potomac Nationals (High A; Carolina League) will have a unique Fesitvus offering of their own on July 23. For that evening’s game, the Nationals will don Festivus jerseys while the first 1,500 fans through the gates of Pftizner Stadium will receive a Frank Costanza bobblehead.
Going back to the more traditional Christmas in July nights, there are several promotions to keep an eye on, including an offering from the Rome Braves (Low A; Sally League) on July 20 and another from the Lynchburg Hillcats (High A; Carolina League) on July 21. On July 22, the Frederick Keys (High A; Carolina League) and San Jose Giants (High A; California League) will both feature the promotion. The Giants’ offerings include a jersey auction, while the Keys will auction off hats.
The Charlotte Stone Crabs (High A; Florida State League) will hand out ugly Christmas sweater t-shirts on July 23, the same night that the South Atlantic League’s Delmarva Shorebirds and Greensboro Grasshoppers host Christmas in July. On the 24th, the Syracuse Chiefs (Class AAA; International League) will feature a Christmas in July that includes an ice cream eating contest.
July 25—exactly five months before Christmas—marks one of the busiest days of the season, with the Keystone State kicking in some interesting offerings. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League) will give away Christmas caps to the first 3,000 adults in attendance.
Down in the Eastern League, two Pennsylvania-based teams are coming up with their own promotions. The Altoona Curve will have their own take on Christmas Vacation in July, while the Reading Fightin Phils will wear jerseys that pay tribute to Elf on the Shelf. As an added bonus, the first 2,000 kids 14 and under will receive a Crazy Hot Dog Vendor Elf on Your Shelf toy.
Elsewhere on the 25th, the Portland Sea Dogs (Class AA; Eastern League) will welcome Santa and his elf to Hadlock Field, while the Pulaski Yankees (Rookie; Appalachian League) will make limited edition Christmas t-shirts available for purchase.
Getting down to the final days of the month, a few more teams will squeeze in Christmas in July. The Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) and Biloxi Shuckers (Class AA; Southern League) will both host the event on the 28th. The promotion will also be featured by several squads on the 29th—including the Burlington Bees (Low A; Midwest League), Hickory Crawdads (Low A; Sally League), and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (High A; California League). The Quakes will be offering a giveaway, as the first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive a Justin Turner bobblehead.
On July 30, the Carolina Mudcats (High A; Carolina League) will hand out Christmas-themed Muddy the Mudcat bobblehead to the first 1,200 fans 14 and under. The Billings Mustangs (Rookie; Pioneer League) will also stage a promotion that evening, as they will give away ugly sweater t-shirts. Another Christmas in July that evening comes from the Columbia Fireflies (Low A; Sally League), who will host the first Christmas in July at Spirit Communications Park.
The last promotion featured in this rundown is the Lake County Captains (Low A; Midwest League). On July 29, the Captains will pay tribute to A Christmas Story with A Captains Story bobblehead. Featuring the team’s mascot Skipper, the bobblehead is a tribute to the scene in A Christmas Story in which Ralphie breaks his glasses on Christmas morning. Also included in the promotion are a post-game fireworks display and concert.
With July well underway, and more promotions—including one from the Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season A; NY-Penn League)—coming in August, fans will have plenty of opportunity to head to the ballpark and get in the holiday spirit.
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