With the 2017 Major League Baseball season upon us, I decided for the third straight season to look through all the ballpark giveaways for the season and rank the top item from each team.
A few words before we get into it, though. First off, these are subjective so it’s possible that you’ll disagree and that’s OK. Disagreements about ballpark giveaways is hardly anything that should anger anyone. In that vein, I’m partial to certain things, such as bobbleheads. However, just a run-of-the-mill player bobblehead isn’t going to cut it. We need creativity. Speaking of which, creativity with any item is a good way to make the list. Some teams are outstanding about this, such as the Dodgers, Rays and Mariners. Frankly, some other teams are pretty boring, such as the Padres, Phillies and Orioles.
The rankings below are just of the individual items, not the teams’ promotional calendar as a whole (the Dodgers would be No. 1 in the latter case). I should also point out that each of the 30 items on here are great and that a lower rankings doesn’t mean that something is bad.
So, again, I went through each team’s promotional calendar, picked what I thought is the best giveaway and ranked those 30. Let’s roll.
Aug. 19, Hall of Fame giveaway. We don’t even know what the giveaway is, but this is an incredibly weak promotional calendar. Even the jersey giveaways are just Padres jerseys and not individual players.
On July 22, there’s a 1987 World Series champion beer stein giveaway. It’s cool. It’s just outshined by almost every other ballpark.
I’ll go with Sept. 17’s 1977 World Series ring replica giveaway. It’s fine, I’m just not overly excited by much here. When you’re the Yankees, it’s not really necessary to have awesome giveaways.
They actually have a strong promotional calendar, with stuff like maracas, Mike Trout bobbleheads, Nolan Ryan bobbleheads and more. I’m going with a cooler backpack on May 12 here, though.
Nothing offensive here at all, as a Mike Schmidt bobblehead on July 8 is really cool. It’s just a bobblehead of a Hall of Famer.
There’s a Max Scherzer snow globe and Magic 8-ball (on opening day), but I’m going with the Chewbacca coozie on May 27 because I love Star Wars and beer. Perfect combo there.
On Aug. 13, get your Bob Uecker magic 8-ball!
22. White Sox
Many will hate this, but I find it incredibly difficult to dislike Hawk Harrelson (just accept what he is!). On May 13, there’s a Hawk alarm clock giveaway.
You want a Francisco Cervelli bobblehead? Maybe not, but what if it’s singing? On April 8, it’s the Cervelli “That’s amore” bobblehead, an homage to his heritage and walk-up song.
On Sept. 30, their “Memorable Moments” bobblehead series concludes with George Brett. Surely it’s the pine tar incident.
It would be higher, but it’s James McCann. Still, the July 29 giveaway is a James McCann removable mask bobblehead.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards started the new revolution of breathtaking ballparks, getting away from the cookie cutter era. On Aug. 19, the O’s give away a 25th anniversary replica ballpark.
17. Red Sox
One of my favorite bobbleheads from past years was Yadier Molina holding all his Gold Gloves. Here, the Rays take a page from that playbook, with Kevin Kiermaier holding his, given away on April 8. It should be noted that the Rays are strong overall, with a Chris Archer emoji pillow and Evan Longoria bubble blowing bobble also of note.
On July 3, there’s a Giancarlo Stanton Home Run Derby championship bobblehead. A few weeks later, in all likelihood, he’ll defend his title at home.
On April 29, there’s a dual bobblehead of Matt Carpenter and Carlos Martinez, with Martinez showering Carpenter with water to celebrate a home run. Also, later in the year there’s a mystery Hall of Fame manager bobblehead, so that’s fun.
The Reds’ promo game is usually pretty strong and this is no exception. On June 17, the club honors Pete Rose and unveils his statue. The fans get replica Pete statues.
On Aug. 4, there’s a ceremony for newly minted Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, and with it comes a replica 1997 jersey of Bagwell’s. Great touch.
Longtime Dodgers fans will absolutely love this one and many other fan bases will be jealous. On May 3, there’s a Vin Scully ceremony and fans will receive a replica Vin microphone.
9. Blue Jays
This is such a great idea to play off a player’s Twitter handle. Josh Donaldson’s Twitter name starts with “bringer of rain.” So on April 16, the Jays are giving away “bringer of rain” umbrellas with Donaldson’s likeness. Excellent touch.
Ender Inciarte endeared himself to Braves fans everywhere with this catch:
On May 19, the Braves give a “Game Ender” bobblehead away. Beautiful.
Noah Syndergaard bobblehead? That’s good, but it wouldn’t land here. No, the Mets are doing Syndergaard dressed as Thor bobblehead on July 22.
The May 24 giveaway is the replica AL championship trophy.
It’s easy and obvious, but that doesn’t make it bad. On April 15, they are giving away a replica World Series trophy. In fact, all season they are giving away specific things about last year’s special run, such as commemorating Kris Bryant winning MVP and, obviously, the World Series title.
On April 29, get your Adrian Beltre “dancing legs” bobble. What a great twist on one of the most likable players in baseball.
Game of Thrones night is June 30 and there aren’t further details. But do there even need to be? Bring it on. I’m down.
I now have the theme song stuck in my head and that isn’t a complaint.
Ken Griffey Jr. is entering the Hall of Fame as the first player ever to be wearing a Mariners cap and on April 14, there’s a Junior replica statue giveaway at Safeco Field. The buck stops here. Overall, the Mariners have an utterly killer promotional calendar that includes at least five items that would not have ranked last on this list.