Not-So Great MLB Promotional Ideas: The Pittsburgh Pirates Are Handing Out White Towels

The Pittsburgh Pirates have long garnered attention from what some see as a bevy of bobbleheads and fireworks on their annual promotional calendar.  The team took to heart what so many people have said over the years about the bobblehead overload.  What’s left is an uninteresting mix of swag/stupidity/must-not have plastic dust collectors/and some rather cool Free Shirts given away on select Fridays.

And no, A.J. Burnett’s shirt is not sleeveless.

Gone are those ever-so-popular Pierogie Racers from the 2010 calendar that soon will fetch at least $1.50 on eBay.


The team has also scaled back, at least somewhat, from targeting specific players as heavily as they did back in 2010 when Andrew McCutchen  was featured on a photo wrap in May, an alternate jersey in June and a bobblehead in August.   In 2013, Cutch and Burnett are both featured, but only twice,  in a bobblehead and a Free-Shirt Friday giveaway.

Let’s look at some of the items from the April come-and-get-it-screw-it-if-it’s-thirty-degrees-outside we have great swag pile:


Magnetic 2013 season schedules on Opening Day–yeh, great idea!  The customers can know exactly when the games are all season.  (because, you know, it’s so hard to find schedules on your favorite blog or the internet.   in majority owner Bob Nuttings’ newspapers.)

Look.  We have about twenty of these damn magnets and they all remind us of the same thing.  That fateful night….every year for the past twenty years, when we’ve had enough of the damn Pirates and we go dig the magnet out from under all that bullshit on the fridge and nearly set the house on fire burning everything Pirates related.

Just give the ladies a  Gerrit Cole blow up doll that they can hold on to every night until he gets called up.  And maybe a candle that we can light on April 1st (huh?) and everyone can say a prayer that this second half of the Pirates season won’t end up the way the last twenty have.

Buc Night–why sell it when you can give it away!  Hillbillies unite from around the tri-state for a cheap night on the North Shore!  Come One!  Come All!  A buck gets you everything you could possibly imagine!

Surely Bob Nutting doesn’t know about this shit right?

Andrew McCutchen Bobblehead Night–it’s a bobblehead town.  Sellout!

Zambelli Fireworks Night–now this is original.  Another sellout!

An Eco-Friendly Rally Towel–ummm, it’s white.  The towel is white.  We know that Bob Nutting said he was proud of the Pirates military affiliation and his brother was a Marine, but a white towel means that you have surr….uhh, surely you realize the meaning of a white…



And by the way, what the hell is a Rally Towel?  Has Pittsburgh become Philadelphia?  Rally Towels?  WTF?

Let’s brainstorm for a minute–What would 36,000 Pirates fans waving a white towel look like if someone took a picture.  Hmm…  let me think a minute….

The Pirates have become a Deadspin regular by sheer stupidty over the past few years.  Why give Deadspin the opportunity to circle a day on their magnetic schedule three months from now for a funny post mocking the Bucs?

We are going to stop there.  Hell we didn’t even make it out of April.  Instead, we went to work on adding a few of our own ideas:

Tickets to the Pittsburgh Zoo

While the Pirates do a great job of giving back to the community, let’s not forget about what the Zoo went through last year.  The tragedy is something that has hit the zoo hard.  A partnership with the Bucs and one of the greatest treasures in the city seems like a no-brainer.

Nutting Enterprises Presents Toilet Tuesdays

Pittsburgh Pirates giveaway nights need a spark in 2013.

What better way to embrace the shittiness of the past twenty years than a bathroom plunger?  The next time Yinzers get a clog, the answer is right where they need it.

Come on.  It’s easy.  Free shirt Friday is a big hit, Toilet Tuesday is genius!

The 1960 World Series Stein Do-Over Giveaway Night

Three years ago on June 18, the Pirates botched what should have been a Game Seven World Series homer if you will.  The team was celebrating the 1960 World Series victory over the hated New York Yankees.  Arguably the biggest night in Pittsburgh Pirates history.

Unfortunately, nobody bothered to proof read the steins that were given away that night.  Somehow the crack Bucs marketing team botched the box scores from the most memorable World Series in history.  Some of our loyal proofreaders were at the game and sent us a pic and the madness printed on the mug in size three font:

GM 1 is right Pirates W 6-4

GM 2 is wrong, shows box 14-3 Yankees victory and then shows a final of 16-3 Yankees.

GM 3 shows a Pirates 10-0 win in the box score and then correctly shows a loss of 10-0 in total? (Yanks won the game 10-0)

GM 4 box score shows Pirates win 3-2, box shows NY Yankees win 3-2 (sigh)

GM 5 shows a NYY win 5-2 (which would give the Yanks the series, actually Pirates won 5-2. Big sigh)

GM 6 12-0 loss to NYY. 5th win?  We will stop there.

