Harrisburg Senators vs. Trenton Thunder – Star Wars Day

The Harrisburg Senators, Double-A of the Washington Nationals, is a regular stop for me when it comes to obtaining stadium giveaway bobbleheads.  My first bobblehead giveaway of the year took place on May 4, 2019 – Star Wars Day!  This has become a big deal all over the country for both major and minor league teams.  Combing Star Wars with baseball is a fantastic idea.

Juan “Solo” Soto bobbleheads were a huge draw.  This was the busiest Senators game I’d ever attended.  A limit of 1,500 bobbleheads were given out.  Arriving an hour before the gates opened was a good idea.  Moments after getting in line, the crowd ended up going down the steps and wrapping around the side of the stadium.  Unless they paid extra for a special ticket guaranteeing them a bobblehead, not everyone was able to get one.

Cheeseburger, fries, and Hershey’s chocolate ice-cream made for a good dinner.  Lots of Star Wars characters were in attendance.  All were encouraged to take pictures with the fans.

None of the names on the Senators starting lineup stood out to me.  But one did for the Trenton Thunder, Double-A of the New York Yankees – Clint Frazier.  Clint Frazier is one of the many injured players the Yankees have had this season.  He’s down there right now doing some rehab, and is expected to make it back to the Yankees shortly.

Harrisburg won 6-5.  The bobblehead turned out very well.  Juan Soto is in that famous Han Solo pose.  Instead of a blaster, he’s got a glove.  Even the box got a lot of attention.  It has graphics on each side.  Way better than the standard white cardboard.

My next bobblehead giveaway game is on July 20, 2019.  Back in Harrisburg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

How was your Star Wars Day?  I FINALLY got caught, and a couple of Stormtroopers sent me to the trash compactor.

The odds of me surviving this are 3,720 to 1.

Life-size bobbleheads received a new paint job.

Clint Frazier at bat.

Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier

Harrisburg Senators vs. Altoona Curve – 5/26/18 – Strasburg Life Size Bobblehead Unveiling

Twenty-one years ago I attended my first professional baseball game on City Island to watch the Harrisburg Senators take on the New Haven Ravens.  Its a game I’ll never forget because one of the Ravens players gave me a free bat while walking by my section.  I still have that bat hanging on my wall.  I have no clue as to who the player was, but I like to imagine it was Todd Helton.

This summer I’m set to attend one minor league game per month.  All bobblehead giveaways.  My first game this summer took me back to City Island where it all began.  The Harrisburg Senators (AA of the Nationals) were taking on the Altoona Curve (AA of the Pirates).  Two Washington Nationals players, Brian Goodwin and Daniel Murphy, were down with the Senators doing some rehab work.  On Saturday night the Senators inducted Stephen Strasburg into their Life Size Bobblehead Hall of Fame.  The first 1,500 fans through the gates received a replica bobblehead.  Altoona went on to beat the Senators 10-6.

For awhile, the ballpark food at FNB Field seemed fairly normal.  Last year however, I discovered the River City Grille which is located around the backside of the stadium.  Their burgers and fries are superb.  Its become a “must-have” now when I go.  The Hershey’s ice cream next door is good too.

The Harrisburg Senators will have a card featured in 2018 Topps Pro Debut.  It will be part of the Fragments of the Farm set featuring a piece of base from FNB Field.

New video screen above the main gates

Vladimir Guerrero, Cliff Floyd, Bryce Harper, Matt Stairs, Brandon Phillips, Stephen Strasburg

Will Craig of the Altoona Curve

Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy

Flashback Product of the Week: 1996 Best Harrisburg Senators Team Set

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Throughout the summer I usually attend a handful of minor league games.  My main focus is on bobblehead giveaways.  As of right now, I’ve got tickets for the Harrisburg Senators and Lancaster Barnstormers.  The State College Spikes only have one bobblehead giveaway on their schedule so far, and its at the end of the season during the week.  I’m waiting for the Williamsport Crosscutters to post their promo schedule.  It drives me crazy when teams giveaway bobbleheads during the week.  I suppose it helps boost weekday attendance.

The first time I attended a professional baseball game was in 1997.  It was on City Island to watch the Harrisburg Senators take on the New Haven Ravens.  One of the Ravens players even gave me a broken bat as he walked by.  To this day, I still don’t know who that player was.  I like to think it was Todd Helton, but I believe he was in Triple-A by then.

Upon arriving to the game, I remember stopping at a souvenir booth.  It wasn’t a store that you could walk around in.  You’d walk up to the counter and tell the person working what you wanted to buy.  All of the items for sale were on display behind the employees.

Team sets for the 1997 roster hadn’t been released yet, so I picked-up one from 1996.  It consists of (29) cards.  The two most recognizable names you’ll find in there are Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Vidro.  Both had long and successful careers in baseball.  A complete set can easily be found for $10.  It probably would be worth a lot more if these would’ve been the first cards of Guerrero and Vidro.  Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Vidro already had cards in nationally issued sets.  Guerrero in 1995 Bowman’s Best, and Vidro in 1993 Bowman.

Harrisburg Sports Card Show – February 18, 2017

It has been a long time since I’ve attended a classic shopping mall sports card show.  There has been a steady stream of them around, but none really worth going to.  On the Thursday night news during the sports segment, I overheard them state that there would be a show at the Harrisburg Mall February 17-19.  In addition to that, they also mentioned some Pittsburgh Steelers were scheduled to sign autographs.  This definitely sounded like a show worth checking out.

