I noted a few weeks ago that it’s become commonplace that baseball teams hold events such as Military and Law Enforcement Appreciation Nights. But what about the other professions? Never fear, baseball is here and has it covered.
The professions with the most appreciation nights are health care and medical professionals, including nurses and pharmacists. The teams recognizing these professionals are: Bridgeport, Akron, Washington Nationals, Trenton, Aberdeen, Tampa Bay, and New Britain. The next most popular profession to be honored at a ballpark near you are teachers. Portland, Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Akron are all holding (or have held) Teacher Appreciation Nights. Interestingly, many teams appreciated teachers in May and June – when school was ending. Only St. Louis appears to be appreciating them in September.
But these are the only professions being honored. On the list for this year are: administrative assistants, lawyers, wait staff, realtors, bankers, bus drivers, and corrections officers. In fact, the Aberdeen IronBirds are recognizing workers in several fields with Automotive Night, Construction Night, Healthcare Night, Accounting Night, Healthcare Night, Law Night, Realtor Night, Farm and Agriculture Night, Bankers Night, and Insurance Night. Similarly, the Cardinals had/have appreciation nights for the following: accounting industry, auto industry, bank and credit unions, financial planners, healthcare appreciation, insurance agencies, legal services, real estate, restaurant appreciation, salons and barber shops, and teachers and staff.
Below is the list of the remaining Professional Appreciation Nights for this year. Next year I want to see a Sociologists Appreciation Night!
|7/31||Potomac||Legal Professionals Night|
|7/31||New Britain||Pharmacists and Medical Professionals Night|
|8/8||Tampa Bay||Healthcare Professionals Night|
|8/9||Lancaster (CA)||Aerospace Appreciation Night|
|8/9||State College||Bus Driver Appreciation Night|
|8/12||Potomac||Bus Driver and Teacher Appreciation Day|
|8/20||Brooklyn||Corrections Officer Night|
|8/31||St. Louis||Accounting Industry|
|9/1||St. Louis||Teachers and Staff Appreciation Night|
|9/21||St. Louis||Teachers and Staff Appreciation Night|
|9/22||St. Louis||Healthcare Appreciation Night|
|9/23||St. Louis||Healthcare Appreciation Night|
Just three weeks ago, Sean Conroy pitched a 3-hit shutout for the Sonoma Stompers (of the independent league Pacific Association Baseball Clubs). It was Conroy’s first start with the team since being signed right out of college in May. It also happened to be Pride Night at the Stompers.
Oh. And Conroy just so happens to be the first openly gay professional baseball player in the nation’s history.
The weird thing is, though, the media hasn’t really said much about it. There appears to have been one AP article that was picked up by a lot of news outlets, including ESPN.com. The Washington Times picked up the story, but not the New York Times – at least not fully. Buried at the bottom of an AP article summarizing the previous night’s games is a few sentences with the title, “Openly Gay Pitcher in the Minors.” The next day, the NYT printed another AP piece titled, “10 Things to Know for Today.” Listed between #6, “Trump Comments Rankle TV Networks,” and #8, “Bristol Palin Pregnant Again,” was “Who Made Diamond History.” And all it states is: “Baseball history is made in Northern California wine country when 23-year-old Sean Conroy, the sport’s first active professional player to come out as gay, pitches a shutout.”
In my research on diversity/heritage days and other observances at baseball stadiums this year, I’ve run across only a handful of LGBT pride events. However, the more digging I did, the more I realized that a lot of teams had such events, they just didn’t necessarily advertise them – often remaining completely silent and leaving the organizing and advertising up to partner organizations.
Of course, when the Oakland A’s announced they’d be holding their first-ever Pride Night on June 17 this year, some fans were not too happy about it. However, one player’s girlfriend took care of the problem by offering to buy people’s tickets. She blogged, “So, A’s fans; if attending a baseball game on LGBT Pride Night makes you at all uncomfortable, it is probably a good idea to sell your tickets. And I have the perfect buyer. ME!” The tickets she purchased, she said, would be donated to the Bay Area LGBTQ youth center. She also set up a “Go Fund Me Page” to purchase more tickets for the community center. She and A’s ballplayer Sean Doolittle pledged to match the first $3,000 in donations.
Some teams have been holding LGBT pride events for years – such as the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants. Others are just starting to befriend this part of the community, such as the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays, both of whom held their first LGBT events this year.
