Monday, May 9, 2011

Fly swatter day? Are you kidding me?

Back in the day major league baseball teams used to give away cool items that were worth having in order to entice fans to the ballpark. Bat night, ball night, mitt night, cap night, seat cushion night, and t-shirt night were staples. I had a Seattle Pilots helmet given away on helmet night. The helmets had two holes in the top, ostensibly for ventilation, though we smart-ass 12-year-olds considered the helmets to be crying buckets (given the sorry nature of the club) and thought the holes had to be plugged in order to avoid the spilling of the tears all over town. For years I carried my keys on a Mariners give-away keychain that was emblazoned with the team slogan of the year, "Anything Can Happen." They might even win 50 games this season! Wow!

As Dave Barry would say, I am
not making this up. If you're free
for the M's afternoon game of May
19 you can get a Franklin Gutierrez
flyswatter absolutely free.
He's got a huge mitt. Get it?
Thus it was with a certain amount of disbelief that as my Sweetie, the official scorer, and I listened to today's game during a drive down to Seaview for a stay at the Audubon Cottage at China Beach Retreat, we heard a promo for the upcoming Franklin Gutierrez fly swatter day.

This is no joke. Well, it is, but it's also apparently a true story.

Gutierrez is a fabulous center fielder who has earned the not-so-creative sobriquet "Death to Flying Things" for his ability to snare fly balls. It wasn't a great leap, then, for the marketing geniuses with the team to come up with the idea for flyswatter night. It puts me in mind of the old George Carlin bit, "How much is that dog crap in the window?", in which the guys in sales came up with suggested placements for fake vomit that would maximize the humor. "Near the refrigerator! Hey, Charlie, stop the presses!"

As if flyswatter day needed any help being funny, the subject of the giveaway, Gutierrez, has been on the disabled list all year with irritable bowel syndrome, which suggests that there might be a Lomotil night in the M's future. And flyswatter day is Thursday, May 19, a game with a 12:40 start time that ensures that mainly business executives and the rest of the luxury suite set, the homeless, the unemployed, shift workers, and truants will be able to snag the Guti swatter. Not everyone, though, just the first 20,000 people through the turnstiles. How many of these things will we see on EBay within 24 hours? (As of this moment there are 404 results on EBay for "flyswatter," though none of them involve Gutierrez or any other baseball player. You can get a flyswatter with the Cubs logo, just $7 plus shipping, and there is a lovely WWF swatter, too.) And what sort of price will they fetch?

You can buy a hand-made
Cubs flyswatter on EBay. I
am not making this up.
What sort of promotions are other teams cooking up for their star players? I wonder if there's a Derek Jeter mousetrap night. How about Albert Pujols roach motel giveaway? Maybe a Roy Halladay no-pest-strip promotion.

Back when the M's were winning 116 games in a year, the good promotions must have been easier to come by. Now that they're in their more familiar place as 100-game losers and A.L. West doormats, the club is so bad that flyswatter day isn't even the dumbest promotion on the schedule. Last month they gave away bags of dirt to fans, a mockable event (I joked at the time it was nearly as exciting as Jack Wilson bobblehead night), though it apparently had something to do with educating fans about composting. During today's broadcast I swear I heard a promo for another dirt night, though there's nothing on the M's website about it. And mark your calendars for Sunday, June 5, which is Little League Day, at which all kids 14 and under will receive a Chone Figgins poster because there's no better model for kids than a self-centered .217-hitting malcontent who is probably still on the payroll of the Angels, who are paying him to continue to suck while playing for a division rival. And Friday, July 29, is Sonics Celebration Night, some sort of remembrance of the NBA club that last played in town three years ago. One has to hope that Howard Schultz will throw out the first pitch. A lot of folks in town would love to give him a little chin music. There's also an M's Oktoberfest, which is scheduled for Sept. 27 because, let's face it, the M's won't be playing in October.

There are signs the weather won't be getting any better, too. King Felix knit cap night is June 18, and, in the heat of the summer, Aug. 26 is Mariners Fleece Blanket Night. The next night is singles night, and I'm not sure if that's for people without partners, or just a recognition of the team's lack of power.

Oh, and guys, on Fathers Day, June 19, the team will give away Mariners coasters to the first 10,000 dads. The folks who frisk you at the gate will also do the DNA test. Holy smokes!

1 comment:

Gus said...

Great blog post! I'm glad I'm not the only one totally dumbfounded by this promotion. By the way, does the Pacific Northwest even have a problem with houseflys?!?!