If your lifelong dream has been to watch a minor league baseball game from a 1978 GMC van parked just beyond the outfield near a major river, then you're in luck, my fat motivational-speaking friend.
Chris Farley's Saturday Night Live sketch lives on with the Quad Cities River Bandits (Class A, Midwest League), whose promotion, Van Down by the River, will be ongoing this season at Modern Woodmen Park.
Each home game, eight lucky fans will be chosen by WXLP 97x, a Davenport, Iowa radio station, to watch a game from the outfield berm at Modern Woodmen Park, which happens to be nestled right next to the Mississippi River. The promotion was one of three voted in by River Bandit fans.
"It really is the kind of van that Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker would have lived in," River Bandits vice president and general manager Kirk Goodman told me by phone. "We bought an old van off of Craigslist. Its a 1978 GMC Rally Six, with rust spots and a carpet that you wouldn't want to see under a CSI light. The guy we bought it from was actually arrested that same day. It was perfect."
A daily jackpot will accumulate, and if the van is hit with a home run ball (which could be a common occurrence, I'm told), the occupants will win the cash. The van is currently being painted with the radio station's logo and outfitted with fuzzy dice, but Goodman promised us photos once that's done.
"We bought the van for $500," Goodman said. "We offered a trade for game tickets, but the guy turned that down. He did say that he would take a bag of weed, though."
Van Down by the River actually finished second in fan voting to Bandit Wedding, in which a couple will be chosen to be wed at the ballpark on Fan Appreciate Day. Elvis Night finished third. In case you're wondering, the Quad Cities are Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline, Ill. The River Bandits are a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate.
Bandit Wedding Voted Best Promotion [Quad City River Bandits]