Sunday, May 4, 2014

Celebrating Star Wars Around the Diamond

Since many star players move through the minor leagues and can not be counted on as an attendance draw, many minor league clubs sell spectacle as much as the ballgame.

A couple of teams have eagerly hopped on the ersatz Star Wars holiday "May the Fourth Be With You" by issuing special uniforms for the occasion.

This year, the Toledo Mud Hens donned Chewbacca inspired jerseys for Star Wars weekend. The Mud Hens, which are the  Triple affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, will don special Mud Hens Star Wars uniforms which try to depict fur along with a munitions holder across the players chest. 

But it's tough to pull off fluffy Wookiee fur on two dimensional material.  Moreover, Chewbacca stood seven foot tall.  So it is unlikely that fans at Fifth Third ballpark in Toledo with think that they have been teleported to Mos Eisley.

 Craig Katz, the director of merchandising for the Mud Hens told OT Sports, which designed the Wookiee uniforms, sought  to do something different.  In Katz mind, "There is no such thing as bad press with something like this.  We have fans say 'These [uniforms] are so ugly, I have to have one." 

So rather than just auctioning these Wookiee uniforms after Star Wars weekend, the Mud Hens will be selling themKatz expects Star Wars fanatics to snap up these out of this world uniforms and add them to their collection. Probably to the likes of the Big Bang Theory crew.

For several years, the Durham Bulls have been celebrating Star Wars, wearing futuristic uniforms, having costumed Storm Troopers and Chewbacca throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

But this year the Durham Bulls, which are the Triple A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays,  went all in and honored R2D2 for their Star Wars Day uniforms. After the players wear the Droid inspired jerseys, the 40 jerseys will be sold in a silent auction, with proceeds benefiting the Autism Society of North Carolina.

Alas, the Durham Droid uniforms are not that unique.  It seems that the Sacramento River Cats, the Oakland A's Triple A team, plays to wear nearly an identical uniform in August.

The Brooklyn Cyclones will not hold their Star Wars night until August 2nd. The Class A affiliate of the New York Mets will have a meet and greet with Star Wars characters, light saber training and the option of a post game family sleepover.   While the Cyclones will give Padwan bobbleheads to the kids, they really should be excited about the Sithclones jerseys.

Those jerseys will have the emblem of the Sith  Empire on the right sleeve and Brooklyn is emblazened in Aurebesh across the players chests.  Now those handsome uniforms should fetch prime dukets for charity.

In the big league Galaxy, the San Francisco Giants, the MLB team nearest to the orbit of George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, have been doing Star Wars Day promotions for years.  This year the promo was an R2D2 beanie.

While this Star Wars sartorial styling may produce out of this world uniforms, nothing quite compares to the Mud Hens fan kazoo accompaniment to the Star Wars theme music.

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