Creativity and promotions have always been part of minor league baseball.
There is no minor league baseball this year, but there still is creativity.
The Down East Wood Ducks in Kinston are pushing forward and have plans for a wave of events at Grainger Stadium, including the inaugural Kinston Cornhole Classic set for Nov. 7. Two-person teams, divided into advanced and social divisions, will play for cash prizes.
A top prize of $1,000 will go to the winner of the advanced division. Social division pairs are not allowed to feature professionals.
“We are diversifying a little,” Wood Ducks vice president Wade Howell wrote in an email about this summer of no Carolina League games amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our plan is to make (the cornhole tournament) an annual event. We are trying to attract teams from all over the country with a pretty good cash prize that matches up with a lot of other tournaments.”
Second place in the advanced division gets $200, and $100 for third. The social division prizes are $100 for first place, $60 for second and $40 for third.
Spectators can attend by bringing three nonperishable canned food items to the stadium for admission. All donated items will go to Mary’s Kitchen, a non-profit organization in Kinston.
Players are required to bring their own throwing bags.
Howell also said interest in a softball camp and a partnership with the Shockers travel softball team has led to a Down East Wood Ducks youth softball camp scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 2. Daily sessions are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Camp cost is $50 per participant.
The Wood Ducks, a team formed in 2017, are the high Single-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
The organization also is working on a “Beer & BP” promotion, a post-work event on Thursdays, and a home run contest.
“If people want to stick around and watch the NFL game or MLB postseason on the TVs in the Mother Earth Pavilion, then we will have those on,” Howell said.