Baseball Stadiums: Georgia’s Summer Promotions

Summer is right around the corner as the school year finishes with Memorial Day weekend, and that means baseball season hits full stride, too.  For parents and baseball fans looking for inexpensive and fun ways to spend their summer evenings, Georgia’s four minor league teams offer a variety of promotions.  Minor league baseball is known for regular promotions like “Thirsty Thursday” or “Two-for-One Tuesdays,” but I wanted to focus on some of the unique promotions and giveaways that provide fans with a real reason to attend a game.  Whether you want to check out your local team or make a road trip, there are tons of reasons for fans to flock to ballparks in Rome, Savannah, Augusta, or Gwinnett.  Here’s a rundown of the promotions (team-by-team):

Gwinnett Braves

Friday, May 24: Dudes vs. Foods Night

Dudes Vs. Foods 2012 (credit Leslie Watts, Gwinnett Braves)

Dudes Vs. Foods 2012 (credit Leslie Watts, Gwinnett Braves)

Saturday, May 25: Mini Bat Giveaway

Friday, June 7: Father’s Day Fun plus Post-Game Fireworks

Saturday, June 8: 5th Anniversary Bank Giveaway

Sunday, June 9: Public Safety Day / Touch-A-Truck

Friday, June 21: ‘80s Night / Powder Blue Jersey Auction

Saturday, June 22: Jason Heyward Bobblehead Giveaway

Thursday, July 4: Red, White, and Blue Thundersticks Giveaway plus Post-Game Fireworks

Friday, July 5: Beach Party

Saturday, July 6: Kris Medlen Bobblehead Giveaway

Friday, July 19: Outdoors Night

Saturday, July 20: Notebook Giveaway / Camouflage Jersey Auction

Friday, August 9: Football Night

Saturday, August 10: Craig Kimbrel Bobblehead Giveaway

Friday, August 16: G-Braves Baseball Cap Giveaway

Friday, August 30: Fan Appreciation Night plus Post-Game Fireworks

Four for the Road

Friday, May 24: Dudes vs. Foods Night.  If you’ve ever wanted to test your chops, or perhaps stomach, as a competitive eater tonight is your night.  Maybe you’ll take home the Yellow Mustard Belt!

Friday, June 21: ‘80s Night / Powder Blue Jersey Auction.  If you remember the Atlanta Braves playing in powder blue jerseys during the ‘80s with Dale Murphy patrolling the outfield and Bruce Benedict behind home plate, you will want to attend this game.  Following the trip down memory lane, fans can bid on game-worn throwback jerseys and own a piece of the 1980s.  Proceeds from the auction support Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation.

Friday, July 5: Beach Party.  There’s no need to pile the family into the minivan and trek to the coast, you can make the trip to Lawrenceville and have the beach brought to you.  Themed contests will allow fans to experience the beach without the three-hour drive.

Saturday, July 20: Notebook Giveaway / Camouflage Jersey Auction.  If you don’t have enough camouflage in your closet, here’s your chance to watch the G-Braves play in camo jerseys and bid on them after the game.  I’m sure there will be some Duck Dynasty fans in attendance, too.  Proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

Savannah Sand Gnats

Thursday, May 23: Military Appreciation T-Shirt Giveaway SSG-BSE-PINK-13-1B

Saturday, May 25: Girl Scout Night plus Post-Game Fireworks

Sunday, May 26: TailsSpin Bark in the Park

Tuesday, June 11: Marco’s Feed Your Face: All-You-Can-Eat Pizza

Friday, June 14: Sand Gnats T-Shirt Giveaway

Saturday, June 15: Boy Scout Night plus Post-Game Fireworks

Thursday, June 27: Military Appreciation T-Shirt Giveaway / Military Jersey Auction

Saturday, June 29: Coastal Health District Healthy Heart Night plus Post-Game Fireworks

Sunday, June 30: TailsSpin Bark in the Park

Thursday, July 11: Military Appreciation T-Shirt Giveaway

Friday, July 26: Johan Santana Bobblehead Giveaway

Sunday, July 28: TailsSpin Bark in the Park

Thursday, August 8: Military Appreciation T-Shirt Giveaway

Sunday, August 25: TailsSpin Bark in the Park

Four for the Road

Thursday, June 27: Military Appreciation T-Shirt Giveaway / Military Jersey Auction.  Admission is free for active duty or retired military personnel with an ID and the first 100 active duty service members will receive a free armed forces T-shirt.  The Sand Gnats will wear military-inspired jerseys that fans can bid on following the game.  Proceeds benefit local military charities.

