Veeck and explosives top Friday the 13th promos
George Sherrill, second from the left, won Hickory's hairy scary back contest, earning $1,500 worth of laser hair removal.
By Chuck King
The lone Friday the 13th of the season meant one thing to minor league baseball front offices: the opportunity for a scary-good time.
Several clubs used the date as an opportunity to celebrate Halloween in June. Another handful opted to bring elements from the 1980s slasher movie series to their ballpark.
Brockton of the Can-Am League offered more of back-to-the-future theme with their Spygate Demolition Night. In a promo eerily reminiscent of the Chicago White Sox Death to Disco Night in the late 1970s, the Rox asked their fans to bring any home videotapes they felt contained incriminating evidence that needed to be destroyed.
A sellout crowd watched as Rox officials dressed in New England Patriots garb wheeled a dumpster full of video tapes to second base. Mike Veeck, the mastermind behind Death to Disco and a part owner of the Rox, flipped the switch, explosively eliminating all the evidence.
“When you put explosives and Mike Veeck together, something good is going to come from it,” Brockton general manager Brian Voelkel said.
Other clubs chose to push the boundaries to something truly scary. Hickory offered the Hairy Scary Back Contest, where the Crawdads asked men only, thankfully, to compete for the title of the hairiest back around.
Steve Sherrill out-woollied the other three finalists, winning a laser hair removal package valued at $1,500.
Instead of fearing the power of Friday the 13th, Reading chose to tempt fate. As part of Paranoia Night, the Eastern League’s Phillies broke mirrors and walked under ladders before the game. Shortly after the games first pitch, public address announcer Frenchy Bauman announced the pitchers were working on no-hitters.
While the no-hitters didn’t hold, the rest of the bad luck omens seemed to cancel each other out. The Phillies rallied to beat Trenton. J.D. Durbin, who entered the game winless on the season despite a sub-2.00 ERA since coming down to Reading, shed his bad luck and picked up the victory.
And then there was Grand Prairie. The American Association’s AirHogs didn’t find the Dallas metro area scary enough. Joe Pool Lake, located near the ballpark, is generally regarded as placid. Grand Prairie asked its fans to determine what a monster would look like, should one suddenly decide to relocate.
“I thought it went well,” AirHogs spokesman Alan Barr said. “The people seemed to get into the Friday the 13th theme. It was successful.”
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