The Harrisburg Sports Card Show is put on by show promoter Carl Hisiro.  Autograph guests for the weekend included three Steelers – Jesse James, Stephon Tuitt, and Sean Davis.  Former Eagles wide receiver Vince Papale was also on the list to sign.  I decided to take my black/gold Penn State football and get Jesse James to autograph it.  I think it turned out really well.  By the looks of it, I bet they sold at least (200) tickets just for Jesse James.  That number might be low.  It makes perfect sense for a lot of collectors to want him given that he is a Steeler and went to Penn State.  The line moved fairly quickly as they called by ticket number.  I was #114.  While I was there, everything seemed to be running very smoothly.  It didn’t take long to get a ticket, they had merchandise you could buy to get signed, and Jesse James arrived right on time.

As for the card show portion, I’d say there were (20-25) dealers.  I didn’t see that many selling new sealed hobby boxes.  One dealer had a truckload of retail boxes though.  A good mix of vintage and new single cards could be seen.  One dealer had a few Harry Kalas bobbleheads, but I already owned them.  The one card I did inquire about was a Mike Schmidt 2001 Topps Archives Rookie Reprint Bat Relic.  There was no visible price on it, but the card was in a case with other cards listed for $10-$20.  After asking the dealer how much it cost, I found out there was a $50 price written on the back.  The lowest they would go was $40.  Well overpriced.

Overall it was a decent show.  The autograph guests are what caught my attention.  This takes me back to when I first started collecting, and met Scott Rolen at a mall show in 1996-97.

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Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James

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Harrisburg Senators vs. Akron RubberDucks – 7/9/16 – Floyd Life-Sized Bobblehead Unveiled

Its almost been twenty years since I attended my first professional baseball game on City Island.  After the Harrisburg Senators (AA of the Nationals) cancelled their Star Wars-themed bobblehead last year I wasn’t sure if I’d go back.  But given how close I am to this stadium, it doesn’t take much for me to change my mind.

On Saturday, July 9th, the Harrisburg Senators gave out Cliff Floyd bobbleheads to the first 1,500 fans.  This bobblehead is an exact replica of the life-sized bobblehead of him they unveiled before the game.  Back in April they did the same thing with Vladimir Guerrero, and next month the Senators will do it with Bryce Harper.  Guerrero, Floyd, and Harper will round out their inaugural life-sized Bobblehead Hall of Fame class.  This was the first time I had ever seen a life-sized bobblehead in person.  I wasn’t sure where they were going to be located.  It turned out that both of them were right behind my seat near the end of the walkway.  They look really cool.  Cliff Floyd was suppose to be there, but couldn’t make it.  Instead he sent a video message.  I think after the season ends, these giant bobbleheads will be moved to a more permanent location.

This was the first time I had been to a Senators game since First National Bank purchased Metro Bank.  Nothing really changed much other than the signs.  Before grabbing some dinner, I took a look around the gift shop.  I picked up a 25th and 30th anniversary pin, plus a Forever Collectibles Harrisburg Senators retro-bobblehead.  When returning to my seat with chicken fingers, fries, and ice cream, I found a baseball scout in my spot.  He was just looking for a place to sit.  I thought he wanted to sign me to a team.  For a second there I thought I might get a deal like Mickey Moniak.  Once again my athletic talent has been overlooked.

The Senators played the Akron RubberDucks on Saturday and lost 6-3.
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RubberDucks pitcher Rob Kaminsky

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Kaminsky and catcher Jeremy Lucas

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Senators pitcher Phillips Valdez

Card of the Day: Jeff Banister 1989 Harrisburg Senators Star #2

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Senators Dump 7/11/15 Star Wars Bobblehead

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Fans have a bone to pick with the Harrisburg Senators (AA of the Washington Nationals).  This evening I was suppose to watch the Senators take on the Erie SeaWolves during Star Wars night.  The first 1,000 fans through the gates were to receive a Star Wars themed two-sided bobblehead.  As a bobblehead collector and Star Wars fan, I thought this would be a fun giveaway to get.  Now it doesn’t seem like that is going to happen.

I’ve been watching the Senators schedule closely in an attempt to perhaps get a look at this two-sided Star Wars bobblehead.  But no picture was ever made available.  After the season began, I noticed a t-shirt was placed on the promotional schedule for the same day as this bobblehead.  Up until last week both the bobblehead and t-shirt were listed as giveaways for Saturday, July 11th.  Teams usually don’t have two giveaways on one night, but I really didn’t think anything of it.  Near the end of last week though the information about the bobblehead had completely disappeared.  All that was left was the t-shirt.

I sent an e-mail to the Senators asking them what had happened to the bobblehead and received this response from their General Manager:

Unfortunately LucasFilms did not give us permission to do the Star Wars bobble.  We had it all designed and they pulled it.   Have to settle for the shirt.  Sorry about that.

I don’t see how you can put on the schedule that you’ll be giving away a bobblehead with this kind of popularity before obtaining permission from LucasFilms.  In their response to my Facebook post they state this change was made all the way back in April.  I don’t remember the Senators making any kind of announcement about this change either.  They just made the change, but yet left the bobblehead info on the schedule too.  This looks very sloppy from the consumer’s end.  With all that being said, I wonder what it looked like?

This isn’t the first time I’ve had problems with the Senators.  A few years ago, their Bryce Harper bobbleheads didn’t arrive in time to be given out.  Instead they handed out a redemption coupon that required you to come back at a later date to pick up your bobblehead.

Even though it still is Star Wars night at Metro Bank Park, I’ve decided not to go.  The Williamsport Crosscutters are having a bobblehead night this upcoming Friday.  I’ll be there!

I take my bobblehead giveaways very seriously.  Only Clark Griswold can describe how I felt when I heard about the cancelled bobblehead.