When I was a kid, fan giveaways at baseball games were not especially creative. There was hat day, shirt day, bat day, and…well, that was basically it. Today things are different. People don’t just have more sports entertainment options, they have more entertainment options period. As a result, teams have gotten more and more creative in pretty much every aspect of marketing—including the giveaways.
So what crazy things can you get just for attending a baseball game in 2013? Well, that’s the subject of today’s list. Some of the items are kind of awesome, while others are pretty stupid. However, they’re all kind of ridiculous—so have a look.
This Saturday is "Pooches in the Ballpark" at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, so of course the first 25,000 fans 16 and older will get this lovely pet food bowl mat courtesy of Purina. Of course, they put a cat on the mat, too, just to be nice, even though they're obviously not welcomed at the ballparks—because cats are stupid.
11. Cardinals Pet Bowl Mat
On Friday, August 23, the Phillies will be celebrating the glory days of the early 1990s when they were not quite good enough to win a World Series by giving these John Kruk action figures to kids 14 and under–or in other words, only those people are the Citizens Bank Park who do not remember watching John Kruk play. Makes sense to me.
10. Phillies John Kruk Action Figure
It's not a Rubik's Cube™. It's a puzzle cube. And the White Sox gave them away to the first 10,000 fans under the age of 13 back on April 20. It was a pretty bold move, given Sox fans' violent history with ballpark promotions, but I don't remember reading about any players getting hit with flying Rubik's—err, game cubes, so I guess it worked out alright.
9. White Sox Puzzle Cube
Hey, Yankees fans, your cars smell like sausage and Old Spice. Here's an air freshener to hang from your rear-view mirror. Fufgettaboutit.
(You can get this one at Yankee Stadium on July 11 courtesy of Avis, by the way.)
8. Yankees Car Air Freshener
I can't even begin to tell you how many times it's been raining and I've thought, man, I wish I knew exactly how much rain we're getting. Unfortunately, I don't live in Minnesota, and even if I did I already missed this giveaway. It was April 23.
7. Twins Rain Gauge
On May 11, the first 20,000 fans got a bottle stopper featuring one of the Giants' announcers. I guess with this one the Giants were trying to appeal to their fans in nearby Napa and Sonoma.
6. Giants Announcer Bittle Stoppers
Back in April, the Pirates tried to keep their fans away from the ballpark by offering these ridiculous A.J. Burnett t-shirts. Personally, I would love to have been there when they were taking the photo for this shirt. Photographer probably said, "okay, now put on those sunglasses and do the douchiest thing you can think of." This thing looks like a Nickelback concert t-shirt.
5. Pirates A.J. Burnett T-Shirt
The Marlins knew they'd alienated fans by getting rid of every player who makes more than the league minimum in the offseason, so they decided to make it up to them with this promotion celebrating the only good player they have left on the team.
The funny thing is, they only gave these dumb things out to the first 5,000 kids—not 15,000, not 10,000, but 5,000. At first, that just sounds like the Marlins were being cheap, but that's not it at all. You've got to keep in mind that, on any given night, there are only 5,000 people in the stands. So chances are they had 3,000 of these things left after the game. Don't be surprised if you see pictures of kids in Africa wearing these things with their San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XLVII Champion t-shirts.
4. Mike Stanton Arm Sleeve
Despite the fact that there is not and never has been a cereal called "Cocoa Crisp" (there's Cocoa Puffs and Cookie Crisp and, of course, Cocoa Krispies), the first thing anybody thought of the first time they heard this guy's name was breakfast cereal. Thus, it's actually pretty shocking that nobody has done a Coco Crisp Cereal Bowl promotional giveaway until the 2013 Oakland A's. They gave these to the first 5,000 kids back on June 2.
3. A's Coco Crisp Cereal Bowl
This past Tuesday, the Angels gave fans these ridiculously amazing Mike Trout trout hats. You know—because his name is trout. Like the fish.
Whoever came up with this should get a promotion to President of the World.
2. Angels Mike Trout Trout Hat
This might just be the best baseball giveaway of all-time. On April 26, the first 20,000 Mariners fans to file into Safeco Field in Seattle got one of these gorgeous beard hats. Ever since then, bank robberies in the greater Seattle metropolitan area have been a lot more interesting.