Nothing says promotional gimmickry quite like radio morning shows and minor-league baseball.
Morning shows on commercial radio are notorious for their relentless pursuit of the comically idiotic, while minor-league baseball teams like the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have been known for such things as shooting bratwurst at fans during home games.
Combine these worlds, and nothing says Fourth of July like flags, fireworks and record-breaking flatulence - at least according to the latest promotional stunt by the Bowie Baysox, sponsored by WQSR Radio and B&M; Baked Beans.
Tonight the first 2,500 fans to enter Prince George's Stadium in Bowie will receive whoopee cushions as part of a bid to make the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people to sit on a whoopee cushion at the same time.
The current record for "largest simultaneous whoopee cushion sit," set on Jan. 15 in Birmingham, England, as part of a Comic Relief charity promotion, stands at 982.
During the second game of tonight's double-header Baysox game against the Akron Aeroes, Louie, the Baysox's green, furry mascot will lead the crowd in the countdown to whoopee-cushion deflation.
Leave it to WQSR morning-show jokester Steve Rouse to turn a relatively run-of-the-mill baseball promotion - minor-league teams in Trenton and Camden both have B&M-sponsored; whoopee cushion giveaways planned without Guinness Book records attached - into a unique, bleacher-shaking peal of rubberized, simulated flatulence.
"The original idea was to do a whoopee cushion giveaway, but WQSR Radio contacted us," said Andy Frankel, director of communications for the Baysox. "They saw what we were doing and brought the idea to us to break the world record."
The record attempt marks the second time this season Baysox fans will take part in an effort to make the Guinness Book.
On June 14, 3,518 Baysox fans simultaneously brushed their teeth for one minute, unofficially breaking the previous record, set by 3,002 people in Siegen, Germany, last September.
The owner of the "most people brushing teeth" title remains up in the air, however. The Greensboro Bats, the Florida Marlins' Class A farm team, held a similar promotion in North Carolina this season. Bowie and Greensboro are waiting to see who will get the record, Frankel said.
"The bottom line is that's what minor-league baseball is about," he said. "There's nothing too 'out of the box' and nothing too 'off the wall' for us to do."
Rouse - who was on vacation and couldn't be reached for this article, but who is expected for tonight's games - might say the same thing about the Rouse & Company Morning Show. It currently has claim to the 70th best April Fool's Day Hoax of All Time, according to the Museum of Hoaxes. Its trick sent hundreds of people rushing to the Inner Harbor in 1998 with the hope of getting a free gold coin from a cache found on the Constellation. (There was no such cache, of course.)
For tonight's games, the gates at the 10,000-seat Prince George's Stadium will open at 4 p.m. (The first game is at 5:35 p.m.) All fans will receive U.S. flags courtesy of Old Navy. Fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July will follow 10 minutes after the last out of the second game.
For tickets or other information, call 301-464-4865 or visit www.baysox.com.