Jovenitti: Pirates promotions aplenty, counting down the best

By Tony Jovenitti

The Pirates are the best team in baseball. There I said it. Nobody else even comes… The Pirates are the best team in baseball. There I said it. Nobody else even comes close.

By now it should be apparent that I’m not judging the Pirates based off of meaningless stats such as hits or wins. The Pirates are the best team in terms of promotions and giveaways.

Where else can you go to a Major League Baseball game and get a really nice piece of memorabilia for free every time? The answer is nowhere. The Pirates management has perfected the art of producing a losing product on the field yet still putting butts in the seats because of the unbeatable promotions.

So in the spirit of summer, here are my top 10 best PNC Park promotions for the rest of the season. If you plan on going to a Pirates game, make sure you check the list first.

10. Every Thursday Home Game — T-shirt Thursday: That’s right, every Thursday game, every fan in attendance receives a free T-shirt. Who doesn’t love a free T-shirt, even if it is three sizes too big?

9. July 16 vs. Houston Astros — Beach Towel: They call it a beach towel, but I have bath towels that are bigger than this. However, it’s always nice to have a new bath towel. I always ruin my towels cleaning up kitchen spills, anyway. And if it happens to rain during the game, you can easily dry off.

8. Saturday, Aug. 21 vs. New York Mets — Pittsburgh Crawfords Caps: If there’s one thing the Pirates’ marketing team is good at, it’s making you think about the past while you try to forget about how many games behind .500 the Pirates are. This is one of those giveaways. The Crawfords were a Negro League baseball team from 1930-38, and they even won two titles.

7. Friday, Aug. 20 vs. New York Mets — Pirates Poster: Every time I walk into my bedroom, I see a bare wall. If you’re like me, I don’t want to have to go out and actually buy something to fill that space. Well, here’s a solution to that conundrum.

6. Friday, Aug. 6 vs. Colorado Rockies — Andrew McCutchen Bobblehead: Even though bobbleheads stopped being cool 10 years ago, that doesn’t stop sports teams from making dolls that vaguely resemble players and giving them out to fans. This is a special one for Pirates fans, because in 10 years, when McCutchen is winning the World Series with the Yankees, Bucs fans can say, “Hey, I have a bobblehead of him from when he played for the Pirates.”

5. Friday, Sept. 24 vs. Houston Astros — Pirates Fleece Scarf & Gloves Set: During the final series of the season, the Pirates will help fans prepare for another snowy winter by handing out Pirates gloves and scarves to every fan. So now, instead of complaining about the cold of winter when you step outside, you will be reminded of futile Pittsburgh summers.

4. Friday, July 23 vs. San Diego Padres — PNC Park Canvas Photo Wrap: Yes, a canvas photo wrap of the best ballpark in the country. This is an even better solution to the bare wall problem.

3. Friday, Sept. 17 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks — Roberto Clemente Bronze Bust: A mini statue of the best Pirate in history will be handed out. Another giveaway to make you think about the past.

2. Friday, Sept. 3 vs. Washington Nationals – Pirates Fleecie: No one is entirely certain what a “fleecie” is, but I’m guessing it’s a knock-off Snuggie. If that’s the case, then imagine everyone in the stands wearing a Snuggie during the games. And if the Pirates somehow lose to the Nationals, then I’m pretty sure Pirates fans would be the first in history to cover their faces with Snuggies instead of paper bags.

1. Post-game Concerts: The Pirates’ marketing team struck gold when it came up with this idea. Not only do post-game concerts sell out the stadium, but they actually make people stay for the whole game. For all the other giveaways, fans can leave in the first inning and still have their awesome Clemente statues. There are still four concerts left: July 24 — Steve Miller Band, Aug. 7 — George Thorogood, Sept. 4 — Luke Bryan and Sept. 25 — O.A.R.