AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email him to let him know what you think.
Last weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies revealed one of their most successful promotions to date with the Shane Victorino Hula Figurine day. It worked on two levels because, for whatever reason, baseball fans plus kitschy dolls equals sellout crowd. (It was also an excuse for fans to bust out their best leis and Hawaiian shirts, harking back to a simpler time full of Gonzo Fridays and pooka shell necklaces.) Plus, they trotted out Danny Devito to throw out the first pitch, who, while not Hawaiian, is the size of a large doll. And all that topped it off with a Shane Victorino walk-off homerun. Everyone was a Hawaiian on that day.
Tonight, Cincinnati fans will be privy to their own geeky promo, as the first 20,000 fans attending tonight's game will get...this. That's a cap. With a synthetic blond hair in the back. For Bronson Arroyo. Brilliant. Luckily, most of the fans in attendance will probably already have similar hairstyles already, so they don't have to worry about some of the latecomers being very upset about not receiving a hair hat.
This reminds me of another promotion that the Phillies did when they unveiled Larry Andersen Halloween masks. It was kind of an odd promotion, given that Andersen was merely a moderately successful setup man at the time. But Andersen was extremely popular in the clubhouse, being the go-to guy for hot foots and shaving cream pies, and the promotions team of the Phillies rewarded him for his levity with a cheap plastic mask. Given that Victorino dolls are going for close to $100 on Craig's List, I'm sure the Andersen mask has appreciated in value tremendously by now. Or not.
So this week, I'm breaking out ... eh, it's too hot.
Don't this shit make a nigga wanna ... JUMP! JUMP!
Antonio Alfonseca Six-Fingered Glove Night: 5/2
Now that he's successfully converted three (three!) saves while filling in for Brett Myers' arm, El Pupo's slowly become a fan favorite. With his rotund belly, his goofy hat and, of course, his 12 digits of pure power. Although Alfonseca's self-conscious about his extra phalanges, the more and more successful he becomes, he'll eventually warm up to the idea. And those gloves make great oven mitts.
Mike Lowell One Nut Night: 6/1
It's always nice to make fans aware of diseases, and testicular cancer — like having six fingers — is something most men are ashamed of. But Fenway Park could be the first stadium to embrace men who may be fearful of going public with their disease. At Fenway, all men missing a testicle get to attend the game for free. They'll also offer half cups of beer and commemorative peanut bags for the rest of the fans — females, and fans with both testicles — so as to not make them feel left out.
Nick Markakis Greek Doll Night: 3/1
Christos anesti! Markakis is well on his way to becoming the swarthy Brady Anderson in Baltimore, and what better way to capitalize than a tiny figurine commemorating his Greek heritage. (As a note Markakis was one of the only notable members of Greece's baseball team in the '04 Summer Olympics.) This doll will be one of a kind because, every day at 5'o clock, the sides of his face darken and grow stubble. This is guaranteed to be an extremely popular promotion, but the Orioles should be wary of a good portion of the crowd throwing plates onto the field or burning goats in the Camden Yards parking lot.
Tom Mastny Indonesian Doll Night: 2/1
Continuing the theme of cultural stereotyping brought forth by the Victorino night, the Cleveland Indians will celebrate the first Indonesian major leaguer with their own Tom Mastny figurine, outfitted in contemporary Javanese dress (baggy pants and a funny little Kool Moe Dee hat), which pretty much resembles something Eddie Murphy would've worn in The Golden Child. (I-I-I-I- Want the Kniiife). This will also be an educational night for most Clevelanders, most of whom have never heard of Indonesia.