One of the great things about Minor League Baseball is the promotional events that go along with it. The teams know that they have to get creative in convincing fans to come to games, and one the fans are in, they have to keep them entertained the whole night.
I've been to some pretty interesting and unique promotional nights, and there are others that I wish I had witnessed in person. But we'll start with the ones I was actually in the stands for.
Tennessee Smokies 50 cent Hot Dogs
I went to visit some friends in Knoxville during the summer of 2018. One day while we were there, we went hiking in the Smoky Mountains, and managed to work up quite an appetite.
Hungry, tired and sweaty, we decided to go to a Tennessee Smokies game before heading home. Luckily for us, that night's game just so happened to feature 50 cent hot dogs. I don't recall exactly how many I ate (see picture above), but it was far more than I would have eaten had they been regular price, which is the sign of a successful promotion.
Pulaski Yankees Agriculture Night
It might not seem uncommon for a team in Southwest Virginia to have an agriculture night, but what set the Pulaski Yankees apart on the evening of Aug. 22, 2018 was the raffling off of a live cow.
I attended this game with some friends of mine from Virginia Tech. We drove 40 minutes down to Pulaski on that Wednesday night for our chance to win a cow, and to see the Yankees play the Princeton Rays.
Fans could buy $10 raffle tickets which gave them the chance to win a live cow. The winner could then choose to receive the cow alive, or after processing.
We didn't know what we would do had we won; we didn't have a pasture near our apartment and we certainly didn't have enough space in our freezer, but alas, we didn't have to worry about that because our ticket was not the winner.
Tennessee Smokies Free Beer Night
I've seen the Smokies advertise this promotion for a few seasons now, but I have yet to make it to one of these games. Here's how it works: buy a promotional Smokies mason jar and you can get it filled with beer - for free- from first pitch until the opposing team scores their first run.
The Smokies ran this promotion twice in 2019. In both games, the opposing team scored their first run in the top of the second inning, giving fans just one inning to get their free beer. I hope they were quick enough.
Gwinnett Stripers Beat the Fridge
Another promotion that I haven't seen in person, but is entertaining nonetheless. The Stripers' parent club, the Atlanta Braves, have a contest each game in which a fan races against The Freeze.
The Stripers decided to put their own spin on it, having fans race against The Fridge, a large, slow man dressed in a silver suit. The Fridge gets a large head start, but he's pretty slow, so it seems as if the fans will have no problem overtaking him. I won't give any spoilers, watch for yourself:
Honorable Mention: 4th of July Fireworks
Pretty much every MiLB team does this, but you can't beat it. Baseball, America's birthday and explosives - what more do you need on a summer night?
Have you seen any promotions more exciting than these? Let us know in the comments below!
Matthew Atkins, Journalist and Baseball fan.