Giveaway Review: Ryan Zimmerman Bobblehead (Grade: A)

Nats Gallery Blog will periodically review the 2015 Washington Nationals promotions and giveaways.  The promotional schedule was released the second week of February and it generated lots of publicity.  We still believe that there is still plenty to discuss and we will give the promotions and giveaways letter grades (A-F) based on three criteria–excitement, originality and satisfaction.

The Nationals are celebrating the tenth anniversary of baseball’s return to Washington with 10-year anniversary themed promotions all season long.  In addition to the monthly 10-Year Tuesday giveaways that fans can store in their Opening Day commemorative tins, the Nationals will also be distributing five different bobbleheads celebrating great moments in Nationals history.

Bobblehead giveaways can make fans do some pretty crazy things–like go to Nationals Park in the middle of a rainstorm.  The rainstorm, which pushed back Thursday night’s start time by 1 hour and 55 minutes, could not deter 35,465 fans from flocking through the center field gate to snag a soggy Ryan Zimmerman bobblehead.  Fans received their bobbleheads from guest services representatives and sprinted for cover under the concourse or inside the team store.  Nationals relief pitchers Aaron Barrett and Taylor Hill had some fun in the rain and they greeted Nationals fans in “Curly W” raincoats at the entrance.

Aaron Barrett and Taylor Hill handed out bobbleheads before Thursday night's game. (Nationals Facebook)
Aaron Barrett and Taylor Hill handed out bobbleheads before Thursday night’s game. (Nationals Facebook)

Fans were soaked, but they were so happy with the giveaway that they were still content.

The Nationals’ first draft pick in 2005 had his likeness used for bobblehead giveaways in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

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Thursday’s giveaway is probably the most special Zimmeraman bobblehead because it represents a great moment in Nationals history–his walk-off home run to end the first game ever at Nationals Park.  The bobblehead box recalls that special moment.

On Sunday evening, March 30, 2008, the baseball world turned its attention to southeast Washington, D.C., as Nationals Park opened its doors for the first time.  The nationally televised contest was a low scoring affair, as the Nationals and visiting Atlanta Braves entered the bottom of the ninth with the score knotted, 2-2.  With two outs and nobody on, Ryan Zimmerman–Mr. Walk Off himself–christened the Red Porch seats with a game ending home run.  As the capacity crowd roared, Zimmerman pumped his fist as he rounded the first-base bag before meeting his jubilant teammates at the plate.  Home sweet home, indeed.

Fans who may not have seen video of Zimmerman’s walk-off home got to re-live the moment on NatHD.

Ryan Zimmerman's March 30, 2008 walk-off home run was shown on NatsHD
Ryan Zimmerman’s March 30, 2008 walk-off home run was shown on NatsHD.

The Zimmerman bobblehead generated a tremendous amount of excitement.  It was given out to some fans in between innings on Tuesday night and it also made a cameo appearance with MASN broadcaster F.P. Santangelo during the Wednesday telecast.

The enthusiasm carried into Friday morning and not only because the game extended past midnight.  Fans shared pictures of the newest addition to their bobblehead collections.  Some even have fancy homes!

Grade: A

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