The Andrew McCutchen MLB 13 The Show Dreadlock Kids Day

Someone should probably inform the Bucs that Andrew McCutchen will be on the cover of MLB 13 The Show.  It’s a popular game the kids are playing these days.  Andrew McCutchen is a talented player and despite the fact that the team doesn’t want to promote the hell out of one player, well, Cutch is really damn good.  And really damn popular.  And signed for a long time, so what does it matter if he’s pimped to hell and back anyway?

Give everyone in attendance Cutch dreads.   Give away some MLB 13 games.   Grab some ESPN TV time for doing so.   If Bob Nutting says it’s too expensive, just limit the dreads to kids 14 and under, but for the name of Jesus, celebrate the fact that one of the most gifted players in the game accomplished something special thanks to the efforts of the Bucco fans.

Or just give away kids umbrellas on May 5, because, you know, all kids love playing with umbrellas.   Bryce Harper is the talk of baseball anyway.  Why rub Harpers nose in it that he lost to Cutch for the MLB 13 cover right?

If you have any promotional ideas, let us know in the comments below.

Let’s Go Bucs!



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Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Mike S.

    Apparently you have never heard of the Terrible Towel? “Rally towels, what is this Philly?” Myron Cope must be rolling in his grave, you 3rd-rate journalist.

    Also, Buc Night, such a bad idea, why try to rebuild the fan base with a dirt-cheap night to start the season as opposed to expecting them to pay $30 each for a ticket, hot dog, and sodey-pop? That is an atrocious idea.

    Third, in case you missed it, almost everyone in the league has a magnetic schedule as their Opening Day giveaway. Do some research.

    Finally, “Fireworks? How original!” Those nights were selling out when the Pirates were 50-80 a few years back in August. “The fans absolutely love it so much that when they can’t get tickets they come to another place in Pittsburgh and watch the fireworks from their cars? Let’s mock the idea as unoriginal.”

    This article is more of a tragedy than the Pirates of the last two decades, at least they didn’t have the illusion they were amusing to watch…

    • rumbunter

      Hahahahaha! Thank you for the comments including calling me a third rate journalist. I thought I was at best fourth rate. But to compare the legendary Terrible Towel to a giveaway rag is comical. We have three Terrible Towels that WE PURCHASED and they never touch the earth. Over-and-under on how many of these white rags are left on the PNC Park concrete after the game?
      Buc Night to rebuild a fan base? Seriously. Selling on price is always a bad idea, but we can agree to disagree.
      Everyone is doing a magnetic schedule. Cool. Let’s be like everyone else. Great idea.
      Fireworks on Saturday Night is not an original idea, but whatever man.

    • Mike S.

      Here is a great idea, don’t make it sound like in your article that rally towels started with Philly such as “And by the way, what the hell is a Rally Towel? Has Pittsburgh become Philadelphia? Rally Towels? WTF?” Maybe if you had said “Terrible Towel Rip-Off Much?” Oh wait, white rally towels actually started with THE PENGUINS. It wasn’t a sign of surrender, it contrasts with almost everything else in the place from black jerseys to blue seats to dark gray steps. It looks real cool when everyone is doing it.

      Buc Night also existed when my Dad was a kid, they are just bringing it back. Something about packing the place full for less than $20 a head (and stomach) seems like a good idea considering the North Side isn’t the wealthy part of Pittsburgh. It is like the free scrimmage the Pens just did, how people who normally can’t afford games went to that. But, that’s right, you aren’t a third-rate journalist, you apparently don’t relate well to the lower-class. It wasn’t designed for CEOs who are disgruntled at the team.

      Everyone does a magnetic schedule, always have. They could be like everyone who isn’t doing a magnetic schedule and give nothing out because Opening Day itself is a promotion to most baseball fans.

      Finally, fireworks several Saturdays is an idea loved by (a) fans at the game, (b) fans within a couple miles, (c) the rest of Pittsburgh, (d) the Pirates accounting office, or (e) Zambelli demonstrating the quality of their shows to visiting teams and fans? All of the above, bud, all of the above.

    • rumbunter

      hahaha…I dont relate well to the lower class, dude I am as low class as it gets. Soak up those fireworks fella.

    • Mike S.

      Plus, just because it isn’t original doesn’t make it “Not-So-Great.”

      Fireworks – Unoriginal but Great
      Losing 20 Seasons – Original but Not Great

  • Kipper

    You know what I would like to see as a Free Give away? Darts with Kevin McClatchy game. It’s real simple. The dart board is a picture of the guy klargely responsible for the Pirates plight for a majority of these 20 years. then I can throw darts at it. If it’s too much, then I will gladly take a McClatchy photo cut out for a Dart board use and attach it here at home.

    …and of course you’re invited to stop up tom, drink some beer and throw darts!

    • rumbunter

      oh, man we could play for hours…see now that is an original idea that die-hard fans would freaking love.