When I was a kid, one of the best parts of going to a Mariner’s game was the promotions. One of my most treasured possessions is the original 2001 Ichiro bobblehead. It’s in less-than-mint condition, but it’s one of the only promotions that I’ve not only kept, but kept intact.
Other promotions have stuck with me, but weren’t quite as good. When I moved last year, I finally threw away the “Boonie Boxcar” that had been sitting on my shelf for 13 years. I checked Ebay first, and it was going for $2.99. So if I regretted it, I was a king-sized Snickers bar away from getting another one. So far, I have not regretted it.
It’s with these examples in mind that I divulge my official, definitive, and long-awaited 2018 Mariners Promotion Rankings. However, as I’ve aged, I’ve begun to place more value in things that are actually useful, as opposed to things that will sit on my shelf for perpetuity. So you might notice that practical objects are higher, while tchochkes like bobbleheads are lower. I’m also not including promotions that have come and gone this year — sorry, scourge that was Ben Gamel Hat Night. With all of that in mind, let’s dive in.
27. Mariners T-Shirt — May 26 vs. Twins
The Mariners haven’t released a picture of the T-shirt in question, so I could be off-base with this one. Until I see otherwise, however, I’m going to assume that this is your typical baggy, white T-shirt with an Alaska Airlines logo right next to the Mariners logo. You know, the kind that Flight of the Conchords sang about. This is the shirt that you wear gardening, to sleep, or to some community park clean-up thing where you won’t care about trashing it. Next.
26. Mariner Moose Poster (14 and under) — September 30 vs. Rangers
As a kid, I would have thought this was seriously weak. I want a poster on my wall of Jean Segura, or Nelson Cruz, or I don’t know, any actual human Mariner player. This is the poster that you put up on your kid’s wall with scotch tape, it falls down after a week, and you just toss it in the recycle instead of putting it back up.
25. Fan Appreciation Team Poster — September 28 vs. Rangers
I know, I just said I wanted a poster of humans. The truth is, I just hate posters. There are good posters out there, but I haven’t seen a good Mariners giveaway posters. You have them up a while. If you move, they inevitably get bent and torn. It’s a pain. Down with posters.
24. Salute to Kids Day Growth Chart (14 and under) — September 9 vs. Yankees
You know what, just cancel all paper-based giveaways. Bad for the environment, underwhelming for fans. At least with this one, it could become a treasured childhood token, if you manage to keep it for years. Which, unlikely.
23. Salute to Kids Day Hat (14 and under) — July 22 vs. White Sox
This one isn’t bad, but it’s boring. Cool, a hat. You can get a hat anywhere, and the one you get elsewhere won’t have some ugly Oberto Beef Jerky logo on the back.
22. Mariners Stars ‘n Stripes Cowboy Hat — July 4 vs. Angels
Now we’re getting into the “good” stuff, or at least the stuff it’s worth including pictures of. Here are the hats from a couple years ago.
These are fine for keeping the sun out of your eyes, I guess. Unfortunately, you will have exactly two opportunities to wear these per year. The first is the Fourth of July, of course. The second is Halloween, if you’re dressing up as an ignoramus.
21 and 20. Ken Griffey Jr. Pop! Collectible, Nelson Cruz Pop! Collectible — September 29 vs. Rangers and June 2 vs. Rays
Pop! Collectibles are actually pretty neat. They don’t take up a lot of space, they’re fairly unique, and they’re patently adorable! Just look at little Robinson Cano, Pop! edition.
Aww, those eyes. Still, my problem with them is that they are as useless as they are cute. If you have a small child, great. It might take them two whole weeks to either chew Nelson’s head off or get bored of it. For all other takers, no thanks.
19. Mariners Sunglasses — July 7 vs. Rockies
Alright, here’s the first thing that is not only useful, but I would feel okay about wearing in public. There are two main reasons these aren’t ranked higher. First of all, they’re probably horrendously cheap and will break within a month. Secondly, the next month of night games will subject fans to nightly mid-inning renditions of Sunglasses at Night by singer Corey Hart, which is somehow worse than anything ex-Mariner Corey Hart has ever done.
18. Boom Time LED Watch (14 and under) — May 6 vs. Angels
I have to rank these for children, as those are the only people that will get them. My experience with watches like this as a child was: get the watch, be very excited about the watch, the watch stops working within 3 days, watch exists in my nightstand drawer for 6 years until I move, find watch and stare at it wistfully for 3 minutes, wonder where my youth has gone, discard watch.
17. Mariners Bat & Ball Set (14 and under) — June 3 vs. Rays
These are cool, and I would have absolutely loved them as a kid. The problem, again, is that their presumably low quality will inevitably relegate them to the corner of the garage.
16. Han Seago Bobblehead/Chewbacca Bobblehead — May 4 vs. Angels
As far bobbleheads go, these are unique. I mean, just look at them.
The problem is, there’s so much missed potential. Han Seago? Seriously? After nailing it in the past with Taijuan “Sky” Walker, we’re okay with Han Seago? First, there’s the obvious Obi-Wan Cano-bi opportunity. What about Leake Skywalker? Qui Gon Jean? I’m disappointed, Mariners.
