Across Minor League Baseball this season, one of the most apparent trends is that of collaborative promotions. An effort between two teams, collaborative promotions have yielded some of the more original ideas of the 2017 season, something that will be highlighted in this edition of Promotions Watch.
Last week, one of the prominent joint promotions of 2017 produced an interesting result. Prior to this season, it was revealed that the Fresno Grizzlies (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League) were matching up for the Bacon vs. Taco promo.
Building off some of their staples—for the IronPigs, the bacon strip cap, and the alternate name Fresno Tacos for the Grizzlies—the two teams conducted fan voting to determine which was better: bacon or tacos. Ultimately, bacon won the vote, meaning that the Grizzlies will wear the IronPigs’ bacon cap for a game this month.
While the Fresno/Lehigh Valley initiative attracted plenty of attention, it is not the only joint promotion of the 2017 season.
In the Pacific Coast League, two teams looked to settle the musical differences between their cities. For a pair of games in May, the Nashville Sounds and Round Rock Express played under different identities, with the Sounds becoming the Honky Tonks and the Express taking the field as the Dance Halls. On May 5, the first matchup in #BattleForTheBoot ended with the Dance Halls walking off in a win at the Dell Diamond. The battle will shift to First Tennessee Park on June 29.
Earlier this year, two teams had fun with a sports-related new story. After Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim stated that there was “no value” in playing the ACC tournament in Greensboro, the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Low A; Sally League) responded with Jim Boeheim (No) Value Night on April 11. Boeheim’s hometown team had a counter, as the Syracuse Chiefs (Class AAA; International League) scheduled their own Jim Boeheim Added Value Night on April 7 (it was later pushed back two days after that game was postponed).
Later this summer, two teams will settle a longstanding debate surrounding pizza. Representing New York City’s history with pizza on August 4, the Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will become the Brooklyn Slices, a name that will be complete with its own specialty uniform. That same evening, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High A; Carolina League) will look to honor the home of their parent club, the Chicago Cubs, by celebrating deep dish pizza as part of their weekly Foodie Fridays promotion. According to an announcement from the teams, the promotion at both ballparks “will have a series of competitions between players, front office staff and fans to try and decide once and for all which city can truly lay claim to the title of Pizza Capital of the World.”
Two South Atlantic League clubs have brought a historic feud to the field this season. As part of a promotion that is taking place throughout the summer, the Lexington Legends and West Virginia Power will recognize the Hatfield/McCoy rivalry in select matchups. The Power will become the Hatfield’s for select games against the Legends, who will go by the McCoy’s. Each team is staging its own Hatfield and McCoy night, and the winner of the series will be presented with the Golden Pig trophy at season’s end.
Elsewhere in the South Atlantic League, a Twitter feud between two teams led to one changing its name for a single game. In 2016, the Asheville Tourists and Greenville Drive put a wager on their season series, which—if won by Greenville—would lead to the Tourists becoming the Hippies for one game, while a Tourists’ victory would force the Drive to become the Rednecks.
The series ended in a 12-12 split, but because it was the first time since 2010 that the Tourists lost the season series, they agreed to change their name to the Hippies for one game in 2017. That will take place on June 29, with the team taking the field in a specialty Hippies jersey.
There is also a creative joint promotion taking place outside of affiliated Minor League Baseball this season.
In the independent American Association, the St. Paul Saints and Cleburne Railroaders will attempt to settle the debate between Duck, Duck, Gray Duck and Duck, Duck, Goose. As part of the promotion on August 19, the Saints will play as the St. Paul Duck, Duck, Gray Ducks, while the Railroaders will become the Cleburne Duck, Duck, Goose.
The promotion stems from an April Fools Day announcement in which the Saints said they would use 50 alternate names—including Duck, Duck, Gray Ducks—during the season, and social media returns showed that Duck, Duck, Gray Ducks had caught on with the fans. The teams will play a round of Duck, Duck, Gray Duck following the game.
As evidenced by this slate of notable joint promotions, teams around baseball are collaborating on some creative initiatives, ones that could ultimately resonate with their respective fan bases.
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