Here’s the list of pride events I’ve found so far. The lack of information is astounding. As I learn more, I’ll post more on this issue.
|6/12||Red Sox||Pride Night|
|6/12||Tampa Bay||Pride Night|
|6/17||Nationals||Night Out (LGBT)|
|6/18||Nashville||Night Out at the Ballpark|
|6/19||Dodgers||LGBT Pride Night|
|6/23||Bridgeport Bluefish||LGBTQ Community Night|
|6/30||Orioles||LGBT Baseball Night Out|
|7/6||Staten Island||Pride Night|
|7/16||Buffalo||Out at the Ballpark|
|7/30||Phillies||Gay Community Night|
|8/25||Toronto||Play with Pride Night|
|8/29||White Sox||Out at the Sox|
With it’s pastoral imagery, re-birth in spring, farm teams, and garden gnome giveaways, the connection between baseball and agriculture would seem to be obvious. The other day, ThinkProgress.org posted an article on Major League Baseball and the urban farming trend. According to the article, five MLB teams currently have gardens in their stadiums:
- Red Sox: Dubbed “Fenway Farms,” a 5,000 square rooftop farm grows on the roof behind Gate A of Fenway Park. Planted there are: kale, sweet peppers, a “rotating lineup of seasonal vegetables,” and herbs.
- Rockies: The Coors Field GaRden, also near Gate A, is a joint venture between the Rockies and Colorado State University. Plants in this 600 square foot garden include: Purple Viking potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, turnips, chard, kale, beans, and chives, as well as herbs such as parsley, thyme, basil, cilantro, dill, oregano and sage.
- Padres: For the last four years, the Director of Field Operations at Petco Pak has grown a variety of plants in the home and visitors’ bullpens, including: peppers, blueberries, avocados, pomegranates, lettuce, beets, onions, garlic, carrots, and radishes.
- Giants: The Garden at AT&T Park is a 4,320 square foot area where the team grows a variety of fruits and veggies, such as: blueberries, strawberries, avocados, tomatoes, peppers, squash, lettuce, lemons, and kale.
- Nationals: For the 2015 season, the Washington Nationals have piloted a program at their ballpark with 180 plants to grow tomatoes, zucchini, squash and herbs. The team says if it is successful, they will expand the garden in the future.
There are other interesting agricultural connections to baseball. Apparently the New York Mets were the first to plant a garden. As the story goes, a stray tomato plant grew in the Mets’ bullpen in Shea Stadium in 1969. Since it apparently brought the team some luck – and the pennant – the groundskeeper kept planting in hopes of a future Mets winnning seasons. The Orioles’ Memorial Stadium also was a good place to grow tomatoes, though ivy didn’t do too well at Camden Yards.
In 2012, the Fresno Grizzlies established the Grizzlies Community Fund’s Farm Grown program to promote Central California agriculture. The team hosts a farmer’s market during every Friday home game. The program also includes a literacy component for children as well as agricultural exhibits and displays.
And of course, the St. Paul Saints, always a little different, have corn-themed foul poles in their stadium. The team that once had ears of corn as a promotional giveaway teamed up this year with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) to feature the state’s largest crop on the stadium’s foul poles. In addition, MCGA signage is featured on the outfield walls and throughout the season the Saints will play “the world’s largest game of corn toss” between innings. And on July 25, the MCGA is sponsoring a mini bat giveaway for the first 1,000 fans.
As I’ve noted before, baseball teams – especially Minor League Baseball – develop a variety of events to draw people to games. One category of such events is, as I’ve named it, is “Diversity/Heritage Days.” These days celebrate the diversity of the United States and the communities in which the teams operate.
I’m not sure what some of these events actually celebrate – such as “Redstoberfest” and “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day.” And, of course, teams need to be thoughtful and respectful in their approaches to these events. The Orem Owlz recently learned that lesson when their “Caucasian Night” promotion was widely criticized. In their apology, the team noted: “Our goal in this promotion, like any of our promotions, is to have fun and make fun of everyday normalcies. Our night was to include wonder bread on burgers with mayonnaise, clips from shows like Friends and Seinfeld and trying to solve the vertical leaping challenge. We understand, in light of recent tragic events, that our intentions have been misconstrued. For that, we sincerely apologize.”
