Dead Promo Is Home Run: Minor League Baseball Team Hosts Show That Elicits Flashbacks of Band

Article excerpt

Authorities were worried some illegal "extras" might be smuggled inside a few bell bottoms during Grateful Dead Night at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge Friday. Such things are not unheard of at any celebration of the cult outlaw band, which ruled during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

But the Prince William Cannons baseball team, the sponsor of the show, got off easy - all the '60s stuff on display was strictly legitimate, right down to the tie-dyed uniforms the players wore.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" was played before the game, and except for the guy selling incense sticks, the only smoke came from the hot-dog grills. It probably had Jerry Garcia turning over in his grave.

The strict baseball fans sat in the stands enjoying warm-ups, but the rest of the crowd sat on the front patio and heard The Next Step, a cover band, playing Dead favorites.

A new, younger generation of Dead fans signed up for the hacky sack contest between innings while a few brave folks from the older set showed some dance moves in front of the band.

Probably the most "authentic" looking couple in the park, Tony Zancanella and Linda Smith, wore their original Dead tie-dyes and wreaths of roses on their heads. Ms. Smith's niece Nicole Hood, 12, and nephew Dustin Hood, 7, wore hand-me-down Dead shirts and wreaths as well.

"We were here in July for [Mr. Zancanella's] birthday, and when I saw they were doing this I said, `We've got to go to that,' " Ms. Smith said.

"I'm old enough to have seen [the original Dead] play. Probably too many times," said Mr. Zancanella, 39.

Dan Clark, 20, lives just near the park and was hanging out with the colorful group. He had not been to a game in awhile, but he said he never misses a Next Step gig. When he heard they were going to be at the stadium, he decided to come.

Mr. Clark and the others said they were going to stay for the game, which is exactly what the Cannons had hoped for.

Grateful Dead night is the third big musical promotion of the year. …