Putting the Fun in Philanthrofunphy
From 50-50 raffles to jersey auctions to rappelling mascots, Minor League teams are well-versed in the art of raising money for charity. And, lately, some teams have taken their philanthropic endeavors in bold new directions.
Take the Sacramento River Cats — please — who last month announced that they will issue a $1 fine to anyone who spells their name incorrectly:
You’ve been warned: the moniker “River Cats” is comprised of two words, with a capital “R” and a capital “C.” Effective immediately, all members of the local and national media, River Cats corporate partners, full- or part-time River Cats staff, and season, flex, and mini-plan ticket holders will be fined $1 for spelling “River Cats” incorrectly.
All money collected will go to the River Cats Foundation, which has contributed more than $1.5 million in cash and $16.2 million in in-kind donations to the greater Sacramento community since 2000.
This despite the fact that the team’s Twitter handle is @rivercats — no underscore! — and their logo doesn’t really make a point of separating “River” and “Cats.”
The River Cats’ initiative brings up a larger issue, in that there is a complete lack of uniformity when it comes to Minor League monikers. The Charleston RiverDogs do not use a space between River and Dogs, for example, while the Delmarva Shorebirds go the one word, no caps route. The Minor Leagues are a grammatical minefield, their team names as unregulated as a 19th century western territory brothel.
Another unique fundraising effort comes courtesy of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, who partnered with outbid.com in order to host a live online auction featuring team owner Donald Moore as auctioneer.
Outbid is said to “combine the theater and transparency of live online auctions with social gaming features,” and its existence means that we are all one step closer to living in a Utopian society. Items that the Grasshoppers auctioned off included team-autographed baseballs, a night in a 24-person ballpark suite and, best of all, an autographed Willie Nelson jersey.
Finally, we turn our attention to the Lancaster JetHawks (who, it should be noted, recently had to postpone one of their games due to a haboob).
The JetHawks won the California League championship last season, and now fans are being given the chance to get a ring.
Swiped from the press release:
The Lancaster JetHawks have partnered with two local little leagues to host a special raffle giving two individuals the opportunity to win an authentic customized 2012 California League Championship Ring. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to West Lancaster and Quartz Hill Little Leagues.
Raffle tickets are on sale now and will be sold through June 10. Tickets will be available for $5 each, or five for $20….The winning raffle tickets will be drawn just prior to the JetHawks game on June 12. The two winners will receive custom-made rings personalized with their own last name during a special pre-game ceremony that will take place at a JetHawks game in late August.
And that shall conclude this blogging week, which was admittedly a light one. And when things are light on the blog it’s always a good bet that they’re correspondingly heavy over on MiLB.com Head to the site for Promo Preview, an Opening Weekend Crooked Numbers column, and three — count ’em three — pieces of content related to 42.
I do it all for you, as “you” is what I have nicknamed my paycheck.
As always, I’m a big fan of the minor league insights you provide, Ben. Especially when you highlight my favorite team, the Greensboro Grasshoppers. I saw stuff about the auction before it happened, but I never heard if it ended up being successful or not. Hope it was.
Also hope you’re able to hit the Carolinas again soon for some of the awesome baseball we have down here. Hate that I missed catching up with you when you were here last time.