Uncomfortable on an airplane? Thanks, Giants, and thanks, Buster Posey, for this unique 2020 “promotional item.”
MLB fans love free stuff. They also love free weird stuff, with team logos and sponsor names plastered all over.
Here is a list of the quirkiest items you can collect from each MLB team with the purchase of a regular-season ticket in 2020. Note that promotions and special events are subject to change.
National League East
On June 23, the first 15,000 fans through the gates will receive a replica Ronald Acuña Jr. chain, for some reason.
On August 30, you could become the proud owner of a solar dancing Billy the Marlin figurine. Dancing Billy the Marlin is designed to distract you from the pain of the tortured existence of at least 10% of the Marlins’ fan base.
New York Mets
On May 30, the Mets will give away a Mrs. Met as DC Comics’ Wonder Woman bobblehead to the first 25,000 fans. As if a humanoid baseball wasn’t already terrifying enough — now she’s trying on costumes and entering the world of cosplay.
The Phillies are getting in the Earth Day spirit by offering all fans a reusable straw set on April 22. Philadelphia sports fans love the planet, everyone.
The reigning World Series champions mostly offer bobbleheads that are limited to the first 10,000 fans because they want someone to get punched in the face, but on July 26 they will give away a yet to be specified “Sesame Street Item” that might appeal to those baseball fans who also really love Big Bird. Like most of their other promo items, the Sesame Street exclusive will only be available to the first 10,000 people through the gates.
National League Central
On May 9, the Cubs will knock off a 2018 Red Sox promotion by offering the first 10,000 fans a Craig Kimbrel Grow-a-Beard. This item is essentially a far less adorable Chia Pet. If you feel like you missed out on this opportunity in 2018, or you’re just a big plant person, this is a wonderful chance to fill that inexplicable hole in your heart.
Cincinnati consistently have some of the best quirky items in the game, and 2020 is no exception. On April 26, the team is giving away a commemorative Marty Brennaman microphone (with a sound chip honoring Marty’s Reds Hall of Fame induction) to the first 20,000 fans.
America loves Bob Uecker, so the Brewers offer a new Uecker giveaway item just about every year. This year they’re giving away a Bob Uecker talking bobblehead on June 28. This will look great next to the Bob Uecker magic 8-ball, Bob Uecker alarm clock, and Bob Uecker talking bottle opener you may have already accumulated.
The Pirates offer their fans a wide variety of giveaway items every season — from wearables to pierogi bobbleheads. On August 7, the first 20,000 fans can be the envy of baseball fans everywhere by obtaining a Pirates fedora. *tips*
St. Louis Cardinals
Like their division counterparts, the Pirates, the Cardinals offer their fans a large selection of promos. On May 23, the first 30,000 fans who are 16+ will receive a Paul Goldschmidt bobblehead. But it’s not just a Paul Goldschmidt bobblehead, but a bobblehead that includes Goldschmidt’s golden retriever and a photo frame for fans to insert a photo of any dog they happen to love.
This promo is for Purina Pooches in the Ballpark, an event where fans can bring their dogs into Busch Stadium with a special ticket. Most teams now have at least one “bark at the park” event on their schedule, but not all offer a dog-related giveaway to non-special-ticket fans. Cool move, Cardinals.
National League West
The Diamondbacks don’t love promos, and they especially don’t love unique promos. The most interesting giveaway on their schedule is April 11. The first 20,000 fans will receive a Ketel Marte switch-hitter bobblehead that depicts him batting lefty and batting righty. Two Ketel Martes in one figurine? Amazing.
As of March 3, the Rockies website reads “2020 Rockies Promotional Item Schedule is coming soon!” The Rockies don’t want you to come to Coors Field in 2020. They’re not making moves, and they’re not giving you freebies. Perhaps all their scheduled promos for the season featured Nolan Arenado.
The good news is the Ketel Marte switch-hitter bobblehead is offered at a Rockies at Diamondbacks game, for any Rockies fan looking to jump ship.
Los Angeles Dodgers
On April 18, the Dodgers are offering a short-sleeve hooded t-shirt, which sounds like the dumbest clothing item imaginable — but also very appropriate for this team.
San Diego Padres
Do you like the Padres? Probably not. But do you like PUPPIES? Good news: The Padres are giving away a Padres & Puppies calendar on March 29 in an attempt to reduce your hatred of Manny Machado. Giveaway is limited to the first 15,000 fans in attendance.
San Francisco Giants
Ah, San Francisco, a hub of technological innovation. Such innovation has manifested itself into the Giants’ “Buster Hugs” neck pillow giveaway on May 30. The first 20,000 fans will receive the chance to think about Buster Posey every time they’re uncomfortable on an airplane. Someone somewhere is very proud of this idea.
