Ryan Howard Bobblehead Night and a Possible New Trend?

August 20, 2014

Last night was the final bobblehead night of the season and brings to a close a very mediocre bobblehead season for the Phillies. As you probably know, all fans in attendance received a Ryan Howard bobblehead. This is Ryan Howard's third bobblehead appearance, and to be quite frank, I hope it's the last.

With this bobblehead, a trend was broken: for the first time in the history of Phillies bobblehead giveaways, the bobblehead was not made by MLB giveaway powerhouse BD&A – it was made by Forever Collectibles. Forever is a leader in retail sports merchandise and holds licenses with all major sports leagues but has only dabbled in the stadium giveaway business over the years.

Starting this season Forever and MLB reached some kind of agreement in which each team had to pick an item from Forever to give away to fans. There have been some good choices throughout league, from bobbleheads to zombie figurines. Not all of the giveaways went off without a hitch. On August 15 the Detriot Tigers gave the first 10,000 fans in attendance a Miguel Cabrera two-time AL MVP award bobblehead. Upon recieving said bobblehead, fans noticed a subtle mistake that was made by Forever. They had used two NL MVP awards instead of AL MVP awards. Minor, but still something that should've been caught along the way. Forever issued an apology for their mistake:

"Forever Collectibles takes full responsibility for this error and we apologize to the fans. We are certainly disappointed this happened."

The fact is, Forever makes thousands of products each year and mistakes are going to happen. It's unfortunate for them that it occurred during one of their giveaways. 

Now on to the bobblehead of the hour for the Phillies. I really was not looking forward to it. It's another Ryan Howard bobblehead, which is completely unnecessary at this point. We already had one too many as it is. So from the door I was annoyed, and to make matters worse, it was a generic-looking Forever bobblehead. I really didn't have a chance to look the bobblehead over until I got home and that's when I wavered a bit in my disdain for this bobblehead. 

After holding it and looking it over, I kind of like it. I know that's not a popular opinion, as this bobblehead has been hated on by pretty much everyone, but it's actually well-made. The paint job isn't complete crap like 97% of the bobbleheads made by BD&A. I don't see any chips or lumps on random spots like so often happens with BD&A. Overall the quality is a lot better. Now, the likeness is not very good. This looks nothing like Ryan Howard (it actually more closely resembles Jimmy Rollins). If they could somehow get away from the generic head mold and create a mold that looks like the player/manager, and add something to each bobblehead like they did with the Miguel Cabrera, they could really improved the state of bobblehead giveaways. Would it have killed the Phillies to add something to this one to make it a little more interesting? Maybe a ROY trophy, or a decal of the 10th anniversary of Citizens Bank Park logo on the base? Something – anything! Just put a little more effort into the product you're putting out. 

The other thing I noticed about this bobblehead was its packaging. The box is a Forever retail box and has a UPC code on it. I'm not sure, but my guess is this was an option that was given to teams that knew they'd have leftovers. I have not heard of nor seen leftover Ryan Howards for sale, but I'm assuming they're coming. I wanted to see if this was the case with the other giveaways made by Forever and distributed this season, and for almost all that wasn't the case. All of the bobbleheads I've seen are in normal giveaway boxes, with no UPC codes. The only other UPC-emblazoned giveaway I found was the DBacks Zombie figurine. 

The Phillies giveaway policy with an emphasis on not selling leftover giveaways as stated on their website is:

The Phillies policy is to distribute one giveaway item per eligible fan entering Citizens Bank Park. An eligible fan is a fan that meets advertised age limits or other requirements (i.e. kids 14 and under promotions). Extra tickets for a game may not be redeemed for giveaway items. The Phillies do not make giveaway items available for sale. Giveaway items are not licensed through Major League Baseball Properties, therefore cannot be sold at retail.

The Phillies found a way around the "not licensed by Major League Baseball Properties" issue years ago. They started giving a "free gift" with purchase of a yearbook. The gift is usually whatever leftover giveaways they have. I've seen bobbleheads, figurines, bats, books...pretty much every giveaway is at some point sold with a yearbook. So for $10 you get a yearbook and a previous giveaway and the Phillies in turn get to unload yearbooks and leftover giveaways. But now, with all Forever products being licensed by MLBP and Forever entering the MLB stadium giveaway market, the Phillies may have found a way to unload some of their leftovers for cash without the yearbook. Time will tell if this is the strategy, but you don't put a UPC code on a giveaway for nothing. 

It's been a long season for the Phillies in many ways. But in my opinion, their merchandise and promotions department crapped the bed this year. And this last move, if it turns out the way it looks like it will, is just another poor decision made by this organization. 

©PhilliesSGA - 2014

2014 Phillies Stitch N' Pitch Night!

The 2014 Phillies Stitch N' Pitch Night gift included a bobblehead, tumbler, and tote bag - ©PhilliesSGA 

August 7, 2014

Last night the Phillies held their 8th annual Stitch N' Pitch Night at Citizens Bank Park. Every year knitters come down to the ball park to show their support for the Phillies and...do some knitting. To each her own! As with every year except 2007, the Phillies gave the first 1000 fans who purchased tickets using the code STITCH a gift. This year's gift was a retread from 2010, the Phillie Phanatic knitting bobblehead, and as an added bonus everyone received a tumbler and a tote bag.  Both of those were also gifts from previous years.

