After writing in this week's Independent Baseball Insider column about the evolution of promotions for the wacky--and successful--St. Paul (MN) Saints of the American Association, arguably the franchise that has meant the most in the 16-year development of modern day Independent Baseball, we thought readers might enjoy knowing more about their thinking. This is in their own words:
The Saints Experience:
Our fans feel appreciated (we thank them a lot, keep the prices in check and even in an older ballpark attempt to make continual improvements for their enjoyment of the game)
Since day one, we have a real nun giving therapeutic chair massages in the stands, Sister Rosalind Gefre.
Our 2007 live pig mascot (it is a new one every year) Garrison Squeallor weighed in at 530 lbs last week; this year’s pig is Boarack Ohama.
Hot Tubs behind the fence (thanks to the Colorado Sky Sox) and haircuts in the stands (thanks to Bill Veeck).
Peanuts tossed to the crowd during the 7th inning stretch (“borrowed” that idea from the Frederick Keys or Bowie Baysox, who used to toss Hershey candy bars during Take Me Out to the Ball Game).
Grand Fan (a fan in a Velcro suit hanging from a wall behind the rightfield fence… stay all game and win a night at a local casino; catch a HR and win $10,000 – bounced off a glove once but no one has caught it yet!)
Seats on the warning track… back in 2004 we had to find a way to welcome a huge group from a local real estate firm. We appealed to the League office to add seats to the warning track as we had noted was done in the old days of Saints Baseball in the early part of the 20th century. Every since, on big nights, we put up snow fence and folding chairs and welcome fans to their seats on our warning track.
Bobblection 2004 (soon to happen again for the 2008 campaign) – with all the teams in the Goldklang Group with Senator Kerry and President Bush bobbleheads – people voted/picked their preferred candidate – we predicted the November election in each of our 6 markets (Minnesota, South Dakota, Massachusetts, New York, Florida and South Carolina).
The recent Bobblefoot giveaway on National Tap Dance Day.
Our Mother’s Day/Dawn Game in May of 2005 as the earliest start of a professional baseball game… with a live rooster crowing to start the game.
Mime-o-vision with the mimes doing instant replay in June 1993… while it was a bust (even Minnesota-Nice people don’t like mimes!) it has given Mike Veeck a good story to tell ever since. He likes to say we sold 20,000 hot dogs that night… all thrown at the mimes.
Mary Tyler Moore Night and Sip, Stitch and Pitch Night (coffee, knitting & a ballgame) were both female fan favorites.
The iPig Giveaway last year, the day before Apple’s iPhone was released (one of those topical, last minute promos that got us lots of publicity).
The Randy Moss Hood Ornament was a great idea but not the best execution… we also did a Michael Vick Chew Toy last year with the local Humane Society as our special guests.
Being independent baseball we get to poke some fun at MLB and its commissioner. We have done a few promotions focused on Bud Selig – a tie giveaway after the MLB All-Star Game (before “This Time It Counts”), and a Bud Selig/Donald Fehr seat cushion giveaway after labor issues in 2002. This summer, on July 15 we are having a Bud Selig Retirement Party… he changed his mind but we are going ahead.