Schenectady County

Baseball promotion has mayors shaking heads

Mayor Brian U. Stratton is getting a statue in his honor, but it’s not the kind pigeons would enjoy.

Mayor Brian U. Stratton is getting a statue in his honor, but it’s not the kind pigeons would enjoy.

This statue will measure about seven inches tall, have a bobbing head and will be molded of plastic. Yes, Stratton is getting his own bobblehead doll, along with mayors Jerry Jennings of Albany and Harry Tutunjian of Troy.

The Tri-City ValleyCats, a single-A minor league baseball team affiliated with the Houston Astros, created the bobbleheads as giveaways for games this summer.

Approximately 1,500 bobbleheads of each mayor will be distributed first-come, first-served at the team’s home field, the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College.

The Jennings bobblehead will be distributed on June 30, Tutunjian’s on July 9 and Stratton’s on July 28. Each mayor is scheduled to attend his respective day and throw out the ceremonial first pitch, said Rick Murphy, ValleyCats general manager.

“Communities have had phenomenal success with bobbleheads. Given we are in the tri-cities, a staff member came up with the idea of a tri-city bobblehead series,” Murphy said. “What better way to connect our brand with those communities than to do a bobblehead with the mayors of those three cities.”

The ValleyCats gave away a state Sen. Bruno bobblehead two years ago with great success. “Politicans do better than athletes around here,” Murphy said.

Murphy said the promotion is a way to have some fun and to recognize the mayors for their accomplishments. Each mayor agreed to participate in the promotion and provide a picture for his likeness, Murphy said. “It’s not the wax museum and it is not going to be perfect. It is a bobblehead, after all.”

Each mayor holds the seal of his city and has a sponsor listed on a plaque at his feet. None of the mayors has received a bobblehead yet; each will have to acquire one like every other baseball fan.

With tongue in cheek, Stratton said of his bobblehead: “Isn’t it cool? I finally have reached my political pinnacle. I have been on CNN, been quoted in The New York Times and been featured in US News & World Report, but I hadn’t really reached the top until I was sculpted into bobblehead form.”

Stratton said he expects his bobblehead will draw plenty of fans to the July 28 game. “I will be there. I will have a spring on my head so my own head bobbles,” he said with a laugh.

As to the aesthetic qualities of his own tiny doppelganger, Stratton said, “My face looks a little too round, but they are abstract and they are all beautiful in their own right, some more than others.”

Stratton plans to snag a bobblehead of himself and put it in his office. He may even bring it to Common Council meetings and nod its head during discussions. The head can bobble both yes and no.

Councilman Gary McCarthy jokingly said he will bus people to the game to make sure Schenectady is well represented. Stratton’s director of operations, Sharon Jordan, said she saw a copy of the Stratton bobblehead. “It looked really cute. It is adorable and I think it looks like him. I think everyone will want one.”

Jennings said his bobblehead bears a slight resemblance to him. It has his ever-present tan, but its hair is snow white. His bobblehead is the only one not wearing a suit.

Still, Jennings said, he considers the statue an honor. “It promotes the stadium and it is good for all the mayors to do this. It shows we have humor and we can laugh at ourselves.”

Jennings wants a bobblehead of himself, he said, but “I would rather have the fans get one.”

Tutunjian was not available for comment. His bobblehead wears a Mona Lisa-like smile and glasses.

The Chamber of Schenectady County is coordinating a mixer for members and community at the baseball stadium July 28, said spokeswoman Leesa Pagan.

“We are partnering with the ValleyCats. We want to give our membership that opportunity, but everyone is invited.”

She said the Stratton bobblehead is great. “Any recognition of Schenectady is a fun thing.” Does she want one? “You can bet your bottom dollar I do. I will put it with my other stuff in my office; with my Aflac duck, my little Salvation Army bell, my St. Clare’s T-shirt,” Pagan said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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