Trenton Thunder ready for another slate of unique promotions in 2013

04/15/2013 1:04 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

In 2013, even Thunder mascots Boomer (right) and Strike will get involved in Trenton's promotional slate.(
In 2012, the Trenton Thunder made headlines for their unique promotional nights, which ranged from numerous bobblehead giveaways to appearances by Spider-Man and the Batmobile to the “Robinson Ca-Gnome,” a statuesque likeness of the Yankees’ second baseman in gnome form.

The 2013 home schedule will be another filled with unique promotions at the newly-renamed ARM & HAMMER Park, and it started on opening night; the first 3,000 fans through the gates on April 11 got a commemorative baseball, featuring both the logo of the new naming-rights sponsor as well as a Thunder logo commemorating the franchise’s 20th season.

“We started it all off tonight with the first 3,000 fans, just doing a baseball,” Thunder GM and COO Will Smith said Thursday night. “There’s nothing more fitting on Opening Night, and it ties in the naming rights partner as well, so that works out well.”

This year’s slate once again includes a slew of fireworks displays – 19 in total, according to Smith – as well as the return of staples like caps and magnetic schedules and a host of other items celebrating the Thunder’s 20th season. Replica jerseys and bobbleheads are back en masse this year as well, with those likenesses including Cano, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain, and one more player that the Thunder have been saving for more than a decade, hoping for him to become a tie-in.

“We got fortunate, with one of (the items), actually; Kevin Youkilis played here in Trenton when we were a Red Sox affiliate, and obviously we’ve been hesitant to promote Youkilis while he was in a Boston uniform,” Smith said, “but now that he’s with the Yankees, we have a jersey giveaway of his as well.”

And, of course, more than just the players are represented once again in 2013; in addition to bat retrieval dog Chase getting his own birthday celebration and bobblehead, Thunder mascots Boomer & Strike will be paired together in what Smith called perhaps the most unique promotion of the season.

“We have salt and pepper shakers coming out with our two mascots, Boomer & Strike, in August, which is probably one of the more unique and fun ones,” Smith said. “It’s sponsored by NJEA, and I think Boomer is the salt and Strike is the pepper, but yeah, that’s definitely one that’s flown under the radar a bit that I think could be really cool.”

Add in some special guest appearances from local celebs, including New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford, 2006 World Series MVP and 1999 Thunder alum David Eckstein, and even the writer, director, and star of the movie The Sandlot, who appeared on April 13 as part of “Kids’ Opening Day” – which was also Andy Pettitte replica jersey day – and it’s going to be another wild summer on the eastern banks of the Delaware.

As Smith said last summer, promotions like Trenton’s “add value to the game, and it’s all about adding value and trying to give people more reasons to come.”

All that, plus a chance to see some of the Yankees organization’s top prospects and future stars, sounds like the formula for success, and one that someday may even get Smith his own bobblehead doll – one he could put right next to the 2011 Eastern League Executive of the Year Award.

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