When it comes to the world of professional sports, the home organization realizes that fans come to the games to be entertained pretty much nonstop, especially these days when it seems like basically every has at least a little ADHD. For some of the less successful sports, they also realize they need to find ways to put asses in the seats. That’s why so many teams will run all of those strange and occasionally funny contests and promotions both to get you there and to keep you entertained when the action on the field is at a lull. And when it comes to entertaining, funny, and often downright bizarre fan promotions, no one beats the creative (insane?) minds running so many minor league baseball teams.
While most promotions are run to get asses in the seats, in 2002 the minor league club Charleston RiverDogs decided to go the other way. Instead of trying to pack the house for their game one night, they padlocked the doors in an effort to keep the fans out. These were fans that paid for tickets, or were trying to pay for tickets, by the way. So why would anyone possibly want to lock fans out of rooting on their home town team?
Because for whatever reason, team officials decided it would be fun to have an official attendance of “0.” So the fans were kept out until the bottom of the fifth, when the game became official and the attendance would officially show that no one was there. See, by having an official attendance of zero, the RiverDogs assured themselves a place in history, both as having the lowest single game attendance of all-time, and having some of the craziest executives in minor league baseball history.
Not to be outdone by those pesky RiverDogs, another minor league baseball team, the Altoona Curve, have a recurring promotion that, rather than keeping the fans out, just aims to give them the least pleasant experience possible. From giveaways that include bubble wrap to pictures of gall bladders, from the concession stands selling Spam and cheese sandwiches, to the video board playing clips of David Hasselhoff movies, Awful Night typically lives up to its name.
Of course the Curve don’t want the players to feel left out, so whenever they come up to bat they put up stats displaying just how badly they suck. Considering this is Double A level baseball, a lot of them suck pretty bad, too, which probably means that Awful Night doesn’t happen just once a year for the Altoona Curve.
Toilet Seat Night
And speaking of crappiness on and off the field, the Hudson Valley Renegades took the idea quite literally when they introduced Toilet Seat Night, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. 3,000 fans received stadium seat cushions in the shape of toilet seats, both to keep them comfortable during games and in all likelihood confuse them when they’re drunk in the bottom of the seventh, causing them to drop a deuce right there on that fake toilet seat. Hey, what can I say? After a few brews, you find yourself sitting on a toilet seat, and it’s easy to get a little mixed up.
The good news is that the previous season, the Renegades also had a toilet plunger giveaway, which probably helped with any clean up.
A Monkey Can Do That! Night
When it comes to outrageous and off the wall minor league baseball promotions, no one tops the St. Paul Saints. Of course, the team is partially owned by Bill Murray so that goes a long way toward explaining why their promotions are so damn funny. Anyway, for one game in 2008 the Saints brought in a real, live monkey to do some of the jobs of several people affiliated with the club. This included raking the infield and taking tickets among other small tasks here and there around the stadium. And here I thought the only human job a monkey could actually perform was that of a Wal-Mart greeter.
Look, a monkey doing human tasks is always funny. Put a monkey in a little hat and have it rip up tickets? Priceless! At the same time, you can’t help but wonder what the people who do those jobs every day thought when it was announced management would be mocking them by having a simian do their jobs.