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9 Worst Stadium Giveaways

by: Howard Cosmell On  Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Don’t get me wrong: There are some truly great stadium giveaways that don’t show up on this list for obvious reasons. Coozies, bobble-heads, tote bags, commemorative towels are all awesome giveaways. However, there are many that are so cheap, it begs the question, “Why bother?” Here are nine such examples that probably won’t compel you to visit the ballpark.

9. Free Haircuts

Unless you’re going to get something cuh-razy, like your team’s logo shaved into your head, or you simply want your head shaved, DO NOT get your haircut at one of those free promotional stands at the ballpark. There is no recourse if those guys do a bad job. If they screw up, you will never find the perpetrator again, and even if you did, you can’t even ask for your money back because it was free. Lose-lose.

8. Seat Cushions

Dumb. The only places I ever find myself sitting on a non-padded seats is at baseball games and drunk at McDonald’s at 1:30 AM. Guess what? I’m not going to have the presence of mind to bring a seat cushion to McDonald’s, so that just leaves their use at the ballparks. OR they could just pad the damn seats rather than ask their fans and patrons to bring their own cushions. Ridickey-donkey.

7. Thunder Stix

One can only pray that these things get left behind in the stadium or arena at the end of a game. I don’t understand how I can blow into a long narrow bag with open flaps, then have it stay sealed shut so that it makes that obnoxious “boing” sound. They are powered by witchcraft or something. Without fail, the doughy eight year-old sitting behind me will think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, banging the sticks to and fro, all the live long day.

The guy who invented these things made himself some obscene amount of money. Like tens of millions of dollars. However, I take comfort in knowing that when he leaves this earth, he won’t be able to take a dime of it with him. And he will burn in hell.

6. Souvenir Bat

On paper a souvenir bat is a great gift. It looks just like a traditional bat, but, you know, smaller. It doesn’t really do much, but it’s a little trinket to lay on your desk or give to your niece or nephew.

That’s on paper. In the real world, the application of the bat is very different. Baseball is a slow game, so it’s not unreasonable that fans pass the time by getting black-out drunk. No big deal. Why the home team insists on giving these drunks weapons is beyond me, but I can’t say that it’s a good idea. Foam bats next time, people. “Souvenir bat night” is just a diplomatic way of saying “Billy club night! Everyone gets a weapon!” I don’t think they give these things out anymore. After thirty years of people beating the hell out of each with them, ballparks realized they might not be a great door prize. They should just give everyone slingshots and BB’s and see what happens.

5. Hats

Don’t get me wrong, hats are great. They block the sun and serve as a wonderful device when I don’t feel like combing my hair. However, They’re not going to give a stadium full of fans nice hats, so you end up with the “foam in the front, mesh in the back” hats that make you look like you hang out at truck stops in your down time. They also came in one size: extra huge. This is unfortunate because the only people that were excited about these lame things (kids) were made to look like cancer patients every time they put them on.

4. Batting Glove

These were a real head-scratcher. I am a fairly active person athletically, and I haven’t swung a baseball bat in about ten years. So I have little need for a cheap, undersized batting glove. Further, considering about 40% of the attendees at a ballpark are women, I don’t understand how this could be construed as a good idea. Also, I’m left-handed, which is unfortunate, because the people who are in charge of stadium giveaways refuse to acknowledge the existence of left-handed people. It’s like they’re trying to make us righties through their promotions.

3. Baseball Cards

They might as well have handed us losing lottery tickets at the door. As an avid baseball card collector, there was something patronizing about going to the ballpark and receiving a handful of cards that you immediately knew would serve as no added value to your collection. I’m sure if you still had some promotional cards from Ebbets Field that they might be worth something, but getting a 1991 Rafael Palmeiro card sponsored by Decker hot dogs wasn’t something to get too fired up about.

2. Wrestling Masks

This one is a true head scratcher. I don’t understand why anyone outside of an S&M scene would need/want this. It seems fitting that the Angels would run with this promotion, as I would want to hide my identity as well if I was hailing from Anaheim. I also like the giant cut-out near the mouth which pretty much screams, “Too many people suffocated on the first iterations here, so we had to create this ridiculous opening at the mouth.”

1. Vuvuzelas

I only remember this being done once at an American sporting event, and it didn’t go over well at all. (The event escapes me, but it was during the late stages of last year’s World Cup.) Any noisemaker is a bad idea, so much so that these horrible, horrible things have pretty much been band everywhere outside of Africa, where they hum on like a swarm of so many angry, obnoxious bees.




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