Give this man your ACL and get $10 off!
St. Paul's minor league baseball team, the Saints, has run some incredibly creative promotions in the past. How should Minnesota's big league teams follow suit?
Remember back in 2003 when Randy Moss bumped into a traffic officer while driving his vehicle? If so, then you might remember "Randy Moss Hood Ornament" Night. You probably recall Michael Vick's kerfuffle over dog fighting about five years ago, too. If you do, then maybe you'll recall "Michael Vick Chew Toy" Night, geared especially towards giving Fido something to play with.
And who can forget a team that recently named their pair of pig mascots "Kim Lardashian" and "Kris Hamphries" after the infamously short celebrity wedding?
Running promotions ripped from the headlines isn't exactly unique these days. Almost every minor league ball club runs their own special brand of wacky promotions throughout each season to get extra butts in the seats. But few have done it with the flair and panache of Mike Veeck and the St. Paul Saints.
The Pioneer Press just ran the top 20 all-time Saints promotions in honor of the team's 20th season just getting underway and it's definitely worth a read. (The Metrodome whoopee cushion giveaway that poked fun at the 2010 roof collapse might be my personal favorite.)
But why should the gimmicks be limited to the minors? After all, each of Minnesota's "major" sports teams have struggled mightily in recent years. Playoff appearances in Minnesota have made blue moons seem like an everyday occurrence lately--some clever promotions to keep fan interest surely couldn't hurt. So let's try and figure out how each of Minnesota's other teams could benefit from Saints-like creativity:
- "Who Wants To Bean A Millionaire?"*: There has been lots of gnashing of teeth at the M&M boys lately--Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer haven't been living up to their mega-rich contracts. This promotion would allow fans to take the mound for an inning for a chance to relieve their frustrations with a good ol' fashioned HBP. Bonus promotion: if any fans show consistent accuracy or velocity with their throws, they are immediately signed to the starting rotation. They can't be any worse than what the team is currently throwing out there, right?
* = Remember, this is just a pretend promotion. I'm not condoning actually throwing baseballs at our two franchise players. I think they're getting way too much blame for the team's shortcomings already. Besides, hitting Morneau with a fastball may cause him to spontaneously combust at this point.
- Aluminum Bat And Legal Spitball Night: This one isn't actually for the fans--it's for the players. With the Twins currently mired in last place, some liberal bending of MLB's rules might be the only thing that could turn their season around.
- Election Night Tailgating: Since so many Vikings fans stormed the Capitol and turned into part-time politicos during the stadium saga, why just stop at the state level? There's no NFL football on Tuesday nights, so this promotion will allow fans to turn the White House into the Purple House while choosing our next President. The Vikings will probably be well out of the playoff picture by early November, so another political crusade will help keep us distracted until the new stadium is built.
- ACL Donation Night: All signs are pointing to a quick recovery for Adrian Peterson and the knee injury that ended his 2011 season. But just to be on the safe side, the Vikings will offer $10 off the face value of tickets to the first 5,000 fans that donate a healthy ACL to Minnesota's superstar running back. You know, in case it happens again. This is the Vikings we're talking about here.
- Christmas Cup: The Wild will host an annual holiday tournament that features the NHL's four best teams according to the standings in mid-December. Not only will it provide the playoff hockey intensity that every fan craves in the middle of the season, it's basically the only chance the Wild have of winning any type of trophy before they fizzle out at the end of the year.
- Spelling Bee Night: The first 1,000 fans to correctly spell the last names of three non-American-born Wild players will receive a free year's membership to the gym of their choice. Because let's face it, anyone that can correctly spell Setoguchi, Latendresse, Brodziak, and Veilleux by memory needs to get off the computer for a while and hit the gym.
- Kobe Bryant Voodoo Doll Night: Since Ricky Rubio (and subsequently, the Wolves' season) went down thanks to knocking knees with the Black Mamba, this promotion allows Minnesota fans to get even. With all the pinpricks to the dolls throughout the Target Center, not even the best sketchy/experimental treatments from Germany can keep Kobe safe.
- Wes Johnson Shrink Night: Everyone in any field even remotely related to psychology or psychiatry gets free admission to the game, provided they work together to figure out a way to make Wes look like he's not going to break down and cry after every missed shot.
- Who needs promotions when you're defending champions and returning a nucleus of incredible players? Oh yeah, that's right--when your team is in the financial black hole that is the WNBA. Let's just leave the promotions up to David Stern and company on this one. I mean, how could we possibly top the marketing genius of "We Got Next"?