On the surface, the Ogden Raptors seem as harmlessly inconsequential as any other random Minor League Baseball team located around the country in small towns and suburbs. A Pioneer League affiliate of the Dodgers, the Raptors are based in Utah and seem to have a similar fan base as many other Minor League clubs – local fans who might not have a MLB team close by or just want a fun night out with their families that doesn’t require them to break the bank. But with the announcement of an upcoming promotional night, fans of both the team and the game of baseball have turned against the club.
The event, titled “Hourglass Appreciation Night” is taking place to celebrate the “sport sans clock” and seems innocent enough until you start digging below the surface level details. In fact, it doesn’t take long before the entire thing is revealed to be an incredibly gross and sexist promotional attempt that would have been better left behind in the brainstorm phase of this season’s marketing prep. You can read about the full details on the team’s official site, but be warned that each sentence is harder to read than the last.
The press release describing the event is downright cringeworthy, as it details how 18 women (AKA the hourglasses) wearing bikinis will be shown off in the booth and around the park throughout the game’s nine innings – a smoke show for each half-inning, as it were. It includes phrases like “the home team hosts the Billings Mustangs, but the real thoroughbreds will join Raptors broadcaster A.P. Harreld in the booth” followed by details such as “the Raptors will video-stream the broadcast booth – well, at least the better-looking half of it!” The kicker is possibly the worst piece of the entire thing and would almost be solid satirical writing if the entire thing weren’t so real.
Fans will have the opportunity to pose for pictures with the lovely ladies as we showcase seriously splendid visual appeal: Utah’s legendary mountains, Dodgers and Reds farmhands – and gorgeous women whose curves rival those of any stud pitching prospect!
In the official post announcing the night to fans, the team tries to explain away the ickiness of the idea by saying that August is the eighth month of the year and because the number eight looks “tantalizingly” like an hourglass it’s only right to have a night to celebrate the shape. It’s less an actual reason than a probable attempt to retcon a reason for the event to happen in the first place. Between additional suspicious details like the post’s subhead being “Guys … get your tickets now!” and the post itself going up at 3:11 a.m. on a Saturday morning, it looks more and more likely that at least one person involved knew this might not be the best idea to actually have take place.
Baseball fans and team supporters online were not happy with the team’s failed attempt at a fun promotional night.
The Ogden Raptors aren’t strangers to controversy, as they’ve been called out for other terrible ideas in recent years and earlier this season had a “Make Baseball Great’r Again” night, complete with familiar looking hats.
Maybe stop while you’re behind, Raptors, and next time think a little harder before planning a promotional night as grimy and sexist as this one.
UPDATE: The Raptors deleted the press release from their site, but it lives on in screen shots and “What Not To Do When You Work In A Sports Team’s Marketing Department 101” textbooks.