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Promotions Watch: Short Season Theme Nights

Mahoning Valley Packards

We are now at the point in the calendar where Minor League Baseball’s short season teams are getting underway. While it means the return of baseball in some cities, it also allows fans to look forward to more promotions. In this edition of Promotions Watch, we look at some of the notable theme nights taking place across these leagues.

Teams in the short season leagues are featuring an interesting mix of theme nights, including some unique offerings as well as those of a more traditional variety. Just as they are throughout the rest of the minors, history nights are a big trend in the short season circuits, and a few clubs are offering their own take on the promotional staple this summer.

On August 24, the Pulaski Yankees (rookie; Appalachian League) will honor the Pulaski Counts as part of Throwback Thursday. The promotion will allow fans to bid on game-worn Counts-inspired jerseys, and the first 500 spectators in attendance will receive a bobblehead. The Counts played at Calfee Park during much of the 1940’s.

The Eugene Emeralds (Short Season A; Northwest League) will honor their own history with a 1972 throwback game. As part of the promotion, the Emeralds will take the field in jerseys inspired by the club’s look in 1972. That season is important to the history of the Emeralds, as the team was a member of the Pacific Coast League at the time and is roster included future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

The Staten Island Yankees (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will feature a Salute to Women in Sports Night on July 1. For that evening, the Yankees will don jerseys inspired by A League of Their Own on what will mark the 25th anniversary of the film’s release. In addition, the Yankees will honor Gloria Elliott—a Staten Island native who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Elsewhere in the short season circuits, there are plenty of other notable theme nights on tap. The Everett AquaSox (Short Season A; Northwest League) will celebrate the 20th installment of Frogstock. Traditionally, the AquaSox wear tie-dye jerseys for the promotion, which are available to fans via auction. For this year’s Frogstock, the AquaSox will also hand out trucker hats to the first 1,000 fans in attendance and host a post-game fireworks display.

For one night, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will become the Mahoning Valley Packards. In conjunction with the National Packard Museum, the Scrappers will honor the Packard car by wearing a specialty Packard uniform on August 12, and the game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off to benefit the National Packard Museum.

Another one-night name change comes from the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League), who will pay homage to one of Maryland’s signature food items by becoming the Aberdeen Steamed Crabs on August 11. While the team will take the field in a Steamed Crabs uniform, fans will have some unique food items available throughout the evening, as food vendors at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium will offer crab-themed menu items.

A handful of clubs will seek to honor television shows. As part of Portlandia Night on August 17, the Hillsboro Hops (Short Season A; Northwest League) will play clips from the sketch comedy series Portlandia. In addition, the Hops will welcome the VooDoo Donuts van, which will be parked on the concourse all evening.

The Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) are bringing back one of their most popular annual promotions. On August 5, the club will host Seinfeld Night IV—another installment in the team’s yearly tribute to Seinfeld. For this year’s Seinfeld night, the team will hand out “No Soup for You” bobbleheads and is also slated to welcome Phil Morris, the actor who portrayed Jackie Chiles in the series.

Later this month, the State College Spikes (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will jump on board the latest fashion trend by honoring the “Romp-him.” On June 28, the Spikes will stage “Salute to the Romp-him,” a promotion that will allow fans wearing a romper to receive half-off admission, a romper fashion show, and several other offerings.

Though it is not a promotion exclusive to one night, the Lowell Spinners (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) are employing a distinct theme for a series of giveaways this year. Starting on July 20, the Spinners will stage the first of three “Win, Dance, Bobble” giveaways. The bobbleheads will include three former Spinners and current Boston Red Sox Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts.

The first giveaway will be the Andrew “King of Pop” Benintendi bobblehead. The Jackie Bradley Jr. “Ski Jump” will be handed out on July 29, followed by “Mookie Does the Carlton” on September 3.

One last promotion to keep an eye on comes from the Johnson City Cardinals (rookie; Appalachian League), who will pay tribute to a Tennessee legend on July 22. That night, the Cardinals will stage We Back Pat Night in honor of the late Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summit.

As part of the promotion, the Cardinals will wear special Tennessee-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off following the game to benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation. In addition, the Cardinals will hand out Pat Summitt bobbleheads to the first 1,000 fans in attendance.

Now that the short season leagues are getting underway, more promotions are about to play out across the minor leagues, giving fans plenty of opportunities for a fun night at the ballpark this summer.

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