Grading the Giveaways, Part 1

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Grading the Giveaways, Part 1

. Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Smiling Asian ladies stuck in Mirror World love our adorable, starchy promotions!

My favorite part of living in the heart of the city is the ability to hop on the L and see my favorite baseball team play at the greatest ballpark in America any night of the week. That being said, I'm also an Irish-Catholic raised cheapskate who likes a lot of free shit. And really, who wouldn't like a a ballpark souvenir that doesn't require forking over hard-earned cash to a surly grandmother in a team windbreaker?

I've seen enough season to know that we have our good years and our bad years as far as ballpark promotions go. For every sweet-ass Derrek Lee bobblehead getting us through the workday, there's a sad Wachovia Bank drawstring bag that now serves as a neglected prophylactic holder in a dank, smelly frat house in Indiana.

America is a country built upon, among a number of other things, an unquenchable love of free stuff. And as a scrappy, two-fisted ballclub bedecked in red, white, and blue, our free stuff is the most American of all. So read on, you swag-loving bunch of bastards!

2008 Schedule Magnets (Opening Week - Until They Run Out or Gate Attendants Commit Suicide)

Magnet schedules always lead off the year - they're either going to be keepsakes from a legendary year or yet another reminder of how our team blows it every year and the grim reaper is coming for us all sooner than we think. Really, you won't know until September.

As excited as they must be to be manning the battlestations of Wrigley for yet another year in venerable Wrigley Field, it's clear that the gate employees loathe these things by the second game in. They push hard to get rid of the endless magnetic pallets that stalk their very existance. If you go to get beer anywhere on the ground floor and stay too near a gate, you'll end up with three of these. Just ask my 7-schedule fridge.

Grade: B-

The Cubs decided to honor Mr. Cub, outfield legend Ernie Banks, with a commemorative Hall of Fame plaque giveaway. Lou looks ... just thrilled about the idea.

Ernie Banks Commeorative Plaque (Apr 6)

This was actually a pretty cool idea - Cubs management has been making a point showing Mr. Cub their thanks all year long. The statue (grammatically incorrect as it turned out to be) was great, and the plaque offers fans the chance to take home a piece of the legend of Wrigley for themselves. But really, what do you do with a plaque that's not much taller than a ticket? Were these made to festoon the Lollipop Guild's own Baseball Hall of Fame? We may never know.

Bonus points for unintentional racial humor with Scowlin' Lou.

Grade: A-

Corporate application form for Hat Night

Cubs Hats (Multiple Times)

I am a proud owner of a vast menagerie of Cubs headwear. I've got Irish, Camoflage, and even a couple of those '60s-logo hats that look like they were designed in conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America. As a man with an abnormally large head, I love a good baseball cap.

That being said, I've never worn a hat that I've gotten at the park. Despite its free-ness, my love for the team, and the potential memories stored within, they usually just plain suck. Have you ever seen the old man at the Jewel who bitches about a $.03 price difference on a can of black beans between Jewel and the Dominick's accross town? You know the strange, misshappen hats he wears for no discernable reason? These hats always look like his. The bill never creases properly, they either sit way too high or way too low, and - my favorite - they always come with an enormous company logo on the back. What better way to say "I love the Cubs - and Hebrew National kosher hot dogs!"? Or, "Go Cubbies! Yay for low minimum balance money-market accounts at your neighborhood Bank of America!"

They plump when you cook 'em - and ruin the back of your hats

My girlfriend got a pink hat at the Mother's Day game. MLB and the Cubs were supporting the fight against breast cancer and honoring those who had passed with these fashion-conscious handouts ... oh, and APPLY NOW FOR A MASTERCARD!!!!!! NO MONTHLY FEE!!!!!!!

See what I mean?

Maybe these hats are for obessive-compulsives who get really into a certain number. Does anyone know the EBay user ID of former DoubleDare host Mark Summers?

What's even stranger this year is that for the Cub legend hats promotions, they've stopped putting 10, 23, or 26 on the side of a regular hat, and instead made it the entire focal point of the hat. My free Lou Piniella hat shouts to the world "I support the number 41!" Outside the ballpark, it kind of loses its meaning. Sort of like the concept of $5 nachos.

Regular Hats Grade: D-
Player Number Hats: D+

It just stares at me - all day. What's that, Kosuke? You want me to kill for you?

Cubs Bobbleheads (08 Lineup: D.Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Zambrano)

Since their resurgence in the '90s, bobbleheads have become the greatest of all ballpark promotions. Unlike some of the more forgettable Cubs promotions, people show up early and in big numbers to get their hands on the always-agreeing idols. It's now legal in the city of Chicago for a fan who sees someone walk in, grab the bobblehead, and leave to kick that person in the back. And the next person who offers me 10 bucks at the park for the one I got there 2 hours early for will soon after be distracted by something behind them. Then it's time to kick some back!

Last year, we were supposed to be privy to a Michael Barrett bobblehead night. Then he got punched in the head, and the Cubs started winning. I'd like to think all those lonely, unloved bobbleheads are sitting in a wooden crate in a U.S. Army wearhouse right now, along with the Arc of the Covenant, Mark Prior's potential, and all those old Hulk Hogan rap records from the '80s.

Grade: A

I wonder what kind of Google ad list I get on searching "Cubs Mr. Potato Head" and "Kicked in the back" within 20 minutes of each other.

To be continued ...


carlheartscubs said...

Funny stuff. Keep up the good work, just wanted you to know that someone's reading.