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Bush League Stunts (continued)

Photo gallery: Minor league publicity stunts


6. Pillow Fight Night 2, Charleston RiverDogs, May 31
Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park
360 Fishburne St.
Charleston, SC 29403
Ballpark Web site

After hosting Pope on a Rope Night as a nod to Pope Benedict XVI's first apostolic visit to the United States in April and Salute to the Yankees' Facial Hair Policy Night in mid-May, the RiverDogs finish the season's second month with a ballpark brawl.

The brouhaha will showcase the rough-and-tumble ladies of the Pillow Fight League, who will bludgeon each other for fan amusement. The event, featuring the Toronto-based PFL, is a reprise of one of Charleston's most popular 2007 promotions.

"It's unbelievable," said Jim Pfander, RiverDogs assistant general manager. "They really go at each other, and any move is legal as long as they lead with a pillow."

As an added bonus, the first 1,000 fans to enter the park will receive free RiverDogs pillowcases.

For more details on the Pillow Fight League, consult its Web site and see an earlier Page 2 entry.

7. Hurricane Awareness Night, Vero Beach Devil Rays, June 7
Holman Stadium
4101 26th St.
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Ballpark Web site

Most of the entries on this Travel Ten are devoted to events that are meant to be fun. But who says a ballpark promotion can't be serious in nature?

A week after the Atlantic hurricane season officially begins, fans attending Holman Stadium will receive tips on how to best prepare for any storms that may be headed their way – advice along the lines of putting together a comprehensive emergency kit and identifying safety zones around the house.

There also will be practical giveaway items and prizes. Last year, one of the prizes was an electric generator.

And any fan whose name matches one of the names on the National Weather Service's list of anticipated 2008 Atlantic storm names will gain free admission to the ballpark. So head to Vero Beach if you're an Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay or Gustav. (Click here for a complete list.)

8. Dairy Day, Visalia Oaks, Aug. 2
Recreation Park
440 N. Giddings Ave.
Visalia, CA 93291
Ballpark Web site

While several minor league teams will be hosting Country Fair Days or 4-H Days at their ballparks this season, one team that knows how to milk its region's proud agricultural history for all it's worth is the Visalia Oaks.

The California League team will be putting on the event for the second consecutive year thanks to a partnership with Land O' Lakes. There will be a pregame cow-milking contest, players will wear Holstein print jerseys and 1,000 fans will receive complimentary cowbells.

"It's an udderly fun time," said Dairy Day coordinator Jennifer Pendergraft.

9. Bobble Elections, several teams, week of August 4

Brockton Rox
Campanelli Stadium
One Lexington Ave.
Brockton, MA 02301
Ballpark Web site

Charleston RiverDogs
Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park
360 Fishburne St.
Charleston, SC 29403
Ballpark Web site

Fort Myers Miracle
Hammond Stadium
14400 Six Mile Cypress Parkway
Fort Myers, FL 33912
Ballpark Web site

Hudson Valley Renegades
Dutchess Stadium
1500 Route 9D
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
Ballpark Web site

St. Paul Saints

Midway Stadium
1771 Energy Park Drive
St. Paul, MN 55108
Ballpark Web site

Sioux Falls Canaries
Sioux Falls Stadium

1001 N. West Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Ballpark Web site

Here's a ballpark promotion you're apt to hear Wolf Blitzer and Chris Matthews chattering about this summer on the political cable channels.

While most Americans will wait until November to cast their ballots for the candidate they think is best suited to be the next U.S. president, fans of the six teams owned by baseball's Goldklang Group will vote in August … well, sort of.

Actually, they'll be selecting which bobble-head doll they would like to take home with them – one that portrays the Republican candidate or the Democratic one.

"All six Goldklang teams are in different states. At each election game we'll call out winning fans to come down to the bobble area and pick out the bobble-head they prefer," said Hudson Valley Renegades spokesman Jack Weatherman. "The one that runs out first at each park will win that state."

