The Imperial Stormtroopers of Love Take Omaha

omaha-royals-logo.gifThe West Michigan Whitecaps staged the first “Star Wars Night” in 2007, and since then the promotion has spread throughout the Minor League galaxy. And for good reason — it brings large groups of hardcore sci-fi enthusiasts to the ballpark (many who would not attend a game otherwise) while still remaining plenty accessible to the average fan.

The Omaha Royals staged their own version of “Star Wars Night” on Friday, significantly upping Midwest midichlorian levels. Thanks to my unceasing reportorial drive (read: ability to receive emails) I am now able to share some pictures and video.

Here, the evening’s roster of special guests make their way onto the field:

Thumbnail image for ORoyals_StarWars.0966.jpgPay special attention to the couple immediately behind Darth Vader, as they are going to factor into this narrative in a most significant fashion.

But first, Darth was tasked with throwing out the first pitch. The O-Royals player tasked with catching it was pitcher Louis Coleman, who must have felt light years away from Kansas City at that particular moment.

Another first pitch was tossed by Phil, who was there on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. His wish was to attend National Star Wars Convention in Orlando, and the O-Royals’ promo doubled as a special send-off.

Omaha_FirstPitchWish.JPG

Soon after the first pitch, a most unexpected announcement appeared on the videoboard.

ORoyals_StarWars.0968.jpg

And sure enough, Jason the stormtrooper was down on one knee:

ORoyals_StarWars.0967.jpg

The happy couple, with Darth looming in the background:Omaha_Star Wars_couple.JPG

The rest of the evening was perhaps not quite so dramatic, but there was nonetheless a lot going on.

Makin’ Wookiee on the Scoreboard:

ORoyals_StarWars.0969.jpg

A “Where’s Yoda” contest was staged, featuring the renowned Jedi master in a variety of ballpark locations:

ORoyals_StarWars.0971.jpg

Many of the fans embraced the theme wholeheartedly:ORoyals_StarWars.0974.jpg

ORoyals_StarWars.0972.jpg

Leia and Han go back-to-back:

ORoyals_StarWars.0973.jpg

There were no back-to-back home runs in the ballgame, but Portland’s Sean “Chewbacca” Kazmar (see above) did honor Han with a Solo shot in the third.

Thanks to O-Royals director of creative services Eldon Lindsay for sending the pictures along. If YOU have photos of a Minor League promotion then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Or, just make like the Lake County Captains and assert your promotional supremacy over the stadium PA:

http://www.twitvid.com/player/QNGE6

If you disagree with this assertion, then you know where to find me.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

6 Comments

The story began with the assumption that having a star wars night would bring people to the park who otherwise would not attend a baseball game. Do you have any data on how much the star wars night increased attendance at the game over a usual night’s attendance?

I don’t have data on Omaha’s promotion specifically. But usually teams partner with Star Wars fan organizations such as the 501st Legion (501st.com), who come out to the games in costume. The 501st is active nationwide, and usually promote their appearances within the vast Star Wars subculture. It’s a win-win situation. 501st Legion members are given a public forum to perform while the teams don’t have to pay for the entertainment they provide.

I was up in Nebraska earlier this year and went to a Royals game, so it’s kind of cool to see these pictures in the context of having been to the stadium before.

When they brought the umpires out that night, they played the Imperial March, which for some reason struck me as really ominous. So I would suppose they have a little bit of Star Wars every night.

I acutally went to this game not knowing of the promotion. The stadium was quite busy for a Royals game, but it was also a friday night with fireworks which usually draws a larger crowd than normal. Try and make it to the stadium if you can, they are tearing down Rosenblatt in the spring.

We attended Star Wars night at the West Michigan Whitecaps game last month. The kids really had a great time, and over 10,000 packed in to watch Single A baseball. You can check out the pics on my blog:
‘Minoring In Baseball’
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

–Mike

There was announced crowd of about 10,500 for this. This is much higher than regular season games, but yes, the fireworks probably had more to do with it than anything else. I work on the fireworks crew at the Royals games, but this one was the first fireworks show I’ve ever done scripted to Star Wars music. Thanks for the pics, it’s neat to see what I missed inside the stadium that night.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 456 other followers

%d bloggers like this: