The Veeck Family — primarily Bill and Mike — have been well chronicled in their efforts to create some of the best promotions in baseball history. Among them, Nobody Night, Silent Night, Tonya Harding Mini-Bat Night and the recently announced St. Paul Saints promotion where the organization will hand out little toy boats resembling those of the Minnesota Vikings' "Love Boat."
But I was very intrigued over the weekend by the events which went down at a West Michigan Whitecaps game in Comstock Park, Mich. I'm all about getting my money's worth when heading out to a sporting event, so I only wish I could've been at the Whitecaps' game.
You see, tickets for a game at Fifth Third Ballpark range from five to 10 dollars for a baseball game, but on Saturday, for that price you could have seen both a game and what turned out to be a miniature Running of the Bulls. After the baseball game, a helicopter hovered over the park and dropped about 1000 dollars down for the kids to chase in a free-for-all.
As you can imagine, in an event like that when the kids' ages range from five years old to 12 years old, there were some tramplings. I only wish I could have been there to see that survival of the fittest. I can only hope that it was one of those five-year-olds who beat up on one of his older opponents.
And even better than the actual event itself, were the comments of the relatives of those who were trampled afterwards. You're telling me you sent your kid out there to run around for cash against kids twice their size and didn't think that might happen? If you ask me, that's about a sure of a bet as me beating Dave for a fourth straight week.
Schmoldt is absolutely right in commending minor league franchise owner Mike Veeck for his genius in creating some of the most fun and original promotions the world has ever seen.
Where Schmoldt is dead wrong is not giving Veeck the award.
I mean, watching kids chase dollar bills is fun, but it's not even original as it was a scene in the timeless movie "Bull Durham," made in 1988.
Without a doubt the best promotion is Veeck's Silent Night promotion by the Charleston (S.C.) Riverdogs. The gimmick was that the game was attempted to be the first game to be played in total silence, breaking the record for quietest game ever played on July 14, 2003.
First off, fans where given duct tape to cover their mouths. They were also given large cards that said "Boo", "Yea!" and "Hey Beer Man."
In truth though, there were no beer men, as all the concessions workers were replaced by librarians (classic, just classic) and the ushers were replaced with golf marshals who patrolled the stands with the traditional "Quiet Please" signs.
The kicker? Since no one was allowed to speak inside the stadium, the play-by-play announcer had to broadcast from a cherry picker outside of the left-center field.
It was reported one young girl even brought along a sign that read, "I need to potty." If I've learned anything from my summer camp counselor years, it's that young children at a baseball game can be quite a handful. It's probably why I'm already graying.
Kids chasing money: mildly amusing.
Kids being quieter than church mice at a baseball game: a dream come true.
As an honorable mention, the best promo food is without a doubt the Donot Burger (read either as doughnut or do not, depending on who you talk to), served by the Gateway Grizzlies of St. Louis. "Baseball's best burger" is a bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between a pair of Krispy Kremes used for bun.
If you are a little put off by the idea, just know that Schmoldt swears by them, with mustard and relish.