In the grand tradition of silly yet attention-getting minor league baseball promotions, we bring you a big fat pitch from the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, formerly the Jacksonville Suns.
It’s “You Might Be The Father’s Day!”
This one falls on Thursday night, when the Shrimp, the Class AA affiliate of the Miami Marlins, plays the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. “In honor of You Might Be The Father’s Day,” the team says, “the Jumbo Shrimp will be distributing pregnancy tests so you’ll know if you need to return for Sunday’s Father’s Day game. … It will be an evening filled with suspense, intrigue and manila envelopes.”
Nice touch there with the manila envelopes, Jumbo Shrimp.
“Whether our guests are here for the first time or have supported the team for years, we seek to create entertainment and promotions that delight the whole family,” Harold Craw, the Jumbo Shrimp general manager, said in March. “Fans will have many traditional favorites and plenty of new and exciting ways to make memories at the ballpark.”
Conveniently, this promotion, sure to attract the team’s #CrustaceanNation, also falls on one of the team’s “Thirsty Thursday” promotions, when 12-ounce Budweiser products go for a buck and 24-ounce products are two bucks. It is unclear whether the presence of Thirsty Thursdays is related to “You Might Be the Father’s Day.”
Promotions are clearly a hit-or-miss endeavor for minor league teams. They’re fun and they need to be distinctive yet not misguided. The Charleston RiverDogs, for instance, tried a Father’s Day Vasectomy Night that was nipped in the bud, Nobody Night in 2002 (no one was allowed to enter until the fifth inning so that the official attendance would read zero) and Silent Night in 2003, when no talking or cheering was allowed. Two years ago, they came up with a “Bobble Boobs” giveaway on Breast Cancer Awareness Night, with ballpark mammograms offered and the support of a local Susan Komen group.
But last week, the Ogden Raptors discovered their promo had landed in foul territory and canceled “Hourglass Appreciation Night,” which had promised “gorgeous women whose curves rival those of any stud pitching prospect!” The promo was adorned with drawings of bikinied women, and promised a “different stunner each half-inning” to pose for pictures with fans.
The Raptors were left scrambling after their ill-conceived promotion. “The Ogden Raptors regret that an unauthorized news release was disseminated over the weekend announcing a promotion that was not approved or scheduled by club ownership or management,” he said in a statement posted to Twitter. “This promotion will not take place and steps have been put in place to ensure this will not happen again. The Ogden Raptors offer a sincere apology to anyone who was offended by the promotion itself and the contents of the news release, and in no way supports or condones the objectification of women. It is not reflective of the values of the Ogden Raptors, Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the Pioneer Baseball League or Minor League Baseball.”
And, two years ago, Utah whiffed mightily when it brought us the Orem Owlz’ “Caucasian Heritage Night” featuring “Wonder Bread on burgers with mayonnaise, clips from shows like ‘Friends’ and ‘Seinfeld’ and trying to solve the vertical leaping challenge.” That one was canceled and the team’s communications director resigned.