Suns Hit a Gnome Run With Harper Promotion
The Hagerstown Suns, the Nationals’ South Atlantic League farm team, handed out a rather interesting item this past Saturday night, when they gave away Bryce Harper Garden Gnomes to the first 1,000 fans who entered Municipal Stadium. The gates opened at 6:00, but fans began lining up before 5:00 to ensure that they would receive an elfin likeness of Harper.
Of course, the phrase “likeness of Harper” is a bit of a stretch in the same way that the Grand Canyon is something of a hole. Yes, the little guy is wearing #34 and dons the eye black and the base reads Bryce Harper, but he resembles Harper Lee as much as he does Bryce Harper. If you take away the bat and put a book in his hand, the gnome could have been given away on To Kill a Mockingbird night. That’s certainly not the Suns’ fault, however, as all they can do is send away some photos to the Acme Gnome and Bobble Head Company, c/o Beijing, China and at that point artistic license is taken, no doubt.
The Brian Wilson Garden Gnome from last year was a much more accurate likeness, but then if you slapped a big black beard and a baseball cap on a watermelon one’s first reaction would be, “Hey, that watermelon looks just like Brian Wilson!” so that’s not much of a standard by which to judge.
As for Bryce Harper himself, his permission was not required as, according to an e-mail from Suns’ management, “When a player wears a Suns uniform, [then the team] can use their likeness for a giveaway item.” Harper was not officially notified, but again, according to the e-mail “many of his fans from Hagerstown” let him know about the promotion.
As of Saturday afternoon, the Nationals’ rookie phenom hadn’t asked for a gnome, but as of Sunday morning he could have chosen from nine different gnomes listed on e-Bay with prices ranging from a first bid of $4.95 to a “buy it now” price of $100.00. One enterprising fan sat in a chair just outside the gates upon the conclusion of the game with a sign that read “Will trade 3 foul balls for 1 statue.” There were no takers that I saw.
Harper has been gone from Hagerstown for over a year now, but he’s still the biggest thing in the land of the Suns. Residents of the region are proud of the fact that this will always be the site of Bryce Harper’s first professional gnome.