AA: MLB Turns Back The Clock, Bring Out Your Dimes

Welcome to an early addition of Audience Augmenters. We are going to rewind the clock this week; because after doing a little research, I found out why the Majors can’t get away with the cheap gimmicks like Minor League ball can. I promise, after this week, we will return to our regularly scheduled program of showing the funny, strange, and/or just plain outrageous attendance promotions currently being offered in baseball.

So why has major league baseball tamed down their promotional nights. I believe it is due to these three/four promotional nights of the 70’s (oh how I wish I could have partaken in the 70’s fun).

#1 – 10 Cent Beer Night – Cleveland Indians (It even has its own ballad)

Dime Time Beer!!! Sign me and my 40 other buddies up for this game. Not only are you spending less than a night at the bar, but you also get to watch baseball as well (including a woman who decided to flash the crowd from the on-deck circle). I really wish I could have been part of the Cleveland Indians marketing department meeting when this promotion was brought up. Who in their right mind thought this would end well? Even if the June 4, 1974 game versus the Rangers didn’t end with a 25,000 person brawl, where players and coaches were wielding bats for self defense, those 25,000 definitely didn’t walk to the game. Although that era was a different time than it is now, where the local cops would give you a slap on the wrist for driving while intoxicated and not bringing them a spare beer.

The night started with the woman flashing, it turned into a naked guy sliding into second base after the second HR by the Rangers. After that it turned into a streaking chaos, guys on the field mooning the Ranger outfielders (I’m pretty sure one of these guys was my father). By the 9th inning when Cleveland tied it at 5, there was just a pile of clothes in left field. When one fan flipped the bill of the Ranger outfielder and he fell face first, the Rangers manager turned to his bench and cried “Our Freedome!!!”… Then they all came out of the dugout swinging Louisville sluggers, but they were met by many more drunk and clothed fans with chains and knives.

This led the Indians manager to turn to his bench who grabbed bats and made a Blackhawk down rescue mission for the Ranger players (some where knocked out with chairs while others were beating the crap out of kids). I mean this brawl made the Ron Artest brawl look like a grade school fight. I highly recommend reading this article at least to the point where they have the actual game time comments from the commentators. My favorite part is after the game ended in a forfeit by the Indians, the Indians owner announced they would be limiting the next event from 6 to only 4 cups per person (they had 3 more of these nights planned since it did over double the attendance to the game).

#2 – Disco Demolition Night – Chicago White Sox


How do American’s officially announce a fad is finished? By throwing a huge party with protests and giant bon fires, that’s how. On July 19, 1979, every fan coming to Comiskey Park to watch the White Sox vs Detroit was encouraged to bring their disco vinyls to the day game of a double header for the post first game bonfire signifying the end of disco. Well, after they filled the first box of 20,000 records, every fan was told to keep their records because they weren’t accepting anymore. This is where the promotion started to go downhill… records make great Frisbees and fires with ex-hippies turn into riots and riots turn into forfeitures of second games of a double header. Some are even bold enough to say this event actually did kill disco. At minimum, it destroyed Comiskey Park and added one more L to theWhite Sox 1979 record.

#3 Tie – Headlock and Wedlock Night AND Wet T-shirt Night – Atlanta Braves

Leave it to Georgia to find a way to incorporate all that is redneck. Enjoy a wrestling match prior to the mass wedding of 34 couples. Do you… (whats your name)… Randy take… Whats your name… Martha to be your loftily wedded wife… oh wait, Martha is with Sid… Randy do you take Margaret… no, still wrong… Randy do you take Sandra…

What actually happened was Bob Hope double booked the night of the mass wedding on the same night they already had a professional wrestling match. So why not have both? The fans enjoyed a mass marriage during the game followed by a wrestling match after the game.

Tied with that event, Wet T-shirt Night. Bob Hope knew within the first month that his team sucked and knew he needed to find a way to get fans to the ballpark. The younger generation of the marketing encouraged a topless contest, but they settled for t-shirts and water. A random 34 contestants were called out of the crowd. The winner would be determined by who had the driest t-shirt at the end… well, something like that.

Neither of these promotions ended in a forfeiter, thus they find them selves near the bottom. Had the t-shirt contest turned into a stadium wide mud wrestling brawl out on 2nd base, it could have been near the top. Or had the wrestling begun before the marriage and the last 2 standing actually got to be married, it may have been near the top. Alas neither did, but we still have the Indians, White Sox, and Braves to thank for not getting to enjoy 10 cent beer nights at the Yankees/Phillies world series or the opportunity to enjoy wet t-shirts on west coast gals during the Dodger/Angels freeway series.

Next week I will return to the present and future to bring reporting on where the hottest promotions are this year. Get ready to book your plane tickets.

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