February 10, 2010
If you're anything like us, you love when the price of your game ticket comes with a free trinket to clutter your living space when you return home. With that in mind, we combed the promotional schedules to find the best ballpark giveaways slated for 2010. Not every team has cast their turnstile lures just yet, but here are the promotions we're currently eyeing.
Skateboards! Gnarly, dudes. The Giants are giving away skateboard decks to the first 7,500 kids 14 and under (May 30) and it seems like a natural fit for a team that's based in California and helmed by a Cy Young winner that looks like he came straight from the skate park. But look! The Reds will also be giving away decks to teeny Tony Hawks on the same night. We'll give the edge to the Reds and make the trip to Cincinnati if they dress Dusty Baker up like the Skate or Die! shop owner.
Snuggies! Whoops! We violated a trademark! They'll be giving away "sluggies" in St. Louis (April 30) and Oakland (April 15) and "wearable blankets" in San Francisco (April 23). The Angels will also be giving away "blankies" (April 6) and plain old blankets (Aug. 24) but no word if they're a ripoff of the made-for-TV gimmick we've come to know and love.
Bobbleheads! There's nothing we like more than lining up early to get a free limited-edition bobblehead and then spend roughly $100 inside the park because we're there early. And there's no shortage of opportunities this year.
Bobbles we'll be tracking on eBay include Chris Sabo in Cincinnati (July 17), Vince Coleman in St. Louis (July 30), Elvis Andrus in Texas (April 24), Matt Wieters in Baltimore (June 30) and Pablo Sandoval (April 24), Willie Mays "The Catch" (May 16) and SF Seals' Joe DiMaggio (Aug. 28) in San Francisco.
We'll be looking to make friends in Seattle as Ken Griffey Jr. will get his own bobble series with three separate days — "The Kid" featuring a backward cap (April 16), "The '95 Slide" (May 7) and "Cooperstown Bound," a presumptuous dual bobblehead with Ichiro.
Meanwhile, we'll be heading to Milwaukee ourselves for the latest edition in the Racing Sausage set (Italian, Aug. 8) and the some-what odd CC Sabathia Brewer bobble tribute (Aug. 29). Bobbles we're not as fired up about include Erick Aybar (April 21) and Joe Saunders (June 30) in Anaheim and the Peanuts Lucy bobble (June 13) in San Francisco.
Action Figures! Why should He-Man and Skeletor get all the fun of being cast in plastic? Matt Kemp (June 3), Andre Ethier (July 8) and Manny Ramirez (July 22) will receive super hero honors from the Dodgers, while Garrett Jones (May 22) and Joey Votto (May 29) get their own mini-mes in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
Garden Gnomes! The Angels are giving away a garden gnome (May 25) and we hope it looks like a mini-Mike Scioscia in mid-crouch. The Reds are following suit (Aug. 14) and it should go without saying we hope that it looks like a mini-Marge Schott in mid-drag.
Bronze Busts! Dying while en route to help natural disaster victims calls for the Roberto Clemente bronze bust that the Pirates will give away (Sept. 17). But does an AL manager of the year award really warrant a bust for Mike Scioscia (April 8)? Anything to get fannies in the seats, we suppose.
Random and unique giveaways! The Pirates are taking care of old and young alike with a 1960 commemorative ceramic stein to drink Iron City from (June 19) and windup pierogy racers (May 23). The Phillies have the sweet Ryan Howard NLCS MVP baseball and tin pictured above (April 17) before giving away a Shane Victorino foam finger that's shaped like a "shaka" or "hang loose" sign (June 6). Felix Hernandez gets his own Mariners train car (June 4) while Ichiro will distribute 20,000 T-shirts that he designed himself (May 1). Finally, be on the lookout for the Rangers "chatter bats" (July 23) and Angels fedoras (June 15), sure to become an Orange County fashion sensation. (Buy your tickets now!)
To check out your team's promotional schedule, simply search the team name + "promotional schedule." MLB.com has dedicated pages for each team's giveaway calendar, but not all have been released yet.