10 incredible MLB ballpark giveaway nights you can look forward to this season
There are thousands of reasons to attend a ballgame. You can go to watch the teams play, eat hot dogs, hang out with friends and yell at professional athletes in a safe and acceptable manner. Or you can show up to get some sweet free swag.
Baseball teams and their marketing departments are experts in this field, blending savvy market research, creativity and that secret third ingredient (probably love) to create amazing promotions. Here are 10 ballpark giveaways that we're looking forward to this season:
1. Chipper Jones saving Freddie Freeman bobblehead - Braves vs. Marlins, May 28
Many teams hold superhero nights, complete with players depicted as comic characters on the video board. Rarely do they have actual moments of player heroism to celebrate. The Braves do. And so on May 28, Atlanta will award 20,000 lucky fans with a bobblehead of Chipper Jones rescuing Freddie Freeman on an ATV -- recalling that glorious, snowy night in 2014, when the former third baseman saved the current, hug-loving first baseman.
We're now just waiting for the film to be greenlit.
2. Build-a-Papi - Red Sox vs. Tigers, July 26
While we're intrigued by the genius piece of punsmanship that is the Pet Brock (July 19), and a David Ortiz talking bobblehead (Aug. 9) sounds like the perfect companion for any and all days, Build-a-Papi night is our favorite Red Sox promo night of 2016.
After all, David Ortiz is perhaps baseball's greatest hugger (apologies to Freddie Freeman), so who wouldn't want to be able to have their very own plush and huggable Papi?
3. Ken Griffey Jr. Dual Bobblehead - Reds vs. Mariners, May 21
There's much to celebrate in anticipation of Ken Griffey Jr.'s Hall of Fame induction this summer. And while the Seattle Mariners are devoting an entire weekend to the Kid from Aug. 5-7, the Reds' bobblehead will feature the star of every '90s child's dream in both his Seattle and Cincinnati splendor.
Special mention must also be made of the Reds' Mr. Redlegs' X-Wing pilot figurine. I have to imagine it will have a major role in the next Star Wars film. (After all, is Mr. Redlegs any stranger than a giant, hairy Bigfoot who navigates a plane?)
4. Noah Syndergaard-en Gnome - Mets vs. Giants, Apr. 30
Ever wondered what truly separates man from the beasts of the world? Spoiler: It's puns. Ever seen a woodchuck engage in wordplay or a squirrel drop in a rhyming couplet? Yeah, exactly.
This is dedication to the form.
5. Sean Doolittle Metallica Gnome with sound - Athletics vs. Astros, Apr. 30
Complete with real fuzz-like beard and fingers in rock 'n' roll horns, Doolittle is getting one of the strangest and most fun giveaways possible. The noted metalhead's gnome is not only wearing a Metallica tee-shirt, but also comes with sound effects! Personally, I'm hoping it's Doolittle doing karaoke versions of "Enter Sandman."
6. Buster Posey Hugs Mug - Giants vs. Nationals, July 30
Despite the fact that roughly 98.9 percent of people on the planet wake up and immediately stuff some hot dirt water in their mouths (and I say that as an avowed lover of coffee), you don't see many teams giving away mugs.
Here to the rescue are the Giants, the same club that once gave away the Marco Scutaro rain globe. The mug comes complete with Hugs. Buster Posey hugs. You know, the kind that are only given away after no-hitters. And the closest second to a hug from Buster, is the warm, comforting grip of a fresh cup of coffee hitting your bloodstream. It just makes sense.
7. Bob Uecker alarm clock - Brewers vs. Cardinals, July 10
For all of those people who hate waking up to the endless and soul-crushing beeping of an alarm clock, your salvation has arrived. And, perhaps unexpectedly, it comes in the form of the Brewers' wonderful Bob Uecker. After all, who would you rather wake up to on a cold and rainy Tuesday morning than the man with quotes like "Anybody with ability can play in the big leagues. But to be able to trick people year in and year out the way I did, I think that was a much greater feat," and "Sporting goods companies pay me not to endorse their products."
8. Eddie Gaedel bobblehead - Cardinals vs. Brewers, Sept. 9
While Gaedel played for the St. Louis Browns in his one moment of base-on-balls glory, the Cardinals will pay tribute to the shortest man to ever appear in an MLB contest this game against the Brewers. No word on if the bobblehead will be smaller than other bobbleheads or if they'll produce a few life-size ones that stand at 3-foot-7.
The Cardinals are definitely celebrating the smaller guys this year as they'll also be giving away a David Eckstein bobble on Oct. 1. We have to assume the jerseys come with dirt already ground in.
9. Nationals fanny pack - Nationals vs. Phillies, June 10
On June 10, the Nationals will be celebrating '80s night, and the first 20,000 fans in attendance will be getting something very special: A fanny pack. That's right, mankind's greatest hip-based carrying device is being handed out, so you can cheer all night without dropping your stuff thanks to the convenient hands-free storage.
10. "Mighty Miggy" children's book - Tigers vs. Rangers, May 8
We've spotlighted plenty of bobbleheads, but it's important to make sure we also nurture and cultivate the young minds in America. And there's no better way to do that than through literature. And certainly, "Mighty Miggy" will be literature.
What could the plot be about? Miguel Cabrera battling evil ghouls in a post-apocalyptic wasteland? Discovering corruption in a political race and, with the power of honesty, cleaning up the town? Perhaps it will even be a Jonathan Franzen-style family drama where Cabrera's mighty power is finding meaning within himself. All I know is I can't wait to find out.
Those are 10 of our favorites, but there are so many more to come in 2016. Looking forward to a giveaway not listed above? Let us know in the comments.