The Giants won’t be good in 2020 and their promotional giveaway schedule this year isn’t trying to convince you otherwise. There are certain things built into the calendar, like the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 World Series team and Star Wars Day, but beyond that, it’s tough to flex creative muscles when the direction of the team is both unknowable and dire.
Giants 2020 promotional schedule is highlighted by a Yaz bobblehead, Buster neck pillow, a Cueto gnome and a 2010 replica ring. Very light compared to previous years, but it's hard to plan promos when most the roster could be gone or optioned at some point.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) February 3, 2020
As I write this, I’m also thinking about the minor league signing Brandon Guyer, Gabe Kapler’s podcast interview with John Shea in which he pivots from talking about Willie Mays to talking about Fred McGriff and Charles Barkley, and and Athletic article (subscription required) strongly suggesting that Farhan Zaidi’s minimal efforts on the major league roster side has been driven by new management’s desire to drive down costs while Mission Rock work continues. So, I admit I’m not entering this review with an open mind.
I also had a really good joke for this article that I forgot to write down and it’s driving me nuts. So, that said, here’s a look at just some of what fans who brave the cold and losing conditions at the dimensionally-revised Oracle Park can expect to receive in 2020.
Opening Day Calendar (first 30,000 fans) - Friday, April 3
Pluses: Let’s acknowledge the inherently comedic concept of a team in transition releasing a calendar that will, presumably, feature players on the team at the time of its creation. How many players will still be on the team before the end of the calendar year? Which players will they choose to go into it?
Let’s chance a guess (in no particular month order): Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval, Mike Yastrzemski, Evan Longoria, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Dereck Rodriguez . . .
What could the final three possibly be? Shots of the stadium? Willie Mays? Team-up pics? That’s only part of the excitement, though. There’s a nonzero chance that the pictures aren’t just “the players in action”. What if they’re themed?
- Brandon Belt as a scientist wearing a lab coat and pouring liquid from a beaker
- Brandon Crawford as a construction worker
- Buster Posey leading a game of dogs playing poker
Minuses: It’s just a bunch of action shots of the players. We’ll use it not to mark down important dates but to countdown the days until the season ends.
Mike Yastrzemski Bobblehead (first 15,000) - Monday, April 6
Pluses: Getting a bobblehead so soon after your major league debut has to feel good for Mike Yastrzemski. The fans are really taken with him, too.
Minuses: There is a nonzero chance he could be traded before or soon after this bobblehead, which I suppose doesn’t make it less special, but it’ll be one of those weird situations.
More importantly, whatever joy there might be with this particular giveaway will be overshadowed by the actual game matchup against Arizona. This will this be the first time San Francisco fans get to see Madison Bumgarner in a Diamondbacks uniform, it could very well be the first time San Francisco players get to face Madison Bumgarner as an opponent in a Major League game (I’m sure this is going to happen very early in Spring Training).
Long Sleeve Hooded T-Shirt (first 20,000) - Wednesday, April 22
Pluses: The graphic they used on the site suggests more of a hooded sweatshirt deal, but I can also imagine a thin, shirt-like material with a hood. In any case, hooded shirts or sweatshirts are, generally speaking, good, functional clothing.
Minuses: Not really a negative, but here’s a weird thing worth pointing out: this giveaway is presented by “Visit Central Oregon”. That’s right. For all the complaining Oregonians express about Californians moving to their state, their tourism board is out here advertising to Californians to visit the state.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Night (Special Event Ticket) - Tuesday, April 28
Pluses: People like Harry Potter! And it will be weird-fun to see something so insanely nerdy take over the park for a night.
Minuses: Part of the special event involves sorting shirts. We’re going to see those sorting shirts everywhere.
Lou Seal Flipper Hat (first 20,000) - Saturday, May 9
Pluses: This seems like the exact kind of giveaway designed to sort the die hard fans from the casual fans. How many drunken folks wearing one of these —
— will we see stumbling around China Basin over the next several years?
Minuses: The players won’t be wearing these during the game.
Buster Hugs neck pillow (first 20,000) - Saturday, May 30
Pluses: The concept itself is still vaguely in the realm of “a good memory that can be exploited for profit” and I’m sure the design of it looks appropriately —
Kinda creepy? I mean, I suppose it’s better that Posey be holding a ball and wearing a glove as supposed to just having his hands open palms up, but this doesn’t make me think, “He’s hugging me!” It makes me think he lost a wrestling buddy pillow fight against the Ultimate Warrior.
Minuses: This one feels very sweaty. The marketing department can see the writing on the wall for the season.
Barry Bonds 756 Bobblehead (first 30,000) - Sunday, May 31
Pluses: On the other hand, if you’re the marketing department, then there are still a few recent memories that can be mined for revenue-generating giveaways and Barry Bonds seems like a good. No idea what this thing will look like, but as long as it nails his backswing in this particular shot —
— then I think we’re good.
