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):
Friday, May 24: Dudes vs. Foods Night
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
Steven 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.