Below I’ve collected the Diversity/Heritage Days for all MLB teams, plus the minor leagues that include teams for my Orioles and Nationals: the International League, Eastern League, Carolina League, and New York-Penn League. Also included are all of the independent leagues. The remaining dates are shown first, broken down by group. However, that doesn’t give you the full story, as we’ve already missed several dates, including Korean Heritage Night and Japanese Heritage Night at the San Francisco Giants.
Have fun celebrating your heritage and that of others!
Hispanic/Cinco de Mayo/Latino/Caribbean
|7/25||Royals||Viva Los Reales|
|8/2||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
|8/5||Hudson Valley||Latin Heritage Night|
|8/8||Tigers||10th Annual Fiesta Tigres|
|8/11||White Sox||Orgullo Sox Night|
|8/16||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
|8/20||West Virginia||Latin Heritage Night|
|8/22||Marlins||Dominican Heritage Night|
|8/26||New Britain||Latino Heritage Day|
|8/28||Phillies||Latino Family Celebration|
|8/30||Kansas City T-Bones||Hispanic Heritage Day|
|8/30||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
|9/5||Brooklyn||Latin Music Night|
|9/10||Braves||Hispanic Heritage Night|
|9/12||Mariners||Salute to Latin American Beisbol Night|
|9/12||Rangers||Hispanic Heritage Day|
|9/17||Bridgeport Bluefish||Hispanic Heritage Night|
|9/17||Nationals||Hispanic Heritage Day|
|9/20||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
|9/26||Marlins||Hispanic Heritage Day|
|10/2||White Sox||Hispanic Heritage Night|
|10/3||Dbacks||Hispanic Heritage Day|
|10/3||Dodgers||La Gran Fiesta – Viva Los Dodgers|
Black/African American Heritage/Tributes to the Negro Leagues and Players
|7/18||Brewers||Negro League Tribute Game|
|7/20||St. Paul Saints||Larry Doby Night|
|8/2||Durham||Negro League Night|
|10/2||Giants||African American Heritage Day|
|8/21||A’s||Filipino Heritiage Night|
|9/15||Giants||Filipino Heritage Night|
|9/18||Giants||Polynesian Heritage Night|
Irish Heritage/St. Patrick’s Day
|7/16||Brooklyn||Irish Heritage Night|
|7/20||Long Island Ducks||Irish Night|
|7/22||Hudson Valley||Irish – Organically Green Irish Night|
|7/23||Akron||Irish Heritage Night|
|7/23||Trenton||Irish Heritage Night|
|8/1||Williamsport||Irish Heritage Night|
|8/8||Lakewood||Irish Heritage Night|
|8/28||State Island||Irish Heritage|
|8/28||West Virginia||Irish Heritage|
|8/28||Staten Island||Irish Heritage Night|
|9/12||White Sox||Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day|
|9/17||Braves||Halfway to St. Patricks Day|
|7/16||West Virginia||Italian Heritage Night|
|8/7||A’s||Italian Heritage Night|
|8/16||Staten Island||Italian Heritage|
|8/16||Staten Island||Italian Heritage Night|
|8/20||Brooklyn||Italian Heritage Night|
|9/3||St. Paul Saints||Oktoberfest|
|10/3||Rays||Oktoberfest Freezer Mug|
|Toledo||Polish Heritage Night|
|8/13||West Virginia||Polish Heritage Night|
|9/22||A’s||Portuguese Heritage Night|
|7/15||Staten Island||Jewish Heritage|
|7/15||Staten Island||Jewish Heritage Night|
|8/2||Brooklyn||Jewish Heritage Day|
|8/23||Lowell||Jewish Heritage Day|
|8/25||Trenton||Jewish Heritage Night|
|9/6||Marlins||Jewish Heritage Day|
Other Heritage Celebrations
|8/2||Tri-City||Around the World in Nine Innings|
|8/16||Winnipeg Goldeyes||Canada Day|
|8/25||Giants||Indian Heritage Night|
|8/9||Tides||All Ages Run the Bases|
Events that already occurred
|4/11||Marlins||Puerto Rican Heritage Day|
|4/11||Braves||Asian Heritage Night|
|4/11||Phillies||Asian Pacific Heritage|
|4/16||Nationals||Black Heritage Day|
|4/19||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
|4/23||Keys||Italian Heritage Night|
|4/24||Tigers||Negro Leagues Weekend|
|4/26||Lakewood||Jewish Heritage Night|
|5/3||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
|5/5||New Britain||Latino Heritage|
|5/5||Bridgeport Bluefish||Cinco de Mayo|
|5/5||Syracuse||Cinco de Mayo|
|5/5||Baysox||Fiesta de La Familia/Cinco de Mayo|
