A very fuzzy Valentine's Day?

Every February, teams capitalize on Valentine's Day mania with special ticket promotions and deals. A guy or gal looking to surprise his or her sports-lovin' significant other can take in a ballgame instead of hitting up a pricey restaurant, and he or she can even let the team's staff do the dirty work, supplying the flowers and candy for the big date.

The idea seems to be a hot one in Phoenix, as the Coyotes already have sold out their Valentine's Day Club South Package. The deal includes two tickets to Monday's contest with the Washington Capitals, drinks and a dinner buffet for two, a long-stem rose and a message on the arena scoreboard. (We can only hope some poor gal doesn't get the dreaded scoreboard marriage proposal.)

NBA teams are tying their product to the most Hallmark of holidays, too. The Milwaukee Bucks have three different offers for Monday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers, and each one includes a pair of "Fear The Deer" tees, one in black and, you guessed it, one in pink. (Sigh.) Spring training just started, but baseball teams are offering promotions as well. Down in Houston, the Astros are thinking ahead, offering a Valentine's Day 6-Game Flex Plan that includes tickets to six games during the 2011 season and a $50 gift card to a local jewelry store.

I guess if you're an amateur in the game of love, a couple of game tickets and a rose might seem like a pretty nice little Valentine's Day surprise. But if you're a true Don Juan, a real Romeo, you know the best way to say "I love you" to the special sports fan in your life is to send a tiny man in a furry animal costume to surprise her with chocolates, flowers and (somehow-not-creepy-even-though-they're-from-a-complete-stranger) Valentine's Day hugs.

If you live in Memphis, you can gift your best girl a "Grizz Gram." The Grizzlies' lovably fuzzy mascot, Grizz, will appear at her house with game tickets and a basket full of goodies such as team merchandise and a one-night stay at the local Harrah's. If your wife is a horse lover and a baseball fan (and who isn't?), have Rangers Captain, the prettiest palomino in pinstripes, deliver flowers, candy and tickets to her while she's working on an important case at the office. 'Cause nothing says romance (and speaks to her professionalism) like a 6-foot tall, bipedal horse with a hoof-ful of truffles strolling past the watercooler to her desk.

Does your special lady friend dig the Phoenix Mercury? Send Scorch, the big purple guy with a rotund belly and an undeniably phallic nose, to visit your girlfriend and her students during class! Just make sure the person delivering the roses and candy is, in fact, the mascot for the Mercury and not a member of the Scorch, Phoenix's now-defunct lingerie football team, or Scorch, the mascot for the Boston Blazers soccer team who caused a stir several months ago with a halftime lap-dance competition. Choose wrong, and you may have some angry parents on your hands.

Unfortunately for fans of the Milwaukee Brewers (and encased meat), last year's Sausage Serenade promotion was a onetime deal. If you were hoping to use a quartet of kielbasa or a bevy of bratwursts to show your lover just how much you love her, you'll have to find the pepperonis with pipes yourself.

All joking aside, if your girl has a strange and inexplicable love for mascots, like me, this could be a cute and different way to surprise her with a date to a game. On the other hand, if she hates surprises, is afraid of mascots or has ever revealed a hidden desire to attend a furry convention, this might not be right for you.

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