Yes! Top Ten Grasshopper Games!
Floppy hat giveaway
Saturday, May 20
There are a million reasons to get out to First Horizon Park and catch a Grasshoppers game, but baseball games ‘— like poker hands and malt liquor ‘— are not created equal. Sometimes they give you stuff, like on this night in May when the first 1,500 fans at the Bellemeade Street and Plaza gates get a free floppy hat. Whatever that is. We’re guessing (and secretly hoping) they will make everybody look like Walter Matthau.
Team photo giveaway
Saturday, June 17
The thing about low A ball is that any one of these guys could conceivably land in Cooperstown some day. And if they do, you can bet that the free team photo given to the first 1,500 fans on this day might well fetch a few bucks on eBay, especially if it’s autographed.
Any day game
May 22, 30; July 18; Aug. 9
Nothing screams ‘“Skip work today!’” like a 12:30 day game. Here are some suggestions for pulling it off: 1) Don’t call in sick from the stadium ‘— nobody’s going to buy your hoarse and weary snow job if there’s a few thousand people screaming in the background. 2) Wear sunscreen because if you come in the next day with a burn you’ll have blown it. 3) If you run into your boss, wave hello and go directly to the bar. Get a beer and ask the bartender if they’re hiring.
The Fourth of July
What better way to celebrate the date of our republic’s birth than to watch nine innings of the national pastime and then watch a bunch of colorful explosions in the balmy night air? This one is gonna be a tough ticket, so book it early.
Fireworks Friday nights
May 19, 27 (Sat.); June 16, 23; July 7, 15 (Sat.), 21; Aug. 4, 18, 25, 27 (Sun.)
Down here in the South we like fireworks enough that we set ’em off whenever we feel like it. They’ll be firing every Friday home game and a few other dates, and if you’ve never seen them go off in the stadium framed by the downtown cityscape and the night sky, say from the vantage point of the YES! Weekly Party Deck, then you’re barely an American.
Baseball card giveaway
Sunday, June 18
When I was a kid we eagerly anticipated Bat Day at Yankee Stadium, where we’d each get a real Louisville Slugger. They stopped doing that some time during the ’70s for the same reason they stopped selling beer in bottles. But baseball cards are good, too, and they may someday be worth something.
Crown Auto Sunday family days
May 21, 28; June 18, 25; July 9, 16; Aug. 6, 27 (final regular season game)
You can still make it to church, but remember that for some people the ballpark is church. Family days are great for getting the kids out to the stadium, stuffing them with fatty carbs and then letting them climb it off in the right field playground, which on these occasions becomes one of the busiest (and loudest) spots in town.
Baseball hat giveaway
Saturday, June 24
It just may be impossible to top last season’s Jim Melvin bobblehead giveaway, but slinging out a few free caps is a good way to spread the merchandise (and team logo) around town. The only dilemma is finding something to wear that matches with the Grasshopper’s carrot-like color palette. Perhaps a bunny suit?
Youth glove giveaway
Saturday, July 8
When I was in Little League my batting average took a dramatic turn for the better when I started wearing a batting glove. It’s possible that it improved my grip on the bat some, but mainly it distracted my conscious mind from the stress of hitting a pitched ball. I’d fidget with it in the batter’s box and let it dangle from my back pocket when I played in the infield. It was as essential to my game as Big League Chew.
May 18; June 8, 22; July 6, 20; Aug. 3, 17, 24
The left field area of First Horizon Park has become the best sports bar in town. And on Thursday nights, when a cold beer can cost as little as a dollar, things in the Grandstand can get pretty wild. A warning: Keep your eye on the game. When quaffing coldies and scoping action it’s easy to forget you’re at a ballgame and that righties can rip foul balls right into the middle of your cocktail party. Rest assured, getting nailed with a 3-2 foul is the kind of thing that only happens to a fan once.