|5/5||Angels||Cinco de Mayo|
|5/5||Giants||Cinco de Mayo|
|5/5||White Sox||Cinco de Mayo|
|5/8||Richmond||Hispanic Heritage Night|
|5/8||Giants||Filipino Heritage Night|
|5/10||Tides||All Ages Run the Bases|
|5/12||Phillies||Jewish Heritage Celebration|
|5/17||Charlotte||Tribute to the Negro Leagues|
|5/17||Royals||Salute to the Negro Leagues|
|5/22||Marlins||Cuban Heritage Night|
|5/22||Tigers||45th Annual Polish-American Night|
|5/24||So. Maryland||Hispanic Heritage Day|
|5/24||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
|5/28||Giants||Chinese Heritage Night|
|6/4||Camden Riversharks||Irish Heritage|
|6/5||White Sox||Italian Heritage Night|
|6/5||Phillies||African American Heritage|
|6/7||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
|6/7||New Hampshire||Irish Heritage Day|
|6/7||White Sox||Greek Heritage Night|
|6/8||White Sox||Polish Heritage Night|
|6/9||A’s||Korean Heritage Night|
|6/13||Marlins||Venezuelan Heritage Day|
|6/20||Dbacks||Native American Recognition Day|
|6/20||Baysox||Tribute to the Negro Leagues|
|6/20||Braves||Negro League Tribute|
|6/21||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
|6/21||Camden Riversharks||Jewish Heritage|
|6/24||Marlins||Caribbean Heritage Night|
|6/24||Giants||Native American Heritage|
|6/29||Tides||All Ages Run the Bases|
|7/1||Winnipeg Goldeyes||B’Nai Brith|
|7/2||Winnipeg Goldeyes||Ukrainian Celebration|
|7/5||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
|7/6||Syracuse||Negro League Appreciation Day|
|7/10||Lakewood||Italian Heritage Night|
|7/12||Dodgers||Viva Los Dodgers|
Tonight is #LikeAGirl Night at the Lowell Spinners! Inspired by the 2015 Always Super Bowl ad, #LikeAGirl Night seeks to “continue the campaign by Always, changing the meaning of the phrase ‘like a girl.’” (See the ad below.) Bravo, Spinners!
Several teams have held “Girls Night Out” and “Ladies Night” events. However, some of these events haven’t been met with approval. This year, after criticism from ThinkProgress.org, the Washington Nationals apparently changed their promotional materials for Ladies Night from stating “there’s no crying in baseball, but there’s plenty of wine” to “there’s no crying in baseball, even if you spill your wine.” An improvement, but not much better. A similar event held by the Atlanta Braves in May included feather boas and charm bracelets. (Apparently we have learned little from the Houston Astros’ 2013 Ladies Night debacle.)
Of course, not to leave anyone out, at least two teams have scheduled events just for guys. In fact, if you live on the West Coast, tonight is Guys Night Out at the Seattle Mariners, where you’re invited to “Make Safeco Field your man cave.” Included in the ticket price are your first drink (wine, beer, soda, or water) and a Seattle Mariners bottle opener cap.
At least a bottle opener is more useful than a boa.
Below is a list of gender-related events at ballparks this year, as well as that Super Bowl ad.
|4/24||Mariners||Guys Night Out|
Girls in Sports Day
|5/6||Boston||Girls of Summer|
|5/8||Mariners||Girls Night Out|
|6/5||Royals||Girls Night Out|
|6/13||Brewers||Brewed for Her Event (Girls’ Night Out)|
|7/10||Mariners||Guys Night Out|
|7/30||State College||Guys Night Out|
|8/1||White Sox||Ladies Night|
|8/6||Lakewood||Ladies Night/Women’s Expo|
|8/7||Mariners||Girls Night Out|
The Super Bowl ad:
And the extended version:
Recently I posted a list of Military and Law Enforcement Appreciation Days at ballparks across the country, noting that Minor League Baseball, in particular, has taken on the task of increasing awareness of the things that are important to society. However, when we think of illness in society, the first thing we think of usually isn’t baseball – unless its “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) that comes to mind. However, baseball teams are doing a great job of raising awareness and donations for several major diseases in society. Below are just a few examples.