Phillie Phanatic Pitch N' Stitch Bobbleheads - 2010 on the right - 2014 on the left - ©PhilliesSGA 

For most Phillies bobblehead collectors, this was a huge disappointment. I'm sure the collectors and fans who missed out on getting the bobblehead in 2010 were very pleased. Prices on the  secondary market for the Phanatic SNP earlier this year were in the $200+ range, and once it was announced that the Phillies were giving away the same Phanatic SNP bobblehead for 2014, the value of the 2010 version fell through the floor. I kept track of ticket sales for this theme night because I was interested to see if the bobblehead giveaway would draw people to the game. A month after the announcement, ticket sales plateaued at around 500. Yesterday morning I checked the tickets left and there were just over 100 tickets still available. So the Phillies came very close to reaching their goal of 1000 tickets sold for a theme night, and had they given out a different bobblehead, they would've likely sold out the theme night in the first couple of months. 

As for the bobblehead itself, it's nearly identical to the SNP bobblehead from 2010.  After looking over both versions, I found only a slight difference between the two: they have different head molds which feature slightly different hats. On the 2010 version they used a decal "P" on the back of the cap and the Phanatic's hat was a little floppy looking. On the 2014 version the hat looks like a standard baseball cap and the "P" is molded on the hat. They've been using this head mold since 2012 with the MVP Club bobblehead. 

The many heads of the mini Phanatic Bobbles! - ©PhilliesSGA -2014

History of the Phillies Pitch N' Stitch Giveaways:

  • 6/26/2007 - No giveaway
  • 8/5/2008 - Tote bag with scorecard and yarn
  • 4/29/2009 - Tote bag
  • 8/10/2010 - Phillie Phanatic knitting bobblehead
  • 6/15/2011 - Tote bag and a limited amount of leftover Phanatic bobbles
  • 8/7/2012 - Tumbler cup
  • 8/27/2013 - Tumbler cup
  • 8/6/2014 - Phillie Phanatic bobblehead, with leftover tote bags and tumbler cups

©PhilliesSGA - 2014

Congrats Jimmy Rollins! A look at the milestone print given away Monday

June 25, 2014

On Monday night the Phillies gave away a Jimmy Rollins print commemorating his breaking the team all-time hits record and passing Mike Schmidt. Its great that they called an-in season audible to add this print to the schedule, but I would've done this and more if it were my choice. Of course I can't just be happy with whatever the Phillies come up with; it's just my nature. I like more creative, thought-out giveaways with a smidgen more effort.

If the Phillies had to settle with the print, why not add a minor twist? How about having Jimmy Rollins sign 11 or 20 or 50 and randomly give them out at the gates? Or designing the poster to feature just Rollins and Schmidt and having them both sign 25 or 50 and to give out randomly? I mean, they knew this moment was going to happen this season. It's not like Rollins suddenly approached the Phillies hit record and they had no time. 

In my opinion, they should've done a bobblehead, of course. That's a serious no-brainer. The Baltimore Orioles concluded a fan-vote bobblehead contest in mid-May that will be released on 9/21 – about a four-month turnaround. If the Phillies had their bobblehead producer, BD&A, prepare a new mold for a Rollins bobblehead to be ready to go on June 16, all they would have to do is tell them to put Rollins in the Sunday day-game uniform and start production. They could've added the giveaway on 9/28, fan appreciation day, and that would've put them at about three and a half months for production. Clearly doable.

My last opinion on this topic: since the bobblehead giveaway was a no-go, it would still be great for the Phillies to get a Rollins stadium exclusive bobblehead in the works. This could actually happen, but at the rate the Phillies are selling Phanatic of the Month bobbles it's highly unlikely. At this point they should be able to build an addition to CBP out of all the extra POTMs they have sitting around. 

©PhilliesSGA - 2014

Phillies to host their first STAR WARS Night at Citizens Bank Park

Photos courtesy of Phillies.com - ©Phillies

Photos courtesy of Phillies.com - ©Phillies

June 24, 2014

Well, the Phillies are finally taking the plunge into a theme night that's been a hit around MLB for years, STAR WARS Night! I think it's a good idea, and with the Phillies unable to print money like in years past we should finally start to see some better promotions. In case you were wondering, of course I have some type of problem with this promotion. If you don't know by now, the Phillies can never do anything right in terms of SGAs in my mind (sorry, it's the truth).

So with every STAR WARS Night promotion done around baseball over the years, each team has given the first 1000 fans or so a gift for purchasing tickets specifically for SWN. Many teams do shirts, hats, and of course bobbleheads. Some of the bobbleheads are very creative and beloved by fans. Last year the Mets gave out a "Master Met" bobblehead, which was Mr.Met dressed up like a Jedi. The Giants did a Buster Posey Clone Trooper bobblehead with removable mask, another solid idea. This season the Marlins are giving away a "Jedi Billy" bobblehead which of course is their mascot Billy the Marlin dressed as a Jedi. All of these are very cool.

