05/30/2006 10:37 AM ET
Get groovy with top 10 upcoming promotions
What's going on this week in the Minors?
By Benjamin Hill
Each week MiLB.com uncovers the top 10 upcoming promotions taking place across the Minor Leagues.
Connecticut Defenders (Eastern League)
Cutter's Birthday Celebration
Tuesday, May 30 vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats
2006 has been a season of firsts for baseball in Connecticut. This past October, the state's Eastern League franchise changed its name from the Norwich Navigators to the Connecticut Defenders. And with the new name came a new mascot: Cutter the Bald Eagle. Cutter turns a year old on Tuesday, and the Defenders will be celebrating this momentous occasion all game long. How quickly they grow up; it seems like only yesterday that Cutter was a mere hatchling.
Vero Beach Dodgers (Florida State League)
Hurricane Awareness Night
Wednesday, May 31 vs. St. Lucie Mets
Hurricane season starts on June 1, and everyone living in the Sunshine State needs to be prepared. Baseball fans who desire a refresher course on how to best get ready for a hurricane would do well to attend Wednesday's game in Vero Beach. Hurricane preparation tips will be doled out over the course of the game, and one fan will win a brand-new generator. Additionally, those who share a name with a 2006 Atlantic storm will get in for half price. Unfortunately, former Baltimore Oriole Storm Davis is not scheduled to appear.
Brevard County Manatees (FSL)
Thursday, June 1 vs. Lakeland Tigers
Manatees are sometimes known as "sea cows", so it's appropriate that the Brevard County Manatees are the team responsible for this unique cowbell giveaway. That's right; fans that arrive early to Thursday's game against Lakeland will receive a cowbell with a Manatees logo. Those who are worried about being driven insane by the incessant noise should take solace in this fact: draft beer will be just $1, all game long.
Rochester Red Wings (International League)
Goose Gossage Appearance
Thursday, June 1 vs. Columbus Clippers
Rich "Goose" Gossage made more than 1,000 appearances during his 22-year Major League career, an average of 65 every 162 games. Old habits must be hard to break -- Gossage retired in 1994, yet he still continues to make appearances. On Thursday, the celebrated former reliever will grace Rochester's Frontier Field with his presence. Gossage will sign autographs from 6 to 6:50 p.m. ET, throw out the first pitch, then return to sign autographs until 8.
Peoria Chiefs (Midwest League)
Ron Santo Bobblehead Giveaway
Friday, June 2 vs. Peoria Chiefs
After a decade-long fling with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Peoria Chiefs resumed their affiliation with the Chicago Cubs in 2005. And what better way to re-solidify the club's Chicago credentials than by giving away Ron Santo Bobblehead Dolls? Santo, a former Cubs third baseman and current broadcaster, will always bleed Cubbie blue. His bobblehead doll, lacking the characteristics of a living organism, will not bleed at all.
Altoona Curve (EL)
Barry Williams (aka "Greg Brady") Appearance
Saturday, June 3 vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats
You may know Barry Williams from his guest spots on such shows as "According to Jim," "Murder She Wrote" and "Three's Company." But then again, probably not. If you know Barry Williams, it's almost certainly through his role as Greg Brady on the long-running sitcom "The Brady Bunch." Fans in Altoona can re-live the '70s on Saturday, when Williams makes an appearance at Blair County Ballpark. Caution! Three decades have passed since "The Brady Bunch" went off the air. Seeing the once-groovy Williams as a 51-year-old man may serve as a painful reminder of your own mortality.
Charleston RiverDogs (South Atlantic League)
Salute to the Cardboard Box
Saturday, June 3 vs. Columbus Catfish
Since its invention in 1890, the corrugated cardboard box has been put to a lot of uses. The unassuming but essential item revolutionized the shipping industry and provided Americans with a low-cost, effective way to store their belongings. But rarely has the cardboard box gotten the praise it deserves -- until now. The always-innovative Charleston RiverDogs will be celebrating the cardboard box during Saturday's game against Columbus. Fans will likely learn more about cardboard than they ever thought they'd know, and cardboard boxes will be given away throughout the contest.
Tampa Yankees (FSL)
Appearance by Tony Perez
Saturday, June 3 vs. St. Lucie Mets
An integral part of Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" teams of the mid-'70s, Hall of Famer Tony Perez hit 379 home runs and drove in 1,652 runs over his 20-year career. On Saturday, the 64-year-old native of Cuba will be appearing at Tampa's Legends Field to help raise awareness for Strike Out High Cholesterol, a national cholesterol education campaign. Those wishing to procure an autograph must arrive at the ballpark early: Perez will sign for the first 200 fans to obtain a wristband at the team's Guest Services desk.
Indianapolis Indians (IL)
Sunday, June 4 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons
Zach Duke was named the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher in 2005 after going 12-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 16 starts for Indianapolis. He then received a call-up to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he went 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA. On Sunday, the Indians will honor Duke's remarkable season by giving away a "Zach-in-the-Box" featuring a toy version of the 23-year-old right-hander inside.
Buffalo Bisons (IL)
Grady Sizemore Bobbleheads
Monday, June 5 vs. Buffalo Bisons
Grady Sizemore did just about everything right in 2005, his first full season in the Major Leagues. The 24-year-old Cleveland Indian hit .289 with 22 home runs and was rewarded after the season with a six-year, $23.45 -million dollar contract. He even has a dedicated contingent of admiring female fans, "Grady's Ladies." In 2004, however, Sizemore was a Minor League prospect. That season, he played with the Buffalo Bisons, where he hit .288 over 423 at-bats. On Monday, Buffalo will recognize Sizemore's ascendancy to baseball royalty by presenting the first 4,000 fans in attendance with a bobblehead doll bearing the center fielder's likeness.
Upcoming: Jonathan Papelbon Bobbleheads (Portland, June 7), Christmas in June (Tulsa, June 8), Wedding Renewal Night (Brevard County, June 9), Tucson Toros Cap Giveaway (Tucson, June 10), Matt Holliday Bobbleheads (Tulsa, June 10), Drillers Stadium Mini Replica Giveaway (Tulsa, June 24), Soap Opera Saturday (Syracuse, June 24), Jimmy Buffet Tribute Night (Tennessee, June 25), Randy Johnson Bobbleheads (Trenton, June 26), George Washington Bobbleheads (Hagerstown, July 1), Dora the Explorer Appearance (Columbus, July 1), Ryne Sandberg's Number Retired (Reading, July 2), Frivolous Lawsuit Night (Altoona, July 2), Tribute to Montreal with El Presidente Dennis Martinez (Vermont, July 15), Jerry Lawler Appearance (Columbus, July 21), Collectible Baseballs (Quad Cities, July 23), Tim Wakefield Bobbleheads (Buffalo, August 3), Appearance by Survivor's Rudy Boesh (Buffalo, August 5), Halloween at the Ballpark (Ottawa, August 5), Mayberry Deputy Bobblehead Giveaway (Princeton, Aug. 8), Ball Park Replica Giveaway Night, (Buffalo, August 23), Appearance by Sgt. Slaughter and George "The Animal" Steele (Columbus, September 1).
Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.