While the thrill of baseball action should be enough to draw fans into the ballpark, some MLB teams have fun and creative ways to make the experience even more special. Here's my list of the top five cool MLB team promotions:
Giants Slumber Party - San Francisco Giants
I'm a fan of any promotion that lets fans walk on the field of their favorite MLB ballpark. The Giants Slumber Party not only allows fans on the field, they get to camp out overnight in tents and sleeping bags right on the field. And before bedtime, fans can play catch, right in the outfield at AT&T Park. How cool is that?
The cost is $800 for a family of four, including tickets to the game or $700 without tickets. Kids five and under are free, but must have a game ticket. Attendees get pizza from Giants sponsor Amici's East Coast Pizza, along with midnight snacks. There are games, activities and even movies shown on the field, and every fan gets their picture. In the morning, attendees get to have breakfast right on the field. It's an annual event and this year's Giants Slumber Party was sold-out months in advance. The 2012 Slumber Party was August 3, after the game against the New York Mets.
Dodgers Bark in the Park - Los Angeles Dodgers
For dog owners, this is one of the coolest events the Dodgers have all season. At Bark in the Park, Dodger fans can bring their dogs to the game, and the team has a special dog section in the stands, complete with dog food and water. Then, after the game, canine Dodger fans (and their owners) get to walk around on the field. Before the games there's a Pup Rally and Pup Parade, including funny contests like "Dog with Most Dodger Spirit". The Dodgers have several of the Bark in the Park days each year, the next one is September 1, during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Other MLB teams have similar dog-related promotions (like the Indians' Puppypalooza).
Rays Summer Concert Series - Tampa Bay Rays
Rays fans get some great music with their baseball, in the form of free concerts after certain home games. The Rays Summer Concert Series has an extensive post-game concert schedule throughout the season. In 2012, they will feature post-game concerts with Earth, Wind & Fire, LL Cool J, Train, ZZ Top and more cool bands. As an added benefit to season ticket holders of most of the lower level and box seats, those fans get wristbands to watch the concerts from the field, all other fans get to watch from their game seats.
Indians Photo Days - Cleveland Indians
Another very cool promotion, Indians Photo Days allow fans to take a photo with an actual Indians player. At six Monday home games throughout the season, 400 fans can sign up to have a picture taken. Only one person has to register and up to six people can be in the photograph. There's no cost for the Indians Photo Day, but everyone must have a ticket to the game. And with only 400 fans per game, there is a lot of demand for this MLB promotion. The next 2012 Indians Photo Days are Monday August 6 before the game against the Minnesota Twins and August 27 before the Oakland A's game.
Kids Run The Bases - Chicago Cubs
I've said it before, any promotion that gets fans or kids on the field is a great one to me. The Cubs (and many other teams) do Kids Run The Bases after Sunday day home games. The first 1,000 ticketed kids under 15 get a special wristband that lets them on the field after game, to run the bases. What a great way to inspire that young baseball player.
Freddy Sherman grew up in Philadelphia, which didn't make being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan easy. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, now able to follow the Dodgers openly and attends games frequently. You can follow him on Twitter -@thefredsherman.
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