Everyone is guilty of it. As we peruse the Angels home game schedule, deciding which games we want to attend, our eyes are inexorably drawn to the blue asterisk marking certain games. That small graphic that indicates one of the Big A’s notorious promotional giveaways will be taking place. From shower curtains to bobbleheads, Angels Stadium has been host to some of the best (and worst) promotional giveaways in the MLB. Yes, we ALL could use a Howie Kendrick 2nd base coaster to set our drink on, but the giveaways these days seem to lack thought. They lack a certain je ne sais quois that could make them so much better. Sure, they’re fun, and baseball fans are group known to enjoy random swag. All we ask is for a little bit more of the team be reflected in the giveaways.
The way to construct a giveaway item is simple. Start with a basic item, an everyday item like a day planner. Everyone needs to plan their day, right? We’ll give away something that will help them. Next, we give it a team-specific touch. For the Angels, we may use Mike Scioscia. This is where most giveaway brainstorm sessions stop. Put up a fancy starburst graphic and have the announcer call it out on the promo: “This Sunday, the Halos face the White Sox and every fan in attendance will receive a Coach Mike Scioscia day planner!” We can do better though. How about we customize it even further? We’ve already branded it to Scioscia, but let’s make it a true representative of the man: The Mike Scioscia Bullpen Day Planner. It lets you know about all of your appointments and important events, but it lets you know about 5 minutes too late, and then it asks you to stick around for a few more minutes while someone warms up to cover you. Now THAT’S going to sell some tickets!
Just that little bit of effort makes a giveaway go so much further than a simple mass produced tchotchke. Even for a kids ages 3-11 giveaway, some extra thought goes a long way. Take your basic piggy bank, for example. Saving money is a skill all children will need to learn at some point and they can do it with their favorite team. It’d be easy to smack a fan-favorite on there and give it away, but we can think a little harder and throw a bone to one of the team’s black sheep. Someone that hasn’t really clicked with fans. Someone like Vernon Wells. Combine the giveaway item with the athlete and add that extra thought and you’ve got the Vernon Wells Overpaid Contract Piggy Bank. Kids! Save your allowance money, and then bring it back to the Big A for our Sunday “Kids Run The Bases” event and support your Angels by depositing your bank at the dugout to help pay for old man Vernon’s jumbo price-tag!
World Records are rapidly becoming a crowd pleaser when it comes to giveaways. Something easy to apply that can be tabulated by Guinness officials in a matter of half an inning. Wigs haven’t been done at the stadium yet, so let’s create a wig. There is only one man whose flowing locks should grace an Angels’ hairpiece giveaway. Thus, Jered Weaver must volunteer to have his near-mullet modeled for the fans in a world recordsetting wig-out!
But wait! There’s more!
What could be better than a world-record setting event? How about a double world record? That’s right. In true, Jered Weaver fashion, if something should go wrong during the world record attempt, the second world record comes into play: Everyone in the stadium, man, woman, and child, all simultaneously bark Jered’s favorite four-letter word, thus dropping the world’s largest synchronized f-bomb.
The Angels staff is a busy group and their effort for the fans does not go unnoticed. The stadium is a fun place to be regardless of giveaways. Even if there are no smiling ushers handing out plastic-wrapped knickknacks, the fans rarely leave feeling slighted. The atmosphere is one of the best in the MLB and the primary reason for that is the hardworking people that do put the effort in to make it a great place to be.
That said, if you claim you wouldn’t buy a ticket to get a free Peter Bourjos “Trade Bait” fishing lure, you’re not only lying to yourself, you’re lying to the team.