ALS Awareness: Of course, baseball and ALS awareness go hand-in-hand. In fact, Major League Baseball has a separate website devoted to ALS awareness. Upcoming ALS awareness nights will be held in Lowell (7/26), New Orleans (7/30), and at the Mississippi Braves (8/2). Past ALS awareness nights included: Bridgeport (5/7), the Mississippi Braves (5/29 and 7/4), New Britain (6/7), and Biloxi (7/3).
Autism Awareness: While Autism Awareness Month is generally observed in April, Major League Baseball keeps up awareness (and sells tickets) throughout the year. On these days, teams have giveaways, provide information on autism, and several even have “sensory friendly” seating areas for children experiencing difficulties during the game. Nearly 20 teams hosted autism awareness nights this year. Upcoming autism awareness events and minor and major league ballparks include July 12 at the Seattle Mariners, July 25 at the Lowell Spinners, July 26 at the Kansas City Royals, and August 7 at the Lakewood Blue Claws.
Anti-Bullying: In 2013, MLB officially got involved in the nationwide anti-bullying campaign, though some teams, like Detroit, have championed this cause for a while. The Detroit Tigers will host another anti-bully night this year (on August 23) as will Bridgeport (7/26). Brooklyn held theirs on June 23.
Cancer: Given the wide variety of cancer-related diseases, there are numerous cancer awareness nights scheduled at ballparks. Such events focus on prostate cancer, breast cancer, pediatric cancer, and other forms of cancer.
And Many More: Other awareness events this year focus attention on a variety of social issues, including: stroke, peanut allergies, asthma, scleroderma, crime victims, hunger, homeless, men’s health, women’s health, leukemia and lymphoma, diabetes, chiari, and heart disease, just to name a few.
Remaining awareness days are listed below:
|Many dates||Many teams||Ed Randall’s Fans 4 the Cure Awareness Night|
|7/8||Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks||Prostate Cancer Awareness (Bros on Broadway Prostate Cancer Awareness Night)|
|7/10||Toledo||Breast Cancer Awareness (Pink in the Park)|
|7/10||Durham||Breast Cancer Awareness (Swing for the Cure)|
|7/11||Tides||Prostate Cancer Awareness (Bat 4 the Cure)|
|7/12||Lowell||Peanut Free Game|
|7/15||Staten Island||Prostate Cancer Awareness (Ed Randall’s Bat for the Cure)|
|7/17||Lowell||Cancer Awareness Night|
|7/17||Lowell||Cancer Awareness Night|
|7/18||San Rafael Pacifics||Lung Cancer Awareness Weekend|
|7/19||Bridgeport Bluefish||Men’s Health Awareness Night|
|7/19||Blue Jays||Peanut/Nut Reduced Zone|
|7/19||St. Paul Saints||Peanut Free Night|
|7/19||Brooklyn||Relay for Life Night|
|7/22||Lowell||Peanut Free Game|
|7/23||Lowell||Chiari Awareness Night|
|7/23||Lakewood||Prostate Cancer Awareness Night|
|7/24||Lowell||March of Dimes Night|
|7/25||Mariners||Fight Hunger Day|
|7/25||Mississippi Braves||Salvation Army Awareness Night|
|7/25||Harrisburg||Cancer Awareness/”Knock Cancer Out of the Park” Night|
|7/26||Vermont||Help Fight Hunger Night|
|7/26||Lowell||Peanut Free Night|
|7/30||State College||Prostate Cancer Awareness Night|
|7/31||Staten Island||Pediatric Cancer Awareness Night|
|8/1||Birmingham||Breast Cancer Awareness Day|
|8/1||Williamsport||Prostate Cancer Awareness (Bat 4 the Cure)|
|8/2||State College||Breast Cancer Awareness (Paint the Park Pink Night)|
|8/3||Hudson Valley||Prostate Cancer Awareness (“National Grab Some Nuts Day”)|
|8/5||Lowell||Stroke Appreciation Night|
|8/5||Vermont||Cancer Awareness Night|
|8/6||Mahoning Valley||Strike Out Stroke Night|
|8/6||Mississippi Braves||Breast Cancer Awareness (Pink in the Park)|
|8/8||Altoona||Breast Cancer Awareness (Pink in the Park)|
|8/9||Braves||Peanut Free Section|
|8/11||Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks||Breast Cancer Awareness Night|
|8/14||Keys||Cancer Awareness/”Knock Cancer Out of the Park” Night|
