There's a fine line between goofy and clever when it comes to minor league promotions, and the Curve may have struck the perfect chord with their latest gimmick.
General manager Rob Egan unveiled a unique item Tuesday that is so ingeniously simple one has to wonder why other teams haven't thought about doing it.
The rally cap has long been a staple in baseball, with players and/or fans turning their hats inside-out late in games.
The Altoona Curve greeted the central Pennsylvania media on Tuesday.
The Curve's new version of the rally cap is basically a cap of its own. Turned inside out, it depicts the popular mascot Al Tuna, which comes out of the center field wall at Blair County Ballpark and dances on the field each time the team scores a run.
The new home cap features a Tenacious Casey engineer logo, and inside it's orange with white bulging eyes. Flipped inside out, it looks like the head of Al Tuna, which appears on the video board at BCB to the chant of "We want Al" when the Curve are close to scoring.
"I think fans do really enjoy Al Tuna and all the things we've done with him over the last couple years and enjoy seeing him as part of our rally," Egan said. "The cap is unique, so I think people will enjoy that, as well."
Each of the Curve players received a hat with Al Tuna inside as a gift.
"I think it's a great idea," first baseman Miles Durham said. "Hopefully we see a bunch of them out in the stands. I've never seen anything like it, and I'm sure a bunch of the kids, that will be the hat to get this year."
It will not, however, be the rally cap the players will be wearing in the dugout. They will wear regular caps with no pictures inside.
"I can emphatically say no," Curve manager P.J. Forbes said with a laugh when asked about the players wearing the hats. "But it is a nice touch for the fans, and it's another way to get the fans involved, which is what it's all about.
"That's why the come to the game, right, to be involved and enjoy baseball. Hopefully they're not having to wear the rally hat too often."
Al Tuna debuted at BCB in 2009, and while the new players on the team don't yet know about its popularity, they soon will. They'll also likely be seeing a lot of the new caps around the ballpark turned inside-out.
"It was great to see the reactions of the players because we were worried that they'd think it was so kitschy," Egan said. "[Pitcher] Jared Hughes liked it right away, and the guys who return know Al Tuna. So perhaps the younger guys will warm up to it even more."
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.