The Promotional Schedule is Here!Posted by Jeff Summers on Feb 10, 2014 in 2014 Spring Training | 3 comments
After a long, dark off-season one of the things my family most looks forward to is the announcement of the Arizona Diamondbacks promotional schedule. While most diehard fans have very little interest in stadium giveaways, for casual fans and for kids the promotional calendar will dictate which games they actually attend.
Around our house the promotional schedule acts as a form of bribery. When you go to 83 games per season, it’s sometimes becomes hard finding one of the kids who will willingly go to yet another game. I know, I have a hard time believing that too if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.
There is no arguing, a good stadium giveaway will bring in a crowd. The Diamondbacks always publicly announce their promotional calendar during FanFest. In the days leading up to that the team will release teasers of a few of the dates. For those junior Scooby-Doo mystery investigators you can normally find the promotions schedule hidden somewhere on the Diamondbacks web site a week prior to FanFest.
The stadium giveaways run the gambit from themed nights where fans are encouraged to dress up to the old reliable schedule magnets or T-shirts. Looking over the list there is always one or two dates that you circle as unique “can’t miss” games.
In 1998 the Diamondbacks held two Beanie Baby days. This was at the zenith of the stuffed animal craze. People lined up outside of then Bank One Ballpark starting at 6 AM for a 7:10 PM game time in temperatures well over 100 degrees. There were only 5,000 of the little animals and the giveaway was supposed to be for children 12 and under but Beanie Baby collectors were renting children to get their hands on these elusive editions. Those two games were the most frightening games I’ve ever attended.
Beanie Babies gave way to bobbleheads, which became the hot giveaway. These bobbing head figurines are still extremely popular and almost guarantee the stadium will be filled regardless of the opponent.
While Beanie Babies and bobbleheads are popular in their day it is the strange and unusual that tends to intrigue me. In the last couple of years the Diamondbacks offered Luchador masks and capes. Those were extremely popular and gave a unique look in the stadium as thousands of cheering fans in wrestling masks stared down the Diamondbacks opponents.
This year looking over the promotional schedule two dates jumped out at me. The first is April 25th against the Philadelphia Phillies. There is no giveaway but rather a themed night at the ballpark. It will be the first of what may become an annual event – Zombie Night.
Yeah, you read that right. Chase Field is going to be taken over by an army of the undead. Some will admit that during the last two seasons there have been times when the players performed like Zombies but that’s a different conversation.
I’m not exactly sure what to expect on Zombie Night. Are we going to see flesh-eating monsters wandering around the stadium selling hot dogs, beer, and brains? I will give the Diamondbacks credit; at least Zombie Night is not a game against the Dodgers. If Zombies feed on brains, they would starve to death with the Dodgers in town.
The second promotional date of interest is related to the first. On August 2nd before a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates the Diamondbacks will giving away 20,000 D-backs Zombies. I’m not sure why you would have a themed night in April and then give away a themed figurine in August. Maybe there are just too many undead to contain in one night at the ballpark.
So for all of you Zombie hunters you have two dates to try and save the world. The August 2nd game could especially be scary since it is just two days after the July 31st trade deadline. If the season does not go as planned we could all be baseball Zombies. Who knows, maybe the Diamondbacks will bring back the erratic Armando Galarraga. Every base on balls he gives up could be described as Walking the Dead.