|8/16||Lowell||Peanut Free Game|
|8/17||Camden Riversharks||Breast Cancer Awareness|
|8/21||Lowell||Fist Bump World Record Attempt for Cancer|
|8/22||Scranton||Breast Cancer Awareness Night|
|8/23||Lowell||Peanut Free Game|
|8/23||Nationals||Peanut Free Seats|
|8/24||Camden Riversharks||Alzheimer’s Awareness|
|8/25||Lowell||Go Red for Women Night (Women’s Health)|
|8/27||Phillies||Peanut Reduced Suites|
|8/27||Kansas City T-Bones||Suicide Prevention Night|
|8/28||Rangers||Alzheimer’s Awareness – Strikeout Alzheimer’s Weekend|
|8/28||Akron||Hematology and Oncology Awareness Night|
|8/30||Blue Jays||Peanut/Nut Reduced Zone|
|8/30||Lowell||Peanut Free Game|
|9/1||Long Island Ducks||Breast Cancer Awareness|
|9/4||Louisville||Peanut Allergy Awareness Night|
|9/4||Marlins||Star Wars Night benefitting Pediatric Cancer Awareness|
|9/5||Marlins||Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Day|
|9/6||Lowell||Peanut Free Game|
|9/6||A’s||Breast Cancer Awareness Night|
|9/6||Louisville||Strike Out Cancer Night|
|9/12||Phillies||Peanut Reduced Suites|
|9/14||Giants||Homelessness and Poverty Awareness|
|9/19||Nationals||Peanut Free Seats|
|9/20||Blue Jays||Peanut/Nut Reduced Zone|
|10/3||Braves||Breast Cancer Awareness|
If your team is in town and playing a night game, chances are you can view your 4th of July fireworks at the stadium tonight. In fact, it may just be the only municipal fireworks display in your area. For the past several years, my city has partnered with our local team to hold the city fireworks display at the stadium. This year, it just so happens that the Baysox are in town and scheduled to play a game. One would think that’s a great thing – fireworks and a baseball game! However, the city found this to be “an extremely disappointing turn of events.”
I mean, it’s not like there are NO fireworks to be seen. If you don’t want to pay for the game, I’m sure you can hang out in the Target or Wal-Mart parking lots. I, for one, am not disappointed that there’s a game tonight. In fact, in response to the city’s disappointment at not being able to spend my tax payer dollars and have their own fireworks, the Baysox General Manger noted that the team’s July 4th fireworks display will be “‘more grandiose’” than the usual post-game fireworks shows. Seems like a win-win to me!
If you can’t come to Bowie, there are many other options for joint-baseball and Independence Day celebrations. For example, beginning at 2 pm ESPN will show the first of three baseball games (I used to LOVE spending my day with the ESPN triple header – I’m glad they brought it back)! Here are a few other fun ideas for baseball on the 4th of July:
- Several clubs will be auctioning off game-worn jerseys. For example, the Fort Wayne Tincaps will wear, then auction, Superhero jerseys. Proceeds will benefit Honor Flight Northeast Indiana, an organization that flies U.S. veterans to Washington, D.C., to see their memorials.
- The Mississippi Braves and Jacksonville Suns, among other teams, will don patriotic-themed jerseys and auction them off to support local charities: the Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter of the ALS Association and the Greater Jacksonville Area USO, respectively.
- Similarly, several teams are also auctioning off game-worn hats, including the Everett AquaSox.
- For those not wanting a game-worn cap or jersey, you can get a free t-shirt from the Nashville Sounds.
- For it’s part, Major League Baseball will be again wearing – and selling – patriotic-themed caps.
- And, with perhaps the most unique Independence Day gimmick, only July 6th, the Richmond Flying Squirrels will host a reenactment of Patrick Henry’s 1775 “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech. Those attending the game will also have the chance to meet delegates to the Second Virginia Convention, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. In addition, Patrick Henry will throw out the first pitch.
