Gone appear to be the days of hoards of fans lining up early for the most inventive promotions in professional sports–a fad that began and ended with Paul Fritschner on August 5, 2014 at Nationals Park.
Several teams tried to jump on the garden gnome bandwagon in 2015, but not even a Jayson Werth Chia Pet could match the craze that was the original gnomeageddon the previous year.
Even without a sliced bread-level giveaway slated for 2017, there are still some ballpark pull factors worth discussing on a blog by a fan, for the fans.
So here are some of my favorites:
April 19: Ichiro dual bobblehead at Safeco Field. The Marlins visit the Mariners in the longest city-to-city trek in Major League Baseball. Longtime Mariner Ichiro will be returning to Safeco field (for what might not even be his last time), and Seattle is honoring him with a dual bobblehead commemorating both his 262-hit season in 2004 and his 3000th hit, which occurred in 2016. He will be depicted in a Mariners uniform for the former and a Marlins uniform for the latter.
April 22: Matt Harvey garden gnome at Citi Field. The gnome effort has been abandoned by almost everybody, even the Nationals, after the two-ish year craze. But the Mets are making an effort on April 22 to attract fans with one more horticultural knickknack.
May 6: Noah Syndergaard hair hat. This one has some potential. New York’s ace, “Thor,” will be honored by long flowing locks cascading down the back of a blue Mets hat. Let’s hope that Syndergaard actually pitches that day.
May 12: Trea Turner bobblehead at Nationals Park. This will be Trea Turner’s first ever MLB bobblehead–a distinction that I’m sure the talented shortstop holds in high regard. As I’ve said before, the Nationals consistently put out some of the most quality bobbleheads in the game, and this depiction of a head-first sliding Turner should not disappoint.
May 27: Chewbacca Koozie at Nationals Park. I don’t know if there are any things more stereotypically “male” than Star Wars, beer, and getting to the park early to enjoy both. The Nationals are trying to capitalize on all three of those with this inventive Star Wars day promotion–a fuzzy beer huggie. Punch it, Chewie!
June 16: Dansby “The Flow” bobblehead at SunTrust Park. The Vanderbilt alum and former top draft pick Dansby Swanson will be incarnated in a bobblehead at Atlanta’s shiny new park in June. The “flow” name makes me think there could be some synthetic hair or at least an exaggeration to make Swanson’s mane prominent.
July 14: Cincinnati Zoo bald eagle flights at Great American Ball Park. Okay, this is cool, right? There’s nothing better than the ornithological personification of America swooping around on a summer Friday night with the Washington Nationals in town. Too bad I’ll be in Virginia.
It’s Opening Day! Get out an celebrate!