Promotions: Fun For Everyone!

We got an email from Jordi yesterday filling us in on an upcoming promotion being planned by the Hudson Valley Renegades.  On July 7, the Rays affiliate plans to allow female fans only into the ballpark until the game becomes official after the fifth inning.  A variety of in-game promotions are scheduled around the event, from spa treatments to the opportunity to choose the images on the video board via remote control.

Whether you like it or not, and I can understand why some people are strongly opposed, you have to admit that this is a fun, innovative idea.  All too often, minor league teams decide to stay with the old stand-bys (Bat Day, Hat Day, Baseball Card Giveaway, etc.) instead of using their imaginations to come up with something new.  The Renegades staff came up with something new (or at least a variation on your standard Ladies Day promotion).  Good for them.

Unfortunately, as soon as I read Jordi’s email and the details of the promotion, I knew the inevitable “cease and desist” letter wouldn’t be far behind.  A minor league promotion that excludes somebody in some way, even harmlessly, even in the name of good old-fashioned fun?  God, no, we can’t have that.

The killjoy came on Friday, when Senior Assistant County Attorney Keith P. Byron sent a letter to the Renegades.  The letter suggested that the team was violating both the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and New York State Human Rights Law.

Deep breaths…deep breaths…

The problem is that Byron’s letter states that “the Renegades have advertised and sold tickets for an event to be held on July 7, 2009 at which certain ticket holders will be denied admission based solely on their gender.”  That’s not true.  Everyone who purchases a ticket to this game will be allowed into the ballpark.  All the team is asking is that men wait until after the fifth inning.  Yes, it says only females fans will be “permitted” inside until that point, but does anyone really think that’s going to be a hard and fast rule?  If a dude wants in bad enough, my guess is they’ll let him in.

As noted above, I can see why some people might be against the promotion.  It’s tough to explain to kids, for one, why it’s called a “Ball-Less” game.  I get that.  But in looking at some of the reader comments in the local paper, money also seemed to be an issue.  Some people were up in arms because they aren’t going to be able to use their tickets for half a game.  They were going to lose baseball THAT THEY PAID FOR, GOSH DANG IT!

(Fun fact: if a game is rained out and made up as part of a doubleheader, the games are seven innings, meaning you lose out on four innings of baseball – two innings from the made-up game, two innings from the game it gets paired with for the doubleheader.)

Here’s an idea: embrace the promotion instead of fighting it.  Ladies, if you have season tickets, leave the husband and kids home for the night, get a couple girlfriends together, and go have a good time.  Quit being the sort of person that complains about losing half of a minor league baseball game, and try being the sort of person who isn’t afraid to have a little fun now and then.

Seriously, where does this end?  So many promotions are exclusionary in some way.  I randomly decided to look at the promotional schedule for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the affiliated team closest  me.  This month alone, they are holding a Jewish Pride Night and a Christmas Ornament Giveaway.  In August, they’re celebrating Halloween Night and two different giveaways (T-shirts and lunch bags) aimed specifically at children.  What if I’m not Jewish?  What if I don’t celebrate Christmas?  What if I feel Halloween is a pagan holiday that is not to be treated so flippantly?  What if I want a T-shirt or a lunch bag?

I’ll tell you what: I’m going to accept that maybe the team has decided to hold a promotion that is not targeted at my particular demographic.  If I already have tickets, I’ll go anyway and hopefully enjoy myself.  If I don’t already have tickets, I’ll decide whether or not I want to go.  It’s really that simple.  Not everything has to be a fight to the death.

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