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Simon says promotion falls short
Lakeland Tigers, minor leage promotions
By Chuck King

The Lakeland Tigers attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records fell short on Friday, but their attempt to break the record for the largest game of Simon Says was still fairly successful.

The Tigers brought Simon Says master Lou Goldstein to Joker Marchant Stadium as one of their minor league promotions hoping to attract more the 1,000 participants in the game. The final count of 703 was almost 300 shy of current record of 994 participants.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed in not breaking the record,” Lakeland general manager Zach Burek said. “But it was a first class event. Everybody had fun.”

Even though they didn’t break the record, Lakeland officials considered the Simon Says game to be a successful minor league promotion. Community First Credit Union picked up the tab for bringing in Goldstein and a Tampa television station carried live updates of the Simon Says game’s progress during its late newscast.

The Simon Says game took place following the Lakeland’s 11-inning 4-3 loss to Sarasota. Lakeland officials invited all fans onto the field to participate in the record attempt.

The game lasted about 15 minutes. Burek estimates half the contestants were eliminated within the first minute. Lakeland players didn’t participate, but many stuck around and watched the contest.

“I think the highlight of it was having Goldstein out there,” Burek said. “The guy is 85 years old and really had the crowd energized.”

Burek enjoyed this minor league promotion so much that he is willing to give it another shot. The Tigers are already talking about bringing Goldstein back later in the season, possibly as part of the Florida State League’s All-Star game on June 17. Burek speculates that between 3,000 and 4,000 people might play Simon Says following the All-Star game.

Check out my blog for more on Minor League Promotions and Minor League Baseball.

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