The skies will light up more often over the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville in 2018. The Jumbo Shrimp announced the team will have 21 fireworks nights this season, six more than during the 2017 season. Fireworks will happen post-game after Friday night games, the first six Saturday games, Opening Night (April 11) and July 3. The added boom is just one of several big promotional announcements the team made at a media event last week.

"We tried to add a little bit more flair in some of those nightly promotions, those one off promotions." Jumbo Shrimp General Manager Harold Craw told me.

One of the promotions with flair is "Folding Table Appreciation Night" on May 11, a response to those Buffalo Bills fans who burned folding tables after the Jaguars beat them in the playoffs at EverBank Field.

On Fathers Day June 17, "Everyone Gets Lucky" when the team attempts to break a world record for the number of fortune cookies eaten at one time (4,000).

Craw's favorite promotion is on July 15 on "Words with Fans!" day, where a world record will be attempted for the number of simultaneously played games of Scrabble.

In the first year after changing the team name from the Suns to the Jumbo Shrimp, the team's attendance grew 23%. They hope to do even better in 2018.

"We are incredibly proud but more importantly, thankful, truly humbled by how this community has responded to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp's arrival here on the scene," team owner Ken Babby said.

For the team's full 2018 promotional schedule, click here.

The team also announced a new partnership with Community First Credit Union on a Jumbo Shrimp debit card. Fans using the card at the ballpark can get $2 off tickets at the box office, plus discounts on concessions (including free sodas) and merchandise. To get the card, you must be a member of Community First.

Jumbo Shrimp mascot "Scampi" shows off the new Community First Jumbo Shrimp Debit card   PHOTO: Neal Bennett, First Coast News
Jumbo Shrimp mascot "Scampi" shows off the new Community First Jumbo Shrimp Debit card PHOTO: Neal Bennett, First Coast News

News and Notes:

  • In other Jumbo Shrimp related news, Minor League Baseball announced rule changes to speed up games. These include that teams will start with a runner on second base in extra innings plus a 15 second pitch count. For more on the rule changes, click here.
  • The Icemen are in Atlanta for games Thursday and Saturday night, followed by a road game in Norfolk against the Admirals on Sunday. The Atlanta Gladiators are one of the teams they are chasing for a playoff spot with just a few weeks left in the ECHL season. They next return to home ice at Veterans Memorial Arena on March 30 against the South Carolina Stingrays.
  • Single game tickets for the Jacksonville Sharks 2018 arena football season are now on sale, starting at $13.50 per seat. The Sharks home schedule kicks off on April 14 against the Massachusetts Pirates on "Country Night" at the Arena. The team will also raise their 2017 National Arena League championship banner that night. Get your tickets here.
  • Finally, big kudos to the Jacksonville Giants. They invited my FCN colleague Jeannie Blaylock to be an honorary captain at last Saturday's home finale to honor her work with Buddy Check 12, the station's long standing commitment to help women catch breast cancer early. First Coast News and our partners at Baptist Health/MD Anderson are trying to raise $500,000 for the "Buddy Bus", a new mobile mammography unit. Click here to learn more about the Buddy Bus and how you can help. The team takes part in the ABA playoff tournament in Austin, Texas the first week of April.
A video on the big screen talked about Buddy Check 12 and the Buddy Bus.  PHOTO: Jeannie Blaylock, First Coast News
A video on the big screen talked about Buddy Check 12 and the Buddy Bus. PHOTO: Jeannie Blaylock, First Coast News
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Back to the Minors author Neal Bennett is the former Digital Director at First Coast News. He is a huge fan of all of Jacksonville's minor league sports teams and attends dozens of games each year. He now works for the station's parent company.