So, what are you thinking for the Phillies?! Master Utley, Jedi JRoll, Darth Phanatic, Palpatine-bon? No? Oh, I see. It's a baseball figurine that looks like the Death Star. Awesome. Of all the SWN gifts I've seen, the Death Star Baseball, which was done by the Giants already, ranks somewhere toward the bottom, just above hats and t-shirts. It's ok, and yes I bought tickets for this game (so who's the sucker? this guy!) but c'mon. You have an opportunity to knock a theme night giveaway out of the park and you give us a generic Death Star Baseball that's already been done by another team? Clearly The Force wasn't with the Phils on this one. 


Tickets are available in locations regularly priced $38 & under and $5 from each ticket sold will benefit Stand Up to Cancer. Click Here for all the information!

STAR WARS Night gifts from around MLB for this year and years past:

©PhilliesSGA - 2014

Photos courtesy of Marlins, Phillies, Giants, Rays, Reds, Mets, Dodgers, and Tigers.

All rights reserved to their respective owners.

Please visit MLB.com to find all information on the teams above.

76ers add "new" dribbling Ben Franklin logo

2014 Sixers Secondary Logo (Left) - 2002 Logo from All-Star Game Bobblehead (Right)

June 23, 2014

Earlier today a bunch of new NBA secondary logos leaked, and the 76ers were included in the mix. The logo leak was the top trend in Philadelphia on Twitter, with most opinions looking very positive. I'm in the camp that feels this is definitely a good move and hope that it gets incorporated more in the future.

The Ben Franklin imagery shouldn't come as a surprise. When the Sixers axed Hip-Hop years ago they held a horrible mascot contest and one of the finalists was a Franklin-esque character, but in the end the Sixers pretended that the contest never took place. The mascot debacle, which I wrote about last year, is one of the most bungled situations in Sixers history. In case you're wondering, it's been 944 days since the Sixers gave Hip-Hop his pink slip. Then in January the Sixers quietly started a mascot race that included Betsy Ross, a cracked Liberty Bell, and Ben Franklin.

The "new" logo also isn't really new. In 2002, when the Sixers hosted the NBA All-Star Game, they had a special edition Ben Franklin bobblehead made. On the back of the packaging, you can see the original dribbling Ben Franklin logo. They also used the logo on other merchandise during All-Star Weekend. The new logo has just a few minor tweaks including a 76ers logo added to Franklin's jacket. Overall I'm happy with the new development and I hope its a sign of things to come. Like maybe some giveaways! 

UPDATE: @JasonChadWolf on Twitter is reporting that a Sixers source has told him that the Ben Franklin logo will not be used but was something they explored. When the Sixers heard that fans LIKED the new secondary logo they immediately axed the idea and will never mention Ben Franklin again. Ever. 

©PhilliesSGA - 2014  

Sixers Logo Sheet courtesy of @RealGM on Twitter

Ben Franklin Photo courtesy of SportsExclusives on eBay

Phillies need to revisit replica ring SGAs

June 4, 2014

In 1981, coming off a World Series Championship win, the Phillies gave fans a replica ring that looked similar to the ones given to members of the team. As far as I can tell, it was the first giveaway of its kind. Thirty years later, with new technology available, other teams have started giving out replica rings that look even more like the real thing and are of a higher quality than rings of the past. 

The Phillies have a short history of replica rings, and it's not pretty. To start, you have the aforementioned 1980 World Series Champions ring. Then in 1994 the Phillies gave all kids 14 and under a 1993 NL Champions replica ring keychain. It was good idea and looks ok for the time in which it was given, but it was still only for kids so not many were actually distributed. You can find one on eBay every few months, but they're definitely not common. The last ring SGA the Phillies did was 4/21/2009 when all fans received a 2008 World Series Champions ring keychain. This giveaway, to be frank, is crappy for a few reasons. First, it's very small and looks nothing like the actual ring. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs gave away a better World Series replica ring than the Phillies. Second, the ring was sponsored by McDonald's and has the McDonald's emblem where a player's name would be. 

In 2011, the Fresno Grizzlies, the Giants AAA affiliate, started what now seems to be a trend in SGAs around MLB: on 4/19/2011 they gave away a replica World Series ring that actually looked like the real thing. Since that giveaway, the next three World Series winners each have given away replica rings that are very similar to the actual article. The St. Louis Cardinals and the Giants have taken ring SGAs to new level in 2014. On 4/26 the Giants gave away a 1954 World Series replica ring and on 5/26 the Cardinals gave away a 1964 World Series replica ring. It's no secret that the Giants and Cardinals are two of the best when it comes to promotions, and with them giving away rings from past World Series victories, this could be a trend in MLB SGAs in the coming years. 

For those not wanting to wait for the Phillies to start giving away replica rings, which may never come to pass due to the Phillies' tendency to give out the same SGAs year after year, you can go to eBay and find some nice replicas. It seems as though the makers of the recent SGA rings have started selling replica rings to the public. They're all based in China and they've gotten some good feedback for their quality. 

PhilliesSGA - 2014