Minuses: This one feels sweaty, too. It’s not a nice round number of an anniversary for this historic feat (August 7th). It’s not adjacent to Bonds’ birthday (July 24) or even Mike Bacsik’s (November 11th).
“Perfect Cain” Bobble Card (first 20,000) - Saturday, June 13
Pluses: Is this what a bobble card does?
Hmm. Well. As cool as Matt Cain’s perfect game is, that’s not all that impressive. I do wonder if it’s Matt Cain’s head attached to a recreation of the scorecoard or something.
THEN AGAIN . . .
There’s a nonzero chance that the bobbley part of the card could be Gregor Blanco diving to make the catch again and again.
Minuses: It probably won’t have anything to do with Gregor Blanco diving to make the catch. Therefore, embedding it again here:
100th Anniversary Negro Leagues Hat (first 20,000) - Saturday, June 27
Pluses: MLB Network Radio has started spotlighting the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues as part of a Black History Month celebration and so once an hour they tell a brief story from the Negro Leagues. The ones I’ve heard have been about Satchel Paige being a superhero. This is a part of baseball history that deserves a brighter and larger spotlight, and if you’re curious to learn more, there’s a whole danged museum.
In the meantime, a hat seems like a good way to start getting the word out.
Another reason why they’re interesting: they had a team named Giants, too. The Chicago American Giants won the first three titles of the league’s existence.
Minuses: The museum is all the way in Missouri. Then again, I’d rather make a trip there (for the museum and barbecue) than upstate New York. So, something to consider!
Will Clark #22 Hat (first 20,000) - Saturday, July 11
Pluses: Hard to understate Will Clark’s place in the franchise firmament. Pretty much anything with 22 on it is going to be valuable to most of the fan base. It helps that this will be the same day as Will Clark #22 Retirement Ceremony.
Minuses: Jack Clark wore #22 as well!
Giants Retired Numbers Coaster Set (first 20,000) - Sunday, July 12
Pluses: This is just a good idea. I want a set.
Minuses: Some people don’t use coasters. That’s bad. Use coasters, people, whether the beverage is hot or cold.
Johnny Cueto Gnome (first 20,000) - Saturday, July 25
Pluses: They think he still might be on the team at this point.
Minuses: It’s not the Johnny Cueto infinite hat.
Marvel Super Hero Night (Special Event Ticket) - Wednesday, July 29
Pluses: There will be two bobbleheads: a Giants-themed Falcon and a Giants-themed Black Widow bobblehead and I say those as positives because, well, why not? Some people like the Marvel stuff. Falcon will be the next Captain America. Good corporate synergy for Disney+ and the Black Widow movie that should be hitting the rental/purchase around this time.
Minuses: Are we still doing this Marvel stuff?
2010 Championship Ring Replica (first 30,000) - Sunday, August 16
Pluses: Could’ve — probably should’ve — made the whole post about this. What would the decade have been like had the Giants not won the World Series? We’ll never have to fathom that, because they did and it all began with an incredible run in 2010. Yeah, we know the actual World Series games weren’t all that memorable — just moments within them — but I hope I never forget Renteria’s home run, Wilson’s strikeout of Cruz, and that first blast of indescribable joy when they actually won the World Series. The San Francisco Giants really did win the World Series.
Minuses: Aubrey Huff. Either in thought or through his actual presence.
Star Wars Day - A G-D YODA HAT (first 20,000) - Saturday, August 29
Pluses: THIS HAT
No, it’s not explicitly a Baby Yoda hat, but just you wait. During the telecast, they’ll cut away to an adorable chubbers wearing one of these things and Duane Kuiper will say, “Hey, Baby Yoda is in the house” and you’ll laugh and laugh-cry.
Minuses: Adults will be wearing these, too, and will carry with them the expectation that when they’re not wearing the hat that they still be taken seriously.
Buster Hugs Funk POP! (first 20,000) - Sunday, August 30
Pluses: Buster Posey will be on the team in August!
Minuses: Who are Funko Pops for? What is their purpose? Are they not waste? What do you gain from detail-less blobs of plastic? Are there not better figurines? Better reminders of the things we like? Is the baby-fication of adult things psychologically healthy?
Alaska 2-for-1 Flight Voucher (first 40,000) - Saturday, September 12
Pluses: Setting aside the carbon footprint considerations, there’s a good chance lower costs will encourage people to travel more, and whether that’s to see family or go to the Negro League Museum or wherever in the continental US, that can’t be a bad thing.
Minuses: With all the blackout dates, do these things ever work?
Fan Appreciation Day - Sunday, September 27
Pluses: Free mystery stuff with a chance that you could win or get a lot of these giveaways throughout the season in this single event. Now that’s savvy cost efficiency!
Minuses: Can. You. Imagine. How. Truly. Terrible. The. Giants. Will. Be. In. September? Also, the Giants have been outscored 28-5 in their last three season finales.