Is there any better ballpark promotion than the bobblehead? The answer is no. This is part one of a six-part series, giving you the breakdown of what bobbling wonders will be at the stadium this spring and summer. Each bobblehead will be rated 1-5 stars based on quality of subject, originality, number available, and overall awesomeness. Teams will be ranked by total stars, so the more giveaways (especially quality ones) the better. Let’s start it off with the AL West!
Seattle Mariners (Each giveaway is 20,000 fans)
Saturday, May 31st, Robinson Cano: You knew the Mariners had to give a bobblehead to their new superstar player. This is (surprisingly) the first bobblehead giveaway for Cano in MLB. ***
Thursday, June 12th, Macklemore: I’m not a huge Macklemore fan, but I love the Mariners creativity for the local musical star. I’m not sure what it looks like yet, but at least they have Macklemore in a M’s jersey to go off of. **** 1/2
Saturday, July 12th, Hisashi Iwakuma: I’m a sucker for Iwakuma and would rate this higher for my collection. In the overall scheme, nothing too spectacular. **
Saturday, August 9th, Lou Pinella Mariners Hall of Fame: Lou Pinella is one of my favorite managers of all-time and I’m glad they’re comboing up a bobblehead with his induction day. Should be a fun day in Seattle. I truly hope it involves him kicking his cap. *** 1/2
Saturday, August 30th, Felix Hernandez: Another year, another Felix Hernandez bobblehead from the Mariners. Wish they had made a Jesus Montero bobble belly instead. **1/2
Total: 15 1/2 stars
Texas Rangers (Each giveaway is for 15,000 fans)
Saturday, April 19th, Yu Darvish Strikeout King: Standard fare, the teams best player in a standard pitching bobblehead. Would’ve been fun if they had the “strikeout king” have a crown with a K on it. **1/2
Sunday, May 18th, Prince Fielder: Another pretty standard bobblehead, but with the team’s best and newest hitter. **1/2
Saturday, July 12th, Eric Nadel: Now we’re having some fun! Nadel has been with the Rangers since 1979 as their broadcaster and is the winner of the 2014 Ford C. Frick Award. And now, his own bobblehead too. Love it! ****
Tuesday, August 12th, Pudge Rodriguez Gold Glove: I’ve got nothing against this one honoring one of the best players in Rangers history. I also like that they’re honoring his defense. There isn’t a picture of it yet, but it get a bonus 1/2 star if his glove is actually gold. ***
Thursday, September 4th, Shin Soo-Choo: Choo is also a new Rangers acquisition, but he’s not quite on Darvish or Fielder’s level. It’s going to be tough for the Rangers to top the greatest Shin Soo-Choo bobblehead of all-time. **
Total: 14 stars
Houston Astros (10,000 fans each giveaway)
Saturday, April 26th, Jason Castro All-Star: A nice honor to add on to Jason Castro’s all-star to give him his own bobblehead. He’s not a major star though, yet. **
Friday, August 1st, Lance Berkman: A great player in Astros history gets honored, because there aren’t many players on this current roster to give a bobblehead to. ** 1/2
Sunday, August 3rd, Roy Oswalt: See, Lance Berkman. I do like that they made these the same weekend for fans. ** 1/2
Saturday, August 30th, Nolan and Reid Ryan: Not many executives get bobbleheads and I would go out on a limb to say that this is the first double executive bobblehead in MLB history. I want to rate it higher, but only 10,000? Then again, the Astros attendance isn’t the strongest. ****
Total: 11 stars
Oakland Athletics (various amounts of fans)
Saturday, April 19th, Josh Donaldson Diorama: First off, kudos to the Athletics for increasing their giveaways from 10,000 to 20,000 for Donaldson and 15,000 for the Catfish Hunter one. Donaldson was the breakout star for the A’s in 2013 and the diorama is a nice little bonus. ***
Saturday, May 31st-Catfish Hunter: Athletics have had a Hunter bobblehead before, but that was in 2002. Here’s to hoping that they’ll add an Eric Sogard bobblehead giveaway if he wins the #FaceOfMLB contest. A’s fans love that guy. ** 1/2
Total: 5 1/2 stars
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (amount of giveaway, not available)
Tuesday, April 1st, Mike Trout: One of the games brightest stars gets his second bobblehead in two years. This one doesn’t top last year’s edition, though. Why is he not wearing a cap? *** 1/2
Friday, May 2nd, Josh Hamilton: If I’m an Angels fan and Hamilton’s 2014 starts off like his 2013, am I really going to want this bobblehead? **
Total: 5 1/2 stars
What’s your favorite bobblehead set in the AL West? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
I know that this is late and almost not worth mentioning at this point but I wanted to give Mondays game its due justice.
Pudge Rodriguez retired at the Rangers game on Monday to a sell-out crowd. As was to be expected the event took over greater importance on the day than the game did, at least for me.
Tom Grieve the Rangers color commentator on their TV broadcasts was the GM of the Rangers in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He was the man responsible for bringing up a young catcher by the name of Ivan Rodriguez. He was first to the podium to address the fans in attendance. He recounted the day the Rangers signed Pudge, at 16, up until his call up in 1991.
Next up was Hall of Fame pitcher and Rangers President Nolan Ryan. His stories of Pudge included and intersquad in which Pudge took Nolan deep. His next at-bat however ended with Ryan conceding first base by hitting Pudge with a pitch. The most important thing he said though was inaudible for most of it.
“Pudge you had a great career, and we look forward to having you join the organization……..” That was all I was able to make out as the crowd erupted into the loudest cheering I have ever heard in that ballpark.
I looked around the stadium in that moment and seeing a few grown men wiping their faces was unreal. (I never saw any tears though)
Now Pudge walks to the podium who accompanied by his family on the field, gave a very heartfelt speech. The line I remember best I actually heard during his press conference earlier in the day.
“Walking out of the white lines for the last time but I’m always going to be in baseball. I’ll be in baseball my whole life.”
I know the historical significance is not as great but to me his speech belongs in the conversation with Lou Gehrig’s speech. (Maybe I’m just biased)
The first pitch was the greatest moment in the ceremony. As arguably the two greatest players to ever play for the organization walked onto the field; Pudge to throw the first pitch and Michael Young to catch it. It was a little unorthodox but in the words of Chuck Morgan: “It just doesn’t seem right, does it?”
Pudge took his spot that he took in that stadium for 8 seasons. Young ran out to man the throw down from the plate. Like so many other throws I saw him make, right to the bag, he didn’t let me down. (Never bounce a first pitch, is the unwritten baseball law.)
The day was not lost with the Rangers defeat by the Yankees. That is one of those Pudge moments that I will never forget to go along with so many other plays that I saw.
I consider myself lucky to have seen the way that man played the game and hope he stays with the Rangers organization for a long time.