51s get with program — in a big way

One of the cool things about 51s games is they give you a souvenir program when you walk through the turnstiles, and it’s free.

I used to put mine in my back pocket and then pretty much forget about it, because there’s only so many times you can read a Gordie Brown, Live at the Golden Nugget ad.

By the sixth inning or so, my program invariably would fall out of my pocket. Only I wouldn’t notice it had fallen out, because it was thin, and then somebody would have to sweep it up with the peanut shells along with any traces of nacho cheese that remained in the plastic container.

The same thing happened Thursday night. Only I knew my program had fallen out of my pocket because it made a thud when it hit the ground.

This season’s souvenir program is 100 pages big. It’s chock-full of information, as they say. It’s still free.

It’s almost as good a deal as $1 beers on Thursday night.

“We’re getting a lot of positive comments,” Jim Gemma, the 51s media relation director, said.

Gemma said the beefed-up program was general manager Chuck Johnson’s idea. Instead of printing and charging fans extra for a souvenir yearbook, most of that content was put in the program.

And they’re collectible, too. Gemma said a different program will be printed each month, each with new/updated stories and information.

True, the Prince Fielder-sized program no longer has a lineup in the middle. But nine times out of 10, those lineups and rosters were wrong, anyway, owing to the itinerant nature of minor league baseball with its daily call-ups and roster moves.

Instead, the 51s now offer up-to-date roster sheets and statistics that can be picked up at the Cashman Field information booths. On Wednesday, which was a slow night at the yard, an usher strolled up the aisle handing out the roster.

The roster sheets also are free.

It will cost extra for larger pants pockets, though.

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