Opening Day is almost upon us, so it’s time to decide which games to hit (and which to avoid) by checking out the best and worst promotions and/or giveaways for all 30 teams.
Best: The Snakes have a couple of cool replica jersey giveaways (with $29 tickets to a game, that’s a steal!), but I’m gonna go with the Anime Player Tee that features Merrill Kelly, Jake McCarthy, and Corbin Carroll. It’s different, it’s dope, and it’ll appeal to the kids – which the sports desperately needs.
Worst: Faith & Family Night. I have no issues with the event, but the postgame new-age Christian pop concert following a game against the Cincinnati Reds will inevitably be one of the saddest nights of the year.
Best: This one is easy: the OutKast Bobblehead. Bump their best album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, on your way to the game.
Worst: Another easy one, The Home Depot “Phil the Bucket” Bobblehead for the first 3,000 kids on May 21. I know that we must bow down to our Corporate Overlords, but nobody wants this. Couldn’t it at least be like Austin Riley wearing an orange apron? Who the hell is Phil the Bucket? Is he like Mr. Bucket?
Best: Hawaiian Shirt and Floppy Hat Night(s) happening back-to-back in July. It’s a Baltimore tradition. Last year, as the team’s winning streak coincided with these giveaways, Manager Brandon Hyde said, “We need to have a weekly Friday floppy hat night, Saturday Hawaiian shirt night.”
Worst: Not a ton of bad ones here, so I’m gonna go Firework Fridays. We always stay and watch, but they smell terrible and stop us from going out the gate closest to our car.
⚾Boston Red Sox
Best: Lots of good ones here, but I’m gonna go with the most unique. Forget bobbles or shirts, how about Alex Verdugo’s Grillz replicas? No picture(s) on the website, which is disappointing.
Worst: Postgame Drone Show. What the hell is that? Who wants that? The KIDS?
⚾Chicago White Sox
Best: A ton of good options. This is probably the best overall lineup, including replica White Sox jerseys for all other majors sports: football, basketball, hockey, and soccer. I couldn’t pick a favorite, so I’m gonna go with the 1993 American League West Division Champs Crewneck. It’s a dope throwback.
Worst: Really no bad options here, so I’m gonna go Baseball Card Pack by Topps. It’s just basic. But I’m sure it’ll make a lot of kids happy so if that’s the worst you got, good job White Sox Marketing team.
Best: The Rookie of the Year 30th Anniversary Day Bobblehead. I’ve never seen Rookie of the Year – should I watch it for my Baseball Movies series?
Worst: The NASCAR Night Clark Bobblehead giveaway. I’m sorry, but a NASCAR crossover just doesn’t work.
Best: The Johnny Bench Funko POP! is dope, but the winner is Zac Brown Band Post-Game Benefit Concert 4-ALS. That’s a great (baseball-related) cause and a band that, in a 60-minute set, can play nothing but bangers.
Worst: The other Post-Game Concerts stink. The Zac Brown one sets such a high bar.
Best: The Mystery Gold Glove replica. Fans will receive a replica Gold Glove trophy for one of the Guardians’ four Gold Glove winners: Shane Bieber, Andrés Giménez, Steven Kwan or Myles Straw. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Worst: Trucker Cap (no picture). It’s just basic.
Best: The 30th Anniversary Todd Helton Jersey is the easy winner here. A timeless jersey for the ultimate franchise player in a monumental anniversary year?
Worst: LED Bulb Exit Giveaway. I wish I was kidding.
Best: Negro Leagues Replica Jersey on the night of the 26th Annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game, Saturday, July 22. This is your regular reminder that Josh Gibson hit 800 home runs.
Worst: Javy Baez Sunglasses. You can’t see the sun, but you also can’t see the baseball.
Best: Lots of good options, obviously, as they just won the World Series and everything is centered around that, from replica rings to jerseys. However, I’m going to choose the Jeremy Peña MVP Bobblehead.
Worst: Movie Night on August 2. No more details given. What movie – Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2?
⚾Kansas City Royals
Best: Teachers Night, but you do need to get a separate ticket for the giveaway…because teachers have a ton of disposable income. Not a lot to work with here and I like the design.
