After just over 2 full seasons in Minor League baseball, it is time that I accept the following fact: I am going to witness strangeness. Fairly often, that strangeness comes in the form of mid-inning promotions. Until recently, though, I would have difficulty choosing a clear winner in the category: weirdest mid-inning promotion of all time. Thanks to creative minds in North Carolina, my choice is now an easy one.
A staple and an undeniably enjoyable part of Minor League baseball, mid-inning promotions are those family-friendly, local-business sponsored, off-the-wall creative events that take place between selected innings during a Minor League game. Although the promotions vary by stadium, some common examples are the dizzy-bat race, the mascot vs. cute kid race around the bases, and the mascot vs. fan dance-off. These are a few of the more generic mid-inning games. As you are about to find out, a stadium’s staff will occasionally venture far, far off the promotionally beaten path.
At some point during the middle of our first game against the Carolina Mudcats, I looked up, then thought, “this can’t be what I think it is.” I looked a little closer and realized, “this is exactly what I think it is.” Unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact name of the promotion or the company that sponsored it, so I will just explain what I saw. There were 3 kids on each team, and they were in a race. The race was similar to a potato sack race. However, instead of collaborating inside one large potato sack, each team worked together inside one enormous pair of whitey-tighties.
That’s right, it was a team vs. team race whereby each set of 3 children was informed that they were to step together into the largest pair of underwear* they had ever seen–if whales wore underwear they’d need a smaller size. Each team of 3 was to then run as fast as possible to a nearby cone, turn around, and run back. The first trio to cross the finish line still wearing its collective undies would be declared the winner.
The crowd roared, likely with laughter, and loved it. The kids loved it. The underwear? Well, the underwear was put under a lot of stretch.. In spite of the strangeness, the promotion was a success. Yes, if I were a baseball fan living near Zebulon, NC, I would surely look forward to my next opportunity to attend Five County Stadium, grab a hot dog and peanuts, catch some AA Mudcat action, and watch local children race each other in the infamous underwear race.
*Disclosure: The children remained fully clothed during the entirety of the event.