Ghostbusters lead slate of new Mud Hens promotionsWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Chase Will, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
“Ghostbusters,” “Star Wars” and “Seinfeld” will be among the themes for promotional nights planned by the Mud Hens this season, as well as nights for knitters and dog-owners.
“Each game will have its own unique flavor,” said Michael Keedy, manager of special events. “Each game offers a different experience and there is always something going on for everyone in the family.”
The annual Opening Day pregame party will take place April 4 at Fifth Third Field. This event will include live music, drink specials and an all-you-can-eat buffet followed by a Downtown doubleheader, starting with the Mud Hens kicking off their season against the Louisville Bats at 4 p.m., and followed by the Walleye taking on the Fort Wayne Komets down the street at Huntington Center at 7:15 p.m.
Honoring the 30th anniversary of the “Ghostbusters” film franchise, Ghostbusters Night is a new addition this year. This event is set for May 30. Players will wear “Ghostbusters” uniforms, which will be auctioned off for charity after the game, with proceeds benefiting Northwest Ohio Relay for Life. The first 2,000 fans through the gates of Fifth Third Field will receive green blinking Ecto-colored glasses.
“Fans can expect “Ghostbusters”-themed costumed characters, special on-field skits, classic video clips, a “Ghostbusters” replica car and fun fan giveaways,” Keedy said.
The “Ghostbusters” promotion has drawn a lot of national attention, said Nathan Steinmetz, manager of online marketing.
“That went everywhere. An hour after we put it out on Facebook and Twitter, Sports Illustrated called us,” Steinmetz said. “There was no press release. We just pushed it out through social media and the biggest sports magazine publication was on the phone within an hour. That’s pretty neat.”
The promotion has especially struck a chord with fans as it was announced days after “Ghostbusters” actor and co-writer Harold Ramis died.
“That was not specifically timed to be on the heels of Harold Ramis’ passing, but people were talking about ‘Ghostbusters’ again and it was at the top of everyone’s minds,” Steinmetz said. “No other team that I know of has done that jersey, so it had that unique factor and that sweet spot of nostalgia.”
Star Wars Night
May 10 will be the return of the popular Star Wars Night, featuring costumed characters, “Star Wars”- themed music, a fan costume contest and a glowing Thunderstick giveaway for the first 2,000 fans to arrive.
Last year’s Chewbacca jerseys worn for Star Wars Night also attracted national attention, Steinmetz said.
“We’ve established ourselves with this reputation for coming up with unique promotions,” he said.
Also on May 10, Fifth Third Field’s Pub 315 will host its first of four beer-tasting events from 6-8 p.m. The other three beer tasting events are June 13, July 3 and Aug. 15. Each event will feature offerings from several different brands and breweries. Attendees will receive a drink ticket for 20 2-ounce samples, a souvenir Pub 315 glass, an all-you-can-eat buffet and a raffle ticket. Tickets are $40, or $30 for designated drivers, and include a game ticket.
After a successful 2013 event, Superhero Night will return June 28. There will be costumed characters throughout the ballpark, skits on the field and a fan costume contest with prizes, Keedy said. A new addition this year is a special superhero-themed jersey. These jerseys will also be auctioned off after the game, with proceeds to benefit The Miracle League of Northwest Ohio.
July 10 will be LEGO Night, a new promotion this season.
“LEGO Night will celebrate the popular children’s toy in a unique way,” Keedy said. “The Mud Hens will even be giving away our own collectible Mike Hessman blockhead.”
Christmas in July
Christmas in July will take place July 19, and will include 12 hours of Christmas at Fifth Third Field. In addition to an appearance from Santa, the Mud Hens will wear elf-themed jerseys during the noon game and Santa-themed jerseys during the 7 p.m. game. Jerseys from both games will be auctioned for charity.
“To our knowledge, it will be the first time a team has worn multiple specialty jerseys in one day,” Keedy said.
Toledo Baseball History Night
On Aug 9, the Mud Hens will pay tribute to baseball history by honoring the 1939 Toledo Crawfords, a Negro American League team who played a season in Toledo. This year is the 75th anniversary of the Crawfords relocating to Toledo for a season in 1939 after winning Negro League titles in 1935 and 1936 with the help of future Baseball Hall of Famers Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and Julius “Judy” Johnson. In partnership with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the Mud Hens will wear throwback Crawfords jerseys.
Aug. 14 will include a special Seinfeld-themed event, honoring the show’s 25th anniversary.
“Seinfeld Night is a promotion about nothing!” Keedy joked. “But, of course, fans can expect a lot of laughs and surprises throughout the night. Fans will also have a chance to meet Larry Thomas, who is better known as the Soup Nazi. Larry will be on hand to throw out the first pitch and meet-and-greet with fans during the game.”
Hens & Hounds
Back for its second season is Hens & Hounds Night on Aug 26. Fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to the ballpark. “Pooch” Bag Dispensers will be given to the first 500 fans. Tickets for dog owners are $10 each and tickets for dogs are $8. All proceeds from dog tickets will benefit the Toledo Area Humane Society and Cutie’s Fund at Lucas County Canine Care & Control. All dogs and owners will sit in the Home Run Picnic Terrace. Special water stations, minipools and designated restroom areas will be provided.
Stick ‘N’ Pitch
Stitch ‘N’ Pitch, tentatively scheduled for July 29, is a game geared toward knitters.
“We work with local knitting guilds to put together a package for them to come out and enjoy a game,” Keedy said. “They sit in their seats and knit and work on projects with the backdrop of a baseball game. We’ve had groups of more than 100 come out.”
Pink in the Park
Other events to look forward to include Pink in the Park for breast cancer awareness July 11, a ’90s-themed concert night July 12 and a Jimmy Buffett tribute Aug. 7.
Walleye Hockey Night
For Walleye fans hankering for their hockey fix, Aug. 8 will be Walleye Hockey Night at the Mud Hens, featuring coaches, players and alumni available for autographs.
“We’ve done it the past two years and it’s a really neat event,” Keedy said. “It’s kind of the official kickoff of the new Walleye season and gives everyone a little taste of excitement for the upcoming season. Especially with Winterfest, an outdoor hockey rink to be set up at Fifth Third Field in December, that’s going to be a big thing.”
Kid-favorite entertainment will include the ZOOperstars! on July 11 and BirdZerk! on Aug. 1.
“We have a very fun, creative marketing group. Everyone knows all ideas are welcome,” Keedy said. “We organize all of our new ideas and account for all of our recurring events. We build the promotional schedule about six months prior to the start of the season.”
Since new events are always being added, fans are encouraged to frequently check www.mudhens.com for changes or additions to the promotional schedule.
“We’ve got a loaded promotional schedule already, but people can expect things to be introduced throughout the season,” he said.
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