This coming weekend marks the beginning of summer and, given the forecast for our region, my mind turns to thoughts of a lovely summer evening in the ballpark. There are so many things that make going to watch a baseball game enjoyable, not the least of which are the promotions meant to get your ass in the seats. These range from the classic “bat days” when ticket holders are given free commemorative mini-bats, to bobblehead nights when fans are gifted with the wobbly headed figurine of a popular player (I still have my Ichiro bobblehead from my last trip to Safeco Field tucked safely in its box).
But sometimes these promotions get a bit strange. Consider the “bobbledog” promotion from PGE park, wherein Beavers fans can send in a photo and a short essay about why their dog should be crafted into a collectible, whimsical, bobbing figurine to be given out at a game on August 1st:
Please send a picture of your dog (jpeg format) and a 200 word or less essay stating why your dog should be made into a bobblehead doll for the game on August 1. All entries should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name and a contact phone number. Select entries will be posted on the Portland Beavers website. The dog bobblehead giveaway presented by Fred Meyer will go to the first 1,903 fans through the gates.
But what about the cat lovers? Fear not! In a move that I believe successfully buries any remaining cult fervor for lol cats, the Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field offer this promotion (I swear to god, I did not change any of the wording):
It's a Cheezburger Night wif the Seattle Mariners!!!1! (Safeco Field on Thursday, July 9) Bring awl of ur frends and familee 2 dis fun event. We will haz sum awesum pre-game festivitiez and u can meet sum noo Cheez Frends! And if u buy ur tickets thru dis speshul offer, u git a FREE Cheezburger Nite t-shirt! Woo hoo!!1!! C u awl der!
And to top it off, they have accompanied this announcement on their website with a short embedded video of an adorable kitten biting the shit out of a grounds official during a Mariner’s game.
A “cheezburger” is a great draw. But even better is being shot at by a mascot sporting a malfunctioning sausage cannon. From the Washington post:
"It's just funny to watch hot dog rolls explode and come down on people," agreed James Timmermeyer, one of several fans to comment on my blog about the malfunction of Nick's Sausage Shooter during Saturday's matinee. "I would actually like to see that again. I'd want it to go awry every time."
That’s the way to do it Washington “Natinals”! Nothing like getting fans excited by pelting them with exploded foodstuffs:
"Every time you would see one fire, you would almost see shotgun pellets of stuff come out of it, stuff would explode everywhere," said Alex Zeese, who was sitting in section 222. "A guy in front of me caught one, he opens it up, the whole thing was just crushed, and the sausage casing was pretty much the only thing left. It had been torn down the center, all you saw was little bits of meat stuck to the casing. It was basically gutted. I don't think anyone would eat that. I'm just glad there was no mustard in that stuff."
That reminds me of a KC Royals game I watched in the old Kansas City stadium. The only thing that could rouse the beleaguered fans from their beer-addled shit-season slouches was, in fact, the sausage cannon. They were on their feet. There were no malfunctions. Unfortunately.
So take in a game or two this long weekend. The weather is nice. The field is groomed. All that you need to make it perfect is a dog bobble head, some bits of bun in your hair, and a cheeseburger filtered through an Internet meme that won’t die. This is going to be the best summer ever.