The 4 Best Giveaways of the 2014 MLB Season
Baseball is back! Well, sort of. Spring training has been underway for weeks, and exhibition games began today with a slate of Cactus and Grapefruit league action. There's still a ways to go until things get real, but it's enough to get us pumped up for Opening Day—we can practically smell the fresh-cut outfield grass, taste the Cracker Jack and hear the "steee-rike!" calls echoing through the ballpark already.
But for as great as all that stuff is, there's one thing we're looking forward to most: the giveaways.
By now, most teams have released their promotional schedules, and while there's no shortage of cool stuff for fans—from fireworks and bring-your-dog-to-the-ballpark nights to bobblehead and cap promotions—some teams are upping the ante. Here's a look at the the four best giveaways for the 2014 season.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks - Baxter-ears Baseball Cap for Kids
The Arizona Diamondbacks are named after the diamondback adder, a snake native to the region the team calls home. So, naturally, the team's mascot is … a bobcat. Named D. Baxter. That doesn't make much sense, but it might be for the best—something tells us a "snake-ears" cap wouldn't be as big a hit. By giving kids something a bit more memorable and off-the-wall than a standard cap, the Diamondbacks are both endearing themselves to young fans and doing some viral marketing. Who wouldn't be curious after seeing a cap with bobcat ears built in? Plus, it never hurts when your promotional item is absolutely adorable.
2. Tampa Bay Rays - Joe Maddon Mr. Potato Head
The Rays are one of baseball's most creative organizations, finding ways to remain competitive year after year despite playing in one of the league's toughest divisions and operating under one of its smallest budgets. So it makes sense that the team's on-field creativity carries over into its promotional offerings. In addition to an Evan Longoria '80s Hair Band bobblehead (because why not?) the team will give away a bobblehead of manager Joe Maddon reimagined as Mr. Potato Head. The resemblance is as uncanny as it is terrifying.
3. Cleveland Indians - Nick Swisher "Brohio" Bobble Figurine
What started in 2013 as Cleveland first-baseman Nick Swisher innocuously wearing a custom "Brohio" T-shirt around the clubhouse soon blossomed into a citywide phenomenon, with fans adopting the slogan and the Indians giving away shirts and renaming a section of their ballpark "Brohio." This year, the team will take things to the next level by immortalizing Swisher—undisputedly the bro-iest bro in Major League Baseball—in "Brohio" bobblehead form. We don't yet know what the bobblehead will look like, but we're hoping it's an exact replica of this.
4. Seattle Mariners - Beard Hat
Nothing says "Seattle" like beards and wet, chilly weather, and the Mariners know it. That's why they're paying homage to a pair of time-honored Pacific Northwest traditions with this beanie, a reprise of a popular promotion the team ran last season. We'd like to scoff at it for not being nearly as nice a beard as we can grow naturally, but we can't bring ourselves to do it—that's a pretty nice beard.