Celebrating the Past, in the Near Future

It’s mid-December, and all through the land Minor League teams are brainstorming 2012 promotions. On the theme night front, a constant source of inspiration are anniversaries of significant events in American history and pop-culture. In the past, this has resulted in celebrations of everything from Goonies to Bubble Wrap to, um, “The Most Boring Day in History.”

In an effort to perhaps provide some inspiration to mentally-stymied front offices, I spent some time cruising the internet (Wikipedia, primarily) in search of events worthy of celebration in 2012. Who knows? Maybe a few of these ideas will end up on a promo calendar near YOU.

Centennial Anniversaries (1912)

– The Girl Scouts were founded in 1912, so this might be a good time to partner with your local chapter in order to stage a ballpark salute. And, really,  you can’t go wrong with a between-inning Thin Mints eating contest.

– The Titanic set sail on April 10. While the tragedy that unfolded is by no means worth celebrating, this could be a good opportunity to commemorate (and spoof) the ensuing century of the Titanic in popular culture.

– Julia Child would have turned 100 on August 15. How about using that as a jumping-off point for cooking contests, how-to videos, between-inning chef races, and French specialties at the concession stand (or at least some wine and cheese)?

Septuagesiquintennial Anniversaries (1937)

– Both Merle Haggard and Billie Dee Williams were born on April 6. An irreverent and all-encompassing salute to both of these cultural icons over the course of the same game would result in an unprecedented evening of ballpark entertainment.

– On April 17, Daffy Duck made his cartoon debut. Create a video of players doing impressions of this iconic fowl, and stage between-inning contests of fans doing the same. Celebrate notable ducks throughout history and have enough respect to not serve foie gras at the concession stands (it’s a ballpark favorite, I know).

– George “The Animal” Steele came into the world just one day before Daffy Duck. The wrestling legend has been a regular on the ballpark promotional circuit over the past couple of years. Who wants to host his 75th birthday party?

Quinquagenary Anniversaries (1962)

– The Navy SEALS were first established in 1962, a group that is having a cultural moment after the Osama Bin Laden assassination. Seems like a great excuse to have them helicopter in and throw out a first pitch. Then, throughout the ballgame, stage a series of grueling between-inning obstacle course fan challenges.

– Superhero promotions have long been a staple at Minor League ballparks, and did you know that 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of both The Incredible Hulk #1 and Spider-Man’s first comic book appearance? Do with that what you will.

– Salute to Guns N’ Roses! Not only is the band being inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Axl turns 50 in 2012 and this year marks the 25th anniversary of “Appetite For Destruction” (top 10 greatest album of all time, in my opinion).

(and lest we forget, both Emilio Estevez and Corey Hart turn 50 in 2012. Celebrate them).

Quadranscentennial Anniversary (1987)

– Movies turning 25 in 2012 include the likes of Three Men and a Baby, Lethal Weapon, and Dirty Dancing. Clearly, all of these are ripe for parody. Very ripe.

– Also film-related, Ishtar came out in 1987 (one of the biggest box office bombs in history). Why not use this as a launching point for a “Salute to Flops”? The possibilities are endless.

– One of the biggest songs of 1987 was Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Perhaps “Rickrolling” has run its course, but that song would make a great accompaniment to ninth-inning rally videos.

**********

At this stage in my blogging career I have become a hardened realist, and am well aware that few (if any) of these ideas will actually be picked up by Minor League teams. Nonetheless, this is the time of year for brainstorming, and posts such as these (hopefully) help to illuminate the process.

At the very least, this post represented a legitimate reason to use the word “septuagesiquintennial.” I’ll sleep well tonight.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

4 Comments

It took me a while to realize why you had 50 cent there. I was pretty sure he wasn’t turning 50 years old. Surprised no mention of “I Want a New Duck” by Weird Al with the Daffy Duck idea.

I have put a moratorium on Weird Al suggestions, as the industry continually fails to recognize his genius.

On Billy Dee Williams’ birthday, Houston Astros affiliates should wear throwback Colt .45s uniforms. Pull some strings and make it happen, Ben.

Wow, that’s some advanced thinking! Malt liquor and Minor League Baseball, together at last.

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