The Seattle Mariners are trying to change that process this year, however, with an unusual series of "compost night" giveaways that will end up helping the environment.
Yes, instead of getting the usual Ichiro bobblehead for their desks at work, Mariners fans will head home with bags of soil matter and fertilizer that will hopefully grow their gardens at home (and not, say, end up on the field as a form of protest during another 100-loss season by the Mariners).
Even better, the compost will be made up of garbage that fans left behind during previous games at Safeco Field.
Not just any compost, mind you, but small bags of compost made from food waste, packaging material, drink cups, utensils and other stuff discarded during past Mariners games and transformed into a garden-friendly mix by Cedar Grove Composting.
Think of it as taking a little bit of the ballpark home, said Scott Jenkins, Mariners vice president for ballpark operations.
"We've had a culture of consumption," said Jenkins. "We need to have a culture of conservation."
Maybe that culture is changing now. In 2008, the Washington Nationals opened the first green stadium in the United States. Three years later, the Seattle Mariners and other Pacific Northwest franchises are working with the Green Sports Alliance so they can take their own steps toward preserving earth's natural resources.
In addition to salvaging all that tonnage of ballpark material for later use, the GSA views this promotion as an opportunity to bring awareness to sports fans who may not understand the importance of, or participate in the act of recycling. They also hope the knowledge they gather from this project will provide other franchises and venues with enough information and inspiration to make similar changes.
While some are sure to mock this giveaway, it is actually very commendable, and hopefully they'll find success as they move forward with their mission. It will be interesting to monitor the impact they do have and to see if more franchises jump on the environmental bandwagon. If you've ever seen the giant trash piles at a ballpark after a game, you'll agree that anything we can do to repurpose our rubbish is a good move.
- Seattle Mariners