For years, baseball owners have tried filling their ballpark seats with wacky and wild promotions. In addition to increasing revenue, promotions are meant to give the fans a memorable experience.
But it doesn’t always work out that way.
You can’t talk about baseball promotions without mentioning Bill Veeck. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, Veeck was a franchise owner as well as a promoter.
Veeck, who in 1951 gave 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel an at-bat for the St. Louis Browns, is known for the infamous 1979 promotion Disco Demolition Night, where the White Sox and the city of Chicago wanted to be the first to put an end to disco. Fans that brought disco records were admitted at a discount, but the event didn’t go as planned.
With a double header, the plan was to destroy a pile of disco records in between games. The demolition of the records created a hole in the outfield, and then thousands of fans rushed the field. Needless to say, the second scheduled game had been canceled.
Minor League baseball teams don’t have the talent you’ll find in the majors, so promoters sometimes try really hard to bring people in. Usually the games are fun outings for the entire family, with most promotions landing fair. Sometimes, however, they can land into foul territory.
1. Mocking of Tim Tebow
In June, the Charleston RiverDogs, a Class Single-A minor league team from Charleston, South Carolina, affiliated with the New York Yankees, played against the Columbia Fireflies, a Class A minor league team from Columbia, South Carolina, affiliated with the New York Mets.
This would have been a normal minor league baseball game, if not for the celebrity playing for the Fireflies — Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. His Christian faith was the focus of some stunts by the home team. Every time Tebow was at bat, the “Hallelujah Chorus” played through the stadium.