Each year at about half their home games, the Yankees and other clubs around baseball hand out promotional items to help sell tickets and to boost whichever company is sponsoring the day. The collectible giveaways come in all shapes and sizes and could someday be worth ones of dollars.
With tickets going on sale to the general public on Monday, here are some of the highlights in 2014 promotions. Would any of these entice you to make the trip up to the Bronx? (See the full promo calendar here)
Saturday, April 12th and
Sunday, April 13th - Calendar Weekend
I can't remember the last time I looked at a calendar printed on paper, but it's always fun to see which player gets which month. Usually the better Yankees adorn the spring and summer while their somewhat lesser teammates are relegated to the dark days of winter. As an added bonus, the calendars are a rare item that's given to everyone, You don't have to be fourteen or under or twenty-one or older, and you don't have to show up two hours early to make sure you're one of the first so-and-so many fans to arrive.
Wednesday, April 16th - Yankee Stadium Exclusive Peeps Collectible Night
This one makes me both excited and angry. I love Peeps - they are the absolute best thing about the Easter season. But this promotion is only for the first 10,000 fans aged fourteen or younger, which leaves tardy geezers like me out in the cold. Here's a thing that combines two of my favorite pastimes - baseball and junk food - and I'll never get my hands on it. Does one really need to be under fourteen to enjoy sweet sugary goodness?
Friday, May 2nd - Yankees Ear Buds Night
This one's for the first 18,000 guests. If you're the kind of person who likes to listen to John Sterling tell you what's not happening while you're at the game witnessing what is, then this is the promotion for you. On the one hand, this is a practical one since I'm always losing these things...but on the other, ear buds that don't have a microphone to function as a headset also seem rather obsolete in the smartphone age.
Saturday, May 3rd and
Tuesday, July 1st - Cap Night
There are already two cap nights on the schedule and there will be more as the unspecified "promotion item" nights on the calendar get filled in over the coming months. The problem is that all of these caps come complete with the corporate logos of their sponsors, which means that everyone who sees you in it will know you got it for free. Do you really want a Yankee hat that says "Hess" or "Canon?"
Friday, May 16th - Yankees Reusable Tote Night
I'm curious about the word reusable here, because to me, that should probably be a given. A non-reusable tote would essentially be a paper or plastic bag, and I'm pretty sure even the Yankees would give you one of those for free every night. On the bright side, this one's for all in attendance.
Sunday, June 1st - Bat Day
Ah, a classic. The Yankees started the tradition of bat day in 1965, probably to distract fans from the withering husks of former greats that were manning the field, and they've continued it to this day. Easily the most coveted promo item of the season, you actually get a real wooden bat, not one of those mini-souvenirs or dinky inflatable boppers. Only problem is it's only for kids and only for the first 10,000 of them - I guess the Yankees are afraid giving out hard blunt objects to their grown-up fans will result in something like this.
Thursday, June 19th,
Wednesday, July 2nd,
Sunday, July 27th,
Wednesday, August 20th,
Sunday August 24th and
Tuesday, September 9th - Bobble-heads!
People have widely varying opinions on the subject of bobble-heads - cute trinkets or demonic minions of the underworld? The real problem is that none of them really look like who they're supposed to be. I had a Roger Clemens that looked more like Derek Jeter than the Jeter edition and a Don Mattingly that looked a lot like Nintendo's Super Mario.
The Yankees have a whole slew bobble-heads planned this year. You get Mark Teixeira on June 19th, Lou Gehrig on July 2nd, Paul O'Neill on the 27th and Joe Girardi on August 20th. No word yet on whether there's a bobble-binder included with Girardi. On August 24th and September 9th, kids get Lucy from Peanuts and Hello Kitty, who may be starting at second and third base by then.
Sunday, June 22nd - Old Timers' Day
You don't actually get anything for this one, but it's listed on the promotional calendar nonetheless. The Yankees held the first modern-style old-timers day (where they actually played a game) in 1947. It's a unique tradition and definitely worth seeing, even if it's gotten harder to differentiate between the real team and the old-timers over the past few years.
Saturday, July 19th - Collectible Truck Day
I'm assuming this is a toy truck and not an actual truck. Pass.
Monday, July 21st- Derek Jeter Figurine Night
If you want a statuette of a player that won't warn you of a coming earthquake, this may be the one for you. The first 18,000 guests of all ages will receive Jeter and his normal-sized head. I have a suspicion that after his announcement last week, the Yankees will add more Jeter-related promotions to the schedule, so stay tuned.
Wednesday, August 6th - Yankees Luggage Tag Night
I'd be afraid to use this one. Suppose a Red Sox fan works in baggage handling? Who knows what he'd do to luggage sporting a Yankee logo?
Sunday, September 21st - New York Yankees Limited Edition Ty Beanie Buddy Day
The Beanie Buddy is not the reason that tickets this this game vs. Toronto will be at a premium. September 21st is the last weekend home game of the season, and probably the afternoon the Yankees will choose to do their formal honoring of Derek Jeter.
Beanie Toys that commemorate historic events have a habit of actually being worth something. The Beanie Baby (not sure when they went from being babies to buddies) that was given out on May 17th, 1998, the day David Wells pitched his perfect game, is currently available on Christies.com for $863! This one's only for kids fourteen and under and only for the first 10,000, so if you're going out to bid Derek adieu, bring your son or daughter or niece or nephew and pocket the toy while they're in the bathroom.