Lions, Tigers Affiliates, and No Bears
Late August can be a very difficult time of year for many Minor League front offices. After enjoying a prolonged reign at the forefront of the fans’ sporting consciousness, baseball suffers a precipitous drop in popularity due to the emergence of a sport commonly referred to as “football”.
When it comes to the prominence of the pigskin in the hearts and minds of their constituency, many clubs simply shrug their shoulders and adopt an “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach. Hence, the annual spate of football-related promotions that take place around the Minors each August (including tonight’s “What Would Tim Tebow Do?” spectacle in Fort Myers).
One of the this week’s more interesting football promos is the West Michigan Whitecaps’ “Lions Day”. Taking place on August 30, this will be a game-long celebration of a franchise that just happened to go 0-16 in 2008. So, naturally, the Whitecaps couldn’t resist having a little fun at the Lions’ expense. Here are a few highlights:
- Wear Detroit Lions apparel and get $1 off a box or reserved ticket ($1.50 if wearing a Joey Harrington or Charles Rogers jersey).
- Free tickets to those with the first name of “Barry” or last name of “Sanders”.
- Free tickets to those born in 1957 (the last time the Lions won a championship).
- Special appearance by former Lion Cory Schlesinger
- A dunk tank to wash away the memories of last season
- Pre-game punt, pass, and kick competitions
- Footballs used for ceremonial first pitches
- A paper bag mask-making station set up on the concourse.
If I had known that dunk tanks could be used to wash away memories then I would have spent large chunks of 1988, 2002, and 2008 sitting on a small collapsible wooden slat above a pool of water while taunting the throwing abilities of self-esteem challenged passersby. Live and learn, I guess.
The Whitecaps are advertising their promo by proclaiming “Help Us Break the Curse of Bobby Layne!” I had never heard of Bobby Layne, let alone a curse bearing his name, so I was forced to turn to the lazy journalist’s best friend: Wikipedia.
Here is what I learned:
In 1958, the Lions traded Layne to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Layne responded to the trade by supposedly saying that the Lions would
“not win for 50 years,” although it has never been officially confirmed.
As of the end of the 2008 season, it has been 50 years since the
trade, and indeed the Lions have not won a championship in that time.
Interestingly, the final season of the curse concluded with the worst
season in Lions’ and NFL history.
If I knew how to edit Wikipedia entries, I’d fix that last sentence. To say the final season “concluded” is redundant, and could perhaps lead to the realization that a self-regulated user-created encyclopedia should not be regarded as a go-to information source
At any rate, kudos to the Whitecaps for putting an interesting spin on their football-related festivities. We’re in the homestretch of the season now, so I’ll utilize any and all opportunities to highlight an upcoming promotion. Because soon enough, all we’ll have are the memories.