Sheen was the hottest news story this past winter, and before the attention of the country shifted to topics that have a bit more gravity -military intervention in Libya, the devastating earthquake in Japan and now Osama bin Laden’s expiration (yeah its been a hell of a few months) – the San Diego Padres Single A affiliate announced the promotion of the year, “Sheen-co de Mayo,” to plenty of press and national attention from ESPN, CBS, MSNBC and more.
Sheen has not totally disappeared from the radar, and that was evidenced tonight by the near-capacity turnout for the ball game. Considering that Cinco de Mayo provides plenty of competition in the form of tequila-soaked specials in bars and restaurants across the region, the team behind this promo should be very proud of the crowd they were able to bring in.
Centering around just one of the facets of the eccentricities of Sheen would likely be enough to consider the theme a success; from the quotable lines, the harem of goddesses, tigerblood or even Sheen’s very popular and applicable baseball persona from the “Major League” film, there were plenty of options. The Storm went all in, and in essence turned a ball park into a theme park for an evening, but instead of Mickey Mouse or Legos it was the insanity of Charlie Sheen at the center of the excitement.
In the 21st century the competition for live events is pretty stiff, so its commonplace to find an “added value” promoted to fans in the form of a giveaway. These can range from items
like caps, shirts, posters or other items that can promote the team or player relatively easy and are of interest to fans. The holy grail of the free giveaway is the bobble head, which by now most of us are familiar with (I hope you fittingly nodded yes in agreement there). Fans lined up early to make sure they received what is likely to be the baseball collectible of the 2011 (move over Strasburg).
Like I said, the bouncy trinket is just the start. By way of food promos, the ever-popular thirsty-Thursday quenched fans with $1 beer, the perfect compliment to your two-for-one Ho-Ho treat (hint: think Snoop not Santa). The ultimate Sheen fan could’ve headed to the bar for spirited spirits in the form of the “tiger blood cocktail,” which was really good and I am sure could be recreated by the talented bar crew when you head out for a game before the end of the season.
Amidst the highlights and promo reels on the stadium’s centerfield screen there were plenty of Sheen clips and graphics that added immerse the fans in Estevez ecstasy. Additionally, staff and plenty of fans were wearing their best Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn costumes, my favorite touch because it tied everything back into what was important: baseball. Sheen/Vaughn had his number 99 retired, which was honored on the outfield wall, though lower than those dedicated to non-fiction ballplayers that he joined, so no need for Jake Peavy to challenge the warlock just yet.
As for the game itself, it wasn’t exactly a competitive affair between the Storm and the visiting Bakersfield Blaze, but there was plenty of offense to keep the house attentive. Ultimately the team failed to deliver on their end of the Sheen-theme but not actually #winning in the 8-4 loss, but there was a final surprise for those who hung around despite likely insurmountable run deficit, “Wild Thing” himself. Appearing in relief at the bottom of the ninth inning, Vaughn emerged from the bullpen in cloud of fog accompanied by the very familiar tune by The Troggs. “Wild Thing” was fitting ejected before making any pitches to the Blaze, but it was the perfect ending to a night dedicated to perhaps the most beloved celebrity scandal in American history. While we have focused lately on those stories that center on seriousness rather than sensationalism, returning to the fun that surrounded Sheen back in February by making it tangible and engrossing may have been just the right compliment to what a trip to the ballpark is supposed to be all about, the perfect escape.