For the first time in a while, neither team in the city needs much motivation to draw fans out to the ballpark. The White Sox are on the way up with an exciting young core that should compete for the weak AL Central. While the Cubs are hoping a new manager can light some fire under a roster that didn’t lead up to expectations the past two seasons.
With that said, both teams have loaded up their schedule with promotional giveaways. Especially the Cubs who may be cutting off half the city from being able to even see their games on TV. There are the usual culprits from bobbleheads, t-shirts, and those opening day magnetic schedules. Plus a few surprises that should draw early lines outside the ballpark (and a bunch of eBay listings).
Promotional product company Custom Comet has put together its rankings for the best giveaways of the 2020 season in Chicago.
Tim Anderson Bat Flip Bobblehead
Arguably the most iconic moment of Chicago baseball last season was Tim Anderson smashing a homer and launching an epic bat flip for the ages. It turned Anderson into a viral sensation and angered a bunch of crotchety old sportswriters. The White Sox will celebrate his thunderous bat flip with its own bobblehead. This will be the hottest promotional item of the 2020 season.
1960 Replica Scoreboard
On the 60th anniversary of Bill Veeck’s exploding scoreboard, the White Sox will be giving out a replica to the first 15,000 in attendance. The idea which spurned when Veeck saw Jimmy Cagney playing pinball in a movie remains one of his best ideas.
Lucas Giolito X-Wing Fighter Bobblehead
Star Wars day is becoming an annual tradition at ballparks and this may top the Hawk Solo bobblehead given out a couple of years ago by the team. If Giolito picks up where he left off last season, this themed bobblehead should be in high demand.
Margaritaville Day at the park is capped off with this Hawaiian shirt that has a whole lot of stuff going on. If you have ever desired to be a “Hawaiian shirt guy”, this is your chance. Comes complete with the Beggars Pizza logo on the sleeve for maximum corniness.
It looks like the White Sox have abandoned a Bulls-themed giveaway at the ballpark this season. But they haven’t abandoned a basketball promotion altogether. Not only does this jersey look pretty cool with the Chicago skyline along the bottom, but it is also less embarrassing than wearing a Bulls jersey around at this time.
Honorable Mention: $1 hot dogs for every Wednesday game
The Cubs have unfortunately not provided any images on their promotional schedule. So we’re working on pure speculation right now, just like if Marquee will be on Comcast on opening day.
Kyle Hendricks “The Professor” Bobblehead
This is a long-overdue promotion from the Cubs. A great nickname deserves a proper bobblehead with monocles and a sweater vest. And of course his patented lack of any human emotion.
Craig Kimbrel Grow-a-Beard
There are not many details out on this one yet but I suspect it’ll be similar to the Niko Mirotic Chia beard that the Bulls gave out years ago. See how many saves Kimbrel can blow before the beard fully grows out.
Anthony Rizzo Boat Captain Hat
A captain hat is arguably the perfect promotion for the Cubs longtime leader and de-facto captain. I look forward to seeing the bleachers filled with people wearing these old-time boat captain hats with Rizzo’s #44 emblazoned on it. A unique and fitting promotion that not a single fan will ever wear in public again.
1984 Cubs Replica Jersey
The all-blue pullover remains one of the best iterations of Cubs jerseys they’ve ever had. It’s not the baby blue of the ’70s but brings up nice memories of Sandberg, Sutcliffe, and Lee Smith.
Javy “El Mago” Baez Bobblehead
The Cubs are hit or miss when it comes to bobbleheads (last year being a real big miss). But they’ve done Javy justice of late with his bubble-blowing dinger bobble. I’m going to put some faith in the Cubs marketing department that they won’t screw up a bobblehead that specifically uses the “El Mago” nickname in it.
Honorable Mention: Cubs BBQ tool belt