Saturday, June 29: Coastal Health District Healthy Heart Night.  Not every promotion allows fans to leave the stadium with a new item.  Sometimes the promo focuses on local charities or promoting awareness, and that’s the case here.  Fans can kick off the day with the Home Run 5K Trot at 8 a.m. before the evening’s game.

Friday, July 26: Johan Santana Bobblehead Giveaway.  Most minor league teams honor former players who reached The Show with a bobblehead, but the Sand Gnats are doing something unique with this giveaway.  The team celebrates its affiliation with the New York Mets by honoring two-time Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star Johan Santana with his own bobblehead, although he has never played for the team.

Sunday, August 25: TailsSpin Bark in the Park.  The last Sunday of each month fans can bring their family pooch to the park, and this is the last chance to bring your best four-legged friend to the stadium this season.

Rome Braves

Myron Noodleman (credit Rome Braves)

Friday, May 31: Beach Towel Giveaway

Saturday, June 1: Mystery Bag Giveaway

Sunday, June 2: National Cancer Survivors Day

Friday, June 7: Ladies Night

Saturday, June 8: Appearance by Zooperstars

Friday, June 21: Retro Braves Night

Saturday, June 22: Parrot Head Paradise Night with Post-Game Concert: The Swinging Medallions

Thursday, July 4: Celebrate America Night plus Post-Game Fireworks

Friday, July 5: Appearance by BBoy McCoy

Friday, July 19: Craig Kimbrel Bobblehead Giveaway

Saturday, July 20: Post-Game Concert: Slippery When Wet

Friday, August 2: Appearance by Myron Noodleman

Saturday, August 3: Post-Game Concert: The Tams

Friday, August 16: Tribute to the King – Elvis Night

Saturday, August 17: Back to School Puzzle Giveaway plus Post-Game Fireworks

Four for the Road

Friday, June 7: Ladies Night.  Female fans will receive a night of pampering at the park.  So bring your mom, wives, girlfriends, or the cute girl at work and impress her with an opportunity to be pampered while watching the America’s Pastime.

Saturday, June 22: Parrot Head Paradise Night with Post-Game Concert: The Swinging Medallions.  Fans of Jimmy Buffet already picked up on the theme of tonight’s game, and fans can bid on the special Parrot Head Paradise jerseys the Braves will wear tonight.  After the game, fans can enjoy the sounds of The Swinging Medallions, the Party Band of the South.

Friday, August 2: Appearance by Myron Noodleman.  There are a variety of entertainers who visit minor league ballparks and arenas throughout the year, but everybody’s favorite nerd is among one of the best entertainers out there.  Tonight is your only chance to catch him at a game in Georgia this season.

Friday, August 16: Tribute to the King – Elvis Night.  Here’s proof that you don’t have to be in Memphis to celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, as the Braves pay tribute to Elvis.  Enjoy music from Elvis along with King-themed trivia, and fans dressed as Elvis can enter a Look-a-Like contest.

Augusta GreenJackets

The GreenJackets take a different approach to promotions.  Instead of numerous giveaways or appearances that take place on almost any night of the week, the club reserves giveaways for Saturdays and highlights daily deals the rest of the week.  Here’s the rundown of daily deals followed by the Saturday night specials:

Mondays: Feed Your Face Mondays (All-you-can-eat on select items until 6th inning)

Tuesdays: Two-for-Tuesdays (Two-for-one pricing on soft drinks and draft beers)

Wednesdays: BI-LO Baseball Bingo (Play baseball bingo for prizes)

Thursdays: Thirsty Thursday ($1 soft drinks and $1 draft beers)

