The Baysox's homestretch will be marked by a flurry of giveaways and salutes to the likes of Chuck Thompson and Don Buford.
The club will give away baseball gloves, seat cushions and pop-ups of all-time Orioles stars. The Spirit will conduct a free soccer clinic. Morganna the Kissing Bandit will make an appearance, and so will The Famous Chicken. The promotions are expected to increase Baysox attendance.
"Our average is 3,700, and it's building," said Keith Lupton, Baysox general manager. "We'll probably finish with 5,000 to 5,500. That's good for any minor-league team."
For 39 dates (with 23 left to play), the Baysox have attracted 140,692. If they draw that average -- 3,607 -- the rest of this season, they will finish at 223,653. That's better than the 130,331 the franchise drew last year in Hagerstown. As the Hagerstown Suns, the team's record attendance was 193,753 in 1991, when it made the Eastern League playoffs.
The promotions will run through Sept. 5, the Baysox's regular-season finale. That day is One Last Bat at Memorial Stadium, when six former major-league players will share time on the mound throwing to 100 fans in a fund-raiser 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To arrange to participate, a fan needs to contact Mary Furnanage in Salisbury at (800) 776-5694 and agree to contribute $100 to the Epilepsy Foundation. The first 100 people will have the opportunity to bat against the former major-leaguers and shag flies in the outfield.
The highlight of the schedule will be Aug. 14 and 15, when the Baysox play the Eastern League-leading Harrisburg Senators. It is billed as "Hall of Fame Weekend," focusing on Thompson on the 14th and Buford, the Baysox's manager, on the 15th.
"Nearly all of the great moments in Chuck's illustrious career are asssociated with this ballpark," Lupton said. "We're truly grateful to him for allowing us to hold this sepcial night in his honor."
Buford, before he is honored by the Oriole Advocates on the 15th, will become the 24th member of the Orioles Hall of Fame during cermonies Aug. 8 at Oriole Park.
Buford played 17 years as an infielder and outfielder in pro ball, including five years with the Orioles. He became th best leadoff hitter in club history.
The following is a schedule of Baysox promotions:
July 27, 28, 29: Crown Petroleum Oriole All-Star PopUps. Three free sets of the club's all-time stars, four players in each set.
July 29: Morganna, the Kissing Bandit
July 30: Blockbuster Video Seat Cushions. First 2,500 fans get seat cushions bearing Baysox logo.
July 31: Baysox Salute to Baltimore Colts. Many former players will be on hand. Colts' Band will perform.
Aug. 6: Baltimore Spirit Soccer Clinic. Spirit coach Kenny Cooper and several players will conduct clinic from 6 to 7 p.m. in outfield for youngsters 14 and under, who will be admitted free to clinic and game. Participants must wear non-cleated athletic shoes.
Aug. 7: Fox 45 Baseball Glove Giveaway. Gloves to first 1,000 youngsters 14 and under who purchase tickets to game.
Aug. 8: Senior Citizens Day. All persons 62 and over will be admitted for half price.
Aug. 11: The Famous Chicken. The chicken made his first appearance here May 15 and was rained out July 14.
Aug. 14: Chuck Thompson Night. Tribute to the longtime broadcaster who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Aug. 1.
Aug. 14: A baseball card show and auction will be held in the Designated Hitters Lounge 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A ticket to the show, sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation, will be good for admission to the game.
Aug. 15: Oriole Advocates Tribute to Don Buford. The Advocates will honor the Baysox manager and former Orioles player who will become 24th member of Orioles Hall of Fame.
Aug. 21: Movie Night at Memorial Stadium. Baysox are on the road, but "Field of Dreams" will be shown on a giant screen.
Sept. 5: Eastern Shore Epilepsy Foundation One Last Bat at Memorial Stadium. The first 100 people who donate $100 to the foundation will have a chance to bat against former major-league players.