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Promotions Watch: 2018 Cross-Team Promotions

Bootleggers vs. Distillers

The last few seasons have yielded successful promotions that were the result of a collaboration of multiple Minor League Baseball teams. That trend is continuing with some unique cross-team promos in 2018, with the highlights from this season noted in the latest edition of Promotions Watch.

During the 2017 season, we covered several collaborative promotions around baseball. One of those entries—Bacon vs. Tacos from the Fresno Grizzlies (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League)—went on to win our Promotion of the Year award, showing how two clubs can team up for a unique endeavor. The 2018 season features more cross-team promotions, including some returnees from last year as well as some new entries.

As they did last year, the Nashville Sounds and Round Rock Express of the Class AAA Pacific Coast are assuming alternate identities for the Battle of the Boot. As part of a nine-game series, the Sounds will play as the Honky Tonks, while the Express will assume the Dance Halls name. The Dance Halls are leading the series thus far, as they took three out of five from the Honky Tonks in a series at the Dell Diamond that ran May 30-June 3.

In the Low A South Atlantic League, the West Virginia Power and Lexington Legends are rekindling the Hatfield vs. McCoy rivalry. The two teams undertook this promotion for select games last season and are continuing it this year, with the Power representing Hatfield and the Legends representing McCoy. The promotion is even complete with unique specialty uniforms worn by both teams.

Another South Atlantic League promotion will see the Asheville Tourists take the field as the Asheville Hippies for a game against the Greenville Drive on July 19. This has its origins in a 2016 Twitter feud between the two teams. That year, the clubs 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. They will do so again for a game this season.

Two clubs in the Low A Midwest League undertook a unique cross-team promotion last month, as the Bowling Green Hot Rods and Peoria Chiefs were temporarily renamed Bowling Green Bootleggers and Peoria Distillers. Both teams have employed those alternate identities for games over the past few seasons, but this year marked the first annual Battle for the Barrel. The Battle for the Barrel was won on May 8 by the Hot Rods/Bootleggers.

In an interesting regional rivalry from the Class AAA International League, the Rochester Plates and Buffalo Wings will meet in select games. The Rochester Red Wings took the field as the Plates for a successful promotion last year, and the Buffalo Bisons are responding this year by assuming the alternate Wings identity. The first series between the Wings and the Plates will take place at Buffalo’s Coca-Cola Field from June 14-17, with the matchup shifting to Rochester’s Frontier Field from August 28-30.

Those games will not be the only times that the Plates take the field for a regional rivalry matchup. As part of the Duel of the Dishes, the Plates will host the Syracuse Salt Potatoes (also known as the Syracuse Chiefs) at Frontier Field on June 21. The Plates and Salt Potatoes will meet again on August 25, with that contest taking place at Syracuse’s NBT Bank Stadium.

Down in the summer-collegiate ranks, one Coastal Plain League team’s name is inspiring another to change its name for a game. The Lexington County Blowfish will become the Lexington County Pancakes on June 8, when they host the Macon Bacon. The upstart Bacon is playing its first season in the Coastal Plain League as an expansion team.

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