BURLINGTON – Centennial field became a temporary junkyard Sunday evening as fans confused over the evening’s special promotion tried to drop off bins and boxes full of Lake Monsters merchandise. Police were called to the stadium to restore order as employees struggled with how to respond to the overwhelming mountain of junk piling up in the parking lot. The confusion stemmed from publicity materials that announced a special “Fan Giveback Day: Your Choice of Lake Monsters Merchandise.”
“We were simply trying to give something back to the fans by allowing them to choose among several items available to take home,” a representative from the Lake Monsters told reporters. “They could have taken home a bat, a lanyard, a plastic team hat, a wristband, or a drawstring bag featuring Champ, our popular mascot.” But what happened when the gates were opened was not what the organization expected.
“Look, they said fans could give back the merchandise,” said one frustrated fan, standing outside the stadium with a large cardboard box. “That’s what they said. I been to every game, and I love the team, but I don’t need all this crap. Seriously, what am I gonna do with six Lake Monsters stress balls? And I got a couple of travel mugs in here, and like four mini baseball bats, a bunch of stickers and s***, it’s all crap. I mean, I take it, cause it’s free, right? But then it clogs up my house, and my therapist said if I de-cluttered it would relax me, and then I see the team says we can bring all this crap back, but when I get there, they won’t take it! They try to give me more crap! So now what?”
One loyal fan pulled up with a whole van full of merchandise dating back decades, including some old Vermont Reds swag from the 1980’s. Other ticket holders arrived with recycling bins and moving boxes full of old promotional materials, while some just brought one or two items to give back. The quantity of unwanted promotional material being returned was so great it created a safety issue as the main entrance to the park became completely blocked, with some boxes spilling onto the field itself. The grounds crew were able to clear away enough of the refuse for the game to continue, but there is now a question as to what to do with the returned items. Although the Lake Monsters organization would not comment on what would happen to the mountain of unnecessary swag, an unofficial source claims that it will all be repackaged and handed back out next season to the first 500 lucky fans.
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