Minor-league ballparks across the country have planned creative promotions to make it worth your while to experience life beyond Red Sox Nation.
RICHMOND July 27
The Triple-A Richmond Braves, whose shortstop Yunel Escobar got called up to the majors in early June and recently played for Atlanta against the Red Sox , have planned a summer of promotions, from $2 hamburger nights to water-bottle giveaways. On July 27 in the Virginia capital, you can check out "Beach Night," when the ballpark will be decorated with fake palm trees, Jimmy Buffett tunes will play throughout the evening, and the first 1,500 fans will get beach mats. The International League game against the Ottawa Lynx, an affiliate for the Philadelphia Phillies, starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets $4- $10. rbraves.com . 804-359-4444 .
Here you can get a taste of New York and hunt for buried treasure. The Sand Gnats, a Single-A South Atlantic League team affiliated with the Mets, features home game promotions all summer including the "diamond dig" on Aug. 2 , which allows women to hunt with spoons for a diamond buried in the infield. No word on the size of the stone. The game against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, an affiliate for the Florida Marlins, starts at 7:05 p.m.
Tickets $6- $9.50. sandgnats.com. 912-351-9150 .
Not far from Savannah is the home of its league rival Columbus Catfish, the affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. On Aug. 16, the team will mark the twin anniversaries of the deaths of Babe Ruth (1948) and Elvis Presley (1977) with one big event (the ballclub is still hammering out the details). The game against the Asheville Tourists, a Colorado Rockies affiliate, will also serve as Singles Night and Motorcycle Night. Just think of the people-watching potential.
Tickets $8- $13. columbuscatfish.com. 706-571-8866.
The day after the West Virginia Power celebrates boy bands, the Single-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers hosts the "World's Largest Office Party." The big draw is an appearance by Robert R. Shafer, who plays Bob Vance on the hit comedy series "The Office." Apparently, Bob Vance (of Vance Refrigeration) , is a Charleston native. The 7 p.m. game against Savannah features an "Office Olympics, " which will have spectators racing one another in simple office tasks.
Tickets $5- $7 in advance. wvpower .com. 304-344-2287 .
What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas. On July 13, if you're one of the first 2,500 fans to attend the 7 p.m. game at Cashman Field that pits the Las Vegas 51s against the Salt Lake Bees, you'll be able to bring home a bobblehead of former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra . The Sin City team (whose opponents are a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim affiliate) is the Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate of Garciaparra's Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tickets $8- $13. lv51.com. 702-386-7200.
Events sometimes are canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; call or check online to confirm. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.