Ben's Biz: 2024 Double-A promotional night highlights

March 22nd, 2024

This is an excerpt from the latest edition of the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter, bringing Minor League Baseball business and culture news to your inbox each and every Thursday. Check out the full newsletter HERE.

Last week, I provided a rollicking round-up of notable 2024 Triple-A promotions. Today, we’ll gingerly take one step down the Minor League ladder to focus on our friends and acquaintances in Double-A. Here are six interesting promotions, one for every month of the season.

Great Mustaches of History Night featuring Paul Skenes Bobblestache (and head) giveaway
Altoona Curve, April 13
A lot of teams save their premier giveaway items for the summer months, but not the Curve. On April 13th – the penultimate game of their first homestand of the season – they’ll give away 1,000 Paul Skenes figurines that feature not one, but two, bobbling appendages. Skenes, selected by the Pirates with the first overall pick of the 2023 Draft, has impressive stuff and an even more impressive ‘stache. On this hirsute night at the ballpark, Skenes’ upper lip adornment will be celebrated along with other great mustaches from the annals of human history.

Salute to Sojourner Truth with mini-statue giveaway
Akron RubberDucks, May 18
Minor League Baseball promos are a great way to learn more about America and its history. Case in point: The RubberDucks’ Salute to Sojourner Truth. At an Akron Unitarian church in 1851, the pioneering abolitionist and activist delivered her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech, in which she advocated in no uncertain terms for equal rights for all women. The RubberDucks’ “Salute to Sojourner Truth” is scheduled shortly before the planned opening of Akron’s Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza.

Binghamton Creatures Night
Binghamton Rumble Ponies, June 14
*Twilight Zone* creator Rod Serling grew up in Binghamton, N.Y., and several episodes were shot there during the show’s run. The Rumble Ponies “Creatures” identity is a nod to the 1963 Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” in which protagonist Robert Wilson (played by William Shatner) spots a hideous gremlin (or creature) on the wing of a place. There’s no word yet on whether any actual creatures will be at the ballpark that night. And if you saw one, would anyone believe you?

Hot Dog Scented Candle
Richmond Flying Squirrels, July 10
While some promotions require no small amount of backstory, others are self-explanatory. The Flying Squirrels’ giveaway on July 10 falls into the latter category, of course, and yet I keep writing. The Double-A affiliate of the Giants is breaking new ground by giving away hot dog scented candles, so that you can enjoy the musky, meaty aroma of the ballpark from the privacy of your home. The timing of this endeavor is not coincidental, as July 10 is -- you guessed it -- National Hot Dog Day. (National Scented Candle Day is Nov. 1.)

John Goodman Bobblehead
Springfield Cardinals, Aug. 24
Who doesn’t love John Goodman? The man who portrayed everyone from Dan Conner to Babe Ruth to Walter Sobchak is an American institution, and he’s a big fan of our American pastime. Specifically, the Missouri native (and Missouri State alum) is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and their Missouri-based Double-A affiliate, the Springfield Cardinals. Springfield returns the love on Aug. 24, as the first 2,000 fans in attendance will have a John Goodman bobblehead bestowed upon them.

'Last Game’ ball giveaway
Tennessee Smokies, Sept. 15
In 2025, the Smokies are moving to a new ballpark in Knoxville, the city the team called home through 1999. Their current home of Smokies Stadium is located some 21 miles to the east of Knoxville, in the town of Kodak (and in close proximity to the tourist mecca of Pigeon Forge). The final game of the final season at Smokies Stadium will take place on Sept. 15, with fans receiving a commemorative “Last Game” ball. Bring your camera if you’re in attendance. It’ll be a Kodak moment.

Ask Ben's Biz

A reader asks me a question and I answer it. It’s that simple. Today’s query comes courtesy of Larry Lefebvre. If you want to be the next Larry Lefebvre then email me: [email protected].

If you could create just one Weird Al theme night at the MILB stadium of your choice, what team would it be and what would the day/evening consist of?

“Weird Al” Yankovic is one of my all-time heroes, and back in my Ben’s Biz Blog days (2007-18) I would often (unsuccessfully) lobby teams to stage theme nights in his honor. “Dare to be Stupid,” the title of his 1985 album featuring the song of the same name, became my Minor League Baseball rallying cry. While my fandom has waned somewhat (it’s been a decade since you released a new parody, Al), I still believe Weird Al’s oeuvre should be incorporated into every Minor League team’s nightly game presentation.

Anyhow, as regard’s Larry’s question: I’d have the Albuquerque Isotopes play as the Weird Albuquerques. This is not just a play on words, as Al’s song “Albuquerque” (from 1999’s “Running With Scissors”) is an 11-minute opus full of ballpark promo material. Highlights would include a “big bowl of sauerkraut” eating contest; Shriners playing the ukulele; Biodome DVD giveaways; a starving, crazed weasel race and much more. Anyone named Nathaniel or Superfly gets in free. Sponsored by the Albuquerque Holiday Inn, where the towels are oh so fluffy.