Just days after I wrote about my miserable memories of Little League ("Welcome to the Middle Leagues") and posted the accompanying Middle Child musical salute to opening day, ("You Never Take Me Out to the Ballgame,") I found myself on my way to a Florida Marlins home opener with friends. "Gee, I wonder if tonight is Middle Child Night at the stadium?" I quipped. "You know, that's when you bring your Middle Child to the game, and they don't pay any attention to him!"
A flurry of ideas ensued: bring your Middle Child to the game, and there will be special prizes for their brother and sister. Get free parking if you bring your Middle Child -- you just have to leave them in the car. You know, stuff like that. But the next day I read some articles about the craziest promotions Minor League teams have done in the past -- everything from casket and liposuction giveaways to a "Salute to Indoor Plumbing Night" where the stadium bathrooms were closed and porta-potties were used instead to promote appreciation for indoor plumbing. Suddenly, "Middle Child Appreciation Night" didn't seem so crazy after all. So I started pitching the idea to teams all across the country -- and teams said YES!
At first, I was convinced it was some cruel prank being played on the unsuspecting, attention seeking Middle Child. Teams would agree, then decide to pull out just for laughs. Or they'd simply forget altogether when the day came around. I'm still not convinced that won't happen. But as of now, 24 teams are going to bat for the Middle Child! Two have already had their nights. They both lost, by the way. Oh, and one team lost power during the game. One is happening as I write this. (UPDATE: they won!) A list of teams and dates is below, but most are happening right on August 12 -- Middle Child's Day. (I'll update the map and list if more teams sign on.) A whole bunch of other teams have agreed to acknowledge Middle Child's Day at their August 12th home games. They've earned a spot on the "Middle Child's Day Honor Roll" which I'll post in the coming weeks.
A BIG thanks to all those teams for throwing some attention our way, and making the Middle Child feel like the most important member of the family. At least for one night.
CELEBRATE "MIDDLE CHILD APPRECIATION NIGHT" AT A GAME NEAR YOU:MAY 14: Charleston Riverdogs L JUNE 24: Frederick Keys L JULY 16: Acadiana Cane Cutters W JULY 20: Columbia Blowfish W JULY 29: Hickory Crawdads AUG 4: Gastonia Grizzlies AUG 10: Princeton Rays AUG 11: Lowell Spinners AUG 12: Boise Hawks, Camden Riversharks, Corpus Christi Hooks, Forth WorthCats, Gary South Shore Railcats, Greeneville Astros, Johnson City Cardinals, Lancaster Jethawks, River City Rascals, SiouxFalls Canaries, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, Wilmington BlueRocks, Winston-Salem Dash AUG 13: Elizabethton Twins AUG 15: Jackson Generals AUG 26: Toledo Mudhens