If you don’t have ESPN and can’t make it to a game, why not go outside and play catch? What’s more American than that?
Happy Birthday, USA!
One of the great things about Minor League Baseball is the countless activities going on at ballparks on any given day. Sure, a lot of these are designed to lure folks to the ballpark. But a lot of them also help us recognize and honor things that are important in our culture.
This season, it seems like “Awareness Days,” “Heritage Days,” and other such events are more numerous than ever before. In fact, it’s taken me nearly half the season to complete my research on them! However, over the next few days I’ll post what’s coming up at Minor League – and Major League – ballparks across the country this summer. I’ve divvyed them up into several categories: Military/Law Enforcement Days, Professional Days, Awareness Days, Diversity/Heritage Days, Player Appearances, Jersey Nights, and Other Goofy Stuff.
So, in honor of Independence Day, I’ll start with a rundown of all of the military and law enforcement appreciation days coming up at a ballpark near you.
|5/9||Tides||Armed Forces Night|
|6/13||Tides||Marine Corps Night|
|6/22||Williamsport||Military Monday (Free general
admission ticket for all active & retired Military)
|6/24||Vermont||First Responders Night|
|7/3||State College||First Responders Appreciation Night|
|7/3||Williamsport||Military Appreciation Night|
|7/11||State College||Military Appreciation Night|
|7/12||Lowell||First Responders Appreciation Day|
|7/13||Lowell||Vietnam Veterans Night|
|7/15||Mahoning Valley||Military Appreciation Night|
|7/18||Staten Island||FDNY Appreciation Night|
|7/22||Mahoning Valley||Military Appreciation Night|
|7/22||Vermont||Military Appreciation Night|
|7/31||CT Tigers||First Responder Night|
|8/2||State College||Veteran Appreciation Day|
|8/3||West Virginia||Military Appreciation Night|
|8/5||Mahoning Valley||Military Appreciation Night|
|8/6||Aberdeen||Military Appreciation Night|
|8/9||State College||Veteran Appreciation Day|
|8/12||Mahoning Valley||Military Appreciation Night|
|8/14||Staten Island||NYPD Appreciation Night|
|8/16||State College||Veteran Appreciation Day|
|8/19||Mahoning Valley||Military Appreciation Night|
|8/21||CT Tigers||Military Appreciation Night|
|8/24||West Virginia||Guns and Hoses Night
(celebrating First Responders)
|8/29||Brooklyn||Military Appreciation Night|
|8/30||Staten Island||Military Appreciation Night|
|9/6||State College||Veteran Appreciation Day|
Last week, a 16-year old baseball player, Melissa Mayeux, made history by becoming the first female baseball player to be added to the MLB international registration list. This means that she could conceivably become the first female major leaguer. (Note that this all happened one day before the 43rd anniversary of the passage of Title IX, commonly known for providing equal opportunity for girls in sports.)
Today is the day that teams can start signing players on list. But first, what is the international registration list? New international signing rules were implemented in 2012 with the latest MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement. Teams must follow this process in order to sign international amateurs. According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com:
“An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 through June 15 of next year if the prospect turns 17 before Sept. 1 of this year or by the completion of his first Minor League season. Additionally, any prospect who is already 17 or older and has not previously signed a Major or Minor League contract, resides outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and has not been enrolled in a high school or college in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico within the previous year is eligible to sign during the period.”
Ok, so that’s a little confusing. Basically, 16-year olds in countries not subject to the MLB draft (i.e., everywhere by the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico) become eligible to sign with MLB teams on July 2 every year as long as they registered with MLB by May 1. If you’re already 17, you don’t need to register.
But being registered doesn’t mean you will get signed. After Melissa was placed on the international registration list, The New York Daily News had an interesting article about how likely it was that she – or any woman – would sign with MLB any time soon. Even MLB.com’s Lindsay Berra says it’s not likely that Mayeux will sign with anyone.
Right now, Mayeux is at an MLB hitting camp in Germany where she’ll get hitting instruction from former Oriole (Diamondback, etc.) Steve Finley. Later this summer she’ll be at the European baseball championship in the Czech Republic, and then it’s on to MLB’s European Elite Camp in the Netherlands. One thing is for sure: it’s good to be 16!
For a continually updated list of the top international prospects and who is getting signed, go to Baseball America.com.