This Christmas in July has been a fun one! The minor league baseball team--the Akron Rubber Ducks--in my hometown organized a Christmas in July promotion themed around the 1983 movie A Christmas Story. I was so grateful to be included in the program--let me describe what went on at the July 14th ballgame.
|This guide ran in the New York Times the week before my first pitch--I needed all the help I could get!|
We go to several Rubber Ducks baseball games each summer so this was a real treat! I know the stadium quite well and feel comfortable there. I was offered the opportunity to throw out the first pitch so that was exciting. I play in two softball leagues this summer so I know how to handle a ball but I still practiced. I'm used to playing first base and catcher in softball--not baseball, so I thought practicing would be beneficial.
|We made up baseball-themed trading cards. On the reverse side, instead of statistics, are details about my four books.|
The stadium offered us a chance to sell my books so we set up a table where I could autograph copies. I also handed out baseball cards with my face on them. They were silly but they got people's attention. It was fun handing them out to kids!
|Out booth at the stadium where I sold and autographed books.|
This non-traditional book event was a lot of fun! The first pitch is actually thrown out a half hour before the game begins. My pitch went over the plate and was caught by the catcher. I'm not certain it was in the strike zone but at least I didn't embarrass myself by rolling the ball on the ground or throwing a wild pitch. But there was a surprise visitor in the stadium that day. Someone else was there to throw out a first pitch too!
|On the pitcher's mound, taking my moment all in.|
|Flick from A Christmas Story|
Actor Scott Schwartz who played Flick in 1983's A Christmas Story was also there! He also had a booth set up for him and he was autographing photos and greeting guests. The Christmas in July event at the ball park had also offered free Flick bobblehead dolls to the first 1,000 people through the gates (I didn't even get one!?) He was generous and kind enough to sign those figures as well. He and I spent some time together that evening, talking about the Chicago event where we first met (see that post again HERE) and about writing. He's looking to write a book too.
|Photos of the Jumbotron at the ball park.|
|The host explains how the game is played.|
|That's me again on the Jumbotron throwing the giant dice onto the field. I crapped out!|
Okay--I didn't win anything but that's okay. I felt like I had won by just participating in the Christmas in July ball game. Merry Christmas in July!
Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com
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