Fridays: Fireworks Friday (Post-Game fireworks show)

Saturdays: American Family Insurance’s Saturday Family Night (special giveaways)

Sundays: Kids Day! (Children under 12 can participate in pre-game and post-game activities)

Saturday, June 1: Tim Wakefield Statuette Giveaway

Saturday, June 8: Bark in the Park

Saturday, June 22: GreenJackets Baseball Cap Giveaway

Pablo Sandoval Statuette

Pablo Sandoval Statuette

Saturday, July 6: Appearance by the Inflatamaniacs

Saturday, July 20: Military Appreciation Night

Saturday, August 3: Pablo Sandoval Statuette Giveaway

Saturday, August 17: GreenJackets Team Photo Giveaway

Four for the Road

Saturday, June 1: Tim Wakefield Statuette Giveaway.  The club inducted former the

Boston Red Sox knuckleballer into its Hall of Fame this season, and honor him with a miniature statue.  The two-time World Series champion played for the club as a first baseman in 1989 in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system before converting to a full-time pitcher the following season.

Saturday, July 6: Appearance by the Inflatamaniacs.  Fans who watched last summer’s “America’s Got Talent” should remember the Inflatamaniacs.  The judges quickly booted the quartet, but fans can expect them to bring their best stuff to Lake Olmstead Stadium.  The diverse group makes its only scheduled appearance in the region tonight.

Saturday, July 20: Military Appreciation Night.  The club has not announced any special jerseys or promotions for the night, but with Fort Gordon just 25 minutes away from the stadium it is sure to be a special night to honor America’s armed forces.

Saturday, August 3: Pablo Sandoval Statuette Giveaway.  It cannot be easy miniaturizing a player nicknamed Kung Fu Panda because of his girth, but the GreenJackets have done it to honor another member of their inaugural Hall of Fame class.  Sandoval split time between first and third base while playing in Augusta during the 2006 season.  He has gone on to help the San Francisco Giants claim two World Series crowns, and earned World Series MVP honors during the 2012 Fall Classic.

Whether you hit the highways for a road trip or just visit your local ballpark, you’re now equipped with information about some of the most unique promotions coming to a stadium near you.  Enjoy some of the most cost-friendly family entertainment available and catch the stars of tomorrow in your own backyard!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASteven Ericson claims Pittsburgh, Pa., as his ancestral home, but grew up in Marietta.  He loves baseball and getting his photo taken with team mascots.  When not at a ballpark, you can find him visiting presidential sights and state capitols. Read his blog at geosteven.blogspot.com.

 

Baseball in Georgia

digitalcollections.library.gsu.eduThe crack of the bat means it’s officially the season to buy your game tickets and get your peanuts and Cracker Jacks at baseball stadiums across Georgia.

The state’s rich baseball history stretches all the way back to the early 1900s when professional teams like the Albany Babies, Savannah Indians, Atlanta Black Crackers

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007 - Atlanta - Fulton County - sports - Atlanta Braves - 04.03.06Some of Major League Baseball’s most productive and best loved (and reviled) players were born in Georgia, including Moises Alou (Atlanta), Bill Buckner (Decatur), Ty Cobb (Narrows), J. D. Drew (Valdosta), Buster Posey (Leesburg) and Jackie Robinson (Cairo). To see a full list of all Major League Baseball players born in Georgia visit

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Current Atlanta Braves players

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raised in Georgia include Tim Hudson (born in Columbus), Jason Heyward (attended Henry County High School in McDonough) and Brian McCann (born in Athens, graduate of Duluth High School).

Georgia is currently home to six minor and major league professional baseball teams: Atlanta Braves, Augusta GreenJackets, Columbus Catfish, Gwinnett Braves, Rome Braves and Savannah Sand Gnats.

No matter what baseball team you root for in any division or at any level, you’re probably cheering for someone from Georgia. From managers to players, Major League Baseball and its farm system is rich with Georgia history.

- – -
Fun Fact: Ty Cobb, nicknamed “The Georgia Peach,” was one of the first five players elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. He received just over 98% of the votes.

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is a digital marketing professional based in Atlanta who first visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family.