So the Brewers announced specifics on their 2014 promo items for all-fan giveaways the other day, and I’m mostly impressed. After sporting 10 all-fan bobbles in 2013, it was hard to imagine topping that many dolls in future years. I’m happy to see they’ve decided to give something else away and reduce down to eight all-fan bobbles; 14 bobbleheads would’ve been overkill.
Surprisingly, the Brewers have adopted a program known to be employed by the Pittsburgh Pirates (and possibly other clubs), giving away free T-shirts on Fridays during June, July and August. When I was at PNC Park last, I saw a billboard on the concourse with all the different Free Shirt Fridays designs and was struck by just how disparate, distinct and cool they all were. Fans could either come to a bunch of them and end up with a boatload of Pirates shirts or just choose one or two and pick those up.
I really like the idea because it’s artistic, the campaign strengthens the Brewers brand in terms of marketing, and the shirts will be given away on Fridays, not Sundays. It’s understandable that the team would give away bobbleheads on Sundays when children are likely to be at the ballpark, but I’ve missed my share of bobbleheads because I prefer night games. The T-shirts are for the adult, party set mostly, which is a nice adjustment by the team.
The ‘vintage Brewers bobblehead’ to be given away on June 15 is a cool item, being a tribute to ‘nodders’ or early bobbleheads, the first of which may date back as far as the 18th century. Like some fans, I’m a bit bored about another Gomez and Aoki bobble, although the variations are timely. I also like the ‘choose the player’ bobblehead campaign, which gets the fans involved. It would be intriguing in the future to see some more ‘old-school’ players like Jeff Cirillo or Dan Plesac included in the fun. The team should harness a jolt of imagination to bring some neglected former players into the bobblehead stew.
Stellar shortstop Jean Segura will rightfully make his first appearance in the bobble realm on August 24.
The Brewers have delivered another strong set of all-fan promotions for next year. Certainly, I would trade in all the promotions for a trip to the playoffs, but such is life. You can’t always get what ya want. Only sometimes, if you try, you get what ya need, eh? The Brewers continue to be more generous with their fans than most major league teams are, you can bet on that. My favorite wrinkle for 2014 is the T-shirts. Specially designed and unique to each game, the T-shirts really add some spice to the mix and don’t require you to get up relatively early on a Sunday to acquire them. Fridays are great nights to get out to the park because it’s the weekend but it won’t typically be as jammed as Saturday and Sunday.
I'm not sure I'll get to any of these games unless the Brewers can get their shit in order, but at least if I end up at a Friday game in the summertime, there'll be a nice bonus in it. Seriously, I keep getting emails featuring various Brewers merch for sale via the mlb.com shop. I don't even look at it. Just straight delete. The Brewers aren't getting any of my money until they make some moves to appease a disgruntled but exceptionally loyal fan base which was treated to a suckerpunch of a season.