August 16 update: Welcome to FOX Sports readers arriving here. In addition to this post, which provides background on the promotion, there is also a later one which includes actual photos of the jerseys being worn in game action. Click here.
When I received the following press release, it surely caught my eye. Minor league clubs often get creative in their promotions to try to encourage families to attend games, but this one from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A Memphis Redbirds is one of the most unique that I can ever recall.
Fireworks are great. The Beach Boys in concert were once fun, but they can’t be everywhere. Both can get old. In fact one of them already is. How many Bobblehead Nights can you have before they lose all their appeal? Last time I visited Springfield, it was Porch Mat Night, but how many front porches do any of us have?
So, let’s give the Redbirds’ promotion department an “A” for effort for their upcoming Organ Donor Night. Encouraging new sign-ups for this vital function is not only creative, but it supports a very good cause.
I admit that I chuckled out loud when I saw the grand prize for the themed drawing planned for August 13. It is a very good thing they specified that it is a “keyboard” organ.
That didn’t compare to my reaction when I spied the artist’s rendering of the commemorative jerseys the Redbirds will be wearing that evening. I just don’t think I would want to bid on one of these. It does put quite a literal spin on the tired line of playing one’s guts out for their team, though.
I suppose the Redbirds staff would say the club is already doing that each night as they have been locked in a heated battle for first place in the Pacific Coast League American North Division.
At this point, there is no confirmation that the Redbirds’ August 13 opponent, the Tucson Padres, plan to wear hospital scrubs-themed uniforms to show solidarity with the promotion.
It is an absolute crying shame that former Redbirds’ fan favorite Bo Hart has long since retired. Maybe they could transplant the gutsy and scrappy second baseman back just for this one special night. If not, perhaps they could scope out getting Bartolo Colon from the New York Yankees to appear.
Memphis Redbirds release:
On Saturday August 13, the Memphis Redbirds will host Organ Donor Night at AutoZone Park with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
The Redbirds will be encouraging fans to sign up to be an organ donor at the National Foundation for Transplants table located on the concourse. Those who sign up or show their driver’s license that they are already a donor will be entered to win a keyboard organ donated by AMRO Music, a team autographed jersey, or a heart healthy basket from US FoodService.
The team will sport organ themed jerseys (picture attached) sponsored by the National Foundation for Transplants. A silent auction will take place during the game on the concourse for fans to bid on the jerseys. An organ transplant recipient will be throwing out the first pitch while post-game fireworks sponsored by Thomas & Betts will round out the night.
More than 111,000 people are waiting for organ transplants, and a new name is added to the waiting list every 11 minutes. Ninety percent of Americans say they support organ donation, but only 38 percent have actually registered as donors while only 26 percent of Shelby County residents have registered. In Tennessee there are 2,504 people currently waiting for transplants.
NFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Memphis, Tenn. that has been helping transplant patients overcome financial obstacles since 1983. NFT provides fundraising expertise and advocacy to transplant patients by organizing fundraising campaigns in the patients’ own communities. In the past 28 years, NFT’s fundraising campaigns have generated nearly $59 million to assist patients.
NFT currently assists more than 1,000 transplant candidates and recipients nationwide. For more information about NFT, please call 901.684.1697 or visit www.transplants.org. Click the Transplant Challenge logo to learn more about organ donation.
Join the Redbirds Saturday, August 13 and sign up to be an organ donor. For ticket information call 901.721.6000 or visit memphisredbirds.com.
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