A baseball game alone is reward enough for the hardcore fans among us. But if you’re the type of person who needs additional inducement to get out to the ballpark, New York City’s teams are ready to accommodate you with giveaways, guest appearances and other gimmicks. Read on for some of our favorites.
1. Derek Jeter Night
May 14, Yankees
Derek Jeter, a five-time World Series champion and the player most associated with the Yankees’ 1990s and 2000s return to glory, has long been a shoo-in to have his number 2 retired by the club. That means all the single digits are now taken.
2. Pizza Battle
August 4, Cyclones
The Cyclones—rebranded for a day as the Brooklyn Slices—defend the honor of New York City pizza with on-field contests and a giveaway “pizza delivery cap.” Hundreds of miles away, a Cubs affiliate (weirdly enough, one based in South Carolina) pushes Chicago deep dish. It’s silly to pretend that this is even a question—no city can touch NYC’s slice superiority—but we’re excited to finally cheer a team named after pizza.
3. Noah Syndergaard Hair Hat
May 6, Mets
The Mets’ rotation has some of the best pitchers in baseball, and some of the best hair. Newcomer Robert Gsellman has flowing brown locks—as does Jacob deGrom, who the team honored with his own hair hat last year. Now it’s Syndergaard’s turn. In this screenplay we’re writing, a little kid puts on that hat and can suddenly throw 100 miles per hour.
July 4 and various other dates, Staten Island Yankees
The Staten Island Yankees aren’t the only local team to host fireworks nights, but the views from Richmond County Bank Ballpark make an especially nice backdrop for pyrotechnics.
5. Villain Appreciation Day
July 19, Cyclones
We don’t have many specifics about this promotion, but we’re told it will involve an appearance by Christopher McDonald—the man who played Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore.
6. Old-Timers’ Day
June 25, Yankees
It’s another chance for fans to catch a glimpse of distinguished Yankees emeriti as they return to the diamond.
7. Matt Harvey Garden Gnome
April 22, Mets
In the tradition of last year’s Syndergaarden Gnome, another star Mets pitcher gets the miniaturized, plastic treatment. It’s perfect for placing next to your Adriana Lima garden gnome.
8. Gary Sanchez Bobblehead Day
April 30, Yankees
With less than a full major league season under his belt, young Yankee Gary Sanchez is immortalized as a staple ballpark giveaway.
9. Asdrubal Cabrera Bobblehead Day
July 1, Mets
Another bobblehead? Yes. But miniature Asdrubal Cabrera is one of the most exuberant bobbleheads you’ll ever see, raising his arms in the air to celebrate a home run that helped the 2016 Mets clinch a playoff spot.
10. 1977 World Championship Fan Ring Day
September 17, Yankees
Four decades after the tumultuous 1977 New York Yankees season ended in a World Series championship for Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Billy Martin and company, the team gives out championship rings to its fans.
11. Seinfeld Night
August 5, Cyclones
As we’ve told you before, Seinfeld is the New Yorkiest television show of all time. And this has to be one of the most enjoyable minor-league promotions ever, too: it’s featured appearances by the real Kenny Kramer and the men who played the Soup Nazi and J. Peterman, not to mention a Little Kicks dance contest and a park temporarily renamed for Vandelay Industries. What’s the deal with this year? Stay tuned for details.
12. Free Shirt Fridays
Friday home games, Mets
The Mets give away free T-shirts on Friday home games, and we like free T-shirts. Our favorite design on first glance is the June 2 edition, featuring Jacob deGrom’s hair and pitching arm.