In the tradition of Bill Veeck, New York City's major- and minor-league baseball teams do not rely solely on the quality of the product on the field, outstanding though it may be, to draw fans. To help fill their ballparks, they schedule theme days and giveaways.
Here, scientifically ranked, are our favorite promotional days the local teams have announced for 2016.
1. Mike Piazza Number Retirement Ceremony
July 30, Mets
The Mets are stingy with the retired numbers. They've been around since 1962, and the only player whose number has been retired is Tom Seaver (his number 41 sits alongside managers Casey Stengel and Gil Hodges—plus Jackie Robinson, whose number is retired throughout baseball). So new Hall of Famer Mike Piazza's number 31 being taken out of circulation is a huge deal.
2. Mariano Rivera Monument Park Ceremony
August 14, Yankees
The Yankees have retired a lot more numbers than the Mets, but that takes nothing away from Mr. Rivera, who's probably the greatest closer in the history of baseball.
3. Old Timers' Day
June 12, Yankees
In one of their more endearing traditions, the Yankees welcome back alumni to lace up the cleats and trot around the diamond once again.
4. Full House Tribute Night
July 9, Brooklyn Cyclones
The Mets' short-season Single-A team has mastered the art of viral promo days (previous winners have included Seinfeld and Jersey Shore nights, along with a truly bizarre "Salute to Pregnancy"), and this one's sure to stir up plenty of attention as well with activities like an "Uncle Jesse air guitar contest" and a "'How Rude' pout-off." Do we love Full House? Nope. But rumor has it the night's giveaway, a John Stamos bobblehead, will feature realistic hair. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Fridays and Saturdays, Staten Island Yankees
The Mets will have fireworks on July 2, and the Cyclones set them off on weekends—but we'll give special recognition to the Staten Island Yankees because their waterfront ballpark has one of the great views in sports.
6. Yoenis Cespedes Compression Sleeve Giveaway
July 3, Mets
The first 15,000 fans through the gates are scheduled to get canary-yellow compression sleeves just like the one worn by the Mets' Bunyanesque, car-collecting cleanup hitter. Put it on and look like 75 million bucks.
7. 1996 Champions Anniversary Celebration
August 13, Yankees
By 1996, the Yankees had gone, for them, a long time between titles. Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and company ushered in a new dynasty and restored the Bronx Bombers to their proper place as heroes in the Bronx and villains to the rest of baseball. Here's a chance to give 'em a hand.
8. Holiday Sweater Jerseys
August 25, Cyclones
Ever conscious of trends, the Cyclones don't care that it's August—because the kids love so-ugly-they're-cool holiday sweater designs, they're giving away a novelty jersey with one such design.
9. Babe Ruth Bobblehead
April 23, Yankees
One of history's greatest sluggers is now available in portable yes-man form.
10. Styx Postgame Concert
August 13, Mets
As if an August Mets game isn't enough, fans at this one get to sail away with prog-pop favorites Styx after the last out. We bet they'll play baseball ballad "Babe." Thank you very much, Mr. Wilpon-do! Wait, that pun was embarrassing. Where's the delete key?
11. Noah Syndergaard-en Gnome
April 30, Mets
Visitors to your lawn will think twice about crowding the plate when they see this guy waiting for them.
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New York Yankees Home field: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx (tickets) Who they are: The Bronx Bombers; winners of 27 World Series and wearers of classic pinstriped uniforms; the team of Joltin’ Joe, The Mick, The Babe and many more evocatively nicknamed all-time greats. What’s going on: The days of the Yankees flexing their financial muscle on the free-agent market have been in retrograde the past two off-seasons. Why you should go: Well, for one thing, they're the New York Yankees. How to get there: Take the B, D or 4 train up to 161st St–Yankee Stadium; the stop is right in front of the ballpark. What to eat: The favorites are fairly clear-cut: Parm, for chicken or meatball subs, and Lobel’s, for carved steak sandwiches. NYC SPORTS nyc baseball guide Check out the rest of our coverage for every local team.
When it comes to America's pastime, New York is like four cities in one. Read on for details about why NYC is the best place to take yourself out to the ball game.