Honorable mentions include the Lou Seal “Flipper” hat on May 9, the Johnny Cueto gnome on July 25, and a Star Wars Yoda hat on August 29. Unlike the Dodgers, the Giants did have the wonderful thought to include long sleeves in their hooded t-shirt giveaway on April 22. Innovation.
American League East
The Orioles have plenty of scheduled giveaways planned for 2020 to drive fans to Camden Yards in spite of the likelihood of abysmal on-field performance, but they tend to favor practical over peculiar: infinity scarves, fanny packs, and beach towels, oh my! On June 21 they are offering a canvas beverage holder to the first 10,000 males 18 and over. That’s correct: only men are qualified to receive what is assumed to be a hipster version of the koozie … but that’s because it’s Father’s Day!
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox fans are offering a series of player-designed hats as giveaways this year — probably to try to make fans care about the humanity of the remaining product on the field after crushing losses in the offseason. Fans lining up at Fenway will receive a Xander Bogaerts-designed hat on June 30, a Chris Sale-designed hat on July 12, and an E-Rodriguez designed hat on August 16. Player-designed gear is becoming more common across sports — no longer just a characteristic of the NBA.
New York Yankees
As you might expect from a team that has guidelines for facial hair, the Yankees have standard promotional item fare: ordinary bobbleheads and collectible cups. This year, the club is emphasizing the 20th anniversary of the 2000 World Series team, including a beer stein on May 22 and a commemorative bat for those 14 and under on June 7. The team must be feeling down after not securing a World Series victory in the 2010s despite massively large payrolls.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays, obsessed with audio bobbleheads, will offer six of them in total to all fans throughout the season: Charlie Morton on May 9, Willy Adames on May 30, Tyler Glasnow on June 13, Ji-Man Choi on June 27, Blake Snell on July 28, and Austin Meadows on August 29. That’s essentially their entire promotional budget spent on talking toys.
Toronto Blue Jays
Nothing says Canadian baseball like a Chewbacca messenger bag, which the Blue Jays will offer their first 15,000 fans upon entrance on August 15. Not a Star Wars fan and looking for more traditional yet still fun giveaways? Check out the Canadian Day Vlad & Dad dual bobblehead on July 1, or relive the 90s with the Blue Jays floppy hat on August 1.
American League Central
Chicago White Sox
No team in the Majors offers more wearable promotional items than the Chicago White Sox. They give away free T-shirts at all Thursday home games, each with a unique design, as well as a plethora of other clothing options throughout the season: puffy vests, hoodies, jerseys, and Hawaiian-inspired shirts. On June 27, they’re giving away a White Sox basketball jersey that includes an outline of the Chicago skyline to the first 20,000 fans — a fun get, especially if you’re a fan of both baseball and basketball.
Nothing screams Cleveland like a trip to the beach. On August 12, the Indians are giving away round beach towels to the first 10,000 fans. That’s right. You can sit on the shores of Lake Erie on a non-rectangular surface if you secure this bad boy.
On June 12, the Detroit Tigers are giving away a chip and dip bowl to all fans. If you like chips and you like dips, this would be an excellent night at the ballpark for you. There are so many types of chips and so many types of dips. The possibilities are endless.
Kansas City Royals
The first 10,000 fans through the gates at Kauffman Stadium on May 16 are set to receive a welcome home mat. People in the Midwest love saying hello with a side of passive aggression, so this makes sense.
All fans going to Target Field on June 27 are set to receive an LED energy-efficient light bulb. That’s right: a light bulb. The Twin Cities are a beacon of practicality.
American League West
Instead of keeping their heads hung low in embarrassment and shame, like they very well should be doing, the Astros have decided to go all-in on their 2019 AL pennant the first week of the season. Fans can receive a replica ALCS trophy on March 27, an AL Champions ring on March 28, and a Jose Altuve ALCS MVP Bobblehead on March 29.
This isn’t quirky; it’s just definitive proof that the Astros organization deserves all the scrutiny baseball fans can muster.
Los Angeles Angels
If you go to Angel Stadium (of Anaheim) on May 13, you may be one of 30,000 lucky people receiving a cowbell.
Other notable giveaways are an Angels rally monkey on May 31, an Shohei Ohtani snow globe on June 12, Anthony Rendon playing cards on June 21, a rope hat on August 14, an Ohtani pillow on August 19, a hockey helmet beanie on September 4, and a growler on September 25. If you like unique baseball promotional giveaways, Anaheim is the place to be.
The A’s drum-beating bleacher fans who cause many opposing fans anguish and despair will be celebrated on July 19 with a currently vague “bleacher tribute giveaway” listed on the team’s schedule. This celebration will happen against the Astros, which one can hope was intentional.
The Mariners are giving away 15,000 patriotic cowboy hats on July 4, as one often thinks about cowboys when in Seattle.
Like the Rockies, the Rangers haven’t released a promotional schedule as of March 3, but maybe Seattle is willing to share some patriotic cowboy hats?