In a bit of an interesting move, the Toronto Blue Jays have added Zach Britton Bobblehead Giveaway Day to their 2017 promotional schedule. The event marks the fourth bobblehead day of the 2017 season, following Marco Estrada's day on May 14th, Josh Donaldson's on June 4th, and Aaron Sanchez's on July 9th. The move attempts to lure opposing fans to the ballpark, boosting ticket sales and revenue for the team.
Britton, 29, is coming off an outstanding season in Baltimore thanks to a 0.54 ERA across 67 innings. He's kept his ERA under 2.00 in each of the past three seasons, and has become one of Baltimore's biggest marketable figures over this stretch.
Ross Akins was available to the media this morning and was quoted as saying:
"No matter what team you cheer for, it's easy to appreciate one of the best playoff performers of the 2016 season. This is a great opportunity for us to celebrate the game of baseball, and to show our respect for such a talented player. The Milwaukee Brewers had great success with their Anthony Rizzo Bobblehead Giveaway last year, and we are hoping we can do the same here in Toronto."
Although there are plenty of Blue Jays fans with mixed reactions, most of the early backlash has come from Orioles fans. In a perplexing move, fans will not receive their bobblehead when they enter the stadium, and these bobbleheads will sit in the visitor's bullpen until the game is out of hand.
@Bill_In_Baltimore does not sound too pleased:
"I want to ensure I get my bobblehead during the game. It is comforting to have during the games biggest moments, and I like to see it while we face Toronto's biggest sluggers"
To combat this, Toronto's event team will instead give out an Ubaldo Jimenez Bobblehead to satisfy fans during the games biggest moments. While more expensive, the Jimenez Bobblehead is typically less effective, as it only registered a 1.13 bobbles-per-second ratio last season.
Orioles Manager Buck Showaltar appears to support the decision:
"It's the best of both worlds. Fans get to see the Jimenez bobblehead during the game's biggest moments, then they can have all offseason to play with their Britton bobblehead. I see no problem with this decision."
The announcement adds to an already odd anniversary for the team, such as R.A. Dickey's surgery back in 2013, and A.J. Jimenez's call-up in 2014. It does make sense to boost ticket sales and increase attendance figures, but you have to wonder why they would manufacture one of the best bobbleheads in baseball only to not use it during the game. In any event, this bobblehead giveaway day will take place on April Fools Day this season, so be sure to head out to the ballpark to watch a terrific rivalry.