Worst: Heart & Stroke Awareness Night. I understand awareness matters blah blah, go get regular checkups blah, but who is gonna see this and go “We could go on Tuesday, but Wednesday is Heart & Stroke Awareness Night!”
⚾Los Angeles Angels
Best and Worst: Everything is Trout and Ohtani so it’s all a tie.
⚾ Los Angeles Dodgers
Best: Jackie Robinson Jersey. Lots of Jackie giveaways on Jackie Robinson Day, but this is the best for obvious reasons.
Worst: Multiple Drone Shows. Yuck!
Best and Worst: I actually can’t tell because the pictures for everything on the website are so insanely blurry, it’s reminiscent of 2003 dial-up – a year I’m sure the Marlins would like to revisit.
Best: This might be the best giveaway anywhere – the Giannis Antetokounmpo Brewers City Connect Basketball Jersey. A literal slam dunk.
Worst: Season Seat Holder Appreciation Day. Brewers Season Seat Holders receive 25% off concessions and $25 off retail purchases of $100 or more. Do they not already get these things?
Best: Native American Heritage Night Hat. No picture, but it sound dope.
Worst: Byron Buxton Replica Jersey. Good for 42 games a year!
⚾New York Yankees
Best: Satchel Paige Bobblehead Night. It’s a bit of a cheat because Satchel played for the New York Black Yankees in 1941, but I’m down for anything that introduces kids to Negro Leaguers.
Worst: Yankees Beach Towel, because when I think of the beach, I think of the Bronx.
⚾New York Mets
Best: The Buck Showalter-Inspired Windbreaker because when I think of fashion, I think of Buck Showalter.
Worst: This could have been in the running for best, but the Edwin Diaz Trumpet Bobblehead just hurts too bad. (In reality, these two should be switched.)
Best: Their Pride Night has a Glenn Burke Pride Socks giveaway, honoring the first MLB player to come out as gay.
Worst: Most other nights. Why would you want to go to an Oakland A’s game?
Best: Lots of great postgame concerts, but Shaq aka DJ Diesel takes the cake.
Worst: I’m disappointed that when we are town to see the Red Sox on May 7th that we will be getting the Ladies Crossbody Bag.
Best and Worst: Miller Lite Happy Hour. Most teams have a regular Happy Hour event, but few teams need it like the Pirates.
⚾San Diego Padres
Best: The Juan Soto Shuffle Bobblehead is pretty dope because he’s pretty dope.
Worst: This is actually a cool giveaway, but I think it’s funny that they had to do the Fernando Tatis Jr. Bobblehead giveaway in September…
⚾San Francisco Giants
Best and Worst: They’re doing a ton of Theme Nights, from Harry Potter to Indiana Jones to Friends to Star Wars to Bruce Lee to Peanuts, so there’s something for everybody.
Best: All hail King Felix at Félix Hernández Mariners Hall of Fame Induction Night.
Worst: There’s really nothing bad here, so I guess I’ll go with the Schedule Magnet because it’s just basic and everyone does it.
⚾St. Louis Cardinals
Best: Pujols and Molina retire and they decide to memorialize them with Pitching Bobbleheads. That’s hysterical. I’m gonnna miss hitters pitching.
Worst: The Mystery Cardinals Henley is just so out of style.
⚾Tampa Bay Rays
Best: The Wade Boggs Can Cooler, because what screams Wade Boggs more than something to hold your beer?
Worst: Pride Day. This is usually a great thing, but not in Tampa.
Best: The Retired Numbers Cap looks really cool.
Worst: (It’s kinda cool, but) I’m sure the kids will love the Fergie Jenkins 1974 Replica Jersey.
⚾Toronto Blue Jays
Best: The Replica Cricket Jersey is at least unique!
Worst: I’m sorry, but the Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Gold Glove Bobblehead Giveaway just pisses me off. How did he win that?
Best: Many teams have Pups in the Park, but this is the only one that I can take my dog to – especially when the Red Sox come to town on August 16.
Worst: On Harry Potter Night, they’re giving away Hogwarts House Scarves – but you don’t get to pick! I’m no Hufflepuff!