A minor league baseball team is offering disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich a chance to clear his name, at least on the field.
The Joliet JackHammers, an unaffiliated team in the far-from-the-big-time Northern League, are offering the former governor a spot on their roster for the upcoming season. Blagojevich would be considered a regular rookie, but the team would capitalize on his anything-but-regular status for promotional events like "Bobble-Hair Night" and special "Golden" seats. The team is branding its publicity stunt as a way to "pay him to play."
Blagojevich repeatedly claimed to be a die-hard Cubs fan, though it's unknown how much he ever played the game.
The full release:
JOLIET, IL- The Joliet JackHammers have offered former Illinois Governor
and huge baseball fan Rod Blagojevich a contract for their upcoming 2009
season. Blagojevich can sign for the JackHammers and be one of the team's
"rookies" on their roster. He will receive a monthly salary in addition to a free
host family. The JackHammers home opener is Friday May 15th at 7:05pm
against the Schaumburg Flyers at Silver Cross Field.
"We figured with his vast knowledge and love for the game he
would be a great addition to the team," said JackHammers Executive Vice
President/General Manager, Kelly Sufka. "Wally Backman, manager and former
major league player, will do what he can to get him as many at-bats as possible,
but he may have to work hard in spring training to find himself a regular spot
in the line-up."
The JackHammers are making the governor the regular rookie
offer with a few extras. In addition to receiving his Northern League salary and a
free host family, the JackHammers will offer incentives in his contract unlike
any ever offered a rookie player! First, the team would like to have a Blagojevich
bobble-hair night, where 1,000 bobble-hairs (the hair instead of the head will bob)
will be given away and the Governor will throw out a first pitch. The team also
plans on having special "golden" seats available for purchase as well as a few
other fun events to fill out the evening. Never in JackHammers history has a
rookie player been offered a promotional item in their likeness.
Travel arrangements will be made exceptionally comfortable for Blagojevich.
He'll have his own seat on the luxurious coach bus during the JackHammers road
trips. As is the case usually for only team veterans, Blagojevich will get his own
room on the JackHammers overnight trips to Kansas City, KS; Fargo, ND; and
This afternoon the JackHammers faxed a contract to Blagojevich's PR
firm in Florida. Blagojevich and his representatives have not responded to the
Financial terms of the contract will not be disclosed.
The JackHammers play a 96-game schedule as part of the Northern
League of Professional Baseball from mid-May until late August. The JackHammers
opponents are located in Schaumburg, IL; Gary, IN; Fargo, ND; Kansas City, KS;
and Winnipeg, MB.