CHICAGO - Chicago White Sox front office spokesman Scott Reifert announced today that fans attending a July 11 twin bill versus the Minnesota Twins at US Cellular Field will receive a free commemorative mini-bat, unlimited ten cent Budweiser, and up to $800 Billion in federal bailout money. Billed as "Recession Demolition Night," Reifert said the giveaway promises to be the "biggest fan attraction since 1979."
The unique cross-promotion was the brainchild of White Sox GM Ken Williams and the Obama Administration, and Reifert said it took nearly 45 minutes of careful planning to work out the details.
"The Administration had $800 billion in unspent stimulus money, and we had a load of unsold tickets," explained Reifert. "I guess you could say it was a real win-win situation."
The Oval Office has come under some fire in the last week over revelations that only as small portion of the $867 Billion allocated to ARRA stimulus programs in February has thus far been spent. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that the joint promotion with the White Sox "shows the President is serious about ramping up the sweet, sweet cash giveaways that will get America back on its feet."
Gibbs blamed the earlier spending snags to archaic printers inside the US Mint that imploded in May after overcapacity stress. Those were recently replaced by a new high-speed printer capable of producing 100 sheets of 100 $100 bills every second.
"Working 24 hours a day, and barring no breakdowns, we should have the $800 billion printed within the next 10 days," said Gibbs.
World green ink commodity prices jumped 48% in late trading on the announcement.
Reifert said fans would receive the cash via a spectacular between-innings airlift show. Following a massive fireworks display, 90 fully loaded C-17 Globemaster military cargo planes will each drop 85 tons of $100 bills onto the field. After an address by President Obama on the stadium Jumbotron, fan will be allowed on the field to claim their winnings.
"Don't forget to bring your sacks and pointy poles," said Reifert.
Southsiders appeared unanimous in their excitement over the promotion.
"I ain't bennada ballperk fer a capple of yearse, but I ain't ganna miss dis facker," said Tony Donato, 28, of the nearby Bridgeport neighborhood. "Maybe I'll axe my parole afficer to come along."
Not all Chicagoans were equally enthused. Many Cub fans openly grumbled at the announcement and expressed despair over losing the $800 billion pennant chase. Gibbs defended the selection of the Sox, long overshadowed by their Northside National League rivals and their bigger, more affluent fan base.
"It's a matter of simple fairness," said Gibbs. "The Cubs have no problem selling out Wrigley Field, but the White Sox have seen declining attendance ever since their World Series win in 2005. Hopefully this promotion will sell a few tickets."
Gibbs added that the promotion would not only help bailout the Sox, but would benefit Chicago consumers and the entire region through the multiplier effect.
"The Southside has been particularly hard-hit by the recession," he said. "With this giveaway, the typical Sox fan will again have enough cash to fill up their '87 Caprice and drive to Gary for fireworks and lottery tickets."
Reifert said the club would institute special safety precautions for the event to prevent injuries.
"At $20,000,000 a piece, each fan will have to tote an average of 450 pounds of $100 bills so back injuries were a real worry," he said. "That's why we'll also have free spinal support belts for the first 25,000 through the gate."
Reifert also said the first 5 rows of field-level baseline seats will be roped off to avoid mass smotherings under the anticipated tidal wave of Benjamins.
"Unfortunately this will reduce seating capacity from 40,000 to 38,000," said Reifert. "We apologize to the 2000 fans who may be kept out, but on the up side this means an extra $1 million for everybody who gets in."
Reifert encourage fans to order tickets soon, as demand is expected to be brisk. He remained coy, however, about whether the cash drop would take place during game one of the doubleheader, or the special nightcap open only to Mayor Daley, visiting Washington dignitaries, and Obama campaign donors.
"We're leaving that a big surprise," he said.