15 and 14. Felix Hernandez “Infield Grass” and James Paxton “Big Maple” Bobbleheads — May 19 vs. Tigers and July 1 vs. Royals
I have no idea what these are really going to look like. There’s a tiny picture of the Felix bobblehead (like, 150x100 pixels, tiny) on the Mariner website, and no image to be found of the Paxton bobblehead. Therefore, these rankings are subject to change. For now, though, this is a good representative ranking for pretty much all bobbleheads: firmly in the “meh” tier. What are you supposed to do? Stare at them for 15 years on your shelf? Or keep them in the box in the hope that you can sell it for more than $30 on Ebay in 15 years?
13. Dee Gordon Bobblehead — July 21 vs. White Sox
All of that being said, Dee’s bobblehead is the highest ranked, because Dee is wonderful. Also, he hasn’t had a Mariners one yet.
12. Girl’s Night Out Tank Top — July 6 vs. Rockies
I have no idea what this will look like, as the Mariners have not deigned to put a photo of it up on their site. It will be, at least, more useful than a bobblehead.
11. Father’s Day BBQ Glove (Dads Only) — June 17 vs. Red Sox
Again, there aren’t photos up for a lot of these. However, I found this Mariners oven mitt on Google.
I am going to assume this is the BBQ glove. Seems like the most useful thing so far. I don’t like that it’s only being given to dads, though. It’s weird gender-normative giveaways like this that lead to bizarre situations like this one. In the end, they are trying to attract people to the ballpark for Father’s Day, so I get it. It’s a business.
10. Re-Usable Grocery Bag — May 28 vs. Rangers
I do love how the Mariners are huge proponents of conservation and being eco-friendly. Unfortunately, it feels like this is just a guilt giveaway. I’m going to get this bag, and then put it in my car and forget to actually bring it into the store every time I go grocery shopping. Then I’ll feel even worse about just existing in an inherently wasteful society.
9. Mother’s Day Tote Bag — May 20 vs. Tigers
I’m not actually sure if this is what the bag will look like, but let’s assume yes. It’s the grocery bag’s equal in terms of utility, but the stylishness far out-scales its produce carrying counterpart.
8. Flannel Night — September 27 vs. Rangers
This could be really good or really bad. These flannels from two years ago were great:
However, as for the abomination that was the yellow and blue flannels from last year...
Please, Mariners. You have great colors. There’s no need to force yellow into the equation.
7. James Paxton Fannypack (90’s Night) — May 5 vs. Angels
These things are sweet. They have James Paxton’s face all over them, for one. They’re useful. You can carry whatever you want in them without fear of pickpockets. So long, of course, as you can get over the fear of looking like Rick Steves’ somehow more nerdy son.
6. Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz Wine Stoppers (21 and over) — May 25 vs. Twins
I think this is the first giveaway that will actually compel me to go to the game, more than I otherwise would be. Unfortunately, the only picture we have of these so far is this grainy little photo off the Mariner website.
I look forward to the days when Nelson and Robbie’s smiling faces keep my wine fresh, airtight, and free of fruit flies.
5. Mike Zunino Lunch Bag (14 and under) — May 27 vs. Twins
This Lunch Bag is good.— Mariners (@Mariners) February 8, 2018
All kids 14 & under will get this Mike Lunch Bag when you join us for Little League Day on May 27th.
️ https://t.co/5JqbP2iLYz pic.twitter.com/VZNCCKPs11
Two of the very best giveaways will come in this Twins series, sandwiching that shitty T-shirt night. And it’s a crying shame that this one is just for kids 14 and under. Unless word gets out that adults will be able to buy these, I might have to borrow somebody’s kid. Either that, or borrow from the playbook of The Benchwarmers.
4. Blanket Hoodie — May 18 vs. Tigers
Okay, first of all, it’s called a Snuggie. Sure, maybe you don’t want to get into any uncomfortable copyright ground, but we all know what it’s really called. That being said, this looks so comfortable.
Want, want want.
3. Pajama Bottom — June 1 vs. Rays
Are you sensing a theme? I like utility, wine, lunch, and comfort. I fully intend to use my Robinson Cano wine stopper while wearing my pajama bottoms and blanket hoodie simultaneously. Some pajama bottoms are uncomfortable, but until I hear otherwise, I’m going to trust that the Mariners aren’t using polyvinyl or some other BS fabric.
2. Salute to Native American Hat — August 21 vs. Astros
These hats have varied quite a bit over the years, but here is one of the latest examples.
They’re usually pretty sweet, although the version above does kind of look like a dual Seattle Mariners and Vancouver Canucks hat. As hats go, this one is unique. If you chose to wear it, though, be sure to be mindful and respectful of the history and art that goes along with it.
1. Turn Ahead the Clock Hat — June 30 vs. Royals
These are probably going to be somewhat polarizing, but they’re pretty sweet. Unfortunately, the red might clash with any teal jersey you might have, but it should go pretty well with white or gray. I’m stoked that the Mariners are bringing these back. While the hat certainly isn’t perfect, it promises to be unique. It’s cool, it’s unique, it has utility, it’s not completely hideous... that’s all I really want in a giveaway.