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From ‘Bark at the Park’ to ‘Star Wars Night,’ MLB’s special promotions are fun but occasionally ill-fated

“Take me out to the ball game” is my blog on major-league ballparks and the wonders of witnessing America’s favorite pastime up close.

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By Bobby Ross Jr.

ARLINGTON, Texas — “Who let the dogs out?”

The crowd of 32,000-plus at the Rangers’ game May 2 included an estimated 600 to 700 four-legged fans.

The team’s 10th annual “Bark at the Park” event touted pet adoption and awareness of the powerful bonds between pets and people. At least that’s how organizers described the special promotion at Globe Life Park.

“Hey, there’s a dog wearing goggles!” was my Christian Chronicle colleague Erik Tryggestad’s reaction.

Sure enough …

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#RangersScoreboard #barkinthepark #avoderm #nylabone

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#RangersScoreboard

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#rangersscoreboard

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#RangersScoreboard

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Bobblehead giveaways. Dollar hot dog nights. Postgame fireworks.

Special promotions are as much a part of Major League Baseball’s storied history as home runs, strikeouts and superstitious players.

As a 14-year-old in 1982, I experienced my first major-league game — and brought home a free bat:

We made it to our bleacher seats in the bottom of the first inning, just as Texas Rangers slugger Larry Parrish stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. That Saturday was “Bat Day,” so 10,000 wooden bats banged thunderously against the concrete and the crowd roared at an obscene decibel as the ball sailed over the fence — a grand slam!

Thirty-two years later, I attended my first game at Turner Field in Atlanta and happened to show up on “Star Wars Night.”

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"Star Wars" Night at the #Braves game.

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My friend Summer Heil is a Chicago Cubs fan.

But she tells me:

Although it pains me to say anything remotely positive about the White Sox, I must say that Elvis Night at U. S. Cellular is a hoot. People go all out, even dressing their babies as Elvis. I can’t even tell you who won the last time I attended, but I had a great time.

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Happy Elvis night at the White Sox game!

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Of course, in the annals of baseball history, there have been some ill-fated, now infamous special promotions.

Who can forget the Cleveland Indians’ 10-Cent Beer Night in 1974? Or the White Sox’s Disco Demolition Night in 1979? Or the Boston Red Sox’s Derek Lowe Poster Night in 2001?

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Your turn: What was the best, worst — or strangest — MLB promotion that you experienced? Tweet me @bobbyross.

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In case you missed them, check out these recent posts:

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See a map of all the major-league stadiums at BallparkChasers.com.

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Bonus pic:

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