Weatherman noted that George W. Bush won the last bobble election, besting John Kerry four states to three in 2004. During this election year, however, the Goldklang Group has one less team than it did in '04, so a tie looms possible.

Weatherman said fans also should expect election-themed ballpark decor, in addition to flourishes such as ushers dressed as secret service agents and video-board reports providing the latest poll results from the other parks participating.

10. Ode to 8, Toledo Mud Hens, Aug. 8
Fifth Third Field
406 Washington St.
Toledo, OH 43604
Ballpark Web site

To celebrate the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year of the millennium, the Mud Hens plan to play up anything they can think of having to do with the number eight.

Every eighth fan to enter Fifth Third Field (note: adding the ballpark's two namesake numbers together results in a sum of eight) will be handed a complimentary eight-pack of batteries, or tissues, or hot dog rolls or some other item commonly sold in packages of eight.

Between innings, fans will enjoy clips of the old TV show "Eight is Enough" and sound bytes of songs like "Eight Days a Week."

And if the International League will allow it, every inning will be called – you guessed it – the eighth.

Honorable Mentions

Football Night, New Orleans Zephyrs, April 26
Zephyr Field
6000 Airline Drive
Metairie, LA 70003
Ballpark Web site

As the NFL draft takes place in New York City, baseball fans in New Orleans will enjoy football decor throughout the ballpark and between-inning football fight songs provided by local high school marching bands.

Tree Sapling Give-Away Night, South Bend Silver Hawks, May 2
Coveleski Stadium
501 W. South St.
South Bend, IN 46601
Ballpark Web site

A week after Arbor Day, at a time when the Indiana soil is ripe for planting, the first 3,000 fans to pass through the turnstiles will receive complimentary saplings.

Game Show Night, Augusta GreenJackets, May 22
Lake Olmstead Stadium
78 Milledge Road
Augusta, GA 30904
Ballpark Web site

Tuning into your favorite game show is as much an American pastime as following the exploits of the local nine. So, why not combine the two?

Fans will partake in traditional favorites like "Name That Tune" and "The Price Is Right," as well as newer games like "Fear Factor" and "Deal or No Deal"

Independence Eve Celebration, Buffalo Bisons, July 3
Dunn Tire Park
275 Washington St.
Buffalo, NY 14203
Ballpark Web site

As teams across the minor league nation prepare to light up the sky with their own Fourth of July fireworks shows, the Bisons will put on their 14th annual Independence Eve Celebration, featuring the patriotic medleys of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus.

Hamper Give-Away Night, New Britain Rock Cats, Aug. 20
New Britain Stadium
230 John Karbonic Way
New Britain, CT 06051
Ballpark Web site

Parents grown frustrated by their youngsters' summerlong refusal to clean up their messy rooms will get some help from the local team when the New Britain Rock Cats dole out hampers to the first 1,200 children to pass through the ballpark gates.

"We tend not to do giveaway items that are inexpensive and don't have a very long shelf life," said Rock Cats vice president Evan Levy. "The hamper may not be a traditional ballpark item, but it's practical and versatile."

According to Levy, the collapsible mesh hamper was especially appealing to the team because it presents plenty of surface area for a Rock Cats logo and offers a wide range of possible uses for clothing, toys or other household valuables.

"Like the stepstool we'll also be giving away this year, it's the type of item you don't necessarily go out of your way to get," Levy said, "but once you get it, you wonder, 'How did I live without it?'"

World Record Night, Asheville Tourists, Sept. 1
McCormick Field
30 Buchanan Place
Asheville, NC 28801
Ballpark Web site

Last season the Richmond Braves successfully set the world record for the most people simultaneously wearing Groucho Marx glasses, while the Greensboro Grasshoppers came up short in a bid to stage the world's largest squirtgun fight. Among the teams trying to distinguish themselves by any means possible this year will be the Tourists, who hope to announce soon which record their fans will pursue on the season's final day.

Josh Pahigian has penned six books, including "101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out" and "The Ultimate Minor League Baseball Road Trip."

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